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Building Lasting Relationships: Commitment (Numbers 30:2)
By David L. Goetsch
This is the seventh in a series of blogs on building lasting relationships. Each successive blog covers one specific reason relationships fall apart and how to avoid such an unhappy outcome in your relationships.
Building lasting relationships requires commitment from both parties. This is why the traditional marriage vow requires the bride and groom to promise to love each other in sickness and in health, in good times and bad until “…death do we part.” That vow, if taken seriously, is a promise of commitment.
Unfortunately, it’s a commitment a lot of people don’t take seriously and, as a result, don’t keep. One of the main reasons relationships fail is a lack of commitment; a fact that can be seen in the high divorce rate in America. The divorce rate for first marriages is approximately 50 percent. For second marriages it increases to 60 percent, and for third marriages increases again to 70 percent. Clearly, a lack of commitment is a major factor in failed relationships.
God expects people who take vows to keep their promises — to make a commitment. This is the message in Numbers 30:2 where we read: “If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word.” Commitment is a steadfast determination to make something succeed. Being committed in a relationship means you are determined to put forth the effort necessary to make the relationship work, persevere in good times and bad, never give up, and never quit. People who are committed to a relationship don’t give up on it at the first sign of trouble. When you are committed to a relationship, it is a top priority in your life.
People who lack commitment always seem to have one foot in the door and one foot out when it comes to relationships. When things are going well, they are all in but when things are going badly, they quickly lose interest. Their attitude toward the relationship is the opposite of the words most couples include in their marriage vows. It’s as if they never took the vow in the first place or had their fingers crossed behind their backs when they did.
Those who lack commitment, if truthful, should have changed their marriage vows to, “I promise to love and cherish you as long as times are good, you stay healthy, and life is easy.” People who lack commitment but proceed with marriage anyway should be required to use the following wedding vows: “Forgive us Father for we know not what we do.”
Few things can make one more insecure in a relationship than a partner who lacks commitment. Partners in a relationship demonstrate commitment to the relationship by putting each other first, sacrificing personal desires for the good of the relationship, and considering the best interests of each other in all situations. People who are committed to each other do not allow hobbies, work, recreation, or anything else to become more important than their relationship. Further, they avoid or at least minimize activities that pull them away from each other and, instead, look for activities that bring them together.
Commitment to the relationship and to each other is never more important than when life becomes difficult; the bills mount up, children rebel, work is unfulfilling, or health problems crop up. This is when mutually supporting each other and placing your problems and challenges at the feet of Christ is critical. As fallen people living in a fallen world, we cannot hope to keep commitments by ourselves, but with the help of Christ we can. If your most important relationship is suffering from a lack of commitment, ask Christ to show you and your partner the way and help you both persevere in the commitment you once made to each other.
Dr. Goetsch is the author of Christian Women on the Job: Excelling at Work without Compromising Your Faith, Fidelis Books, an imprint of Post Hill Press and Christians on the Job: Winning at Work Without Compromising Your Faith, Salem Books, an imprint of Regnery Publishing, 2019: www.david-goetsch.com