For Life

Real love, the Bible says, instinctively desires permanence. — Tim Keller

In the movie Gravity, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock play astronauts marooned in orbit after their craft is destroyed by space debris. In order to get back to Earth alive, they must work together. They must have a rock-solid commitment to the task at hand. It won’t be easy. Sacrifice will be involved.

Or think about your favorite sport. The teams that win championships are those who are unified in their commitment to one another and to working, well, as a team! Hall of Fame basketball coach Pat Riley once said, “There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There is no such thing as life in-between.” And NFL coach Mike Shanahan has said, “Individual commitment to a group effort—that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

And it’s also what makes a marriage work! Thriving couples believe that lifelong marriage is possible, and they work together to make it happen. “Until death do us part” is not just a segment of their wedding vows, it’s a mission statement. A committed husband and wife say to one another, “We’re in this for the long haul, and we’re in this together.”

Just like a mission in outer space or a championship football game, marriage brings its own set of challenges and obstacles. Married couples expect the journey to include hardships, dangers, and rocky passages—but also mountaintop views and ocean vistas. Because of this, they’re not afraid to press on together, taking life as it comes and living each day to the full. They trust God to provide their needs and stand beside them come what may. After all, it is God who models for them the ultimate example of loving commitment when He promises, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5).

DATE NIGHT

Remember, always act like you’re trying to get a second date! Sometimes in marriage we forget that we need to pursue and “woo” our spouse. So dress up a bit. Be polite and open doors. Compliment one another. Be affectionate—hold hands, cuddle and steal kisses. Remember to protect your date night from conflict by cutting off any arguments and agreeing to talk about the issue at a later time.

Step 1: Go someplace different for dinner.

Instead of visiting the same familiar locations and eating the same old food, pick somewhere new or try a different type of cuisine.

Step 2: Put the pieces together.

After dinner, go to a toy store or department store and pick out a puzzle. Not an easy puzzle—a hard one with lots of pieces. Then go somewhere quiet and work together to complete it. This will require teamwork and commitment on both of your parts!

Not a puzzle person? Consider these other activities that require teamwork and commitment: 

  • Go on a long walk or a hike. Be sure to enjoy the sights and sounds around you and to encourage one another to “keep going” if you start to feel fatigued!
  • Try a pottery, woodworking, sculpting, or cooking class. Even if you’re not artistically inclined or skilled in the kitchen, work together on the project until you’ve seen it through to completion.

Whatever activity you choose, remember to have fun! Think about the benefits and rewards of completing the activity together.

Step 3: Relax and unwind.

After your activity, find a quiet place for dessert or coffee to slow down and emotionally connect through good conversation. Answer the following questions. Be sure to keep your responses positive, uplifting and encouraging. 

  • What was your favorite part of the evening?
  • What is the one thing you learned tonight that you didn’t know about me before?
  • We completed a project tonight by working together and staying committed to the task. How can we apply those lessons to our marriage in the weeks ahead?

Step 4: Home Sweet Home

As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Also, think about additional ways you can celebrate your lifelong commitment to one another in the coming week. Once you get home, however, it’s up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!

Download the PDF Version Here.

© 2014 Focus on the Family.