Do you remember your wedding vows to your spouse?  A typical Protestant wedding vow is something like the following.  Each religion and culture will have their own vows.

“I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”

Do you keep your vows or was that just a part of the wedding ceremony to you?  Did you and your fiancé discuss your marriage before the wedding day, such as what you pictured the marriage life to be like, what you expected in marriage, etc.?  Is your spouse keeping their wedding vows to you or upholding what you discussed about the marriage life before marriage or shortly thereafter?  I’ll bet that most married couples go from day to day and don’t give much thought if any to their promises to their spouse, let alone upholding those promises.  Before long the marriage is stale and drifts to an unfulfilling one.

Pursue Commitment

What if you were actively aware of your vows day to day and did your best to uphold them? What if you truly worked at having a fulfilling and happy marriage?  The problem here is that many married couples put more emphasis on doing well on their jobs, in church, or even planning a vacation than their own marriage relationship.  They tend to neglect the maintenance and growth of their own marriage.  The next thing you know, instead of soul mates, you are cell mates or roommates and the marriage begins to disintegrate as the years go by.

The path to a bad and unfulfilling marriage can be easily avoided if you remember and uphold your vows.  This means that you must take your marriage relationship seriously and consider the welfare of your spouse as a priority.  You must monitor your own behavior and actions towards your spouse and be sure to discuss any issues or problems that come up in the relationship to resolve them quickly instead of waiting for years to bring something up or ignoring the issues altogether.

Prioritize the Relationship

What does this mean overall?  This means that you must be committed to your marriage, to your spouse, and to the relationship.  You must be committed always to monitor the relationship, look after the welfare of your spouse, control yourself, and work towards a happy marriage together. A happy marriage is not going to happen automatically, but rather will take effort from the husband and wife.

In my years of observing marriages, including my own, I have found that most couples are not together in the task of actively and purposefully developing a happy marriage.  Most go day to day working on their jobs, raising the kids, and doing housework. There is very little time spent purposefully to engage with each other and work at the relationship.  The first thing that is typically neglected in a marriage relationship is yourself and then your spouse.

You neglect yourself because you get locked into the daily grind and don’t think about your own wellbeing.  You are so busy working or doing housework, that you don’t spend time for yourself so that you would enjoy your life (the fruits of your labor), which is a gift from God.  Next on the chopping block of neglect is your spouse because if you are not caring for yourself, then how can you care for your spouse, unless you put your spouse first and then neglect yourself, which is also a bad idea.  I am not a proponent of putting your spouse first, because in my manner of thinking, that is a mode of separation.  The husband and wife should be together, not one first.

Commit and Keep Your Vows

The force that holds a marriage together is commitment, which is directed towards the promises you made on the wedding day.  You must be committed to love and cherish your spouse if you want a happy marriage.  Togetherness is extremely important in a marriage relationship.  I would dare say, that togetherness is what the marriage is all about and without it you really don’t have a marriage with regards to two souls joining to be one.

Take the initiative and pursue togetherness and keep your vows.  Now live each day in your marriage with that in mind.  If the husband and wife are doing this, namely purposefully loving each other and monitoring that love, then the marriage has a great chance of doing well.

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