Marriage in God's Hands

An Enduring Commitment

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Alane Waters, Tom Waters


Series Code: MGH

Program Code: MGH000003

00:01 A promise
00:03 to love
00:06 In good times
00:07 and bad
00:11 for richer
00:14 or poorer
00:17 forsaking all others
00:18 as long as
00:20 you both shall live
00:33 Welcome to Marriage Heart to Heart!
00:36 We are Tom and Alane Waters
00:37 with Restoration International
00:40 and we're looking forward to our time together with you today,
00:44 we're gonna be talking about more life changing, marriage changing principles;
00:49 principles that will truly make you experience a marriage heart
00:55 to heart. So we hope you have your pencil and paper ready
00:58 to take some notes for those important principles today.
01:03 We're talking about an enduring commitment today.
01:07 That word "enduring" is a very important word, isn't it, dear?
01:12 - It's an absolute.
01:13 It's a "forever" kind of word. An enduring commitment...
01:18 You know, most of us as husband and wife, we entered into a
01:25 marriage vow. We're vows pledging ourselves, that we would "love, comfort, honor,
01:36 cherish, to have and to hold from this day forward".
01:40 And these vows we solemnly promised, were before God and
01:48 man. - We said more than that when we got married.
01:51 - That's right.
01:52 - Not only did we pledge ourselves, but we put conditions; we agreed to
01:55 conditions upon those: "for richer or for poorer, for better
02:02 or for worse, in sickness and in health 'till death do us part."
02:05 - That's right.
02:06 That's complete, and I think it's important that we establish this enduring commitment
02:13 that it is a complete commitment.
02:15 And I think it's important, as we're talking about this enduring commitment today,
02:20 it's important to realize that this marriage vow was said
02:27 before God. It's not just a vow that we made to each other, it
02:32 was a vow to God - you know -, and I think that the enduring commitment has lost some of its
02:39 endurance in the day and age that we live in. This idea of "till death do us part"; I mean,
02:47 we've known people... It has nothing to do with death that causes them to part.
02:53 It might better have been said in their vows: until you cross
02:57 my will, and I don't feel like living with you anymore; and that's the end of my vow.
03:02 But that's not an enduring commitment.
03:04 And we don't really live with a throw-away marriage today,
03:09 even though sometimes it seems that way in our society.
03:11 That's right. It's staggering when we think of the statistics between those marriages that
03:18 are done in a Christian church that end in divorce
03:23 and compared that with the world. They're one and the same.
03:26 And it's sad because we have the answer in Jesus Christ. We have the answer to have a
03:33 successful marriage as we learn to surrender our hearts to Him
03:37 and allow Him to work in my heart and through me to you.
03:41 In that process, then we can have that harmony in the
03:45 marriage, but if we don't accept that, then we are like anyone
03:50 else and we find the marriages for small reasons, and they always start out small,
03:55 and they grow bigger and bigger until it eventually ends up with
03:58 divorce and a lot of heartache and a lot of pain.
04:01 That's right. It's interesting when we go back to our parents'
04:09 generation, and even back before that. Fifty or sixty years ago it was very unusual.
04:15 It was not like it is today, where half or more of our marriages are ending in divorce.
04:20 Why do you think it was that marriages back in those days just didn't brake up as easily
04:26 as they do today?
04:28 I believe, because of this one factor that they knew when they
04:32 spoke those words, that it was an enduring commitment. I am committing myself to love you,
04:38 to honor you, to cherish you, to comfort you through our whole
04:44 life together. There was no question, that it's going to be until a certain point when I'm
04:49 tired of you or somebody comes along that I like better, or you're not the man I used to
04:55 know, it comes to that commitment. And that's one thing that I think has been a blessing
05:02 to us in our personal marriage. First of all, we had the example in our own parents. We saw our
05:07 parents work through challenges and difficulties, and not give
05:11 up. And we saw those relationships last until death
05:16 separated them. And that was a foundational point for us in our
05:21 marriage and I'm thankful to the Lord that we had that example, but even if we don't have that
05:28 example, we can be the ones to make the change for our future
05:32 generation. - Amen. It's sad that even at some of the weddings that are taking place
05:38 today - in young people... Even in the way the vows are said...
05:44 It's interesting, and in some cases, tragic, that some of these young people are actually
05:49 writing their own vows, which I'm not against, but what they're doing is taking out some
05:58 of the enduring principles of this marriage relation. They're taking away from it and actually
06:03 making it easier for them to get out of the marriage if things
06:10 don't work. But regardless of what the vow says, it still
06:16 stands before God. When we enter into that relationship in marriage, that's a commitment
06:21 we've made with that person. But it's a vow before God that we
06:28 will hold on to. And for us in our marriage, when we went through the early struggles in
06:31 our marriage, that was an anchor point for us. It wasn't an option. I mean we had
06:36 disappointments, we were perhaps discontented or however we
06:44 related to it, but it was not an option for us. We didn't consider that: Oh well, he's not
06:49 treating me the way I thought he would treat me, I think I'm gonna look for somebody else.
06:53 I think that it's important that people understand that
06:57 wherever you find yourself today in this enduring commitment,
07:03 and that can be a lot of different places and
07:07 circumstances; one of the things that you can do today is to reestablish those vows.
07:14 - That's right.
07:15 You know, we've done that and we want to encourage you,
07:19 even though you're wedding may've been ten years ago, five years ago, twenty years ago,
07:24 whatever it is, you can go back and you can reestablish those
07:29 vows, you can make a commitment and find an anchor point, that when the difficulties come,
07:35 that you will not consider it an option that you will step out of
07:42 this marriage. You know, it's interesting that Ecclesiastes 9:9 says that we should live
07:51 joyfully with the wife that we love. You know, that has become my experience with you,
07:56 to live joyfully with you. And you know that there's nobody I'd
08:02 rather be with. I know that; and I know it's a joy to live with me even when I make some
08:08 mistakes from time to time. You know, it's not that we have a perfect, flawless marriage, but
08:15 we know how to humble ourselves, to say "I'm sorry", to ask to be forgiven, and then move forward.
08:20 And this is an important key, which we're gonna actually talk about for a whole program;
08:24 just on that one topic alone. But it doesn't matter what our
08:30 circumstances are; you know, we've all changed. And so change
08:34 isn't the issue. I think of one person I know quite well; her life was changed dramatically in
08:41 an accident. And when the accident happened, she was paralyzed from her waist down;
08:45 - that's a major change. And her words to her husband, when he
08:50 met her, were: If you're going to leave me, leave me now!
08:53 - I remember that.
08:54 And sadly he left -I mean, that's almost beyond
08:59 comprehension. This is shocking; this is when he needed to, more than any time, reach out and
09:04 love and serve his wife. And she has spent the rest of her life
09:10 as a single woman, because she changed. Change isn't the issue; we're always changing. Change
09:17 -for the good or for the bad, physically or whatever-, but we can't be motivated by change.
09:24 We have to understand how change happens and then we have to allow Christ to change
09:30 my heart, and that's the important change we need to
09:33 focus on. -That's right. You know, the sad thing about that illustration, that family that
09:39 we know personally; the change, represented to him, what he thought would affect his career,
09:47 and she no longer fit his lifestyle.
09:52 -So it was all a me focus there.
09:53 Yeah, he was in the me focus like what we were talking about
09:57 before. The me focus; and he would not choose to move out of
10:03 that, nor would he choose to recognize that no matter what difficulties, no matter what
10:08 misunderstandings, no matter what painful circumstances we go
10:14 through, that unless we have a biblical basis -and I know, this is not popular today, even in
10:21 Christianity-, unless we have a biblical basis for divorce, which is very clearly defined in
10:30 the Bible, very clearly defined as adultery; unless we have that
10:35 biblical basis, we don't need to even start thinking about getting out of a marriage
10:41 relation. - That's right. We have the opportunity to begin to change and work on it, to
10:48 improve it and not to let it be destroyed.
10:52 - We certainly could have gone down on that track in our own
10:55 marriage. - Yeah. If we didn't have that anchor point to beginning that enduring
10:59 commitment, I don't know if we would have lasted a year, honey.
11:01 That's right. I don't know; some of our viewers may not have seen
11:06 that program, but I tell you, as we were learning to become one, it was not what some would call
11:11 a "marriage made in Heaven".
11:12 - We knew it was, but we weren't living it, no.
11:17 - So, we could have gone down that very same thought process and it's what leads many people
11:25 into that fatal cycle that ends in divorce.
11:30 And it wasn't an option for us, and I'm thankful it wasn't an
11:35 option for us, because we knew that God had brought our lives
11:39 together. And we also know couples that we know personally that we've counseled with, who
11:44 felt that had nothing in common, everything had turned,
11:47 and yet those same people are now deeply in love and so thankful that they did not
11:55 take the option of divorce.
11:58 - That's right. And even couples, where an adulterous relationship has happened in the
12:05 marriage, we've seen those couples, who are willing to let God heal and restore that home;
12:11 and many homes. And so, just because there is a biblical reason, it doesn't mean that
12:17 it's the only option that we have. We can also choose to go and allow Christ to heal our
12:24 heart and heal that home. And it's a beautiful testimony. And yes, trust can be regained,
12:30 and that home can be secure in love.
12:34 Well, we also want to give the positive side, because we've met so many families that have
12:38 endured long hardships; gone through many life changing experiences, through tragic
12:48 accidents, through difficult circumstances and they have not
12:54 chosen to give up, because in illness, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer,
13:02 we know people that have experienced terrible financial
13:06 tragedy and those people have continued with this enduring commitment and they found the
13:13 rich blessing that God brings and the happiness of an unwavering love and devotion.
13:20 And that's exciting
13:21 - It is.
13:22 even in this generation.
13:24 That's right. It's possible, because all things are possible
13:28 with God. And it's the best. - So, have you ever thought what would happen if I became
13:41 paralyzed? I would find it my greatest joy to serve you.
13:47 You really feel that way?
13:48 - Absolutely!
13:49 - And you know I believe that. You know why I believe that?
13:55 - Because I demonstrate it to you every day.
13:57 - Yeah. Because I know the difference between what we used to be when we were in our
14:03 me focus, the selfish focus. And I've seen the evidence of the enduring commitment;
14:10 and you wouldn't even go down that thought process,
14:15 because you've seen that when you've been willing to die to self, to your selfishness,
14:20 and let God's way work out, and when I've been willing to die to
14:24 my selfishness, it's always better than we ever expected it
14:29 to be. Yes, and often I've told you: I don't know how it can get any better; sometimes I tell
14:33 you: I don't even know how I can express my love to you more.
14:36 And, you know, we don't live in Paradise, we still have challenges and trials like every
14:42 couple faces - from outside and sometimes from within ourselves
14:46 -, but we've seen the joy of allowing Christ to work in our hearts and to keep us as one
14:53 couple, happy before the Lord.
14:57 And what a blessing that happiness is!
15:00 But we need to take a break right now, and when we come back, we're going to be talking
15:05 about how the 1. Corinthians experience, that love chapter, how it affects our enduring
15:12 commitment to one another. We want a marriage that lasts
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15:59 marriage. Welcome back to Marriage Heart to Heart! We've been talking about how we can
16:04 have an enduring commitment; one that lasts forever, one that does not give up easily,
16:10 one that is not easily chafed and irritated; and that's really what 1. Corinthians 13 talks
16:17 about, but even though that's the love chapter, we can't do it apart from Jesus Christ.
16:21 We need Him working in us - that means we need to surrender.
16:25 So if we're going to experience an enduring commitment, we need to understand how to
16:30 make that 1.Corinthians 13 practical.
16:34 So, Alane, I'd like you to share with them. How does this work?
16:38 Well, the thought that comes to me is the conclusion of what
16:43 love is. It says: love bears all things. "All things" - that's an
16:49 absolute. Love believes all things, it hopes all things and it endures all things.
16:55 And we have to begin to put our focus there, in that area;
16:59 that's what true love is. I'm not capable of generating that
17:05 love in myself, my human love doesn't bear all things, my human love doesn't believe all
17:10 things, I certainly don't hope all things, and I don't endure
17:16 all things. But by asking God to put His love into my heart, I have the ability, because my
17:22 weakness is now made perfect in His strength, and through Him I can receive that divine love
17:27 in my heart, that no matter what happens, no matter how little or
17:32 how big, that love can still be in my heart. And many times, when - it's the little things
17:37 again -, that's the little things that trip people up.
17:40 And for you viewers out there, you know from your personal experience: it's the little
17:45 things that cause the greatest agitation. It's not the major crisis that happens
17:49 once or twice in three years, it's the little day-to-day things that get under our skin
17:54 and irritate us, they begin to destroy us as couples. And so, that's where God's love needs
18:01 to operate, is in the day-to-day little things. And so for me, what I have found helpful,
18:07 is: when I start to feel my human love failing, I ask God to
18:13 give me His love that will hope, and believe, and endure, and
18:17 bear all things; not because you're a bad person, but because so often it's my own perspective
18:22 that's off. And when I pray that kind of prayer, I see a difference in the circumstances,
18:27 I see the difference in you, because now I'm seeing you
18:31 through His eyes and not just my eyes.
18:32 - I appreciate that, dear. And I obviously am receiving a benefit from that, when that happens.
18:38 I to have found the blessing in asking God as I have my quiet time with the Lord in the
18:44 morning: Lord, put in me Your Heaven-born love - because this does not happen for us naturally
18:51 or spontaneously, our human love does wear very thin.
18:55 Our human love - and I've often said -, our human love works well when everything seems to
19:01 look right, feel right, smell right, everything's perfect.
19:06 When I'm perfect, right?
19:07 And that's not where real love needs to endure.
19:11 - That's right. - It's not hard to endure there.
19:14 And so... We do need to pray... You know, Jesus said: Without me ye can do - nothing.
19:22 - And we've all proved it. - We have proved it. And why not get out of some of these
19:27 ruts and start working with Christ to have this enduring
19:31 commitment, to rekindle this enduring commitment.
19:34 - That's right... and one of the things I think is important and
19:39 I know I have done and we've talked about it some together, too, we've done together as a
19:42 couple, we've identified the weak areas in our marriage.
19:45 - That's right... -...that has caused us to stumble
19:49 that has caused us to have human love wear thin - should I say -
19:53 we've identified those areas and then we've looked to strengthen
19:58 those areas. so that's one thing that has really helped us.
20:01 But if I begin to focus on all of the things that you do in our
20:06 marriage that causes our marriage to be weak - I'm in
20:08 trouble. - Uhmm.. - Because then the focus is all you,
20:12 and it's... you know... what you've done and I'm not really allowing God to show me my part
20:17 I can't change you - and this is very important, because this is an area that happens
20:23 in marriages - they want to try to change the other person, to make them just perfect
20:27 to fit what I want. I can't make you what I want...
20:30 I can only let God change me to be what He wants me to be for
20:34 you. So identifying those weaknesses had been more beneficial on my part to see my
20:41 weaknesses in this and not focus on your weaknesses and ask the Lord to change my weaknesses.
20:46 That's one area... And then also on the positive and I think
20:49 for every negative thing we identify we have to identify and look for the positive
20:55 and that's where many couples don't spend enough time.
20:58 - That's right. That was a very negative focus. In fact, some of the things that we've heard:
21:05 Well, we just don't see anything "eye-to-eye"
21:09 Now that really wasn't the way it was when you were courting
21:15 one another, when you were having that wonderful time together and you couldn't wait
21:19 to be married. Somewhere between "I do" and where it is now, where "I don't feel like it
21:28 anymore" somewhere in between those two points some things
21:31 started happening. "We just don't see anything eye-to-eye" - well, that's because if the eyes
21:38 are focused on me and your eyes are focused on you, we are not going to see anything
21:42 eye-to-eye. - That's right! - Or people say: "You know, we just
21:47 can't agree anymore!" ...we just don't seem to be able to agree
21:50 on things anymore... we can't come to
21:54 decisions... I know some women have told me: He just doesn't take any time for the kids..."
22:01 He is just totally removed from the family...
22:05 It's like he is living a life and the rest of us are out here.
22:08 But rather than condemning him for that and... ending the marriage over that -
22:16 let's look for ways to draw him in... What can we do as wives,
22:20 what can we do as mothers with our children
22:22 to encourage father and husband to want to be a part of the
22:28 family? You weren't always that involved with the family the way I would've liked you to be
22:33 now... you were more than most men, and I'm grateful for that
22:36 but there were things I could do practically so I started looking at the things I could do
22:42 to help you to become more involved with the family. One of
22:47 the things was: stop complaining so much about the children...
22:49 You know... start giving positive reports, so you gonna want to be with the children.
22:54 - Makes a huge difference...
22:56 - It does. So we've all heard the
22:59 complaints ...and we can identify those but we have to also focus on the positive
23:05 things. - That's very important... - That's right...
23:08 You know, some people say: "Well, I'm tired of living in
23:12 this mess..." I'm embarrassed to have anybody come home...
23:15 I mean these are real things and they become walls, they get
23:20 bigger and bigger and they become mountains sometimes through the situation.
23:24 Well, rather than taking that focus, let's sit down together and say: Well, why do we have
23:32 this mess? OK? If people would just take time to sit down together recognizing that we are
23:41 not going to walk out of this marriage, we are not going to continue, but would preferably
23:47 go to God and say: Lord, what would you have me to do? How can I be different? How could I
23:53 respond differently? and look for how we can begin to break
23:56 these things down, but no matter what those reasons are
23:59 that we've just discussed here some of these statements that
24:04 people make these are not good enough reasons for divorce...
24:07 - No, there is no reason! - They are not good enough... And reasons even less than that
24:13 are creating divorce scenarios
24:16 today. - So the change that we have to be willing to do is the change that comes in our own
24:21 selves. In our own prospectives, in our own attitudes, our own
24:27 ways of thinking. And so if the place is a mess, instead of the husband coming home saying: "I
24:35 can't stand living here!" why doesn't he look for ways to encourage her and appreciate
24:40 something about her that would help motivate her? And for the wife, why don't you serve your
24:45 husband and understand - look at him and say: because I love you, I care for you, I want to do
24:50 this for you, I want to keep a nice room for you... because I want you to come home and be
24:55 with us. You know, change is often... something has changed, and so now the change is viewed
24:59 negatively. You weren't like this before... I want to
25:02 encourage each one of you that change is going to happen!
25:11 ...and rather than use change as a negative direction towards breaking the marriage vow,
25:20 towards removing the enduring commitment, I encourage each one
25:25 of you that when change happens, it can be an impetus for sitting
25:30 down and saying: what are we willing to do together to continue change, but continue to
25:38 change in a positive direction? You know, Matthew 19:6 says: What therefore God joined
25:44 together let not men put asunder! And we've shared this before, too often it's the
25:50 husband or wife or both create a separation here so I just want to encourage us as we move from
25:53 here, that we renew... we renew...if we haven't for a long
26:05 time, that enduring commitment. Go back and look at those marriage vows, go back to what
26:12 we've pledged, and really renew that! If you need to, take your
26:17 wife by the hand, and go back and renew those
26:21 vows! - So that's a challenge to them, right? - It's a personal
26:24 challenge! We've done that ourselves, and we still do that. We just celebrated our 25th
26:29 wedding anniversary, and we renewed them all over again! -
26:31 That's right! And we don't have to wait 'till our anniversary, it can be a daily renewal in the
26:36 heart... and an expression to the other person...
26:39 And then, we have to also look for those areas in myself
26:44 that have weakened that
26:47 commitment. Not in you, but in myself! And what am I willing to do? What are you willing to do
26:50 to change that? Find those areas, identify those areas and
26:54 then ask God to change your heart that you can be
27:00 a positive influence in the marriage!
27:02 - And then it is very good to also go back and talk about the things we've done right...
27:06 - That's right! - We would really strengthen the commitment and encourage each other with
27:10 that, and I think, the best thing that we can do in the
27:14 marriage in renewing that pledge, is to start with the encouraging things first!
27:19 - Absolutely!
27:22 I mean, would you like to close as we pray together?
27:25 - Father, help us to make this commitment again to You,
27:29 and to each other that we will be in our marriage forever.
27:34 We thank you in Jesus' name. Amen
27:40 We look forward to seeing you next time, when we talk about: "What is true love?"
27:46 We want you to experience a marriage heart to heart.
27:50 And we know that is possible through the Lord Jesus Christ!
27:54 My God bless you!


Revised 2014-12-17