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How Strong are Your Vows?

I came across a verse the other day that caught me off guard. The verse is from Psalm 15. The beginning of the psalm, written by David, is about who may worship in the Lord’s sanctuary. The second half of verse 4 says, “Those who keep their promises, even when it hurts.” (NIV)

Wow, that can really apply to marriage, can’t it? What about when the vows we made, the promises we made before God and to our spouse, is hard to keep? What about when it hurts?

I think about how young and dumb I was when we married. So stary eyed, so in love, so excited to be married. So unprepared………………. I really don’t think I imagined that there would be a time that my vows would hurt. But the truth is they have. I have leaned into the “get out of this mess” option, more times in my mind than I like to admit.

I am grateful that even though I was in “pain” I did know that my vows held significance. Our vows are not intended to work like a contract. A contract normally has both parties with a particular action, responsibility and if either party wants to end the contract they can.

Our marriage vows are different. They are saying, “I am committed to you not based on your actions, but on my actions and my choice to remain committed. I am choosing to stay and love you for better or worse.” The reality is the day I said those words, I had no idea what worse looked like. The truth is no one does. Our vows are not based on what this unknown journey will look like. They can’t be! They are based on a commitment that says, “I chose to stay even when it is not giving me what I want or need at this time.”



I am absolutely not addressing those that have reasons that they must leave if their vows have been violated and they may not be safe. I am addressing (a large majority) of us who just struggle because it is hard. Keeping the vows is painful. We want this to be different because we are in a hard place.

May I speak a word to you if this is you right now. I know and I get it! But I also know this: God knows and he sees your broken heart and your pain. He really does care. If we will allow him to, he will use this pain to draw us to himself. He can and will heal places that are wounded. He can change our hearts. He can bring the grace to love and stay another day.

When I think back on moments that I said, “I can’t anymore. I won’t anymore!” I am so grateful that my vows did make me pause, they did make me know I could not give up, they did give time for God to move and work.

Honoring your vows may be hard right now. But what you cannot know is what may be around the corner, what the next season might look like, what might be ahead, that is good.


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