In 1957 the two couples pictured above said their vows before God and man committing to persevere in marriage and remain fully committed to their spouse. They wed in different parts of Indiana–one in Kendallville and the other in Indianapolis. They promised to love, cherish, and honor one another–for better or worse, in sickness and in health.
By God’s grace, John and Luann and Bill and Marilyn have stayed strong, kept their vows, and continue to persevere. They have been married 58 years. We are so thankful for them and their marriages because they are our parents. 🙂 They have set an incredible example for us of a persevering love. Collectively they have been through relocations, job transitions, raising children, health challenges, hospitalizations, loss of their parents, and just the dailyness of relational dynamics in marriage.
The Bible says that “Love…always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7). The word “persevere” in the original language can also mean “endure,” “to abide,” “to wait patiently and not flee.” From our observation, if more couples learned to persevere in their marriages they would experience deeper levels of peace and joy in their relationship with God and in their marriage. Here are five things to keep in mind as you build a love that perseveres:
1) If you haven’t persevered
It is not uncommon for people today to be on their second or third marriage. Perhaps you are now seeking to build your marriage right with Christ at the center, but you feel guilt over your failed marriages. Remember that regret is normal and perhaps there are some things you need to confess to God that haven’t been made right with Him. But don’t live in shame and regret over the past! Fix your eyes on the future and what God can do in your marriage now!
2) If your spouse didn’t persevere
You cannot control your spouse. We know of those who are “standers” who wait and pray for their spouse’s return. They follow our ministry and continue to make choices to build their marriages as much as they are able. They are persevering where their spouse hasn’t. We have great respect for you. We stand with you as you persevere in God’s strength and hope.
If they strayed and returned, then do the hard work with a counselor to rebuild and strengthen your marriage—not in shame and guilt, but in the same love and grace that God has shown you through Jesus. You will learn forgiveness, mercy and healing in deeper ways than many who have not been through your valley of pain and healing.
3) Decide to persevere
Eliminate any thinking or talk of divorce. It does not belong in the vocabulary of one who chooses to persevere. Circumstances of life will hit. Running or shrinking back from your marital commitment may seem alluring. But your predetermined choice is to persevere. Hang in there and continue the race of life with your spouse. It marks your character and your commitment first to Christ and then to your marital covenant.
4) Ask for God’s strength
While there will be times that are difficult, God promises to give you the strength you need in the moment. The Bible promises that you “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” you. (Philippians 4:13) All you need to do is ask.
5) Be with others who are pro-marriage
In any endeavor there is greater strength when others are cheering you on. It’s the same in your marriage. Consider those to whom you go for wisdom and counsel: Do they urge you to trust God and persevere, or to cut and run from your marriage? Seek out those who will urge you to trust God and have the patient endurance of one who perseveres. And be one who cheers on others to do the same!
What have you found to be helpful in your efforts to persevere? We hope that you can experience years of marriage—and and you can as you persevere and build your marriage!