(Editor’s Note: Last week 700 Club host Pat Robertson made controversial statements regarding divorce when a spouse has Alzheimer’s disease. I was reminded of two articles MMCW ran a number of years ago sharing the precious testimonies of two families and the commitment of one spouse to care for the other. Today we are re-running Stephanie Little’s A Pledge to Do from our archives.)
Dictionary.com lists several definitions for the word commitment. The one that stands out to me the most is “a pledge to do.”
Marriage is a commitment, a pledge to do for lifetime.
Jesus says of marriage in the book of Matthew, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
I’ve seen several examples of lifetime commitment in our church. Almost every Sunday, we recognize at least one couple who has been married for 50 years or more! Our worship leader calls out their names and their anniversary picture is put up on the huge screens at the front of the church.
I love to look at the screen and see the beautiful faces that have somehow over the years grown to look alike, silvery gray hair and soft wrinkled skin. I imagine all the things those couples have seen and experienced together: happiness, sadness, joy, and hardship. I often wonder what their secret is.
One Sunday, instead of the usual anniversary picture on the screen, there was a special video about one godly couple. The video opened with an elderly man getting up while it was still dark outside, getting dressed in a coat and tie, and then walking to catch a bus to travel to the nursing home where his wife was a resident.
Once inside, he made his way to her room where he waited patiently beside her bed for her to wake up. The sweet husband spent all day caring for the needs of his aging wife. As a nurse walked the wife through the hallway, there he was, walking behind her, arms outstretched and ready should she begin to fall. He helped her eat and dress and sat by her bed as she slept. In the evening, when his wife was tucked safely in bed, the husband boarded the bus, went home to his own bed, simply to wake up and do the whole routine again the next day.
As I watched the video, tears streamed down my face.
I kept thinking, “Could my husband love me like that? Is his commitment to me that strong?”
Then, I heard it, the still small voice of the Lord, turning my questions to myself.
“Could I love my husband like this man loved his wife? Is my commitment to him that strong?”
My mind immediately flies back to that warm summer evening when I stood at an altar, facing the man of my dreams and made the biggest commitment of my life, my “pledge to do.”
That is what I promised, to do whatever it takes to have (as the other half of myself), to hold (up and onto), for richer or poorer (monetarily and emotionally), in sickness and in health (always praying for his health), til death do us part. I made a pledge, a promise to do for my husband whatever God calls me to do for him for as long as God allows me to do it.
This is a commitment, a lifetime of doing for one another. This is marriage.
“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” ~ Barnett Brickner