January 04, 2011


"If you really love someone, you shouldn't have to work at it."

That's what High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens told CosmoGIRL! for its August 2008 issue. This young celebrity was speaking out loud what millions of people privately think: Loving feelings should come naturally in a relationship, so if you have to work at it, something's wrong. But the truth is exactly the opposite: If you truly love someone, you will work hard for the relationship.

Rock or Sand

Jesus spoke of a house that was built on sand and shaken by storms, while another house was built on rock and remained unmoved. One of my greatest surprises as a relationship analyst is just how many of us build our marriages on the sand of feelings instead of the rock of commitment. But I've been encouraged to see that truly committed couples are able, with God's help, to thrive even through the inevitable storms.

Over a five-year period, a close friend sent me e-mails sharing about her struggles with her marriage. She went from daily messages that read, "I can't take this anymore!" to e-mails saying, "He is such a gift to me." What accounted for the change? Her determination.

As she now says, "A successful marriage has little to do with circumstances and a lot to do with determination — taking the word divorce out of your vocabulary and replacing it with commitment."

What is Commitment?

Commitment is a decision to have the abundant marriage God desires, regardless of circumstances or whether you think your spouse is doing his or her part. This includes:

  • Realizing that marriage is an unbreakable covenant before God. At weddings, Atlanta minister Barry Grecu explains that ancient Hebrew culture understood a covenant not as a contract, which could be broken, but as a binding, permanent agreement — just like the covenant God makes with us.
  • Choosing to "do it until you feel it." We often let our feelings guide our actions, but we are actually built for the opposite. Our Creator has designed us so that when we love another person with our actions, our feelings inevitably follow.
  • Focusing on the good in our spouse and the sin in ourselves — instead of the other way around. If you're dissatisfied with your marriage, try this challenge: For the next 30 days, don't say anything negative about your spouse — neither to him or her nor to someone else. Every day, find something you appreciate about your spouse, and verbalize it. This marital application of Philippians 4:8 (which instructs us to focus on whatever is praiseworthy) has the power to transform a marriage. When we examine and work to change ourselves, we often bring out the best in our spouse as well.
  • Engaging in Christian community, prayer and discipleship — especially when you don't want to. These three aspects of the Christian life help sustain every believer, but they are particularly essential for those going through a difficult season.
  • Relying on God to help you act selflessly toward your spouse. As Grecu puts it, "We are incapable of living out our covenant promises in our own human strength. Jesus says, 'Apart from Me you can do nothing' and calls us to engage with the Spirit of God being lived out through us."
By Shaunti Feldhahn


Anonymous said...

Nice to see an update. How are you keeping?

I'm taking up the 30 day challenge on saying only positive things and keeping quiet on the negatives. I'm keen to see how that turns out and pray God gives me the strength to do so.

All the best luv and God's Blessing always xxx

Millette said...

Lady A thank you for your insightful words. I pray that you continue to be blessed!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this. It';s your old friend Anonymous:) I needed to hear this at this time of the year and I am grateful you haven't given up on us Golden Wives.
Cheers to 2011!

Lady A said...

@Anonymous, I will try and update more...I've been fine, thanks for your concern. Wow, 30 day challenge huh? Good for you and when 30 days is over, you know, it's a daily commitment and can do it! God bless you as well, with love!
@Millette, thank you! That was very nice. God bless you as well and your all of your endeavors.
@Anonymous,, it's been a while right?! Missed ya hon! U had me smiling hard when I found out it was you ;o) thanks for the encouragement...wives like you keep me going even when I feel like stopping. It's soooo much to learn of this...hubby and I will be married 14yrs on Feb. 14th! Wow! Lol!

Maxine said...

Vanessa Hudgens has been in Hollywood way too long! She has become delusional about love. People forget that to get good at something you need to commit and be intentional about it. Love this post. I long for great Christian friends that are my age :) Hard to come by these days. Everyone just wants to go clubbing!

Adri said...

Please blog more LadyA! I'm a wife in training and I need all the help I can get! I love the modern, fresh, Christian take on being a committed 21st Century wife! LOVE YOUR BLOG!

happynappybride said...

Great advice! I'm using the Lenten season to not correct or complain about the's a good exercise every now and then.

In the midst of her said...

Great post... I completely agree with the fact that lot of people are under the impression that love is all "butterflies-in-the-belly".... "violins playing" and some overweight baby in a diaper with a bow and arrow.

Love, especially the true kind, takes hard work and dedication! The day someone tells you that they've stopped working, that's the day they've stopped caring.