- The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. (google)
- A promise; to be loyal to someone or something (Merriam-Webster)
- Willingness to give your time and energy to something you believe in (Cambridge Dictionary)
To me, commitment is a devotion that doesn’t just last for a minute, or when things are all sunshine and rainbows. Commitment is a forever promise.
I remember being a little 12 year old in my little church young women’s group learning all about the temple, a place where we make covenants (or binding promises) with God. I was in complete awe as my leaders taught me how a marriage there would last forever. It was like a real life fairy tale with a happily ever after, a happily FOREVER after. I wanted that. I made that one of biggest goals.
As I’ve grown older, that is still my goal. I have had the opportunity to attend marriages in the temple, and they are experiences that will forever be near and dear to me. Marriages performed in the temple under heavenly authority do not use the words “till death do you part”. As those who marry there keep their promises, they are promised to be with their spouse and family forever. https://www.mormon.org/faq/topic/temples
THERE IS NOTHING I WANT MORE THAN TO BE WITH THE MAN I LOVE FOR ALL ETERNITY .
How does that work? How can I have a forever marriage?
Christ, our ultimate example, teaches us a beautiful lesson on how we should commit in John 10, using a flock of sheep.
Think of the little flock of sheep. Following their leader, they are happy and “baa”-ing away until the big wolf comes.
First, we learn about the “hireling”. He does not claim the sheep to be his. He is not attached to them; so, when he sees the wolf coming, he bails, runs off, leaving the sheep to fend for themselves. He “careth not for the sheep”. (John 10:12&13)
Contrast this attitude with that of the Savior, or the Good Shephard. He would lay down His life for those sheep. He knows them, they are His, and he cares for and loves them. (John 10:14&15)
In his article entitled “Covenant Marriage” Bruce C. Hafen explains the difference between a contract marriage and a covenant marriage.
|Contract Marriage||Covenant Marriage|
|Bails when things get hard||Works through troubles|
|Marries for their own gain||Marries to give and to grow|
|Only stays if receiving personal benefits||Makes sacrifices for spouse/relationship|
|Gives 50% to the marriage||Gives 100% to the marriage|
Those who view marriage as a contract run away when things get hard (like a hireling running from the wolf)- looking for happiness elsewhere. They marry to satisfy their own wants and desires, and if those aren’t being met, they aren’t likely to stick around. They give 50% of themselves to this marriage, expecting the other spouse to pick up the other 50%.
When we see marriage as a covenant, we work through difficulties. We don’t ditch and run when the wolves come. People who understand that marriage is a covenant marry to give and to grow. They look for ways to serve and sacrifice for their spouse, and ways they might improve to help the relationship. They give 100%.
“Covenant marriage requires a total leap of faith: they must keep their covenants without knowing what risks that may require of them. They must surrender unconditionally, obeying God and sacrificing for each other.” (Bruce C. Hafen, “Covenant Marriage,” Ensign, Nov 1996, 26)
The word atonement describes how we are to be ‘at one’ and reconciled to God (LDS Bible Dictionary). The Savior’s Atonement is the only thing that makes it possible for us to actually become one with our Father. Likewise, it is the only thing that can make us ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24) with our spouse.
Having a covenant marriage is following Christ’s example. It means that we love our spouse enough to make sacrifices for them. We are willing to do anything for our marriage. We use His grace to change and better ourselves and our marriage. We know that our marriage can be eternal through sacred covenants made in temples, and we give our whole hearts and our whole selves to that. We don’t run away when the wolves come. We don’t marry for our own personal gain. We marry to “gain and grow”, to serve and sacrifice, with the hope and faith that we will be with our spouse for all eternity.
A covenant marriage partner is selfless. They turn “I” and “me” into ‘us’ and “we”.