Whenever Valentine’s Day approaches, I almost have to laugh at myself because we are so bad about celebrating it. We completely bypass the flowers, the gifts, the eating out, and usually coop ourselves up inside- away from all the romantic hullabaloo around us.
But that’s not to say that we aren’t romantic. We just don’t frequently express it in the conventional ways. But even if Valentine’s day doesn’t make me starry eyed for roses and heart pendants, it does make me reflect on my gratitude for the man who is my husband.
One aspect of marriage that has been particularly impressed upon me recently is the beauty of faithfulness. I am blessed to have a husband who I trust 100% to be faithful in our marriage.
By marital faithfulness, I don’t mean simply not cheating or merely sticking it out. Rather, I like to think of it as a rich, complex, and rewarding journey of daily building into your marriage. My goal in this post is not to give a sermon on every minute aspect of fidelity, but rather to focus on three ideas that have helped to paint our portrait of faithfulness.
1) Doing right by one another. We’ve found that being faithful to each other is more than just putting up with each other- it’s also constantly choosing to treat each other well. Our duty is to work towards this end, even when we really don’t feel like it. We must strive to help and serve one another, think of the other as more important than oneself, and speak with kindness, humility, and grace. We must remind ourselves of what real love requires of us (1 Corinthians 13), especially when it is most difficult to do so.
It seems that far too often in marriage, the old saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt” comes to fruition. It shouldn’t be so. As we become more familiar, we should continue to choose to do right by one another faithfully- out of love, respect, patience- and simply because it is a good thing to do for another human. (Particularly one with whom you have made a binding covenant.)
(Thanks to Bryan of Icarus Image for this awesomeness.)
2) Being content with one another. Faithfulness to one another is nurtured when you choose to find all your satisfaction in your husband or wife. If I grumble about my husband to my friends, sigh over his annoying habits, or pine after imaginary perfect men, I feed my own discontent and validate inclinations to wander away. If I purposefully remind myself of all the good in my husband, speak well of him, and choose to continually renew my joy in having him, I feed my contentment and strengthen my fidelity to him.
Either we can spend all our time being unhappy with our spouses, or we can choose to be happy with them- and the likelihood is that the more you find things to be happy about, the more the happiness and satisfaction multiplies. Why feed misery when you can feed contentment in each other?
3) Remembering our vows.
To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.
For better, for worse. Not only when things are going well. For richer, for poorer. It doesn’t matter whether or not I am happy with how much money we have. In sickness and health. It’s hard to care for someone in sickness… And yet, I pledged my troth (my loyalty).
How quickly we forget.
Faithfulness also means remembering the vows we took on our wedding day, and striving to live up to them every day- even when we fail.
Are we perfect? Heavens, no. But by God’s grace I have been happily married six and a half years. And I am incredibly thankful for this journey of faithfulness that we have been walking together.