Tuesday, February 15, 2011


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

Loving feelings should come naturally in a relationship, so if you have to work at it, something's wrong…….

True or False?


The truth is exactly the opposite:

If you truly love someone, you will work very hard for the relationship.

There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results….

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. It is always surprising to see how many people build their marriages on the sand of feelings instead of the rock of commitment. But I truly believe that committed couples are able, with God's help, to thrive even through the inevitable storms of Love, Life & Marriage.

Over a five-year period, one woman shared with a close friend via me e-mails 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……

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

Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.

What is Commitment?

Responsibility; something that takes up time or energy, especially an obligation; Loyalty; devotion or dedication, e.g. to a cause, person, or relationship…

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.

Commitment turns a promise into reality with words that speak boldly of your intentions and actions that speak louder than words…..

This Kind of Commitment 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."

Is Commitment Possible?

The often-cited statistic that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce — even among churchgoers — can make commitment seem fruitless. But that statistic is misleading. Dozens of studies distinguish between couples who claim a nominal faith and those who prioritize church attendance. Couples who have a strong commitment to faith and attend church regularly are far more likely to have lifelong relationships.

One recent study in particular shows that those who go to church and pray together have a much lower divorce rate. The University of Virginia's Brad Wilcox found that regular church attendance cuts the likelihood of divorce by 30 percent to 35 percent. Wilcox's work is supported by another study by Annette Mahoney of Bowling Green State University, which independently came to a similar conclusion.

While that rate is still unfortunately high, when you add prayer into the mix, thoughts of divorce plummet. A 1998 survey by the Georgia Family Council found that among couples who prayed together weekly, only 7 percent had seriously considered divorce, compared to 65 percent of those who never prayed together.

The abundant marriage that God has designed for us is not only possible but also likely, and the journey there starts with one word — commitment.

Commitment unlocks the doors of imagination, allows vision, and gives us the "right stuff" to turn our dreams into reality…….

At New Life we are “Committed” to helping couples find the Love & Purpose God intended for them…

Deb & I are Praying for your Marriage….. Pray for us!!

Sign up for our NEXT

“The Art of Marriage” seminar Friday March 25th & Saturday 26th

Call to Register (203)-261-2728 …. Registration Fee: $50.00

Check out the “Application” Tool: Strengthening Commitment…

Leave a Comment Below!! Would love to hear from some of you that attended our last “Art of Marriage” weekend…


Pastor Andy said...

This past weekend was an amazing time of remembering, reminiscing, reminding & refreshing a covenant that started 22 years ago. I was so inspired by not only the presentations but the involvement by the couples that attended. Getting all of us thinking and focused on the same topic will reap rewards down the road for us a couple as well as a church. I was reminded today of the quote by Dr. Dobson-

"Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without."

Anonymous said...

Commitment, I've know plenty of husbands who should have been committed (to a psychiatric facility that is). Just kidding, no marriage can sustain for the long hall with out it.

I attended the Marriage seminar last weekend it was great, the way the videos conveyed the biblical foundation for successful marital relationships was excellent. The best I've every seen.

We must always remember that love is a Commitment, a Covenant and a Choice. To many times we over look the fact that its a choice.

I've seen far to many individuals waiting around for that special one that looks into their eyes and they see fireworks. Well when their old and gray and looking through spectacles for those fireworks they might want to reconsider. Far to many young people today wait around passing over great perspective partners that don't give them that firework moment, wake up!, look in the mirror, your not perfect and neither is he or she. Make a choice for love.

I chose to love the Lord, I chose to love my wife.

Love is a choice, chose well.

Patty Papp said...

The Art of Marriage Seminar held this past weekend was one of the best seminars I've ever attended. While sometimes it's easier to focus on the negative ("oh man, I'm not doing to good in that area") some of the videos help me reflect on the positive, ("phew, We're doing alright in that area") Life, Love and Marriage is a continuing education, and with the Lord's help, we strive to gain a passing grade!
Thanks Pastor Mark and Deb for hosting the seminar, every couple should make the effort to attend.

GP said...

For many people, love is a "feeling" based on what happens around them and is affected by their environment. It's easy to feel love in the good and happy times. But what happens when you wake up in the morning and you're tired and grumpy? You don't feel all "lovey dovey". What happens when you get bad news, or there's an illness, or you find out you're broke or any of the other things that life has to throw at us?
Commitment is not affected by those things. Happy or sad, good or bad, a commitment doesn't change. That is what marriage vows talk about.
This weekends "Art of Marriage" showed that we all have to deal with similar problems in our marriages. The difference between how couples handle the same situation is how commited they are to each other, their relationship, and the Lord.
I am thankful that the Lord has helped my wife and I be committed to each other, as I know there are times when I am not lovable.

Anonymous said...

When we got married, over 20 years ago, we took that "D" word out of our vocabulary long before the wedding ceremony. That word has never been used between us, and never will be. Commitment. That's the stuff lifelong relationships are made from!

Bill and Christine Ekstrom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What a wonderful experience at the marriage seminar this past weekend! As Pastor Andy said, it was a time of "reminiscing" about why we decided to commit to each other in the first place. Everyone has issues, large and small...but with God's help, none are too large to overcome...as long as we stay COMMITTED to our covenant.

Thank you New Life for hosting the seminar-we'll be sure to spread the word!

Luke said...

Although I am not married, I have played and coached enough sports to know that commitment is key to any success in life. This blog is not only beneficial to someone looking to commit to a relationship, but all sorts of other paths in life!

Anonymous said...

We had a Blast at the art of marriage thing this weekend. we learned a lot of why? some things are happening in our marriage, and we have both committed to working better and making this work for us. we also have been working more on chapter 5 :)

Judy Fanali said...

My Husband Joe and I attended the Art of Marriage Seminar this past weekend. It was fabulous! We can’t stop talking about it to each other (what we are doing right and in what areas of our marriage we need to work on). We have invited several couples to attend the next seminar March 25th and 26th. Joe and I don’t want just a good marriage we are “committed” in making this a great one! We were also reminded that your spouse is a “gift” from God. Remember to thank the Lord each day for your spouse. Thank you Pastor Mark and Deb for this great opportunity.

Brandon said...

Great Blog! Thanks for writing it and the Selah's too. Love the line about how those with major trouble dropped to 7% for those who prayed together. We could sure use more of that.
Great Seminar too! Thanks for hosting it. Something for everyone… well worth it! Besides incredible video sessions and activities, the take-home resource book is FILLED with great articles and helps. One highlight is the 10 ideas from couples married 50 years or more (p 124). Top three are:
1. You need a Savior
2. Commitment (go blog!)
3. Pray Together (go blog… again!) If you want the other 7 ideas, go to the next seminar(March 25-26).

Pastor Vinny said...

What a great weekend ... I would encourage EVERY married couple to go.

I have always been very impressed with my parents generation ... they seemed to understand the importance of committing to a task and following it through to the end ... whether it was a war or a marriage!

Both my parents were children of divorce in a time when it was not as fashionable as today. I suppose, somewhere they DECIDED that they were going to make it WORK no matter what. Honestly I often had my doubts (I did not grow up in a Christian home) ... but they stuck it out and made it happen. By the way my Dad is in Heaven (he was saved at New Life Trumbull) and my mom longs for the day she will be re-united with the love of her life (she was the first convert at our Derby church). I am glad they did because it taught me what I believe should be the heart of every Christian ... marriage is for keeps ... we make it work.

I have always loved this quote on commitment from John Maxwell (although he is not the originator of the quote)...

“Until I’m committed there is a hesitancy a chance to draw back. But the moment I’m committed then God moves also, and a whole stream of events erupt. All manner of un-forseen incidence, meetings, persons, and material assistance which I could never have dreamed would have come my way begin to flow toward me the moment I make a commitment.”


I read somewhere that people will often do what is expected of them. The sooner we EXPECT real believers marriages to work . . . the quicker we will get that percentage lower than 30% !

Great article and a really AWESOME weekend ... my wife and I loved it!