Our commitment to one another is prompted by and based upon our allegiance to the Lord. Christians understand that God has perfect understanding of our needs as human beings made in his image: “All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29).
In a speech on the home, one of my college professors confessed to a heated argument with his wife early in their marriage. He angrily told her, “I may just get out of this [marriage]!” Fixing him with an icy stare, she replied, “Buster, if I’d thought this was something I could ‘get out of,’ I’d probably have been gone a long time ago.” She reminded him of what both had gladly accepted early in their relationship: God’s will had wisely decreed that marriage intended to be for life, and they were committed to him, first and foremost, in good times and bad.
Commitment is the responsibility of every individual in the family who is mature enough to understand his or her proper relationship to others. Time won’t allow a full development of the biblical picture of these relationships, but basic principles include the following.
1) The husband and wife must honor their relationship, realizing that it is first, not only chronologically but also in relation to any children. If they are not committed to one another first and foremost, there will be no stable foundation upon which the parent-child relationships can be built, and children will not have a sense of confidence in the permanency of their world. This, of course, doesn’t mean that children should be ignored or made to feel unloved by parents.
2) Husbands and wives must grow in their love for one another. They must learn to put one another’s needs and desires ahead of their own. They must willingly accept, in love for one another and trust in the Lord, their relationship as ordained by God (Ephesians 5:15–17, 21, 22–33).
3) They must protect the sanctity of their sexual relationship: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (Hebrews 13:4).
4) Parents and mature children must understand their position. When children honor their parents in the Lord and parents lovingly discipline their children in the “training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:1, 4), everything will stand a better opportunity to function as God intended.
Our allegiance to God’s plan for the home calls for “total commitment” from every member of the family. Obviously, the perfect home doesn’t exist in human experience — but the closer we seek to employ God’s intentions, the more we will benefit from his wisdom through the loving commitment of every family member to one another and to the Lord.