Committed to Marriage, Committed to the Church
Wedding season is here. Are you committed to your church? That may seem like a rather abrupt shift in topics, but they are actually closely related, especially if we consider a certain popular wedding text—the passage where Ruth verbalizes her commitment to Naomi (Ruth 1:16).
“For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” I’ve heard that verse repeated in numerous weddings and even used it my own 19 years ago. But have you ever thought carefully about how these sentences apply to the couple professing their love to one another?
Where you go, I will go. At times, life takes a married couple to places they never dreamed. The commitment of marriage means that both people travel the same road, even if that road is unfamiliar, difficult, and far away. It also means sometimes we sacrifice our dream place to be with the one we covenanted with. A few years ago, I sat down with a man who was on his second marriage. He explained how he had wanted to move to a new location, and his first wife was adamantly against it. He moved anyway, claimed his wife was an unbeliever who abandoned him, and then divorced her. “Where you go, I will go” sometimes means “where you stay, I will stay.” The husband, in this case, was abusing his authority and misunderstanding commitment.
Where you lodge, I will lodge. This is the hard part of commitment: the daily interaction, the closeness, the inability to find solitude. Proximity necessarily brings conflict, but commitment says, “I’m more who God wants me to be when I’m with you than apart from you.” This part of commitment is more than just living in the same house. This is sharing that house and joys and hurts and being God’s instrument of grace when sin enters the picture.
Your people shall be my people. Even if in-laws are different, boring, cruel, or distant, they are now family. They are to be loved.
Your God shall be my God. Only this united front in following God makes the rest of the promises possible. Worshiping God together helps to keep us from worshiping ourselves alone. Following after God together gives us the foundation of sacrifice necessary to thrive in commitment. It is imperative that couples share a relationship with one another that is buoyed by a shared faithfulness to God.