We've been married for more than 48 years now, so we think we can talk confidently on the subject of loyalty. Not that we've "arrived" in marriage. None of us has, since marriage is constantly growing and changing. Yet, we can say honestly that, even with the difficulties that accompany all marriages, ours has been a wonderful, fulfilling lifetime of partnership. Why? Because we've held a steadfast commitment to each other and to God.
Over the years we've watched marriage fall under assault in our society. But we've believed that our principled concepts of loyalty and faithfulness pay huge dividends in the end. While we aren't the perfect model for every relationship, we've discovered how clinging to God's perfect love can bring a lifetime of peace, joy, and fulfillment to a couple. Here's what we've learned.
Loyalty starts with commitment to God. Our commitment to each other begins with a commitment to follow God, both individually and as a couple. Both are lifelong promises. Neither commitment allows us to say, "Let's try this for a while and see if it works." Both are tough; both call us to live a disciplined life. But both, in the end, are life-giving.
There was a period when I (Betty) felt blocked from God. I was constantly exhausted, and I didn't want to pray or study the Bible. It was amazing how tense our home life became during that time. But James was able to pray for me and speak truth to me. While it wasn't easy to hear, I knew God was using James to convict me about having an unteachable spirit. Because we were both committed to God, I finally realized that James was concerned about me as his wife, but also he was concerned about my spiritual life.1