In just a few months, my husband and I will celebrate five years of marriage. As is typical with milestones, I've found myself looking back on the last half decade and reflecting on how we've grown: I've learned to be more patient; I've learned to trust my husband's instincts about people; I've learned to stop asking questions that I already know the answer to ("Honey, have you taken the trash out today?"); and I've learned that marriage takes work, but it is the most gratifying, enjoyable work I've ever done.
When my husband and I got married, we laid down guardrails to help us honor our commitment to one another. Some of those guardrails include going to a marriage counselor once a month, making time for weekly date nights, and never lying to one another. We do all this and much more because we take our marriage commitment seriously, and we believe it matters.
In that sense, my husband and I are not unique. A lot of Christians are serious about marriage. Between the books, the articles, and the conferences devoted to upholding marriage, Christians are giving it a lot of time and thought.
However, there is a second commitment that the two of us honor, one that is just as important as our commitment to marriage. It's our commitment to our church.
Lessons from marriage
This might sound weird, but our commitment to a local church is almost as important as our commitment to each other. Yes, the comparison has limits—for instance, you can't take your church with you when you move—but it's not something we take lightly. To us, leaving a church is almost as serious a thing as leaving a marriage.1