By: Kermit Rowe, Encompass Relationship Facilitator
As a pastor who has performed countless wedding ceremonies, I’ve witnessed close-up the divine beauty of starry-eyed, committed couples making loving vows to each other and God that they intend to keep for a lifetime. It makes for lots of warm fuzzies and even more happy tears. However, working with struggling couples as a relationship coach for Encompass Connection Center, I’m convinced that they have been struck by a dreaded mental deficiency called “vow amnesia.”
It strikes without warning, often brought on by the onset of heated and/or unresolved conflict, difficult life challenges, situational disillusion, or flat-out bad moods. Momentarily taking leave of the macro view of their marriage, they give into the not-as-important-as-it-seems current disagreement. This leaves one wondering “Did I really say ‘I Do’ to ...”
- Her wild mood swings during pregnancy? (and even when she's not … God help us all!!!)
- His refusal to help around the house when he KNOWS I had a bad day?
- Moments when she loses her servant's heart-focus on me (I swear I thought I heard the preacher say during our wedding vows "To love and to SERVE till death do you part" … or was that to love and cherish?)
- Him wanting to hang with his buddies instead of me? Can you believe that!!
- Her/him having to hold him/her old school together emotionally when he/she loses the job he/she thought he/she would hold until retirement.
- Promising to God that we would live our marriage by His ways (I don't remember EVER agreeing to THAT during our wedding vows! ... then again, that was 35 years ago)?
The short answer is “yes” – six times yes! These all fall under “for better, for worse.”
Many times, it helps when struggling couples are reminded of their vows again. You know, the ones that go “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death does you part.”
They didn’t go something like this: “to have and to hold from this day until you stop moving forward. For better until it gets worse, for richer until your communication gets poorer, in health until sickness strikes, to love until someone better comes along and does you part.”
In this throw-away culture, it’s pretty evident that God says we are not to throw away our marriage when it inevitably starts to sputter, when the sparkplugs misfire. Go back to the owner’s manual (that would be the Bible). Recalibrate to the original specs. Get a quality tune-up.
If your relationship is misfiring and needs a quality tune-up, Encompass Connection Center is the place to go. Call it preventive maintenance. Call it a tune-up. Call it an overhaul. Call it anything you want. Just call us...
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.