Keep Your Promise
The First Few Years of Marriage
Our assumption is that when you got married, you recited some type of vow to each other. A vow is a promise. It’s a covenant or binding agreement before God, each other, family, and friends that you commit to stay together until death parts you.
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Doug Fields: Hi everybody. Welcome back. I’m Doug Fields, this is Jim Burns. We have had a total blast talking through our book, the first few years of marriage. The couples here have been wonderful. We hope that you’ve got something out of it and we want to invite you to this last session where we’re going to talk about really what does it take to make a marriage last. Sarah, you have a question to start us off.
Sarah: I just want to say that, this has been so insightful. We’ve really gathered a lot of information. This has been really helpful towards our marriage and I just want to say thank you from both of us. We are looking forward to many years of marriage. I mean 33, 43. So, what can we do? What are the goals? What’s it going to look like? And how do we get there?
Doug Fields: I’d love for you two, to get together and paint a picture in your minds at least, of what a healthy marriage looks like. Just get a picture describing… Kathy and I, we did this on our 25th anniversary and we thought we, I wish we would’ve done this earlier. But we painted a picture and we made lists of things of what we wanted. We wanted to be that old couple that holds hands as they walk. There’s this lake in our neighborhood that we would be holding hands as we walk around the lake, taking hits off each other’s oxygen tank to keep going.
Doug Fields: But you start with that picture and then you keep that picture in your mind. And you talk about our you add to that picture. Mall my children are married, but my first married child, I thought it was interesting. I got it in her car one day and she had her vows written out and it was on a three by five card on her dashboard. It was like, “Okay, these are the valves that I made. This is the promise that I made.” And she sees them and has reminded of them every day. We titled the last chapter of this book, Keep Your Promise.
Doug Fields: Because when you all got married, you had vows. And you said, “I take you.” Okay, “I take you Cathy Guiso to become Kathy Fields.” But I take you, meaning there’s 7 billion people on this planet, and I chose you. And I keep that in the front of my mind, that of everybody, I chose her. Now I’m married way out of my league, but I that was the choice. And then choices become part of everyday of our marriage.
Doug Fields: I take you, I make daily choices. I choose Kathy. I choose to love her. I choose to course correct. I choose to be intentional. I choose the dates that we’ve talked about as long as we both shall live. Meaning that the D word is off the table. Because we’re committed to one another for the rest of our lives. Now, we really didn’t know what we were committing to when we were 20 and 22 years old, but we made a promise. We took a vow to one another.
Doug Fields: So, my encouragement is paint that healthy picture, remember your promise, and know that when you’re committed to one another for life, that changes everything.
Jim Burns: Yeah. With you saying that I was thinking about a time for Kathy and me when we had a tough, rough spot. It was something that happened in the evening and we were newlyweds, or at least just a couple of years into it. And she said something to me and I kind of went back at her and then she went back and all of a sudden, we had this full-blown… Really big conflict. And I honestly today don’t remember what the conflict was, but I remember the emotions. And finally we said, we need to take a pause. And I think it was Kathy who said, we need to take a pause. And I was afraid she was saying, we need to take a break from our marriage.
Jim Burns: But she just meant, no, let’s take an hour pause. And I went into another room, we lived in a really small apartment and I went into another room and I saw her and I don’t know what she was doing. I flipped through my Bible and I just was uncomfortable. I was like, “Oh man, what’s going on with us? why can’t we get this?” I don’t know what she was doing, but I think she might’ve been doing the same thing.
Jim Burns: And about an hour later, I came back in and I looked at my wife, who I love so much, and who I respect and admire so much. And I said, “Kathy, I don’t know what that was all about. And I don’t know all of your part. And I kind of don’t even understand all of my part, but. I need to tell you something. I’m not going anywhere. Guess I get teary eyed thinking about it. She looked up at me and she goes, “Well, I’m not going anywhere either.”
Jim Burns: And years later, I looked back and I learned a word. It was a Hebrew word. The word is Ahava, and it’s an important word. It means love. And we only have one word in the English language, love. And the Hebrews have several words and Ahava is not really an emotional love, it’s an action love. In fact, what it really means is complete devotion. Even when you don’t like somebody, it’s still just complete devotion. That moment… Many times in my own life, and it’s interesting, I even teared up as I was telling you this story. But many times in my life I’ve looked back at that moment as kind of a change for us that, “You know what Cathy, I’m not going anywhere.” Because we had used the D word. Cathy’s still uses the M word, murder, but that’s another story.
Jim Burns: But when she said, and I’m not going anywhere either. It was like, okay, we’re going to have to figure this out. We’re going to have to work it out. And it’s an Ahava love. And you don’t learn that at the beginning of your relationship. You don’t learn that in engagement. You learn that over a long period of time of keeping your promise. So, we’ve talked a lot about a lot of things and the book is filled with great practical ideas to succeed. And you can succeed in your marriage.
Jim Burns: But it all settles on this, that there was a day, as Doug talked about when you said the vow, I will, I do, I’m in it for life. And you’ve said it before God, and you said it before each other. You said it before your friends. You said it before your family. And you know what, that promise helps you stick in it and make a marriage that could go from mediocre to thriving. Because it’s so easy for you to go off course, but it’s the promise that continues to keep you back to the right place so that your marriage can thrive.
Doug Fields: We believe in you. We believe in marriage and we also believe that great marriages are not accidental. They’re intentional. They require time, effort, thought, prayer being kind to one another, being forgiving to one another, being willing to change yourself. We were real excited about helping people establish a foundation that they could establish a healthy marriage, really for the rest of their life. So thank you for your time for committing to care about one another and to care about your marriage.