Love and Marriage:
A Commitment to Putting the Other Person First

by Trish Overby

Have you ever thought about why we marry?  Is it because we are lonely or needy?  Is it because all our friends and relatives are married and we don’t want to be ‘left out’? And the romantic love aspect, how does this relate to marriage?  How can I know if it is ‘Mr. or Ms. Right’ that I love?  Even the term ‘Mr Right’ means there is someone out there who I am supposed spend my life with.  What really is love and commitment all about?  

We love our parents, siblings and friends but we aren’t married to them.  At least we don’t consider it a romantic love, it’s a filial, blood related, love.  With this kind of love we take into consideration what our moms, dads or brothers or sisters think or feel about an idea, or what they would like to do next time we are with them.  It’s the same with our friends.  With our family or friends we find things to do or see that we all like.  But what about someone we have ‘romantic feelings’ for?  Wouldn't you consider getting to know their likes and dislikes or what they feel or think about a certain topic?  Just as we want to know what our family members are thinking, so we want to know what our possible partner thinks or feels.  And sometimes that means listening to something we can’t agree with.  Or, for instance, it could mean going to a movie or sports game that doesn’t interest us but we know they want to see it.

Choose to Love

So, love seems to be a heart attitude where we choose to put the other person first, whether it is romantic love or filial love. This heart attitude should guide our thoughts and actions toward the ‘beloved’.   It is a choice to love.  We can choose to love a parent or sibling just as we can choose to love a husband or wife.  We choose to commit ourselves to caring and thinking about the other person.  It doesn’t sound romantic, does it?  And sometimes there will be disagreements as we seek a compromise or concession.  But still the choice is there.

Is there still another aspect of marriage that might sound more romantic?

Life Partner

When we talk about “Mr or Ms Right” what do we mean?  Does it sound to you like there is someone out there who is ‘right’ for you or someone who is chosen for you?  Nowadays it is the emphasis of emotions and romance in a relationship that can lead us into the ‘wrong’ relationship.  We need more than our emotions to guide us. And perhaps we need someone outside ourselves to guide us.  This someone cares for us and has a plan for our lives.  Couldn’t they lead us to our significant other?  This guidance has been used and is still used today.

Before the 20th century, some marriages came about through negotiations between families or communities.  There was no romance involved, just a confirmation by the families that the two people would make a ‘good match’.  Even today, most Asian and Muslim marriages have been arranged this way.  The engaged couple agree with the families or communities that they are ‘right’ for each other and make a commitment. They can grow into a romantic love after making a commitment to one another. 

What if our Creator has chosen someone for us?  In our relationship with Him, He would guide us into different friendships and relationships that could lead to a deeper commitment which could be confirmed in our own hearts as well as the hearts of our families and friends.  That is what marriage is all about – a completeness of each individual to express care and concern toward the other.  A union which sometimes has one person put aside  their own wishes and desires for the other person. This allows a complete commitment of choice and love expressed in “two lives becoming one”. 

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