I met Jeff and Allison for the first time about twenty-four hours after Allison found out Jeff had been cheating on her for over six months. They had been married almost fourteen years and had two children. A month ago Allison said she would have rated her marriage a six. They were okay but they both knew their marriage needed work. She had no idea just how much.
Jeff was very quiet as they took turns sharing the story. I knew they were there because they wanted to save their marriage. Allison’s motive was more related to their kids than to Jeff but she was willing to work on it. When I asked Jeff what he wanted he said, “I want Allison and I want my marriage. I’ll do whatever it takes.” Allison and Jeff began the difficult process of picking up the pieces, understanding why it happened, and slowly rebuilding trust.
I was thinking about Jeff and Allison one day and the words Jeff said kept going through my mind. “Whatever it takes.” “Whatever it takes.” Then it hit me. What if Jeff had said those exact same words a year before and instead of applying those words to rebuilding a marriage they were applied to building and strengthening a marriage? Why do couples wait for a crisis to work on their marriage? I don’t think that any couple begins married life together thinking that they will just settle for a so-so marriage. No. We want the best marriage ever. We want our marriage to be the envy of every other couple. We want the perfect “billboard” marriage and are sure that we will do whatever it takes to have it. That is what every couple wants as they walk down that aisle. Somewhere along the way we let the distractions of life sidetrack us. The focus and intentionality are placed elsewhere. We take our marriage for granted and then something happens. Something that gets our attention in a big way.
Jeff committed to do whatever it takes for the rest of his life. Allison eventually came alongside him, making the same commitment. What about you? What about me? What if we said we will do whatever it takes to have the marriage God designed for us? What if we lived that out day after day. Whether our marriage is going great or struggling. Whether it is okay or in crisis. No matter where it is today what if we made the commitment to each other and to our marriage to do whatever it takes. I think we would all have the marriage we dreamed of on the day we said, “I do.”