Make a Commitment
To create or maintain a strong marriage you will have to take the first critical step: You must be willing to put time, effort, and thought into your marriage. When I made this statement during a lecture, one woman spoke up. She had a quiet voice, but she spoke with determination, "Elizabeth, I hear you, and I know what you say is right. But I have three preschoolers! I work part-time, do all my own housework, cooking, and laundry. I just don't have any more energy at the end of the day to 'work' on my marriage."
I noticed that several other women in the room were nodding their heads as she spoke and they waited for my response. "I certainly understand! I have four children and my own business, I know how busy life can be. But let me ask you one vital question: how would you like to have three preschoolers, work part-time, do your own housework, cooking, and laundry, and do it all as a single mother? Because if you take care of everything else, and neglect your marriage, that's what could happen."
Suddenly every mother who nodded a minute ago was looking at me with wide eyes. The thought that their marriage, which was at the very bottom of their priority list, could be in jeopardy, hit them very hard. I noticed that I now had the complete attention of several of the fathers who earlier seemed lost in their own thoughts.
Let's take another look at the commitment statement mentioned earlier. You must be willing to put time, effort, and thought into your marriage. The ideas that follow will help you follow through on this commitment and will put new life and meaning into your marriage. A wonderful thing may happen. You may fall in love with your spouse all over again. In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when they know that Mom and Dad love each other—particularly in today's world, where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce; half of your children's friends have gone, or are going through a divorce; or maybe it's your kids who have survived a divorce and are now living in a new family arrangement. Your children need daily proof that their family life is stable and predictable. When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference. No, they won't suffer from neglect! They'll blossom when your marriage—and their homelife—is thriving.