On Love: Commitment

When I was planning to meet my husband again after 13 years of never meeting with each other, I discussed this with my brother and sister in law who lived with me in Singapore. Being anxious of meeting a “stranger” again, I asked them what I should talk with him about.

My sister in law said, “if you somehow talk towards the love subject, ask him how long he thinks it will take until both of you get married.”


Asking about marriage on the very first meeting? Yes we’ve been writing to each other a month prior to this meeting, but honestly we didn’t even talk about being in love with each other. And I’m a woman, why should I ask such a question??

She calmly answered me, “why bother starting a relationship with a man when he doesn’t want to marry you? You’re not young anymore and honestly if it’s not going there it’s just useless and would only bring heartache to you.”

Wow, I never even once thought that way! Not in many stories I’ve been through. Of course I always wanted a serious relationship, but asking which road we were going to to a man on the first day seemed very rude, and brutal!

The day I met this man (my husband) I got a very strong feeling that something big would happen. Even though we met just because, and we didn’t really set an agenda to this meeting but for some reason I was so anxious and knew that my life would not be the same anymore after this day!

Long story short, we met, we talked, and he revealed his feeling, once more just like 13 years before. I didn’t know what came to my mind, but my first question was, “if I said yes, how long would it take until we get married?”

I bet he was as surprised as me!! I was also stunned by my own question? Did I really say that? Was it really my voice? Am I possessed by something?

But this calm man (he stays calm until this very day, through all the swirling moments of our life) covered his shock well and answered, “Err, maybe after one year dating?”

It was then my turn to get shocked. 😲😱 One year?? I was thinking about at least 2 or  3 years and this man was so sure that in one year we’d be getting married? He didn’t even know me! We just met again after so many years being apart! Is he crazy?

It turned out both of us were crazy. We got married six months after that meeting. With only like 10 times meeting in persons before the wedding, since I was living in Singapore and he was in The Netherlands.

My sister said, when a man never shows his readiness to make a commitment with you, most likely he’s just not that into you. I never really read the book (I guess I did but I can’t remember anymore), but I remember watching my housemate helplessly how she was so excited about a man she was close to. My own foolish experiences told me so clearly that he was not interested in her (as in a love relationship), but she interpreted every gesture as hidden love messages. And when you’re helplessly in love, apparently you’re a helpless creature.

Many of us dream about true love, but many of us love the symptoms of love. The warmth, the butterflies in the stomach, the exciting moments, the never be lonely again nights. But what about commitment? It took me long years to find my right man, and to learn about how man shows his seriousness in pursuing the relationship. If I could turn back the time, I would go back and meet my young me and tell her not to even bother to start many things that lead to nowhere.

In my marriage, I learn that commitment is not only about asking the big question and saying “I do”. A commitment is shown in happy times, but mostly required in going through mundane things we go through daily, and desperately needed in the moments of crisis.

It takes a man and a woman with big hearts and responsibilities to go through a commitment (in fact, they are going through a covenant!) in their relationship. The things we meet daily might be less interesting as the time goes, the rising amount of responsibilities with the coming of the children might feel like a rope strangling our necks, the change of physical features might be the excuses of losing the initial excitement, losing of jobs or sickness can scare our spouse away…

But in all honesty, while me and my husband have been through most of the things above in our short 10 years of marriage, I strongly believe we need more power than our own willpower to stay committed with each other. I won’t lie, there are many times I felt like giving up and running away from my reality – perhaps my husband had it too, I can imagine how hard it was for him to have to go through the same narrow hospital’s corridors, repeating the same thing so many times. I knew exactly why he was so calm because he didn’t let himself be locked up in the dreading emotional feeling whenever I had to go through my surgery.

And our struggle about our son’s growth and education, his changing of jobs, living two homes between Paris and Utrecht, and at the same time all the hospital chaos were still ongoing.

If it’s not LOVE, we would have given up a long time ago. If it’s not LOVE, we would have let the hardness of life eat us alive. If it’s not LOVE, I believe he wouldn’t want to stay with me through all these episodes, and I would have run away. The LOVE that bound us together 11 years ago, brought us the beauty of the blooming love in our relationship, has also sustained our marriage in the difficult times.

The LOVE we believe in and The LOVE who has walked with us all through our marriage is the One who shares His power for us to keep this commitment. Perhaps that’s why marriage is counted as a covenant. A covenant means it serves here as an lawful agreement, not only between the husband and wife but also with God. It’s a bound unable to be broken by men, secured and sealed with the Words of God.

This is a commitment not only of a man towards his wife, but from a man towards His God. It’s not something we can break when we feel like stopping the game, when love evades our hearts. Marriage as covenant means we’re bound to fulfill this commitment both to God and to our spouse.

Does it mean marriage holds us imprisoned? Who on earth is able his whole life to stay faithful to only one person? Who can do that? What if they hurt us? What if they are not faithful? What if he’s annoying? What if I get to find someone better than this Mr. Not Exactly Right?

I truly believe here is when we need to hang on the strength of God. God asked for our commitment when we entered the covenant of marriage, a lifetime fidelity between a husband and a wife. But God is not merely a God who requires, He is also a God who provides. By setting our eyes on Him as the First Person in our marriage, we get the strength, the capability to walk through our everyday marriage life and its challenges and problems.

As a man could not live alone without His God, a husband and wife would only be able to commit to each other with Him alone.

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