Wedding Ministry by Design
Foundations for Marriage
Forsaking All Others
wedding vows contain the phrase, “forsaking all others”.
The phrase may be omitted from more contemporary vows, but that does not
give us a free pass from adhering to God’s design for marriage. Failure to
forsake all others has destroyed untold marriages and has crippled countless
So what does it mean to forsake all others? The obvious answer revolves around adultery, but it goes far beyond that. Forsaking all others includes leaving your parents (Gen. 2:24), as well as anyone else who might possibly come between you and your spouse.
So they are no
longer two, but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not
separate. (Matt. 19:6 NIV) No
one is intended to ever come between a husband and wife. The failure to shift
your loyalty from your parents, friends, etc, to your spouse is a central issue
in almost all marital conflict.
scenario. You are a few years into your marriage. Things have gone fairly well
and for all intents and purposes, your marriage is strong. Each year, it seems
your debt has increased. It’s not overwhelming, but you’re certainly not
where you would like to be financially. Your spouse calls to tell you they just
found that they might be considered for a huge promotion with three or four
times their current income, but it would require moving to Florida.
Before they can
continue, you respond with something like, “We’re sure going to miss you
around here,” making it crystal clear to your spouse that you choose your
(parents, friends, job, church, children by a previous marriage, etc.) over
them. You have just forsaken your spouse instead of forsaking all others.
You just told
your spouse that they are not, nor have they ever been, nor will they ever be
the most important person in your life. Can you imagine the devastation you have
just laid on their heart? When you boil it all down, marriage means you and your
spouse are the most important people in each other’s lives.
marital problems, the failure to forsake all others is not gender specific.
Husbands are often unable to separate the apron strings from their mothers. They
tend to put too much importance on spending time with their buddies. They might
even fail to forsake inanimate objects, i.e. preferring spending time working on
their automobile rather than with their wife. Wives often fall under similar
situations with their families and friends.
A sad fact, but
one we must acknowledge, is today over 40% of all marriages are remarriages for
at least one spouse. This brings new complexities to forsaking all others as
over 65% of these remarriages involve children. The thing to remember here that
is very difficult for parents is this; God created marriage as the bond of all
human relationships. The most permanent relationship in all of society is not
between parent and child, but between husband and wife.
In all marriages,
and even more so in blended marriages, children can and often do become masters
at driving wedges between a husband and wife. They become expert at playing one
against the other. Without the husband and wife working together to provide a
united front, children often become rulers of the household. Of those
remarriages I mentioned above with children, over 70% of those end in divorce.
That is staggering when you think about it and an indication that couples fail
to grasp forsaking all others, even when it involves children.
Of course I’m
not advocating neglect or abuse. I am advocating marriage as God intended. I am
advocating marriage where each spouse puts the other spouse first above all
else. I think Dr. Laura Schlessinger summed it up well in her book, 10 Stupid
Things Couples Do To Mess Up Their Relationships, when she said, “If your
actions hurt your spouse, they are the wrong actions. Period.”
of our society tells us we somehow have a right to play. It’s somehow okay to
go out drinking and dancing with your girlfriends, or it’s somehow okay for a
husband to stand by and allow his mother to berate his wife, or it’s somehow
okay to side with your children over your spouse (bear in mind, I’m not
talking about situations of abuse here). None of these things are acceptable in
marriage. Your spouse must come first, always!
Your marriage mantra should be, “No relationship on earth, other than my relationship with Jesus Christ and God, is more important than my relationship with my spouse.” Make it so and you will have no problem forsaking all others.
Pastor Monty Rainey