Christian ethicist Lewis Smedes wrote an article that I read as a young pastor and a still new husband. It helped me enormously as both a counselor and spouse. It is called “Controlling the Unpredictable—The Power of Promising” [Christianity Today 27:2 (January 21, 1983): 16–19]. (p. 90)
Keller then interacts with the article to underscore his point that “marriage is essentially a covenant” (p. 90). Here are some excerpts from Smedes’s article:
Some people ask who they are and expect their feelings to tell them. But feelings are flickering flames that fade after every fitful stimulus. Some people ask who they are and expect their achievements to tell them. But the things we accomplish always leave a core of character unrevealed. Some people ask who they are and expect visions of their ideal self to tell them. But our visions can only tell us what we want to be, not what we are.
Maybe we can best find out who and what we are by asking about the promises we have made to other people and the promises we are trying to keep for their sakes.
When I married my wife, I had hardly a smidgen of sense for what I was getting into with her. [Read more…] about “My wife has lived with at least five different men since we were wed—and each of the five has been me.”