About Chuck and Eileen Rife

Chuck Rife is a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist who's worked with Total Life Counseling, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia since 1988. Eileen Rife, a veteran homeschool mom of twenty years, works as a freelance writer, author, and speaker. Together, they conduct marriage seminars designed to grow godly marriages that last a lifetime! Chuck and Eileen are also certified to administer and evaluate the Prepare-Enrich assessment tool for couples.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Commit to Your Mate for a Lifetime


Have you ever awakened in the morning, looked over at your spouse and thought, How can I go one more day married to this person? Or maybe you’ve thought, I love this person so much, but lately we seem to be at cross-purposes. We’re becoming different people. I don’t know who he is anymore. I can’t figure out what in the world she wants from me!

Like watching a baby sleep, you hope your mate will just go on sleeping, because you know when he/she wakes up, the struggle begins all over again.

You thought when this holy union was birthed, life would be grand. Romance would never die. Sex would be available 24/7. He’d always listen to what you have to say. She’d always be there to take care of your needs. Maybe you didn’t verbalize those thoughts in so many words, but idealistic expectations passed through your mind like whimsical sailboats floating on the sea. Now you have been married for awhile, and you are the ships passing in the night getting further and further apart.

We’ll let you in on a little secret: We’ve been there, too. Still are in many ways. Days when we feel full of love for one another and find it hard to imagine anything ever going wrong between us. And other days when we feel like walking out the door and never coming back.

What makes the difference between a marriage based on a roller coaster of emotion that dies soon after birth and a marriage that stands the growing pains of time?

It’s COMMITMENT! Hanging in there when you feel like it and when you don’t feel like it. Vowing everyday you wake up to love and cherish in the good times and in the bad times for a LIFETIME! After all, wasn’t that what you promised each other at the altar?

So, how can you make good on your promise six months, one year, five years, ten years, or 25 years into marriage?

By understanding that every day is a NEW DAY!

The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 3:13-14: . . .forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

For the married couple, the high calling is a marriage that brings honor to God and exalts His person before the world. When believers build godly marriages, they build a good reputation for God. An unbelieving world looks on and says God is worth trusting because He truly makes a difference in their marriage.

A NEW DAY in your marriage doesn’t deny the difficulties, but embraces the challenges and sees the possibilities, even in the midst of the ups and downs of the relationship.

With that said, we urge you to consider this a NEW DAY in your marriage with new hope and new potential as you craft a beautiful relationship for God’s glory and for your fulfillment! Will it be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Absolutely! As you build a godly marriage, you become a walking illustration of one of the most beautiful images in the Bible: the relationship between Christ and His bride, the Church.

One of the greatest benefits of commitment is the legacy you will leave your children of a mom and dad who loved each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death. I (Eileen) saw this lived out in the lives of Chuck’s parents. What a grand display of honor, love, and commitment I witnessed as Dad Rife cared for Mom during her five year battle with breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Just like a general in command of his troops, Dad relentlessly monitored Mom’s daily diet, gave her prescribed injections and medications, kept track of medical appointments, and followed new breakthroughs in scientific technology, all the while keeping the family informed of her progress.

When Mom was living out her final days, bedridden at home and under the care of Hospice, Dad was right there by her side. Even when she slipped away from us into a coma, Dad persisted in caring for her at home for her final two weeks on this earth.

I remember Mom’s last day with us. Cathy, my sister-in-law, and I were in the room with Dad and Mom. Other family members were milling about the house. The five youngest grandchildren had just come into Grandma’s room to sing her a couple of her favorite songs. Mom loved music and I believe to this day that she heard the sweet songs of her grandchildren, that somehow the quiet flow of the music relaxed her and gave her permission to leave her earthly dwelling and move on to even greater angelic sounds in heaven.

As Dad knelt by Mom’s bedside and lovingly held her hand, he gently spoke to her, assuring her that it was all right to go. I remember Dad saying over and over again, “It’s okay to go, honey. Let Jesus take you.” Not long after, as Dad was kneeling by her bed with head bowed in thought and prayer, Mom’s eyes shot open and she lunged forward in the bed. Her eyes closed and she was finally at complete rest.

Watching on, Cathy and I burst into tears and held one another as Dad came over to console us with his hugs. He was at peace now, too, and confident of God’s will.

Mom died two weeks before her fiftieth wedding anniversary. Right up to the end, I witnessed the loving care and faithfulness of a man who cherished and adored his wife, for better or for worse. What a treasured legacy of commitment for his family to observe! I can only say through grateful tears, “Thank you, Dad. Thank you for your example of a godly committed spouse.”

That was almost 21 years ago. Dad is gone now, too, having passed away on Chuck’s birthday 11 years ago. Now, whenever I think of throwing in the towel because I didn’t get my way on a certain issue, or Chuck isn’t treating me the way I think he should, or a thousand other irksome and often trivial things, I am reminded of Dad Rife kneeling by Mom’s bedside with head bowed. In those moments of sorrow and reflection, perhaps their life together flashed before his eyes. I wonder if he felt any regret for hurtful words he had uttered. I wonder if he was thanking God for the time He had given them. I’m sure when the end comes, the years together never seem quite long enough. They have passed with a mere blink. I only know that the visual aid Dad left me will forever remain in my memory, urging me on to loving commitment to my mate. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave that kind of legacy for my children and grandchildren. In a day and age when marriages are crumpling by the truckload, oh, how we need godly moms and dads who will carry the banner of commitment! We pray you are among them!

So, as the sun rises, rub your eyes, throw off the covers, grab a cup of coffee and your spouse, and begin your day together working toward a healthier marriage! There is no greater legacy you can leave your family than a committed marriage!

Adapted from When Mourning Comes, Living Through Loss (c) 2002 by Chuck and Eileen Rife

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