The Importance of Character
And Endurance (fortitude) Develops Maturity of Character (approved Faith And Tried integrity). And Character [of This Sort] produces [the Habit Of] Joyful And confident Hope Of Eternal Salvation. Romans 5:4 (Amp.)
You need to bring many qualities to your marriage for it to work. One of these qualities is character. Some people are “characters” and others have character. The latter is the needed quality.
It may not sound all that romantic or as much fun as some other qualities, but its staying power will hold the structure of your marriage together.
Do you know what the dictionary says about character? It describes it as a distinctive trait, quality or attribute, moral strength, self-discipline, fortitude.
Good character isn’t fickle. A person can be counted on to persevere during the hard times, and be consistently dependable, not flaky. The person is not as James describes, “being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (1:8, NASB).
When the relationship experiences hard times and is shaken, a man or woman of character stays. The person doesn’t think of the possibility of escaping. Those who have character will take their vows very seriously on the wedding day.
Character believes every word of the vows with the whole heart and being. Character means never saying: “I didn’t know what I was doing” or “I didn’t mean them” or “I changed my mind.”
Character believes a promise is a promise, and a commitment is just that. Psalm 15 talks about the qualities of a godly man, and one of them is: “keeps a promise even if it ruins him” (v. 4, TLB).
You probably have no concept of what it really means when you repeat those vows: “In sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer.” You will, though. At some point in your marriage, you will.
The depth of your character will keep you going. Marriage is not something you try just to see if you like it or not. Marriage has no revolving door, no return policy and no escape clause when you find the defects in your partner.
It should not be treated as a “starter marriage,” as though purchasing a “starter house” and then selling it to move on to a new model. In marriage, you just keep adding on and making home improvements.
Marriage is not for the overly independent, or for the isolate, the controller, the irresponsible or the immature.
That’s strong language, isn’t it? It was meant to be. Marriage is too serious, too sacred, to be taken lightly.
God did not create the marriage relationship for those who can’t keep track of time, can’t be home when promised, don’t inform a partner when expecting to be late, forget important dates such as anniversaries and birthdays, or don’t let a partner know about thoughts or plans.
God created marriage for those who possess character. And that’s you—isn’t it?
H. Norman Wright is a licensed Family Counselor and child therapist and has taught in the Grad. Department of Biola University. He is the author of more than seventy books