This devotional has been adapted from a 22-part marriage questionnaire on trust. I would encourage you to download this free resource and set aside quality time with your spouse to work through the material.
This is also a great resource for helping others. If you're a pastor, counselor, ministry leader, or just a friend that wants to help a friend, this marriage questionnaire can help you be an instrument of grace.
What's the foundation of a healthy relationship? I could start in a lot of places, and if you know me, I would typically start with a vertical relationship with God. But for the sake of today's devotional, I want to focus on one area - keeping promises.
Like it or not, you must face the fact that the way you follow through with the promises you make will help or hurt your relationships. If you're good for your word, the health of that relationship will increase. But if you consistently make promises that you can't keep, the health of that relationship will decrease.
Now, you need to understand what I mean by promises. I'm not talking about three or four "big promises" you make in a lifetime - I'm talking about the 10,000 "little promises" you make every year.
Here's the problem with these little promises - if you break one of them, you don't think it's a big deal. After all, it's only one little promise, you tell yourself. But remember, the character of a relationship, especially marriage, is established in these little moments.
Healthy relationships are built promise by promise, day by day. The degree of your daily reliability almost always corresponds with the health of your relationship.
Now, if you're anything like me, there's no way that you will keep 100% of the little promises you make. Because of sin, you'll make promises with the wrong motivation, ignore promises you've made, or simply forget. Even in your best moments of intention and effort, your sin will keep you short of God's perfect standard.
So what happens when you fail? You can either make excuses for your failure, or you can humbly confess. Self-righteousness, defensiveness, and self-excusing are all toxic to relationships. On the contrary, humility, confession, and repentance lead to healthy relationships.
And what happens when someone fails you? You can either be law-keeper, holding the other to a standard that you cannot keep yourself, or be a grace-giver, freely forgiving like the Father. Legalism is deadly in relationships; grace is life-giving.
Be good for your word. Quickly confess when you fall short. Grant forgiveness when requested. Watch what God will do in your relationships!
Remember, if you want to use the entire 22-part marriage questionnaire, you can download it here!
Paul David Tripp
- What kind of "little promises" do you make each day?
- Do you make "little promises" without even being aware of what you're committing to?
- How often do you justify and defend your failure to keep your "little promises"?
- How do you respond if someone fails to keep a "little promise" to you?
- What can you practically do to remind yourself of the "little promises" you make?