What 'forsaking all others' at the marriage altar really means
"Forsaking all others." These three words mean so much more than just choosing to marry that beautiful woman or that handsome man. It means so much more than just choosing to live with that person for the rest of your life. It means so much more than that.
Forsaking even one's self
When we go to the marriage altar to commit ourselves to be faithful to that one person that God entrusted to us, we usually don't realise that it means more than just eating, going out, and living with the same person for the rest of our lives.
What we commit to is not just to take care of that person, to uphold that person's dreams, and to meet that person's needs. We actually commit to becoming one with that person: to consider that person's thoughts, opinions and feelings, as well as prioritising that person more than we will prioritise ourselves.
When we say "forsaking all others," it doesn't only mean not giving any room for another person to intrude, manipulate, divert or destroy our marriage. It also means letting go of our own comforts so that we could bless our spouse and help the latter fulfil personal dreams and become more like Christ. And while doing that, we become more like Christ ourselves.
Christ forsook all others
Consider the greatest lover of all time: Jesus Christ. He forsook His comfortable abode in the heavens, chose to limit Himself to time, space, stomach pangs and social discomforts, only so that we could experience the true love of the Father the way God meant it to be: saving, redeeming, freeing, intimate and personal. Christ went through all the pain so that He could gain us.
Far beyond any love story, Christ's love for all of us is the ultimate model of "forsaking all others." Consider what the Bible tells us about His kind of love – the love that all husbands and wives should learn to imitate:
Ephesians 5:24-27 tells us, "As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault."
Romans 5:8 tells us, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Hebrews 12:2 tells us that we should keep "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Let's forsake all others and learn to prioritise our spouse in the pursuit of God.