The Balswicks decribe Marriage as a covenant relationship consisting of four pillars: commitment, grace, empowerment, and intimacy. All of these are inter-related, starting with commitment. When two people are commited to each other in covenant, they both must develop deeper spirits of grace toward one another as imperfect beings. This grace provides greater freedom/empowerment knowing that you will not be kicked to the curb when you stumble, even fall. Grace also allows for deeper intimacy as couples share their struggles with one another. This deeper knowledge and emotional connection fosters more grace and empowerment and strengthens the commitment of the couple as one.
There are obstacles that keep us from building these strong pillars in our relationships. When we set aside our commitment to another person and instead seek instant gratification, when we suppress grace and maintain unyielding expectancy, when we substitute empowerment for mutual codependency, or when we react defensively or dishonestly avoiding intimacy, the foundation of our relationships will crumble.
My challenge for you today is this: Give a specific example of how couples can either strengthen or weaken each of the four pillars of oneness.