Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here today in the presence of God and these witnesses in the joining of this man and woman together in holy matrimony.
.WHO GIVES THIS BRIDE IN MARRIAGE?
EPHESIANS 5:31 SAYS “ FOR THIS CAUSE A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL CLEAVE TO HIS WIFE; AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”
And so the wedding ceremony begins with an average of $20,000 spent on the wedding with no thought as to what should happen after the honeymoon. Every couple has their own idea as to what the marriage should look like and what their individual expectations are but little discussion takes place as to what a healthy marriage is. Because of this confusion with half the marriages ending in divorce, couples have become skeptical and even leery with getting married.
Because of this confusion there are people trying to redefine what marriage is and for the first time in our countries history there is a new definition of what it means to be married. Many couples no longer see marriage as something sacred and some have even opted out of marriage and to only enter into cohabitation with each other.
As Christ followers our goal is to follow what God says and not to just express our feelings and opinions. The Bible does say what marriage is and for those of us who want to be obedient to God we need to heed the Bibles advice and not the opinions of others.
1) Marriage was established by God
Genesis 2:18,25 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[e] him.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
“God designed marriage as the foundational element of all human society. Before there was (formally speaking) a church, a school, a business instituted, God formally instituted marriage … If marriage were of human origin, then human beings would have a right to set it aside.” (Jay Adams, Marriage, Divorce and remarriage in the Bible, pg 4)
Marriage being established by God may seem like a no brain-er for some but many believe it to be a man made institution. When that happens you lose the first significant element of marriage and that being God designed, instituted and watches over all marriages. This is why we start the ceremony with “In the presence of God and these witnesses”, signifying that God is there for the wedding ceremony and that He will be there for the married couple.
Matthew 19:4-6 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
“Thus God has ordained marriage for non-Christians as well as Christians. And he is the witness of all weddings, whether invited or not. Marriage is a sacred occasion, whether the couple recognizes it or not. (Norman Geisler, Christian Ethics, pg 300)
2) Marriage is about companionship
It is not good for man to be alone
Adam had just named all the animals and yet there was not a suitable mate for him. So God created a woman for the man so that the man would have a mate just like the animals did.
Dr. David Ferguson in His book The Great Commandment Principle points out several points.
A) Adam lived in a perfect world
B) Adam had everything he could need or want
C) Adam was in charge (Genesis 1:26)
D) Adam had a perfect relationship with God
E) Adam had a need
We are wrong to say that God is all you need even though that sounds spiritual. The problem is God created us to have needs beside Himself. We need Oxygen, Water and Food. God also created us to be in a relationship with not just Himself but also with others the main relationship being with a marriage partner.
So when God said it is not good for man to be alone that was said before sin had entered the world. When God created Eve for Adam He created them Male and Female to compliment and provide for each other in a relationship of companionship.
Philippians 4:13-14 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
Companionship is what marriage is about and when that does not happen people look for other things to fill in that need. You may fill your life with your work or with your children and once those things are gone then you realize that your marriage is not meeting your needs and so you file for a divorce or move onto something else looking to fill that companionship need.
Our society is turning to many things to fill that need when the God given ways are not followed. My real complaint is not for those who do not care what God says, but those who twist what God says to change the meaning of marriage or who should be in a marriage relationship.
Proverbs 2:16-17 So you will be delivered from the forbidden(strange) woman, from the adulteress(foreign woman) with her smooth words,17 who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;
( Malachi 2:14 has the similar principle )She forgot the close intimate relationship she had and forsook it for another.
Companion is one who chooses to be in a close union with another
So love in marriage is focused on giving your spouse the companionship they need.
“For God had planted deep within both Adam and Eve a desire for an emotional and physical connection, a bonding of the inner spirit, and intimate attachment of the soul called human relationship.” ( Dr. Gary Smalley, The DNA of Relationships, pg 10)
3) Marriage is a Covenant with each other and God
Matthew 1:18-19 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[e] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[f] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
Marriage is not about being together in the bedroom but about the commitment you made. If you go back and reread some of the verses mentioned earlier you will see they talk about a covenant as well. Too many in our society base their marriage on feelings instead of commitment and because of that they look selfishly to have their own needs met instead of looking out for the best interest of their spouse.
Joseph was going to divorce Mary quietly before they were even married. As Christ followers we believe that Joseph and Mary did not have sexual relations till after Jesus was born. So we do not believe that the marriage is based on sexual relations than a commitment. The marriage bed between a man and a woman is part of being married but it is not the main thing.
The engagement of Joseph and Mary had to end in divorce because it was binding with a vow.
Some of the vows I use during a wedding go as follows.
___________ DO YOU TAKE ____________ TO BE YOUR WEDDED HUSBAND, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, FOR BETTER FOR WORSE, FOR RICHER FOR POORER, IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH, TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH, TILL DEATH DO YOU PART?
With the verbal vows I make the couple take we also symbolize those vows with a ring ceremony.
EXCHANGE OF RINGS
AS A SIGN AND SYMBOL OF YOUR COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER, YOU HAVE SELECTED A RING . THE RING IS ONE OF THE SIGNS OF MARRIAGE IN OUR CULTURE. THE RING DOES NOT MAKE YOU MARRIED, BUT IT DOES REVEAL TO OTHERS THAT YOU ARE MARRIED. IT IS MUCH MORE THAN A PIECE OF JEWELERY. IT IS NOT AN ORNAMENT OR A TRINKETT BUT THE RING SHARES A SPECIAL MESSAGE THAT YOU BELONG TO EACH OTHER.
IT REPRESENTS YOUR VOWS AND COMMITMENT TO EACH OTHER. IT SYMBOLIZES THE COMMITMENT YOU ARE MAKING TODAY AND IS A REMINDER FOR ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.
THE RING IS A CIRCLE NEVER STARTING AND NEVER ENDING. THIS REPRESENTS THE FACT THAT YOU ARE PLEDGING A LOVE THAT WILL BE ENDLESS.
THE RING HAS ALWAYS PLACED A SPECIAL PART IN HISTORY. WHEN A TREATY WAS SIGNED OR AN AGREEMENT MADE IT WAS THE SIGNET RING WORN BY THE RULING MONARCH THAT SEALED THE DEAL AND MADE IT AN OFFICIAL CONTRACT.
SO IT IS WITH THESE RINGS THAT YOU SEAL THE ENGAGEMENT OF YOUR WEDDING VOWS.
I PRAY THAT THESE RINGS WILL BE A REMINDER OF THE COMMITMENT YOU ARE MAKING TO GOD AND TO EACH OTHER AND I PRAY THAT THEY WILL BE A TESTIMONY OF THE FAITHFULNESS YOU HAVE FOR EACH OTHER.
________ WILL YOU PLEASE PLACE THE RING ON _________ FINGER?
WILL YOU _______ WEAR THIS RING AS EVIDENCE OF YOUR UNDYING LOVE FOR _______?
______ PLEASE REPEAT AFTER ME.
I GIVE YOU THIS RING, AS A TOKEN OF MY LOVE, AND A PROMISE TO YOU, THAT I WILL LOVE AND CHERISH YOU, AS LONG AS WE BOTH SHALL LIVE?
So it is through a verbal commitment that you are married and this commitment should last a lifetime.
So what God has joined together let no man separate.
“Till Death do us part” is what you may hear at weddings and it comes from a couple of verses that discuss marriage being a lifelong but not eternal commitment.
Romans 7:2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
We need to be careful with our advice to people about divorce because by doing so you may just be breaking what God established. The discussion of divorce is another topic but the Bible has a lot to say about when and how you should be divorced if it where to come to that. The main thing is we are to be careful to not be an instrument of dissension between a married man and woman and to do all we can knowing that all marriages are sacred in the sight of God.
4) Marriage changes you
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
To become one flesh means to become one in how you think, how you act.
The act of marriage is a spiritual, emotional and physical union and is as unique as the Holy Trinity. There is something special in marriage and that is why we should guard it.
Ephesians 5:28-31 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
What I do I do for myself is for my wife as well. This takes the selfishness out of it because I am trying to determine what is best for both of us and not just myself. I will do nothing to hurt my spouse because to hurt her is to hurt myself.
Nothing should get in the way of your marriage. Not your job, not your friends, not your children and not your parents.
Guys can be cruel to a friend who checks with his wife first before going out and will call him names and say he is whipped or controlled. When you are married then your spouse comes first no matter how you are viewed or talked about.
Although our parents or in – laws should be respected and sought out for advice, a new family was formed on that wedding day and we have to be careful to not allow even loving parents to come between us.
To leave everything else sometimes means you have to cut ties with people if they are trying to destroy the marriage intentionally or not.
To be glued or cemented together. Many weddings symbolize this act of becoming one flesh at weddings with the unity candle, sand poured together or some other symbol. It represents that two people are becoming one and that to separate it would cause a lot of hurt and pain.
If you were cemented to something and someone came and grabbed you, eventually you would have to let go of that person because the cement would be to strong to allow you to be separated from it. That means if another relationship or opportunity tries to pull you in a direction away from your spouse you know which one you should let go of.
“Without realizing it, you often expect that the other person will change to satisfy you and give you what you want. You see that person both as your problem and as your solution.” (Dr. Gary Smalley, DNA of Relationships, pg 25)
You married who your married for good or for the bad and if you married them thinking they would automatically change then you are mistaken.But if you cleave to them and if each partner will unselfishly love each other then you will see both partners change.
The danger is to look over and say “ If only I had them as my spouse… I would be happy” It is a lie that says other people, places or things will make me happier.That is why two of the Ten Commandments dealt with Marriage and especially focusing on the one you have.
Exodus 20:14,17 “You shall not commit adultery. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Do your part in the marriage no matter what decisions your spouse is making and ask God to help your marriage. If you focus on the marriage you have then you may see what you already have. If you don’t then you may look back one day and regret that you ever left.