Until we are parted by death

Thoughts for a couple to be married.

Marriage is a wonderful gift and if it is used wisely and  correctly as God intended it will be a treasure for you both throughout your lives on this earth.

If marriage is abused or fashioned in a way that is not as the Living God desires, then we run the risk of allowing our marriages to go terribly, terribly wrong.

When a man and woman marry they share high expectations. They commit themselves to an exclusivity regarding each other. Each agrees to, “forsake all others” giving each other exclusive intimacy in the marriage.

Jesus upheld Almighty God’s original design for marriage as recorded in the Book of Genesis.

He said, “From the beginning of Creation.. God made them male and female for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. They are no longer two but one flesh.” (Mark 10:5-9) With those words Jesus points us right back to God’s original intention for marriage and therefore His changeless will for marriage. Jesus also added one significant addition – He said, “what God has joined together let no one separate.”

There never has been a generation whose general view of marriage is high enough. The chasm between the biblical vision of marriage and the common human vision is now, and has always been, enormous. Some cultures in history respect the importance and the permanence of marriage more than others. Some, like our own, have such low, casual, take-it-or-leave-it attitudes toward marriage as to make the biblical vision seem ludicrous to most people.

Here in the United States, and elsewhere around the world, the Courts of Law have dared to redefine the nature of marriage for us all.  Marriage, which our prayer books says, was instituted by God himself between – one man, one woman, one flesh, no separation!

Our diocese, clearly and publicly states that “…our Lord’s teaching [is] that Holy Matrimony is in its nature a covenantal union, permanent and lifelong, of one man and one woman.”

This is biblical marriage and it is not up for debate or negotiation.

Our foundational understanding of God’s original intention for the marriage relationship contains these facts:

Firstly, we are told that marriage involves leaving – it involves moving from two separate lives into a new relationship (a covenant). When a couple marry, we are asking God’s blessing on the marriage because a new covenantal relationship is being formed. So, it is right to come to the church in a service of Holy Matrimony and ask God’s blessing.

Secondly, notice that it God himself who joins husband and wife together – not the pastor, the priest or the bishop, but God himself – surely this is why we refer to this service as Holy Matrimony. God himself yokes one man and one woman, He joins them together and they become one flesh – and only God can do that. He is able, He can take body, mind and spirit and join them together into one unit.

When God joins a two people together in marriage, something very holy is happening. That is why marriage is sacred.

God will take two human beings, who choose to come together in marriage and join them together as one flesh, one body. Notice, God leaves us as human beings, the decision of whether to marry or not to marry, but should we choose to marry, He responds to our choice and joins us together in a covenant that no one must separate.  Marriage is holy.  It is sacred.

That why the couple must build their marriage on Christ and with Christ and through Christ and for Christ. Praying together, reading God’s Word the bible together, worshipping Him together, serving God together, welcoming Him into their hearts and into their home, showing his love and teach his ways to their children throughout their marriage.

Thirdly, from God’s perspective – according to His Word – marriage is a permanent relationship until the man and the women are parted by death. God’s emphasis is on the permanence and the importance of marriage, a relationship between one man and one woman with a holy God.

If the couple to be married set their face to make of marriage what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in their way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.

The ultimate thing to see in the Bible about marriage is that it exists for God’s glory.  Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. Most ultimately, marriage is the display of God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a courageous and faithful Christian leader who stood firmly for Christ in throughout the Second World War, wrote these words: Over the destiny of woman and of man lies the dark shadow of a word of God’s wrath, a burden from God, which they must carry. The woman must bear her children in pain, and in providing for his family the man must reap many thorns and thistles, and labor in the sweat of his brow. This burden should cause both man and wife to call on God, and should remind them of their eternal destiny in his kingdom. Earthly society is only the beginning of the heavenly society, the earthly home an image of the heavenly home, the earthly family a symbol of the fatherhood of God.

O God, you have so consecrated the covenant of marriage that in it is represented the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church: Send therefore your blessing upon all who are married and soon to be married that they may so love, honor, and cherish each other in faithfulness and patience, in wisdom and true godliness, that their homes may be a havens of blessing and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.