We recently had the privilege to attend (and have a part in) the wedding for our grandson Alec and his beautiful bride Amanda at the gorgeous setting of Sisters in central Oregon. In our culture, with the institution of marriage under major attack by liberal progressives—both inside and outside the church—who have forgotten that marriage between one man and one woman was God’s plan from the beginning and continues to be. It was very refreshing to be part of a wedding where two believers—a young man and a young woman!—made a commitment, not only to each other, but to God to serve Him through their marriage for the rest of their days on earth. The pastor who married them gave a very powerful challenge of how their primary relationship—after their relationship with God—is to be their marriage, not their jobs or parents or children when they come along. They are to give themselves unselfishly to each other and together, along with the Lord, work through any challenges that come their way. “Strong marriages are those where both partners assume the responsibility of caretaker for each other and the marriage” (Dr. Jim Conway).
Charles Swindoll, pastor and Bible teacher, said “Marriages are held together not by love by commitment.” After the wedding comes a marriage which takes a lot of following through on the commitments that were made—a continual “renewal of vows” if you will. A good marriage requires the determination to be married for good. The trouble with many people these days is that they marry for better or worse but not for good! Author and Christian leader Steve Farrar wrote: “Marriage is two people tied together as they climb the mountain of life. In order to reach the summit they must be interdependent. It takes teamwork and marital accountability.”
A husband and wife who continue to develop their relationship with Christ will tend to continue to grow in their relationship with each other as well. “Good marriages don’t have to go bad if couples have the humility to grow and learn more about the love of Christ. Only then will we be committed ‘till death do we part’” (Erwin Lutzer). Put Christ first if you want your marriage to last.
One of the reasons that marriage of one man and one woman is such a beautiful thing is not only that it is God’s design but also that it is a picture of the relationship between Christ and His church (all who have trusted Him for eternal life). Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, writes: “Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies…For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:22-32).
And speaking of being part of the “Bride of Christ, the Church,” at the conclusion of the wedding, Amanda’s grandmother approached me and had some questions about what she had heard during the message, prayers, vows and hymn (“Amazing Grace”). God had very obviously spoken to her about her own relationship with Jesus Christ. She did not have assurance of salvation but really wanted to. I had the opportunity to share with her the plan of salvation and how you could really know for sure that she had eternal life. At that point, I had to join the family for pictures but had a chance to share with Amanda about our conversation and encouraged her to talk with her grandma and help her “across the bridge” to join the family of God. I felt it would be so special for Amanda to have the joy of doing that. I did notice that Amanda got to spend some one-on-one time with her before we left, so pray that her grandma now knows Christ and knows that she knows!