Note: The names and dates have been changed to maintain the privacy of both individuals.
First of all, I have a confession to make, and I don’t want you to judge me, but I love love-stories! I do. I am a real romanticist, so when I learned that Ariel and Sheldon were seeing each other first as friends, then progressing to dating each other, I was a little giddy. Ariel knows.
So, I am very happy for this occasion for which we are gathered tonight, but not just me, we are all happy and are gathered to rejoice with you, Ariel, in celebrating your upcoming nuptials to Sheldon Brooks.
Ariel, you were one of the first people at our church that I got to know up close and personal. We’ve got to have some very long talks. We also share the same birthday. For me, it was wonderful to getting to know you, because I was seeing someone young and committed in her walk in Christ, and deeply meshed in our while retaining your own uniqueness. Ariel, you have a quiet beauty, you exude godliness, and modesty, you are very contemplative, analytical, inquisitive, and frankly, you’re just is a sweet person.
Ariel, November 3rd of this year, your love story will begin a new chapter, one which will change the rest of your life. This day, you and Sheldon will before God and many witnesses vow to live out God’s covenant of marriage.
The first very first wedding occurred in the Garden of Eden and officiated by God the creator of marriage. After creating man in his image, God assigned the naming of all of the animals to the first man created, Adam. I imagined that as Adam was naming the animals seeing two of every kind, he probably noticed that all the animals had a corresponding partner, but he had none.
So God made a corresponding mate for Adam because God said that “it is not good that man should be alone”.
Elisabeth Elliott put it this way:
God might have given Adam another man to be his friend, to walk and talk and argue with if that was His pleasure. But Adam needed more than the companionship of the animals or the friendship of a man. He needed a helper, specially designed and prepared to fit that role. It was a woman God gave him, a woman, “meet,” fit, suitable, entirely appropriate for him, made of his very bones and flesh.
How did Adam respond to this gift from God? Was it?
At last my love has come along, My lonely days are over and life is like a song?
No, but almost. Some of you may have recognize that those are lyrics to a song sung at many weddings. Adam’s response was almost like it though. Adam said:
This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Genesis 2:23
This is what marriage is, a joining of two becoming one. Marriage was designed by God to be between a man and woman, regardless what our current culture says.
In God’s infinite wisdom, marriage was to be a picture of Jesus Christ, the bridegroom and the Church, his bride for whom Christ would demonstrate his love by laying his life down for her.
Now, that’s a love story. God so loved he gave, he sacrificed, demonstrating that love is more than butterflies in your tummy, or the racing of your heart when you anticipate seeing your love. Yes, it generally starts out that way, but God proved out that love is more than that.
Love is a commitment to seek the good of another. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in the book of Philippians, chapter 2:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4
And that’s not easy. It is not natural for us to do this, or live in this realm. Yet, when you say “I do”, you are vowing to love Sheldon in this way that brings glory to God.
Colossians 3:12-15 is a great template for your life with Sheldon.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body. Colossians 3:12-15
So, on your special day when you recite your vows to love Sheldon, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish and obey till death separates you, you are participating in a covenant designed by God.
It may sound antiquated to say you are to obey or submit to your husband, but in God’s economy, it’s all about order. God established it. He’s the architect of marriage. Just as the church submits to Christ, the wife submits to her husband. What is submission? Submission is yielding or giving in to another.
Becoming one flesh and submitting to the leadership of your husband does not mean that you lose your uniqueness, Ariel, nor does it mean passivity. Sheldon needs you, not a silent partner. He will need your perspective, your thoughts, and your ideas. There may be times, one pastor says, that you may have to express your opinion vigorously, so that he knows exactly what you think.
You were made to complement him, to be his confidante, his friend, his cheerleader, his truth-teller. He needs you to fulfill that role that only you can fill.
That is exactly why God is bringing the two of you who are wired differently together to make you one. You see things differently. You experience things differently. You do things differently, and may approach things differently. Embrace your differences. The Bible says that iron sharpens iron. Your union will benefit.
So, when Sheldon is sick, and it may seem he’s over doing it, a compassionate heart; when he may respond a little sharp, kindness. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” When there’s a project that doesn’t seem to be getting done on your timetable, meekness in how you approach, and patience.
This will not be easy in fact it will be impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. You will need to keep Christ as your first love, your anchor, and the word as your guidepost. Maintain your private devotion, and pray for your husband. The Holy Spirit will cause you to grow in these areas as you maintain your relationship with Christ, by regular reading your Bible and praying.
It’s our prayer that your wedding day will be glorious, and your marriage a gospel witness to all those around you as it testifies to the greatness and glory of our Great God.