Note: The names and dates have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.
I have had the pleasure of watching what it looks like to have a servant- heart by watching our honoree, Jennifer Talbot. Jennifer, I’ve watched you jump into the life of a young girl in trouble, become like a big sister or an aunt to a big family of kids. I’ve seen you willingly serve in many background roles, where your service could easily go unnoticed. Oh, but it wasn’t.
This is one of the reasons, your upcoming wedding brings me, and all of us here so much joy. On Saturday, February 9, 2018, your families, friends, sisters and brothers in Christ will attend your wedding to witness you and Jeremy Dannon exchange vows to be no longer two, but one, becoming husband and wife. But your wedding day will be just one day, the first day for you to live out your vows to God, Jeremy and before the world. Some days, it will be glorious and some days your very vows will test you. We will talk about that in a few.
In your vows you’ll say:
“I, Jennifer, take thee, Jeremy, to be my 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, cherish, and obey till death do us part…”
You will be promising to cleave to Jeremy, to have eyes only for him, to be by his side, when the days are glorious, and when the days are bleak and hard, be it through a loss of job or declining health and everything in between. You will be promising to love, cherish and obey Jeremy through it all. He needs you to be his helpmate, his cheerleader, and the one in whom he can be completely vulnerable, and you to him.
It was God, in his infinite wisdom, who ordained marriage. He married the first couple, Adam and Eve. Regardless of how our culture defines marriage, we know that marriage is between one man and one woman. The relationship between the two is symbolic of the relationship between Jesus Christ, the bridegroom and the church, his bride for whom he laid down his life.
In that relationship, the church submits to Christ. In marriage, the woman, the wife submits to her husband. She submits to him as submitting to the Lord. We know that this too, is counter-cultural to what is embraced, but though times have changed, God’s word does not. We have to remind ourselves that we are under a different world order because we are submitted to Christ.
What is submission? Submission is yielding or giving in to another. We actually do it all the time; when we drive, when two people arrive at a door at the same time, one yields to let the other go first.
We can look to Christ as a perfect example of what submission looks like. When he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, asking God to let the cup pass from him. How did he end his prayer? He ended it with – “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42b) That’s submission. It’s a dying to self, which for believers is a part of our journey in becoming more like Christ.
Will marriage always be glorious? Will December 15, 2018, begin your happily ever after? Oh, how we’d like that right, but that’s for fairytales. What marriage will bring is up to you.
One of the things you will notice soon after the “I Do’s” is how different you two are. God has wired you differently. You don’t think alike or do things the same way, or even drive the same way. One of you may drive fast, the other slow. One of you may want to tell every detail about your day, the other may not. You may fold your towels one way, the right way, and he may not think it’s important. One of you may like a planned itinerary, while the other wants to play it by ear, and be spontaneous. Embrace your differences. God designed you and Jeremy to complement one another.
Your differences are the wisdom of God our creator, intended to help you bring glory to God. That’s why God made you male and female, for his glory. The Apostle Paul describes why we should appreciate our differences when he describes the body in I Corinthians 12:17-18:
If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.
So, how do you walk into your new life with Jeremy? You walk in Christ. Keep Christ as your anchor, your guidepost, your first love by maintaining your alone time in prayer and Bible intake. Pray daily for Jeremy.
Communication is key. Communicate your thoughts and your feelings to Jeremy. He can’t read your mind, but keep your communication honest, and edifying.
Accepting your imperfections can go a long way to enjoying a happy and sustaining marriage. It’s freeing to know going in, neither of you is perfect so that you don’t expect perfection from him or him from you. You are works in progress; God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. It is a gift from God. Jennifer, you are about to embark on a lifelong journey with Jeremy; enjoy it, cherish it, as you seek to live out your vows to the glory and honor of God.
Our prayer is that your wedding day and marriage be a gospel witness to the world, testifying to the greatness and glory of our God.