I Was Just Thinking …
Our daughter, wanted me to say something regarding the significance of the marriage vows, just before she and husband made them to each other during their ceremony. She had been greatly impressed by what C. S. Lewis said about marriage in his book Mere Christianity. So with his thoughts as a starter, I put together the following, which I would like to share with you because I was much blessed in considering afresh what God’s word teaches about marriage:
Jesus said that in marriage, a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Thus marriage constitutes a unity like that of a living organism. It is not a union like that of a business partnership, for when a partnership is dissolved, the individuals once comprising it can go on their separate ways and be none the worse. But when the members of a living organism are separated, death comes to at least one of them.
Since marriage involves this kind of oneness between two people, it is obvious that the foundation of marriage must have permanence. The mere feeling of being in love is not capable of providing the necessary permanence, for no one can guarantee the permanence of a feeling any more than he can promise that he will never again have a headache.
To be sure, the feeling of being in love is a wonderful thing. It began as you each discovered qualities in the other that you admired. Then you made the momentous decision to regard these feelings of admiration as meaning that you were in love. And so you have come to the step which you are now taking.
Indeed, this feeling of being in love plays a wonderful role in your lives. Yet we must look beyond it in order to discover the true foundation of a Christian marriage. We find this foundation in God’s purpose which he made known through his Word. In God’s infinite wisdom and love, he has established marriage. And God’s Word and purpose, unlike our feelings, have permanence. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my Word shall not pass away,” says the Lord. Vows made merely on the basis of feelings would be a travesty. But vows made on the basis of what the God who cannot change has said and done are highly appropriate.
Life will bring its changes, and feelings can experience some valleys between the mountain peaks. But when marriage is entered into with the clear understanding that it is based on what God has done and not just feelings, then that marriage can grow and mature in terms of the love of him who came not to receive ministry but to minister.
And now, having considered what God’s Word teaches about marriage, we are ready for you to perform your vows …
Daniel P. Fuller
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