At weddings where I am the officiant, I usually open with this statement about marriage...
Marriage is the creation of God. It is the lifelong and exclusive bond between one man and one woman who vow to live together as husband and wife for the rest of their lives. It was established by God from the beginning for the first human couple and their descendants, as it says, (Genesis 2:24) "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."
Despite the rise and fall of civilizations, marriage has been held in high honor throughout all history and all cultures. In biblical revelation, both the prophets of the Old Testament and apostles of the New Testament affirm marriage to be a sacred bond. The Lord Jesus himself taught the highest standards regarding marriage and brought blessing and joy to a marriage celebration that he attended.
Why did God ordain marriage? God created the institution of marriage to display his glory and to bless us for our good. Marriage is for our good in that it brings us the blessing of companionship, intimacy and security, and – as the Lord wills – children to nurture and train for the good of succeeding generations. It is good for our world and for its welfare.
But ultimately marriage is not about us. It is designed to reveal the glory of God, as a way to display the beauty of his covenantal love. God makes promises and unites himself to people through his Son, Jesus Christ. His Son, Jesus Christ, is presented in the bible as a bride-groom who comes to earth to take us to himself. Christians are those who have responded in faith to God’s proposal and have committed themselves to Christ. And so we become recipients of his faithful, unending love. Every wedding celebration we attend in this life is a tiny picture of the great celebration coming for all those who belong to Christ. We are looking forward to, and are preparing for, that day when we will be with the Lord Jesus forever, with infinite joy in God’s household.
Marriage therefore is based upon a covenant. Our God is a God who makes and keeps his commitments. He vows his unending faithfulness and love to his people. God grants us the privilege to also make and keep covenants. The marriage covenant is a union of a man and woman who commit themselves unreservedly to each other. It is not just love that leads them to make these vows, but the vows themselves become the basis of continued love.
We have gathered together today to witness the vows of this couple...