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Friday, 28 November 2014


Marriage is in the air!  In the past couple of weeks, we have attended the Christian wedding of the daughter of good friends; three of my former pupils have been married (two of them to each other!); and I read about a couple, Mr and Mrs Chand, who have just celebrated their 89th wedding anniversary!  That makes my wife and me, after a mere 44 years, still 'learners'!  By the way, the photograph that accompanied the newspaper article suggests that they are a very happy couple - and could still have a few years to go!  Next week, we attend another Christian wedding in Aberdeen, and next spring I know that another of my pupils is being married, and a couple of Christian friends will also be "tying the knot"!

So what is this marriage business?  I think that it was Groucho Marx who stated that "Marriage is a great institution ..." but went on to ask "... but who wants to live in an institution?"  Mae West, I believe, made a similar comment.  Of course, in a number of countries, marriage has been redefined - almost to the point of allowing it to mean whatever someone wants it to mean.  One report that I did not mention above, was of a man who, allegedly, was 'married' to a tree!

"Marriage," I used to say, "is a state of life provided and initiated by God.  It has been blessed by the presence of Jesus Himself at the marriage is Cana of Galilee.  In Holy Scripture it is commended as honourable in all, and the marriage union is seen as a symbol of the union of loyalty and love that exists between Christ and His people.  ... ... ...
"It was given for the sake of the life-long companionship, help, and comfort that husband and wife ought to have of each other.
"It was given so that family life may continue, and that children, who are a gift from God, may be brought up in the love and security of a stable and happy home.
"It was given for the welfare of human society, which can be strong and happy only where the marriage commitment is kept and honoured."

Now, of course, the marriage service that I conducted was much more than those words - but those are the words that provide the basis of marriage - certainly from a Christian point of view.   I would sometimes point out that a truly Christian marriage is like a triangle.  The base line of that triangle joins the husband and the wife.  One side joins the Lord to the husband; the other side joins the Lord to the wife.  Now, in any marriage, there will be - especially in the early years as the couple learn to adjust to, and live with, one another - difficulties.  That base line may sometimes crack.  However, as long as the sides remain strong, the triangle stands.  It is only if one, or both, of the sides fractures, that the triangle collapses.

What I am saying is that a solid relationship with the Lord, while not offering a 100% guarantee, will increase the possibility of a strong, stable, marriage that is honouring to Him.   What I am not saying is that only truly Christian marriages can last - the Chands are proof of that!

I do pray for the couples of whose marriage plans I am aware.  None of us may have a marriage that lasts as long as the Chands (death usually takes one partner before the other), but all of us who are married are able to work at our marriages and, with God's help, to make them a good example to those around us.  In our current 'western' society, such examples are needed!

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