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Monday, 14 November 2016

Marriage!

On Saturday, my wife and I were privileged to be present at the marriage of two lovely young disciples of Jesus, to one another.  It was, of course, a French wedding - the third that we have attended during this calendar year.  With more than 46 years of marriage behind my wife and me, I have a more than passing interest in the institution of marriage, and want to share some thoughts on the subject, here.

Marriage, as I shared in the Christian Marriage Service that I conducted in my days as a parish minister, "... is a state of life provided and instituted by God. It has been blessed by the presence of Jesus Himself at the marriage in 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 is, therefore, not to be undertaken lightly or unadvisedly, but thoughtfully and reverently, and as before God, and with due consideration of the reasons for which it was given to us.  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 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 only be strong and happy where the marriage commitment is kept and honoured."

It is, to me, a matter of great sadness when couples who have entered into such a union decide, for whatever reason, to break it.  Especially in a Christian marriage, the union is a covenant relationship that includes Father God - and only He can break such a union (which He does by the death of one of the couple).  This is why, the immediate words following the exchanging of vows, and rings, are: "What God has joined together, man must not separate."

An illustration that I have used for years was, not too long ago, expanded by a friend.  It concerns what I refer to as "the eternal triangle".  That is, in secular terms, a reference to "husband, wife, and the other man/woman".  However, I think of it as the husband, the wife, and Father God.  Imagine the triangle standing on its base. The couple are at opposite ends of that base-line.  Father God is at the apex, and the other two sides of the triangle connect Him with the husband and wife.  If, at any time, there should be a crack in the base-line, then as long as the other two sides remain intact - in other words, as long as each spouse maintains their relationship with God - the triangle will stand upright, allowing time for the crack in the base-line to repair.  It is only when one of the sides is broken that the whole edifice comes crashing down!

That was as far as I used to go.  However, a friend who was in a group with which I was sharing that, added to it. She pointed out that, if the couple each move up "their" side then, as they draw closer to God, they also draw closer to one another!  I love that extra dimension to the picture.  It is, I believe, the secret of a truly happy marriage.

My young friends who were married to one another on Saturday, both love the Lord, and each loves the other.  It is my prayer for them that, as they live their lives for Him, so they will indeed be drawn ever closer to Him, and to one another, and be a shining example to all who know them, of what a truly Christian marriage can be like.

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