My husband and I got married at age 16 and 17. We had not.one.clue. what that truly meant, much less the heart of God behind it. Neither one us even had a personal relationship with the Lord at that time and would not for several years to come.
We were married by a judge and our mothers were the only ones present, as we needed their consent due to our young age. One of my memories from that ceremony was that the judge asked if we wanted the short or long version of the vows. I remember immediately opting for the short version, thank you very much. Ha! I just wanted to be married to this guy next to me and wasn't thinking of anything else but him and our new life together.
You see, we were expecting our first daughter eight months later and I was so excited about being a mom and wife,
that I did not take into consideration the gravity of the vows I so flippantly recited...just so I would be “legally” wed
to the love of my life.
It wasn't until 17 years later that the vows we recited would be tested beyond anything I would have imagined that
day. Those vows included myself, my husband and the Lord. This is what I believe. I believe God was present that
day. I believe that because we invited Him to be in those vows, albeit abbreviated they were still vows we made to
Him and in His presence. He did NOT take them lightly.
I also believe that even though neither one of us had a personal relationship with God, He knew us from our
mother's womb, He's the One who created us. Psalm 139 I also know He loved us, even though at that time we
were still at enmity with Him. Amazing. How do I know this? His Word tells us! Romans 5:8. By year 17 of our marriage, my husband and I had developed a personal relationship with the Lord. That relationship with the Lord is why we just celebrated 47 years of marriage. God upheld His part of the “bargain” that day with those two lost teenagers who did not know Him or His love in a real way. It was our turn to oblige and do the same seventeen years later.
This leads me to the reason. The reason for marriage, based on my understanding of the scriptures. When faced
with a crisis, we are faced with choices. Choices in turn, will be based on what we believe. What we believe will be
tested against our feelings and our circumstances. Will we be able to choose what we believe over what our feelings
and our circumstances are telling us?
Who or what we listen to during that time changes EVERYTHING. Henry Blackaby describes it as a “Crisis of
Belief.” In his study “Experiencing God” Blackaby says that what we do next reveals what we really believe about
God. If you have never gone through this study, it is one I would highly recommend. So, it was our turn in year seventeen of our marriage to decide what we believed about God in our situation. He had been faithful to us, were we going to remain faithful to Him? During that time the Lord really allowed us to experience what He truly meant regarding His reason for the marriage covenant.
Genesis 2:21-24 NASB says So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took
one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He
had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “At last this is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called 'woman' because she was taken out of man.'' For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:21-24 is an illustration of the covenant of marriage that takes place between us and with God, with verse 24 explaining the reason. Marriage is intended to be a living testimony of God's covenant with His church.
His church being the bride (us) and Christ being the husband. This is why it is so vital that our marriages give an
accurate example of Christ and the church to a dead and dying world without him. That's a heavy thought. A heavy responsibility. But God did not leave us without instruction and He sure didn't leave us on our own when the task He has called us to seems insurmountable, as illustrated in Ephesians 5:22-33. Verse 32 even says ...This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church. Then vs 33 ends the chapter with these words:
Nevertheless, as for you individually, each husband is to love his own wife the same as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband. How are we representing Christ and His church to those around us? Would they see sacrificial love and respect for each other? It's hard. It's hard even with the Lord as our guide. BUT, not impossible. What is impossible with man, is possible with God. Luke 18:27 ESV My prayer for us all is that we as husbands and wives pursue a greater witness to the world through our covenant relationship of marriage so that we represent His love in such a way that they can't help but pursue Him themselves. Amen.
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