Mitch and Kelly, believe it or not, the day has finally arrived. The day which you have been preparing for, looking forward to, is now here. I have one piece of advice for you: Be careful where you build your house.
I’m sure you are wondering what I mean by be careful where you build your house. Maybe this will help you understand.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” –Matthew 7:24-27
Think for a moment of kids playing at the beach. After splashing in the ocean, they go back up to the beach and sit with their buckets and shovels and make sandcastles. But right when they are about ready to put the finishing touches on the sandcastle, the waves would come up and knock down what they had worked so hard to build.
So it is with your marriage. You and Mitch have gone to great lengths to ensure that this marriage will last. You’ve gone through premarital counseling. You have both committed to each other that this is what you eagerly desire, to become husband and wife. But let me tell you, the waves will come and they will hit your house.
There has never been and never will be a storybook marriage. They do not exist. You can try to make a storybook marriage, but I guarantee you that life together won’t always be “and they lived happily ever after.” Why is that?
Our first parents, the first wedding couple experienced what could have been the storybook marriage. But something changed that. Satan entered the marriage and it crumbled. No, it wasn’t the marriage between Adam and Eve that crumbled; it was the marriage between Adam, Eve and Christ.
I’m sure you’ve heard before that marriage is a give and take relationship, that you enter into it 50/50. I’m here to tell you that is wrong. Marriage is not 50/50; 50/50 means that you’re only investing half of yourself into the marriage. Marriage for the Christian is 100/100/100. It is 100% husband, 100% wife, 100% Christ.
Here you stand before God today asking Him to bless your marriage. Christ will indeed bless your marriage. Through your union as husband and wife through Christ, He will strengthen and keep your marriage. Why is that? It is because of the love and the faithfulness that Christ has in His bride, the Church, which you are a part of.
You will always have love for one another, though at times you may not like each other. You may say words which you do not mean. You will probably say things which you would give anything to take back. You may even be tempted at times to say “I don’t want to do this anymore.” Remember how Christ loves the Church, how Christ loves both of you.
Forgiveness is the key to a healthy marriage. Always reflect on the love of Christ for His bride. Christ made the ultimate act of forgiveness when He sacrificed Himself for the sins of the world, including the two of you. In turn, you too should forgive the sins of each other and be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the other, just as Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”
Mitch, heed these words from Martin Luther. Understand fully what it is you are receiving this day: a gift. “A good wife is not found accidentally and without divine guidance. On the contrary, she is a gift of God and does not come, as the heathen imagine, in answer to our planning and judging.” Take this gift in Kelly, love her, comfort her, honor her, and keep her in sickness and in health and, forsaking all others, be husband to her as long as you both shall live.
Kelly, I have no words of wisdom from Luther regarding a husband and him being a gift. However, that doesn’t make Mitch any less of a gift of God for you. Take this gift in Mitch, love him, comfort him, honor him, obey him, and keep him in sickness and in health and forsaking all others, be wife to him as long as you both shall live.
The vows that you make to each other are not only to each other but also to God. They are more than just mere words. They are a covenant which you make, a covenant which is sealed with God’s blessing. Combined with Christ, they take the two of you, separate and distinct, and make one flesh.
Mitch and Kelly, I leave you with these words from the author of the book of Hebrews: “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” You have been careful where you have built your house. You have built it in the Church, the Church which God has sent His Son to redeem. May God bless this house which you have built. The almighty and gracious God abundantly grant you His favor and sanctify and bless you with the blessing given our first parents in paradise that you may please Him in both body and soul and live together in holy love until your life’s end. Amen.