BLOGWORDS – 27 March 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – GENE WHITEHEAD
NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – GENE WHITEHEAD
The Promise of a Lifetime
Throughout history, there are a few traditions that are common to just about every civilization. Though the ceremonies and customs may be extremely different, countless cultures around the world embrace some kind of wedding tradition.
It dates back beyond the Greek and Roman Empires, was before the ancient Eastern Asian civilizations. The deepest roots of weddings and marriage are actually found in the Garden of Eden.
The First Wedding
Very early in Scripture, in Genesis 2:18-25, we not only find the first marriage, but also God’s intended design for marriage and the very principles that instruct us on how to honor God through marriage.
I don’t know how much time transpired between Adam’s creation and Genesis 2:18, but some scholars suggest that God allowed that time for Adam to be alone so that he would recognize that he needed companionship.
That companionship is the illustration of a God honoring marriage. As Genesis 2 points out, a marriage that honors the Lord is one where the man and woman are joined together, outside of the governing rule of either set of parents. That doesn’t mean that a man can’t seek Godly counsel from his parents if they are Godly parents, but ultimately the responsibility to lead a marriage falls on the husband. Verse 24 of Genesis 2 illustrates that saying, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh.”
Backing up to verse 23 though shows us the very first wedding vows as Adam proclaims that his companion is “bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh.” It doesn’t get more intimate than that.
The Modern Wedding
There is no doubt that mankind has come up with some absolutely weird wedding day customs throughout the centuries. Here’s a few:
- In England, it was good luck if a bride kissed a chimney sweep on her wedding day because he had special powers that swept away evil spirits.
- Egyptian women pinch the newly married bride to bring good luck to themselves.
- Korean grooms ask a happily married friend to make 2 wooden ducks for his wedding day because ducks will mate for life.
- In Scotland, it’s unlucky to wear green or to eat green vegetables at a wedding because green is the color of fairies and the color of revenge.
That’s just a sample. There is no shortage of customs and traditions that would make you laugh, wonder, or scratch your head in amazement!
How about the modern wedding in the Western world? We also have some things that seem to be adding to the long list of wedding traditions.
We’ve coined phrases like bridezilla to represent a particularly difficult to satisfy bride. We not only send wedding invitations out, but now we send out pre-invitations that we call “save the date.” The focus seems to be on drawing the largest crowds to our wedding celebrations.
In modern weddings, we spend months and sometimes even years and unprecedented dollars on planning the big day. The danger in that is that we are putting far too much focus on the sprint of the wedding day, losing sight of the marathon of a lifelong marriage.
The Promise of a Lifetime
My wife and I were married young. Probably too young. She was 17 and I was 19. Statistically speaking, we should have called it quits long before now.
We celebrated our 25th Anniversary not even 90 days ago as I write this. While there’s a good level of satisfaction at having beat the odds, we also acknowledge that it wasn’t easy. [rem: Congratulations to you both!]
In my experience, my counsel to those who are going to be married are to make the promise of a lifetime. I don’t paint an unrealistic picture of a “happily ever after” wedding and marriage. Things go wrong. Sometimes they even go wrong on wedding days. But when the focus is on the promise of a lifetime, the little things don’t carry as much weight.
Sometimes, even frequently, things go wrong long after the big celebration. There will come a time when almost every married couple won’t like each other. There were times when my wife and I couldn’t stand being in the same room together. We almost walked away from it all.
Those are the seasons that quite honestly make or break a marriage. This is when the promise of a lifetime, when the rubber on the tires of “for better or worse” meet the road.
And without the design of the God honoring marriage, this is the breaking point for many couples.
The Big Picture
The celebration of the wedding day is a day to honor marriage. It’s an important part of the much larger illustration of our relationship with God that marriage provides.
The big picture is that marriage is the earthly image of the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s why we see Christ referred to as the Bridegroom and His church as the Bride.
On the wedding day, a man and his wife become one flesh, just as we become one with our Lord and Savior (1 Corinthians 6:17). Just as a wife is to be led by her husband, Christ leads His church. And as a husband is called to sacrificially love his wife, Christ gave His all for the church in His love.
Marriage is hard work. It’s sacrificial in nature, and it’s absolutely rewarding while sometimes excruciatingly painful. The wedding day is an important part of the total package, but it’s the marriage that is the promise of a lifetime.
Gene Whitehead ditched his first career in order to serve people and share hope. His passion is to help people embrace Christ and apply Scripture to their life, something Gene calls Simple Theology for a Messy Life. You can read about that and download his free eBook, The Armor of God at genewhitehead.com.