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I Do

There are many variations on wedding ceremonies, and much of it is strictly a matter of preference.  The ceremonies are all very nice, but the resultant marriage is far more important than the particulars of the ceremony.  It is God who makes the marriage.  “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matt. 19:6)

This union is made by God, but it is not forced by Him.  A man and a woman voluntarily enter into the covenant of marriage.  Common to most weddings is the question that is asked of the man, “Do you take this woman for your lawfully wedded wife?”  Likewise the woman is asked, “Do you take this man for your lawfully wedded husband?”  In response, the man and the woman each answer, “I do.”

These two little words, “I do,” initiate a life-long commitment.  They constitute a vow made toward one another in the sight of God.  Keeping this vow therefore becomes not only a matter of love and respect between the spouses, but also a matter of reverence toward God.  Keeping vows of any kind is a matter for which we will be judged.  Therefore, “I do” must not be taken lightly just because of its brevity.

It is necessary for a husband and a wife to understand the depth of saying “I do.”  Saying “I do” is not just consenting to live with the other person.  It is to say, “I do commit to be a husband to this woman,” or, “I do commit to be a wife to this man.”  It means to be a husband or a wife as God intended for husbands and wives to be.

And being a husband or a wife is indeed something that one does, not just something that one is.  “I do” is active, not passive.  This is where many marriages begin to go wrong.  Too much emphasis is put in the beginning on the wedding ceremony, and then no attention is given to the marriage thereafter.  It becomes marital “cruise control” until the marriage becomes a wreck.

Husbands are given this instruction: “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” (Eph. 5:28-29)  Even as one’s own body requires constant nourishing and cherishing, so also a husband must be constantly active in nourishing and cherishing his wife.

Wives are to be instructed as follows: “…encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:4-5)  All of these things require concerted effort and cannot be accomplished by chance.

Therefore, husbands and wives, do not take your marital vows lightly.  Those who realize their responsibilities to be conscientious husbands and wives will benefits their spouses, their children, and themselves.  “Let marriage be held in honor among all…”  (Heb. 13:4)
 
Stacey E. Durham



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