What I Meant When I Said I Do
One of my greatest honors is being asked to officiate a wedding. When a man and woman come together to make a commitment, something special happens. During the ceremony I feel transported back in time to the garden of Eden where God brought Adam and Eve together. Marriage was God's first order of business as soon as there was more than one human on earth.
We categorize the vows made at a wedding as a covenant. This word has lost much of its significance in today's culture. These days covenants are the papers we sign with our HOA to keep up the neighborhood landscape standards. Let's explore the ancient meaning of the word covenant.
In Genesis chapter 15 we see God forge a covenant with Abram (later known as Abraham). He asked Abram to cut up several animals typically used in ceremonial sacrifice, but to lay them on the ground with an aisle separating the pieces. God then took the form of a torch and passed down the aisle.
This was a symbolic ritual that kings would perform when making a peace treaty or covenant. Both kings would walk down the aisle, meaning the penalty for breaking the commitment would be a death just like the animal pieces around them.
Although this seems strange to us, Abram knew good and well what was taking place. Normally both parties would walk the aisle, but in this covenant only God went between the pieces. This meant God himself would ultimately pay the penalty for Abram and his descendants when they broke the covenant commitments.
What we learn about God's devotion to us is he loves us when we don't love him. He welcomes us when we reject him. He accepts us when we betray him.
Now think about the vows spoken at a wedding. A true covenant between husband and wife is to love each other the way God loves us. On November 12, 2010 Erica and I said "I do". What we meant was...
I do, even if you don't. I do, even when you won't.
It's not holding grudges. It's being generous with second chances. It's not assuming the worst. It's believing the best. It's more than falling in love. It's choosing to love.
PS - Abuse, abandonment, and infidelity are tough to work through. If your marriage is going through something like this, I'd love to help. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org