I'll be officiating a wedding this weekend. I absolutely love how the traditional service begins because it talks about the beauty and wonder of the institution of marriage. I post here because of its grandeur and because our culture, which essentially hates marriage, needs to hear it:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the presence of God and these witnesses to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony.
God himself instituted marriage at the beginning in the Garden of Eden, before sin entered the world. He said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him." Thereupon God created woman of man's own substance and brought her to the man.
Our Lord Jesus Christ honored marriage by his presence and first miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. And he confirmed it as a divine ordinance and as a union not to be severed when he declared, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and the two shall become one flesh'? Wherefore they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
Moreover, the Holy Spirit sets forth the sacred and exalted nature of marriage when he likens it to the mystical union that exists between Christ and his redeemed bride, the church, saying, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
Accordingly, God has designed marriage for the enrichment of the lives of those who enter into this estate, for the orderly propagation of the human race, for the generation of a holy seed, and for the avoidance of sexual immorality, all to the glory of the covenant God.
Husbands and wives thus have responsibilities befitting God's purposes for their relationship. The Holy Scripture says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for [her]." The husband is to love his wife as his own body, to care for her, and to cherish her.
The Holy Scripture says also, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." The wife is to submit to her husband, to respect him, and to entrust herself to his loving care. Both husbands and wives are to be faithful to each other, to assist each other in all good things, to heartily forgive each other their sins and shortcomings, and to love each other as themselves. Thus united in love, they will more and more reflect in their marriage the unity of Christ and his church.
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