I’ve had the privilege recently to officiate a couple of weddings. It’s one of those roles where people really won’t remember anything you say or do unless you mess up. THEN people remember. Anyways, I thought I’d share some of my notes from a recent wedding.
[Condensed and slightly edited speaking notes]
I just want to do two things today: Remind you of the beauty of marriage (Hint: it’s even better than the wedding), and offer a blessing for your union.
First: The Beauty of Marriage
Marriage is for intimacy.
The sharing of souls and dreams and flesh.
The first taste of summer.
Remember, marriage, the joining together of two unique persons, predates sin and exists beyond it. Marriage is NOT simply two wicked sinners scratching to eek out an existence together. That’s WAY TOO SMALL! It’s way too POST-fall and not enough POST-resurrection.
Marriage satisfied Adam and Eve. Marriage excites Jesus. The first marriage was designed by a loving Father, for joy and companionship. Closeness. It was good. The last marriage is a proclamation of Love’s victory and our salvation that echoes in eternal joy and companionship and glory.
The wedding supper of the LAMB.
A celebration such as the world has never seen.
“Happy are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!” (Rev 19:9)
Your marriage is an echo of that! That’s fantastic! In his book, Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson says this about salvation:
“The root meaning in Hebrew of ‘salvation’ is to be broad, to become spacious, to enlarge. It carries the sense of deliverance from an existence that has become compressed, confined, and cramped.”
Salvation allows for an ever-expanding vision. Salvation is not just a get out of jail free card. Marriage doesn’t save you. Of course it doesn’t. That’d be heretical and I’m too tired for that. I’m NOT saying marriage can save you. I AM saying that marriage can be a raw, earthy reminder of a fantastical, cosmic truth.
Two people, in a faithful and loving marriage, can show an existence and an intimacy that broadens over time, that becomes spacious, roomy, and secure. Marriage is the mysterious coming together of two people; the blending of heart and vessel and marrow. The tearing of the veil. Intimate.
Your marriage does NOT have to be a place where you become compressed, confined, and cramped. It can in fact become a place where you become more deeply known than you can even fathom. Deeply known. Fully loved. AND FREE. Show the world THAT.
Marriage is a beautiful thing. Marriage is a great gift, and we honor the Giver when we accept the gift with joy and excitement (AND A PARTY!). We honor him when we treasure each other, respect each other, serve each other, know each other. Yes, marriage is sometimes hard, and life is not all peaches and cream, but it really can be beautiful.
And number two, I’d like to offer a simple marriage blessing.
May your marriage be beautiful. May it remind you often that God gives good gifts. Very good gifts.
May you remember that God didn’t put Adam and Eve together to give them holiness, but a companion, a comrade, confidant, and friend.
May people look at your love and see that there is a God and he is awesome.
May you show the world – and the Church – that it’s not about submission or obedience or “who’s in charge.” That in your love and mutual submission, you will race each other to the bottom. And when you get to the bottom, may you find love, wholeness, joy, peace, and life. In other words, Jesus.
May you laugh often. At each other, with each other, because of each other.
And if and when God fills your home with children, may you sit around the table and laugh and laugh and laugh.
May you taste heaven when you taste each other.
And when you walk through the shadowlands, and you will walk through the shadowlands, may the One who led you together continue to lead you together.
He is the Creator of the soaring mountaintops and the scary valleys. May he sustain you and remind you.
May 2021 be the best year of your marriage. Until 2022. And may 2022 be the best year of your marriage. Until 2023.
May you experience the intense joy of being known, deeply, and the great honor of knowing another.
May your love, promised and given on this day, echo into eternity. May people hear your stories, witness your love, and say from now until forever, “Look at what the Lord has done!”
A Marriage Blessing originally appeared here.
Click here for more resources on Marriage.
To listen to part one of our three-part podcast on marriage, click here.
The initial quote about marriage being for intimacy comes from this article.
6 thoughts on “Marriage as confinement or freedom: notes from a wedding”
thank you brother for this timely piece. After almost 57 years our lives have slowed down and there is much water under this bridge. I needed to read your words today. Thank you.
I’m so glad these musings were a blessing…
Bless you, Jonathan, for sharing this at the wedding.
And for sharing it with me.
At my wedding years ago, the pastor highlighted submission for only one person.
You can guess where that led over time.
Your words are truth and I rejoiced reading them.
Sent from my iPhone
Oh, I am so sorry you were given that caustic submission-is-for-one message. All too often that terrible theology is used as a cover for abusive and manipulative behavior. Still, I am grateful these words brought some measure of encouragement…
This was lovely, thank you for sharing!
I’m so glad it was encouraging! — Jonathan