This bench sign is located on one of the busier roads of the town I live in. I don’t know Jason and I don’t know Bridget but I’m sure there’s a story there and I hope to hear it some day. What I do know is marriage. I’ve performed my share of weddings. I’ve also taken approximately the same amount of couples through pre-marital counseling. (I wasn’t too far along in ministry before I realized that since marriage is more important than the wedding, I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by performing a wedding ceremony if I wasn’t also doing my part to prepare them for marriage).
Anyway, the sign made me smile and then it made me think about why people still bother to get married—because obviously many still do. After all, with all of our 21st century enlightenment and liberation, why bother with something so antiquated and obviously out of step with the times? Surveys tell us that more and more couples are choosing to live together rather than marry. Is marriage still around because of the legal/financial entitlements it brings?
I wouldn’t discount that but I wouldn’t oversell it either. After all, it seems to me that most people don’t find out about the majority of those things until after they’re married. No, I think there’s more to it than that. People get married because that’s been the way of doing things since time began. They get married because putting a ring on each other’s finger and exchanging vows in front of friends, family and God brings the right amount of recognition and reverence to a holy moment. They get married because of the stability it brings to them and the children they will have. They get married because they want to make a lifetime commitment to the one they love.
God knew what He was doing when He blessed Adam and Eve with marriage.
That’s because before He blessed them with marriage, He made them for marriage. He created woman out of the man that He might bring them back together in marriage. He made two out of one that He could make one of out two. That’s why people get married—it answers to something that is deep within us, something our Creator put there. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife,” (Genesis 2:24). Marriage is more than a good thing—it’s God’s thing.
But marriage is about more than man and a woman, it’s also about God. God is relational. He exists as the Father, Son, and Spirit—the Godhead. Both man and woman are made to image Him (5:1-2), and the oneness and intimacy of marriage is meant to teach us something of the oneness and intimacy of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Marriage doesn’t need us nearly as much as we need marriage.