These days some people are afraid of it. In fact there is a name for fear of marriage:
According to www.fearof.net (a compendium of phobias),
psychological and emotional symptoms at the thought or subject of marriage/commitment:
Psychological symptoms include:
• Feeling of dread or terror at the thought of marriage.
• The person goes to great lengths to avoid the topic. S/he may experience uncontrollable anxiety that makes it difficult for the person to function normally.
• The individual understands that such fear is irrational but is powerless to control it.
• Really bad thoughts, movie stills or negative images are likely.
• Feeling of losing control or going crazy are also experienced by Gamophobes.
Physical symptoms of the fear of commitment are:
• Rapid heart rate
• chest pain, dizziness, fainting
• Sweating, shortness of breath
I hope no one here today is suffering any of these symptoms.
A fear of marriage is, to me, frightening.
Have you ever met someone who was afraid of the dark, or spiders, or snakes? Have you ever told them all the reasons their fear is rational and right? And then told them, “Don’t be afraid”
Maybe we should take marriage seriously, and the Bible is pretty clear about that.
This is why during the invocation the traditional statement for the pastor to make is ‘this should not be entered into lightly”.
There is another fear I recently read about
Paledephobia-the fear of bald people.
I’m also hoping no one here suffers from this fear, otherwise this whole evening may be a terrifying experience for you.
Many people today seem to be afraid of marriage.
According to http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Marriage_and_divorce_statistics
“Since 1965, the crude marriage rate in the EU-28 has declined by close to 50 % in relative terms (from 7.8 per 1 000 persons in 1965 to 4.2 in 2011). At the same time, the crude divorce rate increased from 0.8 per 1 000 persons in 1965 to 2.0 in 2011.”
In the EU-28 as a whole, some 40 % of children were born outside marriage in 2012, while the corresponding figure for 2000 was 27.3 % (see Table 3). Extra-marital births increased in almost every Member State in the EU-28 during 2012 as compared with 2011, with the exception of Estonia. In seven Member States the majority of live births were outside marriage
For those who don’t like doing math, that is an increase of births outside of marriage of 68% from 2000 to 2012, and the rates have continued to increase
The rates in Europe are reflected throughout the world. This is a world-wide trend.
Yes. This is a wedding and I’m talking about how marriage is disappearing throughout the world.
Many people are avoiding marriage. It seems they are afraid.
The Bible does not paint an image of marriage that is all positive, but it is an image of hope and potential beauty which transcends sufficiently to quell the palpitations of a doubtful heart.
Today I’d like to look at 5 Weddings.
There are many marriages in the Bible-dozens. We may immediately think of several, Adam & Eve, Noah and . . . Mrs. Noah, Abraham & Sarah, Isaac & Rebecca, and so on. These names conjure in the minds of people familiar with the biblical narrative images of common marriages, each with its ups and downs, its strengths & challenges. There are also notorious marriages like Jezebel & Ahab, or Ananias and Sephira. And, there are blessed marriages, like Mary & Joseph, Priscilla & Aquilla
There are dozens more marriages described in the Bible,
But there are only 5 weddings.
I think we can learn from each of them and all of them together what the Bible has to say about weddings in particular, and marriages in general.
Those 5 weddings are:
Adam weds Eve
Jacob weds Leah/Rachel
Solomon weds the Shunamite woman (no other name is given)
Someone weds Somebody at Cana
Jesus weds the Church
If you are already familiar with each of these you may realize 4 out of 5 of them are cautionary tales-each with a warning to all of us as we approach marriage.
One of them is the ideal toward which the Bible invites us to strive.
Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
A wedding can be perfect, and still end up in a destructive marriage
This may not look like a wedding but it is. The first wedding. And God was the Witness & Priest, the both Father of the Bride & Father of the Groom
Adam & Eve were made without fault and placed in a perfect environment. They had a flawless lineage. Yet, they disregarded God’s very simple commandment. They embraced what He had told them to avoid. They, thereby, brought sin into the world. The beginning of a thing is not a guarantee of how it will turn out. We mave to be vigilant
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
The story of Adam & Eve is a cautionary tale-a warning that high hopes and expectations do not always result in paradise. We must live our life well every day and avoid those decisions that lead to destruction.
The first wedding in the Bible teaches us a sobering lesson
1. The wedding may be perfect, but that is no guarantee of a perfect marriage. We have to make right choices throughout life.
According to US Census data
Between 1996 and 2008–2012, the proportion of adults who had never married increased, from 31 percent to 34 percent for men and from 24 percent to 28 percent for women . . . Although this increase is observed across all age groups
except adults aged 70 and over, it is largest among those aged 25 to 29. For men of this age, the proportion never married grew about 14 percentage points, from
49 percent in 1996 to 63 percent. For women aged 25 to 29, those never married increased from 35 percent to 52 percent.
People seem to be increasingly afraid of marriage.
But the first wedding also teaches us that God created us for the union of marriage, He brought the first couple together, and He has been bringing them together ever since.
Laban gives Leah instead of Rachel
20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
21 Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to make love to her.”
22 So Laban brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast. 23 But when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her. 24 And Laban gave his servant Zilpah to his daughter as her attendant.
25 When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”
LESSON 2. A wedding can be a deceptive union with unexpected consequences
Jacob loved Rachel. Working seven years to get Rachel seemed like a few days for him. But Rachel’s family got involved in the marriage and made what should have been the happiest of Jacobs life a harbinger of troubles to come.
According to the Times of India, December 27, just two weeks ago
Police have arrested Umesh Yadav as a suspect in the murder of his wife, Sunita.
The article reads:
The complainant said late last night they received a phone call from the accused Umesh Yadav that Sunita consumed poison.
The victim's family members rushed to the her in-laws' place and found her dead. They were surprised to find that all other members of the family including Umesh Yadav were absconding after the incident.
Suspecting foul play they lodged dowry and murder case against her husband Umesh Yadav and other members. The police said that they have registered a case under dowry act and murder against the deceased husband and other members of the family.
I’m an American. I confess I’ve never understood the dowry system in India. It seems to me if a lady is worth marrying the husband to be should be willing to pay any price to get her, like Jacob, giving seven years of his life, then seven years more. But whatever the case, marriage is the last place such things should become an issue. Marriage is a challenge no matter what. No interference from the parents of the bride or groom should conspire to make it even more of a challenge.
Someone said marriage is a 3-ring circus
You have to figure out if that’s talking from the man’s perspective or the lady’s.
We’ve looked at two weddings: Adam & Eve,
Which taught us that even a perfect wedding of a perfect couple from a perfect family doesn’t guarantee a perfect marriage.
Jacob and Rachel, from whom we were warned that parents families of the spouses can have a terrible negative impact on marriage
and now, we turn to one marriage among many in Solomon’s life.
Song of Songs of Solomon 3 11
Go out, O daughters of Zion,
and look upon King Solomon,
with the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
on the day of the gladness of his heart.
I love this little snipped from the Song of Songs of Solomon . . . Today it is popular for the bride to wear a tiara, but for Solomon’s wedding, he wore the crown, the crown his mom gave him. Last week I sang at a wedding, where the speaker built a beautiful message around this idea of the crown.
Solomon later wrote:
Proverbs 12:4 A woman of noble character is a crown to her husband
Though he wore a crown to his own wedding he seems to have understood that crown wasn’t important. It was the crown of a virtuous woman that makes a man truly a king.
Unfortunately, I think there is another cautionary tale in this wedding. It is passionate, and the couple is clearly in love and longing for each other. Yet, this marriage was not exclusive. Solomon may have favored this unnamed Shulamite woman.
LESSON 3. A wedding can be one among many
A few months ago Times of India published a list of Telugu actors who have divorced and remarried. . . the list includes NT Rama Rao, Sarath Babu, & Tiger Prabhakar
But these folks have nothing on Solmon. He never divorced as far as we know, but he set the world wide, maybe history wide record for remarriage. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
The Song of Solomon is a beautiful work of poetry, and I’m glad it’s in the Bible. It presents a vision of marriage that is intensely passionate and idealistic. It also is in a context that makes the whole of WEDDING 3 seem to be a temporary flash at best. The Shulamite woman is mentioned nowhere else in Scripture.
Solomon, clearly, was not afraid of marriage.
It seems Jesus was not afraid of marriage. He, in fact, attended a wedding with His disciples
John 2, tells us Jesus attends a wedding where they run out of wine
LESSON 4. A wedding can reveal the deficiencies of our provision and plans
Someone said before marriage a man yearns for the woman he loves. After marriage the Y becomes silent.
Gratefully, today we are taking part in a marriage that is well planned and provided for. But the families in the wedding at Cana were clearly not prepared for this festive day. God graciously intervened. How can we be sure that we are properly prepared for this institution called marriage? I think the wedding at Cana points us to the best preparation for the marriage, a healthy relationship with Jesus.
I’d like to suggest we see this answer in WEDDING 5 – the last wedding of all
5:32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
This is a favorite passage for weddings. In fact I’ve preached from this passage several times. What’s interesting is Paul tells us he’s not really talking about mere human marriage. He’s talking about something sublime. Human marriage can and should reflect a higher eternal marriage between Christ and His Church
Revelation 21 or 22
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
9 Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
Here is a paradox
We, the Church, are betrothed to Jesus. And we are all invited to the Wedding
We are invited to the joy of being the wedding couple and the joy of being the attendants at the wedding. We see here, the image of marriage. Jesus loves us so much He died so we could live with Him for eternity. It seems to me the Church is VERY imperfect. Yet Jesus loves us.
So, most of the load of instruction for marriage is laid on the husband. He is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. I think this, really, is the solution to the problems suggested in all the other weddings in the Bible.
Human relationships are complicated and difficult. They also can be fantastically rewarding and fruitful. If we want to know the blessings of a fruitful life, bearing and raising children, giving of ourselves to make the world a better place, we cannot be afraid of those relationships that are designed by God to bring life to this world. The problem of marriage is people. The solution in marriage is people learning to love.
Last week I met a lady named Saphia Miraz at a wedding. She told the story of her own marriage. She was a Muslim, and had come to faith in Christ. There was great tension between her and her husband. She had a prayer partner who was trying to help her work through the problems of her marriage. Saphia prayed with her “Lord, please let one drop of the love of Jesus pour into my husband’s heart for me”. Her friend interrupted her prayer. She said “you should not pray that prayer. You have it backwards. Instead, pray that Jesus would give you some of His love for your husband”. She did. Her friend suggested to Saphia that she should try hard to think of something good about her husband, any time she was angry. She did. When they had an argument, she would think “I like the after shave he wears”. When she was frustrated she would think “I like the shirt he is wearing”. Over the next week the LORD filled her with a love for her husband that was heavenly. That was a turning point in their lives. He came to faith in Christ. Today they serve the Lord together.
One drop of the love of Jesus. It is love that draws us together. I suggest it is love that gives us life. Love makes marriage everything God intended it to be.
Love never fails.
The weddings in the Bible teach us lessons
Adam Weds Eve teach us the perfect couple and perfect environment won’t make a perfect marriage.
Jacob Weds Rachel teaches us in-laws need to avoid making marriage more difficult.
Solomon Weds the Shunamite woman teaches us to avoid serial marriages
The wedding at Cana (who wed who? We don’t know) teaches us our provision for marriage is in Christ and
The final WEDDING teaches us
Love each other. Merely love each other and you will have nothing to fear.
One final thought. The Bible begins with a wedding and ends with a wedding. Marriage has been with us since the beginning of humanity, and it will be the initiation of our life in eternity.