Summary: A wedding sermon for a young couple just out of college. I used a dual text, Genesis 2:18-24 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
Justin and Amanda, here you are, standing in front of this altar, surrounded by your family and friends, ready to make your vows as husband and wife. All the planning, all the phone calls, little details you have had to prepare for, it’s all over, and here you are. Your wedding day. It’s my hope and prayer that it’s exactly what you have dreamed of. But, with as many preparations that couples make for their wedding day, I always stress that it’s even more important to prepare for your marriage, which begins today. So before you exchange your vows in the presence of God, myself, and those who are here today, I want to share with you why what you’re doing today is so special, and what you’ll be promising to do in a few moments.
In our Old Testament Reading for today, we’ve been taken back to the Garden of Eden, creation, literally paradise on earth. Adam’s been created. All the birds of the air and beats of the field are there, but there’s something missing. We’re told “for Adam, no suitable helper was found.” I can just picture the scene in my mind. God’s bringing all the animals to Adam, and he’s giving them their names: “Mr. and Mrs. Lion, Mr. and Mrs. Horse” and so on, eventually, Adam’s going to get the picture that something’s different. What kind of feelings do you think Adam might have?
Well, God sees this happening, and he notices that Adam doesn’t have a suitable helper. But, instead of just watching this unfold and do nothing, he says “It’s not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him.” God then puts Adam to sleep, takes one of his ribs, closes up the place with flesh, and creates a woman. When Adam wakes up, God presents Adam with his custom-made bride. No doubt, a moment Adam cherished for the rest of his life. Probably many of the same emotions that you had, Justin, when you saw Amanda walk up the aisle here a few moments ago to become your bride, were going through Adam’s mind as well. But did you hear Adam’s response? He says “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman for she was taken out of the man.” The reading ends with the statement: “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
Today, Justin and Amanda, the two of you are seeing one life end, and a new life begin. Today, you are no longer a pair of “I”’s, two individuals who will look out for the best interests of yourselves, but you are becoming a “we” you are becoming one. Now remember, this all happened before the fall into sin, so God’s original mathematical equation for marriage was one man + one woman = one flesh. Starting today, the two of you are given the task of looking out for the best interests of each other.
But how will you do that you ask? Especially since sin is a reality, and distorts our relationships, both our relationship with God, and our relationship with each other. Our marriages are not immune to that. You heard of what true love is all about in the reading from 1 Corinthians 13. You heard that real love is patient and kind, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, and endures all things. You also heard what love is not: arrogant, rude, insisting on its own way, irritable, resentful, or rejoices at wrongdoing. That’s quite a description of what love is and is not. And it’s rather fitting when you consider today is your wedding day, and “love is in the air.”
Justin and Amanda, as easy as it is to stand here, and love each other on this, your wedding day, it’s not always going to be this easy. Justin, there’s going to come a time where there’s something Amanda said that is going to upset you. Maybe you had expectations coming into your marriage of what her role is supposed to be, and you don’t see her filling one of them. It’s going to be easy to be resentful. And Amanda, there’s going to be a day where you’re going to wonder about your husband if he really listens to you, or if he really knows where the dirty clothes hamper is, or why he complains when you ask him to help around the house. At times like that, it’s going to be easy to resent each other, and not have the same kind of emotional feelings for your spouse as you do today.
There’s a story that the Pastor who officiated at my wedding nearly three years ago told that fits this situation here. A husband and wife, who had been married for several years, got into an argument over something, and stopped speaking to each other for a few days. Now the husband had to go on a rather important business trip, but not wanting to break the silence, he wrote her a note, saying “I need to catch a flight in the morning, please wake me up at 5 a.m.” The next morning, he woke up at 9, his flight long since departed. Wondering why his wife didn’t wake him, up, he angrily got out of bed to look for her when he saw a note on the bedside table in his wife’s handwriting that said “It’s 5 a.m. Wake up!”