Summary: Some practical advice in a wedding message.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
(This message has been adapted from the comments of others. I hope that it might provide you with some ideas, too.)
__________, __________, in just a few minutes you will publicly express your love, & pledge yourselves to each other for the rest of your life in the sacred covenant of marriage.
I don’t know when you first met each other, or the circumstances involved. But I am sure that much has happened since that day. Obviously, during this time you have learned to love & appreciate each other.
There have been acts of thoughtfulness & words of encouragement. You have gained a respect for each other’s qualities, strength of resolve, trustworthiness, & kindness.
I feel confident that during this time you have grown & matured in your relationship with each other. And if you remain faithful to the vows you are about to make, your life together will be a blessing both to you & to those around you.
There is a very beautiful passage of Scripture that I believe provides great advice for those who are entering a marriage covenant. Indeed, it contains sound advice for all of us to follow in our daily walk of life.
It is found in 1 Corinthians 13, in what is often called “The Love Chapter of the Bible.” But as beautiful as it is, it is not about romantic love. The love of which Paul speaks is of a behavior we exercise even when we do not feel loving or lovable.
A. Listen to Paul’s words. In vs. 4 he says, “Love is patient, love is kind.” Sometimes you will be stressed out. Sometimes you will be frustrated. “Love is patient & kind.” Sometimes you might want to give harsh criticism when your spouse does something foolish or hurtful. “Love is patient & kind.”
B. Second, Paul tells us that “Love is not jealous or boastful.” Sometimes we try to make ourselves look better than we really are. We may even criticize our partner to make us feel better about ourselves.
Our competitive spirit may get the best of us, & we try to prove that we are better, smarter, more professional, more talented than our partner. Such selfish behavior in a marriage will prove to be unproductive, even destructive.
May I suggest an alternative that is much more worthwhile & enjoyable? Be proud of each other, build each other up, learn to praise the unique gifts of your life’s partner.
C. Paul’s next advice is to avoid arrogance & rudeness. Paul knows that sometimes we treat those we love with less courtesy even than a stranger. We may take our spouses for granted. Occasionally we may be rude to them in private. Even worse, we may be rude to them in public.
Paul would urge that we strive to treat our spouse with reverence & respect just like we would want him or her to treat us.
D. Of all the ideals that Paul holds up before us, this next one may be the hardest. “Love does not insist upon its own way.” Now, ________, ________, I’m going to assume there have been times in your relationship with each other, that one or both of you have insisted on having your own way.
Such behavior is present in most relationships. But it is not helpful. Marriage is intended to be a journey filled with compromises.
If both of you are willing to compromise; if both of you are willing to respond to the wants & needs of the other, & not just your own, then your marriage will be much more peaceful & productive. “Me” & “My” need to give way to “Us” & “Ours.”
E. Paul’s next description of love is difficult to follow. He tells us that love “is not irritable or resentful.” I wonder if there is anyone here who has never been irritable or resentful?
In fact, most of us fail to live out this quality of love. Rather than being pleasant, we are sometimes easily irritated or angered. Rather than politely answering a simple question of a spouse, we may respond with a loud or hostile voice. Too often we become argumentative & defensive.
I believe that Paul would urge of all of us, that when we fail to live up to this ideal, we avoid making excuses for our behavior & simply admit we are wrong. “Sorry, I’ve been in a bad mood today! Let’s start over.”
Paul’s model of Christian love may even suggest a strange double standard. When our spouse is irritable, we are to be patient. When we are irritable, we are to ask for forgiveness. If both of you live by this advice there will be peace in your home.
F. Paul goes on to say that love “does not rejoice in wrong but rejoices in right.” _______, _______, this means that you should have strong principles & a sense of justice. You should care about the welfare of those around you who are vulnerable. You should celebrate when life is victorious, when love wins out over hate, & when forgiveness wins over resentment.