"Why Marriage Matters"

My daughter Elaine, me, our friend and wedding pastor Don, Rich, and his son Ryan. September 2, 2007

A Church Full of Love
Today’s sermon at church was Why Marriage Matters. We participated in, and witnessed, an amazing thing at church today. Hundreds of couples stood and renewed their marriage vows. Rich and I took part in this ceremony at the nine a.m. service. We had the honor of witnessing it at the 11:15 service, as we served in the baptism ministry.

Young, old, and middle-aged couples renewed their vows in unison. A few husbands whispered in their wives’ ears. Others spoke softly. A few boomed out their vows of love and commitment. Some giggled with glee. We wives varied in our individual recitations–quiet, loud, halting, tearful.

Everywhere I looked, I saw couples gazing lovingly at one another as they confirmed their commitment to their marriage.

Throughout the church, I heard sniffles. I sniffled. Rich sniffled. I could feel God’s love in the building.

God is love. His greatest gift to us is the power to love and be loved.

Here are the vows we used in church today.

I take you to be my wife (husband). Before God and all these witnesses, I commit my life and love to you. I promise…
…to treasure you above all others.
…to respect you and value our differences.
…to listen to you and serve your needs as best I can.
…to forgive you and be quick to ask forgiveness.
…to be your greatest supporter and encourager.
…to grow in loving and serving God with you.

I love you with all of my heart, and I will for all of my life. With God’s help, I’ll make our home a place of joy, as long as we both shall live.

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.
31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:21-33 (NLT)