October 2003

Editor’s Note: This is the final article in a three-part series.  You can read part one here and part two here.

Our wedding day couldn’t have been more beautiful. The sun was shining, and the breeze was cool. My first waking moments were serene. “It’s my wedding day,” I thought as I enjoyed the sight of the sunrays peaking through the window. Ah … a moment of peace … and then it was over.

For the rest of the day I was fueled by adrenaline rushing through my body. The last minute wedding details seemed endless, and the list of things to remember was a mile long. Don’t forget the rings; don’t forget the marriage license. Even getting dressed was a chore—donning a wedding gown is no easy task!

The day went by in a flash. There were faces, flowers, cameras—no time to be idle. We started with some pictures, went right into the ceremony, and ended with a dance. Before I knew it, I was running down the stairs at the church, heading for the getaway car, and leaving everyone behind. It was over.

My memories of that day can be compared to watching a video in fast-forward. Nine months of meticulous planning seem so long compared to the event-filled five hours of Saturday, September 6. One thing that remains clear in my mind, however, is our vows.

What was so important about this day that caused longtime friends whom I hadn’t seen in years to travel long distances to attend? Why were family members willing to make such sacrifices to make sure everything ran smoothly? Was it all for a 45-minute ceremony, a hug in the receiving line, and a piece of cake?

No, they came to hear us pledge that we would remain husband and wife, “Till death do us part.” In our vows David and I were making a covenant, and they were there to witness and affirm that covenant.

Keeping the marriage covenant—becoming one with another person—requires a conviction that you will sacrifice yourself. Jesus Christ Himself sealed a new covenant between God and man by sacrificing Himself on a cross. Jesus said in Luke 22:19a, 20b, “This is My body which is given for you …This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

This same death was used by Paul to describe the perfect example of marriage in the book of Ephesians, ” … as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her … ” (5:24-25, emphasis mine).

Just as Christ died for us that we may be in a covenant with Him, David and I must die to our own fleshly desires so that we may form a covenant with each other, fulfilling our promises to “love, honor, and cherish for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live.”

After saying our vows and before lighting the unity candle, David and I took communion together to signify the covenant that we made with each other and with God that day. “This is the blood of Jesus,” the minister whispered as he handed me the cup. That statement pierced my heart, and I sipped the “blood” as tears trickled down my cheeks.

I thought of all the pain Christ endured to be in a covenant with me, and then I thought of all the pain that I inevitably would endure to be in a covenant with David. I would face the pain of broken pride, unmet expectations, and sacrifices for our family that will be made now and in the future.

In a sense, I was witnessing my own death.

It was a bittersweet day. There were tears and there was laughter—tears to lament the passing, or the death, of the past and of life as it were, and laughter to celebrate the birth of two becoming one and hope for the future.

The glory of our wedding day was short-lived. All of the planning is now over—the flowers have wilted, the candles have melted, and the smiling faces have all gone home. But the covenant that we made remains.

So, is marriage worth making a covenant? Is marriage worth giving up of my own life to become one with another person? Is it worth death? Yes! The companionship, the fulfillment, and the everyday reminder of my relationship with Christ are just the beginning of what married life has to offer.

And we have the rest of our lives to grow together, face the world together, and fulfill the covenant that we made on the day we became one.

© 2003 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.