So today, I am preparing for a wedding. How appropriate on Marriage Friday, right? In just a few short hours, I will stand before this beautiful couple and I will charge them with these very familiar words as part of their wedding vows:
Will you love, honor, and keep for richer-for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish til death do you part?
These vows have been in place for centuries. In fact, most of you reading this and me too, as I am writing this, remember repeating these words possibly in a church in front of a preacher. My wife were married on New Year’s Eve in Lubbock, Texas with Pastor John Donnerburg. We repeated our wedding vows like so many others.
The question I have for couples today is not if you remember repeating these words, but how well do you live by them. Every single time I perform a wedding ceremony, I remind both the bride and groom that marriage is not about emotion, but a promise. This is where most couples struggle in their marriage. They live with emotion as the priority believing their spouse’s job is to make them happy. But that is not what the vows say.
The preacher did not ask you to repeat these words:
“Will you love him as long as he is loving you back?” Pretty sure no preacher ever said this in a wedding ceremony, “Marriage is for life unless your spouse stops being nice to you, then you are free to get the hell out of there!” Nope, none of that conditional love stuff is in the vows. The wedding vows we take are purely unconditional. It is a promise to love that person no matter what.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
When your spouse is not living up to this passage, your vows should keep you from reciprocating. Yes, I know their vows should have kept them from acting out in the first place. I get that and it’s true. But marriages head down negative cycles when each one justifies not loving according to 1 Corinthians 13 when the other isn’t. Because as you know, in an argument, we have a tendency to justify our bad behavior by the other’s bad behavior. Then they justify continuing in that same line because of what we just said. Then, of course, we feel every right to not only continue, but escalate our bad behavior. And this goes on so forth and so on until we are treating one another with such contempt. And God is not pleased.
Remember your vows.
Especially remember them when your spouse has forgotten. This will help deescalate things and when people are calmer, they can work through their issues instead of planning what they are going to do the next time they see them napping peacefully 🙂
To live by your vows, you cannot be a slave to your emotions. It is important to take captive every thought so that when you are having thoughts of kicking them where the sun don’t shine, you can be patience and restrain yourself.
Now, I just want you to know that this is impossible…without the help of the Holy Spirit. If you want to keep your wedding vows, you need regular time in the presence of the Holy Spirit in worship and in meditation of the Scripture. Sex may begin in the kitchen, but a great marriage begins in the prayer closet.
Hey y’all, no matter what the week has been like, go out and love one another. Remember your vows.
Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!