Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Wedding Talk

The story is told about the bride who was walking up the aisle. She was trying to remember the order of the service, and she was heard muttering under her breath, ‘Aisle – Altar – Hymn’

It is a dodgy attitude to go into marriage with. Marriage, people say, is about give and take. There is the old quip: “She gives – I take”
But I would suggest that marriage is about give and give and give, and when you’ve given everything you can, you give again.

It is about GIVING TIME TO THE OTHER.

We live such busy lives. And in the middle of all the activity, we need to give time to the other person.

Yes, we need time to be alone (but that is often not a problem). We also need time to be together.

We need to give time to do the things the other person wants: going out; doing what they enjoy

And we to give time to talk to each other and to listen to each other. Many couples I know will try to put aside one evening a week, even when – particularly when – there are children, in order to do something together that they both enjoy so that they are able to talk.

The three key words for any marriage, for any relationship are ‘communication, communication, communication’.

And marriage is about GIVING EMOTIONAL SUPPORT to each other. It is about being there for the other person.

That means being open with each other: open about what we are doing, what we are thinking, what we are feeling. And that can be the hard part. It is very easy to freeze the other person out. We need to learn to say to the other, and to allow the other to say to us: “I’m hurting” or “I’m confused” or simply “I need you”.

Some of us, and I think that this is particularly true of men, can be a bit like unemptied vacuum cleaners. We take in all the stuff of life, we think we can deal with it ourselves, and in the end we clog up.

And marriage is about BUILDING THE OTHER PERSON UP. In marriage you cease to belong to yourself. You belong to the other person. So when we build up the other person, we build up ourselves.

We need to be like Rugby players at a lineout and not dodgy footballers at a corner. When the corner is sent over, dodgy footballers leap onto the shoulders of their opponents to push them down so that they can go up higher. But when the ball is thrown in at a lineout, the Rugby players gather round one of their team mates and lift him up so that he get the ball.

In our marriages we are in the business of lifting the other person up – to encourage them, to say thank you, to be there for them when they fall.

Someone once said, “If you wish to be married to a princess, treat her like one”.

So marriage is about giving yourself to the other person: totally. All that you have, all that you are, all that you feel.


But marriage is not only about giving. It is also about ACCEPTING EACH OTHER.

If you give yourself to another person that much, then it is very easy to be hurt.

And today you have said “YES” to each other.

A couple who had just celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary were interviewed on television. He was asked what the secret of the success of their marriage was. He replied: “It is two words”. “What are those?” asked the interviewer. He replied, “Yes, dear”

But it is true. It is about both of you saying to the other, “Yes, dear”

Marriage isn’t only about an arrangement
Marriage isn’t only about a feeling

There will certainly be times when you don’t feel in love with each other, and there may even be times when you ‘feel’ in love with someone else. But that doesn’t matter.

Marriage is ultimately about a COMMITMENT – a commitment that you have made here in Church in front of us and in front of God.

It is about a ‘Yes’ that you have said to each other.

Ø Yes, we are going to give ourselves to each other

Ø Yes, we are going to work through our difficulties

Ø Yes, we are going to accept each other – with all the faults, problems, hang ups and funny little habits

Marriage is about a big Yes that eats up all the little no ’s


WE NEED GOD to help live like this. 1 Corinthians 13 talks of the kind of love that God is asking of us. No one can love like that without God.

We need to know God’s love for us, before we can begin to love
We need to know God’s forgiveness for us, before we are set free to forgive

(as an aside: it is worth bearing in mind Ogden Nash’s advice.

To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in your marriage cup -
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up!)

We need to know God’s acceptance of us, before we can truly accept another.
We need to know God’s hope, so that we can trust and go on trusting even when we’ve been hurt
We need to know God’s power, so that we can change and work through the difficulties.
We need to know God’s YES to us so that we can learn to say YES to each other.

You need God’s help. And I would encourage you to spend time getting to know him: coming along to church, picking up a bible and reading one of the books about the life of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John), going on one of the many churches offer: Alpha or Christianity Explored.

You also need our help, the help of family and friends: our love, support, at times our distance, and our prayers.

So our prayer for you today is that God will bless you both richly, and that through your marriage many others will be blessed.

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