Jeremiah 33:11-12 (NASB) 11 the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, “Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His loving kindness is everlasting”; and of those who bring a thank offering into the house of the Lord. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were at first,’ says the Lord. 12 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘There will again be in this place which is waste, without man or beast, and in all its cities, a habitation of shepherds who rest their flocks.
Celebration- the event when we rejoice over something we have, something we’ve accomplished or intend on gaining or accomplishing.
When we think of marriage, we celebrate. The thrill of finding a mate is a wonderful reality. Scripture even celebrates this reality in proverbs as it being “favor” with the Lord: Proverbs 18:22 (NASB)22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
Marriage is a basic part of our society. It’s the place where life is formed; a place where children grow to know the differences between a man and a woman and the treasure each of them is. Yet the celebration of marriage is ever on the decline. This decline in our modern world began many years ago, especially so when women felt enslaved by their chauvinistic husbands. Women wanted more consideration, more attention, a feeling of being treasured and loved. We find evidence for this desire all over the Bible. Women were correctly reading that they were more valuable than “property.” The scriptures teach: Ephesians 5:25 (NASB) “ 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…” Colossians 3:19 (NASB) “19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.”
1 Peter 3:7 emphasizes just how important the woman is in marriage and how she is to be treated: 7 In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.] Amplified Bible (AMP)
The modern woman had God on her side. She was too precious to be trivialized and treated as unimportant.
Following the change in women’s attitudes of their role in marriage, modern society presented less and less interest in commitment and increasingly selfish world views. But building a healthy loving marriage is truly one of the most unselfish undertakings. Matthew 19:4-5 and Mark 10:6-7 both declare that a man is to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, which in this context means to be closely united (source: link kjv dictionary). In marriage a man is not fully engaged unless he completely moves from being bonded to his parents to being bonded to his wife. He is to transition from being controlled by or strongly influenced by his parents to being fully dependent on the mandates of a healthy committed relationship with his wife: What his wife needs is to become what he needs (The converse is true for the wife as well.).
Yet when a man is not willing to follow these self-sacrificing principles the wife is left feeling demeaned and forgotten. She then becomes scorned and the struggle for value in the relationship makes its way into the very fiber of the relationship. [And if the wife too fails to be unselfish, the man finds himself resentful struggling with his need to feel powerful and strong.] The celebration is lost in the selfish conflict of the husband and wife pulling away from the unity toward their individual needs.
So, on the foundation of this loss within relationship, women began struggling to find reasons to be married. As they built their own way into the business world partially due to the industrial revolution, it appeared there were fewer reasons to marry. Given that scripture supports the value of women, all of society found it only right to continue to elevate her status.
As women gained value in society, men continued to feel repelled and were often even more controlling in marriage in a futile attempt to keep his view of “order” in his home. This of course did little to improve the impression of marriage on their daughters who also decided that marriage was potentially dangerous to her (their) future.
All in all, many in society began to conclude marriage was old fashioned, out dated and merely a way for men to oppress women. Men found this a bit freeing as well because the sexual revolution encouraged women to be “free” of not only marriage but of the mandates of chastity. And consequently men found more and more women available without the need for a “try at marriage.”
In more recent times, we have faced new challenges to the idea of marriage, its purpose and its definition. But in concluding that marriage (or the lack thereof) is merely for humanity’s enjoyment, we have lost its foremost purpose which is to reflect the incredible commitment of the Trinity to push through the challenges and be reconciled and devoted to humanity. The type of challenges found when totally opposite worlds work to become one. And the most profoundly difficult and miraculous examples of opposites are found in the forging of a unity between a husband and wife (who are essentially opposites with nothing but God’s grace and their individual desire to fuse their hearts) (Gen 2:24, Mark 10:8, Matt 19:5, I Cor 6:16, Eph 5:31).
Having the biblical worldview, we must continue to celebrate marriage not merely because a man and woman find a reason to come together through love but also because they are presented with the opportunity to uncover the mystery of God’s love and His incredible commitment to His beloved children- The joining of Christ with His Bride [The Bride of Christ] Eph 5: 20-28 where the wedding celebration will be epic Revelation 19:9 (NASB) 9 Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” And where the celebration of this unity will never end 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV) 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
As we struggle with the modern and continually changing world view regarding marriage and the desires to lessen the celebration, we should continue to remind ourselves of the wonderful gift that marriage between man and woman is. Remembering all that it gives to the human heart in both earthly and heavenly revelation of God’s unfailing commitment to humanity; giving us the opportunity to better recognize His willingness to transcend the struggles our differences (our sins) create; choosing to bond with us in love and kindness through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ. (Phil 2:5-11). And in the memory of this very reality of God’s plan for marriage, The Bride of Christ and His Church, we should CELEBRATE even more!!
© Dianne Dunnagan 2015 All Rights Reserved
A follow-up devotional that might be helpful: https://diannedunnagan.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/this-is-for-real/