December 4, 2012 by eimrick
It’s almost been 5 years since Brooke and I got married. During our ceremony, we had all the bridesmaids and groomsmen sign this covenant. It’s something that we treasure and will keep always. For you who are married, read this and remember the covenant you made with your own spouse. This was written by a friend of Brian Howell’s. If he reads this, maybe he’ll comment on it a bit because he and Jen have the same covenant framed and hung in their house.
God, may I be this kind of man to Brooke.
RICK AND BROOKE’S COVENANT OF MARRIAGE
Precious couple, today you are openly committing your lives to each other in the covenant of marriage. You stand before the Lord and all these witnesses and enter into a most holy and sacred covenant, a covenant only surpassed in importance by God’s covenant with man through the Lord Jesus Christ.
What exactly is a covenant? It is the joint agreement of two parties to accomplish a certain task mutually beneficial to each party. Yes, marriage is an agreement, a contract; yet it goes much more deeply than any other contract. The marriage covenant is on the surface a physical joining of a man and a woman, but God has also ordained marriage as a spiritual union. Just as Christ and His Church are one body, so also man and wife are one body; just as Christ and His Church are united in spirit, so also man and wife are one in spirit. And just as Jesus Christ is eternally committed to the Church, so must the man and the woman be committed to each other.
The blood covenant with which we are most familiar is that which we have available to us in Jesus Christ. A covenant of blood signifies that the contract is one that cannot be disannulled or broken without serious consequences. In fact, the blood covenant implies that the only way out is by death. Thus we say, “’Til death do us part”. The God who neither changes nor turns from His ways ordains the marriage covenant, and unites the couple in spirit. What He joins together cannot be broken without ripping apart the hearts of the individuals. It is God’s will that marriage last until death.
God has, in His grace and mercy, reached down and redeemed those willing to receive His gift of life. We understand that, through the blood of Christ, we are bought and paid for even in the midst of our broken and sinful state. We understand that He is committed to us forever, in spite of our human frailty.
The marriage covenant is the biblical picture of Christ’s covenant with the Church. The husband must be as faithful to his wife as Christ is to the Church. He must love her and cherish her with the same love that Christ has for the Church. He must be willing to give his life for her as Christ has for us.
In turn, the wife must be as committed to her husband as the Church must be to Christ. Yes, we are called to serve Christ, and yet we cannot out-serve Him. He has already done more for us than we could ever do for Him. If the husband loves his wife as Christ loves His Church, the wife will not be able to out-serve her husband. The wife must live a life of purity and holiness, of joyful submission to her husband, in the same way the Church is called to live under the headship of Christ. It is safe to say that God’s will is that you submit yourselves to one another in holiness and godly fear, seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness together as man and wife.
A covenant is also based on the strengths of each party. A man and woman bring their unique qualities and attributes to the wedding altar, many times not realizing until years later that it was not what they had in common that attracted them to one another, but what was different. A couple united in Christ will find their supernatural complement in their spouse. Only God can search the face of this earth, and the heart of a human being, and match people together so exactly.
There are many wedding customs dating back to ancient covenant practices. The joining of hands, the exchange of rings, the sharing of possessions and names, the wedding feast, and even the wedding cake are customs that are taken for granted, and yet, each one has a specific meaning in the marriage covenant. The joining of hands is reminiscent of the actual mingling of blood of the covenant partners. The wedding ring is a symbol of the actual covenant mark left in the hand of each participant. The sharing of possessions and names marks the actual death to self and the taking up of a new life in union with the marriage partner. The feast is a celebration, and a seal of the covenant. Once a person has sat down to feast with another, a hand is made that is witnessed by all that are present. The practice of the bride and groom feeding each other wedding cake symbolizes the commitment of mutual submission, and of the vow, “I would rather die myself than to allow you to perish”.
You can see that Jesus Christ has already shed His blood, marked our hearts in circumcision, given us all His glorious riches and His Name, left us the Lord’s supper in which to remember Him, and promised us the greatest wedding feast of all eternity. In fact, Jesus gave all that He is on the cross of Calvary for our redemption. The only appropriate gift to Him would be all that we are, our very lives.
Precious couple, this holy covenant of marriage, the closest thing known to our covenant with Christ, calls for you to lay down your lives as single individuals, and to take upa new life together as one person, with one heart. And as you live in this union, do so to the glory of Jesus Christ your Lord. May He be at the center of your marriage and may His will be done in your home as it is in Heaven.
How does this covenant give you perspective on your current marriage circumstances?