The Vision of Faith
Sight is the function of the eyes. Vision is the function of the mind. What we don’t see with our eyes is eternal, while what we see with our eyes is temporal. Reality beyond physical sight is often difficult to imagine. Because we live in a ph...
Fri, 24-Nov-2017
Don't Forget To Warm Up!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31

I have heard it said that one of the devil’s most effective tools, is to keep Christians so busy, that they lose focus on what is most important. I wonder how many reading this, are doing so in passing, ra...

09h30 - 19 Nov 2017
The Pre-Incarnate Christ
by Rev. Warren Watermeyer
Part 1
LAT: -33.946457
LON: 25.523686
Church Office hours
Monday - Friday: 08h00 - 17h00
St Marks Campus - Corner Boshoff Street & Cape Road, Framesby, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
When Two Equals One

By Dr Bruce Woolard

“A man shall be joined unto his wife,
and they two shall be one.”

Ephesians 5:31

PREFACE

This book has been written for the express purpose of assisting couples in making their marriage a fulfilling and growing experience. The content of these chapters are drawn from many years of marriage counselling. I’ve had the opportunity of advising, encouraging and reconciling many couples who have faced difficulties in their marriage experience.

These seven brief chapters have been written and designed to optimise your relationship and to enhance the quality of your marriage.

INTRODUCTION

A wedding ceremony may take up to thirty minutes, but a marriage should last a life time. The relationship of marriage is like a university, there is a learning and growing process in which both partners develop the principles found in successful relationships. If you can see marriage as an opportunity for growth then you will find the satisfaction that marriage brings. It does not demand perfection but it must be given priority. It is very much like a business partnership. If co-owners of a franchise hope to succeed in their commercial endeavour, there needs to be respect, appreciation, trust, communication, empathy, objectives, consensus, mutual happiness and contentment.

It is possible for two people who come from diverse backgrounds to establish a union of bliss and lasting commitment? Many have failed in their marriage to find the ingredients in the recipe of success. The fact that some have failed does not negate the possibility of success.

CHAPTER ONE

RESPECT

Central to lasting and satisfying marriages is the principle of respect. It seems like a formal word today but it’s a feeling that successfully married couples mention with impressive consistency.

When eighty-seven couples who have been married fifteen years or more were interviewed, it was discovered that respect turned out to be a key ingredient in their marriage.

DEFINING RESPECT

What is respect? It’s not mere admiration – it is the quality that transcends romance and becomes the bedrock of your partnership.

Too many people romantically admire their partner. This admiration thrives and even depends on your partner being “perfect” and that’s why many relationships do not last. You soon discover that the person you married isn't exactly who you expected. There are differences of personality, of approaches to life, even different ways of doing things.

THE STRUGGLE BEGINS

The struggle begins as you try to change your partner to fit your fantasy. By taking the path of respect, you develop the attitude that concludes that it’s better to “agree to disagree”. We should not “put down” our mate because we don’t have the same tastes or because of our differences.

When we despise our partner’s interests that may be different to ours, we treat them with contempt. This results in you feeling that the other person has no worth. Most of us have witnessed partners attacking each other in the guise of “it’s for your own good.” This so-called “good” is often undone by the hostile tone in the criticism. A wife nags her husband to be more ambitious and makes him feel like a failure because of his preference of a trade or community project to the competitive world out there. A husband accuses his wife of wasting time whenever she gets together with her friends. “Be more productive” he says. Breaking down each others self-esteem is not conducive to successful marriages.

In good marriages partners should nurture each other’s self-respect. Never try to make your partner feel like a fool or inferior.

SEPARATE IN ONENESS

Respect is appreciation of the separateness of the person who is your partner. It is acknowledging their uniqueness. These things take time to discover and accept. That is the reason why respect is a quality of maturity in a marriage. This does not mean that you are simply saying “you go your way and I’ll go mine.” On the contrary, respect is acknowledging the elements that pull you closer together. Respect your partner’s viewpoint although you may not agree with it. Give your spouse the right to express his or her feelings and then emerging from two opinions will flow an opinion that is mutual and compatible.

Sometimes you will clash and try to assert your point of view – this can be destructive or constructive. It’s all found in you attitude toward your partner's opinions. A woman can compliment her husband’s personality by voicing her views on subjects and issues that he is interested in and in so doing she becomes his advisor, his confidant, his partner. It’s always heartening to see a man go shopping with his wife and her seeking his opinion.

The root meaning of the word respect is “to look at.’ Respect is therefore a loving eye, it sees what is really there but it also sees what is potentially there and helps to bring it to fruition.

Respect is the art by which couples honour what is unique, different and best in each other. It is not demanded, it is earned.

CHAPTER TWO

LOVE

The word “love” was understood in ancient times, mostly in terms of seeking its own advantage. Loving the unlovely was incomprehensible. The Christian New Testament introduced to mankind a new concept on love. The writers had to coin a new word to express God’s love revealed through His Son to the world. The Greek word that was employed is “agape”. The agape love was a “more excellent way” in expressing this great human emotion of love.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

As the years passed away, the true force of agape faded. People need to rediscover its meaning. This agape love is not merely a sentiment or dormant power – it is dynamic only when it is actively involved in the human nature. It’s a love that keeps no record of wrongs. It does not seek its own, it is not arrogant or boastful, it is a trusting type of love, it endures all things, and it is a love that never fails.

DEFINING “LOVE”

Most couples who intend getting married say they want to get married because they love their partner. Let’s assume that in this society, in order to be married you had co convince a jury in a court of law that you really did love the other person. What would be the words or expression you would use in defining love. The following is an example of what some would say: “Love is a feeling you feel when you get a feeling that you’ve never felt before.”

Yes, love is a feeling, it is a human emotion but love is more than just how you feel about someone. It is a decision, it is a judgement, it is a promise.
LOVE IS AN UNCONDITIONAL COMMITMENT TO AN IMPERFECT PERSON.

THREE TYPES OF LOVE

Let’s consider the three types of love in order to understand a little more about this powerful emotion and the commitment to love your partner forever.

The Greek language is rich and powerful when it comes to words and their meaning. There are three very important Greek words that describe three types of love:

EROS

Eros is the love that is sensual in its expression. It is a romantic love, it is a sexual love, it is inspired by the chemistry and the biological structure of human nature. This romantic and erotic love is important in a vibrant relationship. Because this love is physical it is extremely dangerous if expressed independently of the other types of love that are vital in a healthy, lasting relationship.

PHILEO

The word “phileo” is closer to the English word “like” – it is a friendship love. Often couples mistake this type of love for a deeper love than what it is. They think that this is the real thing. The fact is that you can enjoy someone's company, you can like being with that person, you may have the same interests, the same goals, the same hobbies, but not be in love romantically. It is for this reason that many people have problems in their relationship because they have mistaken this affection for love between partners. It is important that one understands the phileo emotion. The friendship can often be spoilt if this emotion is not clearly defined and understood.
In a good marriage, husband and wife need to be friends. Friendship means companionship, communication and cooperation. This is phileo.

AGAPE

As already stated, agape is a unique type of love. It is an unconditional type of love and is a love that is not selfish. It’s thinking of your partner more than of yourself.

AGAPE LOVE IN ACTION

One of the most beautiful portraits of love is the story found in Ruth 2:11 where it describes Boaz being attracted to Ruth because of the way she treated her mother-in-law.

Further, in Genesis 24:14 Abraham’s servant chose a bride for Isaac using the test of kindness displayed by Rebekah. This love is giving and caring. It is protective love, it is a love that seeks the security and the well-being of your partner. When two people love each other with this love, they have a vital component that enhances the quality of life in their marriage.

BEWARE!

The Bible specifically warns us not to make friends with hot-tempered people (Proverbs 22:24). Many families have been tragically destroyed because of a display of short tempers in the home. If this type of behaviour prevails in courtship, it most certainly will in marriage too.

THE LOVE TRIANGLE

Think of love as a pyramid. Agape is at the base, phileo is next and eros is at the top. If we try to turn it upside down and put eros first, then the whole thing topples.

The Egyptian pyramids have stood storms and winds for thousands of years because they had a solid foundation. If it were possible to have built them upside down, the slightest breeze would have toppled them.

ESTABLISH A GOOD FOUNDATION

Remember, a marriage will also stand all the storms and stresses of life it is built on the proper foundation. I encourage you to establish the strongest fundamental of agape (unconditional love) in your relationship and begin to build your friendship and your physical expressions on this principle. Couples who have built their relationship with eros (physical) as the foundation have not endured the storms of life – they discover too late that phileo (friendship) and agape (lasting commitment) cannot be built on the foundation of eros (physical attraction).

Marriage is the most serious, long-term contract a couple will make in their life time. You must enter into it with maturity, and knowledge. It is imperative that one is adequately prepared for marriage. The following marriage principles for all who anticipate repeating their wedding vows many years down the line, will be helpful:

• Remember, a good marriage is not made in heaven but it’s made on earth. Love fragile and needs to be cultivated and nourished. With God’s help and guidance we can choose the right partner.

• A good marriage should not be based on idealism, it must be based on realities. The “Cinderella syndrome” where every girl finds her Prince and lives happily ever after is in most cases a fairytale. The reason for this is the unrealistic, high expectations of marriage.

• A person with a poor self-image inherited from a stressful home background or one who is immature, can lead to stormy seas in a relationship. I sincerely believe that when an individual discovers who they really are in meeting the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, their self-image improves as they recognise that they are created in the image of God.

The Bible declares: “Male and female, created He them and blessed them.” (Genesis 5:2)

Love is a declaration at the alter that out of all the world with billions of people, you have chosen each other.

1 Corinthians 13

“Though I speak with the tongues
of men and of angels, and have not love,
I am become as sounding brass,
Or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy,
And understand all mysteries,
And all knowledge;
And though I have faith so that
I could remove mountains,
And have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to
Feed the poor,
And though I give my body to be burned,
and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
Love suffereth long and is kind;
Love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself,
Is not puffed up, doth not behave itself
Unseemly, seeketh not her own,
Is not easily provoked,
Thinketh not evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity,
But rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things,
Hopeth all things, enduerth all things,
Love never faileth, but where there
Be prophecies, thy shall fail;
Whether there be tongues, they shall cease,
Whether there be knowledge,
It shall vanish away.
For we know in part and we
Prophesy in part, but when
That which is perfect is come,
Then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child,
I spake as a child,
I understood as a child,
I thought like a child;
But when I became a man
I put away childish things.
For now we see through
A glass darkly;
But then face to face;
Now I know in part,
But then shall I know even
As I am known.
And now abideth
Faith, hope and love, these three;
But the greatest of these is love”.

CHAPTER THREE

COMMUNICATION

Communication through listening

Modern society places much emphasis on good communication. We have the misconception that effective communication is based on how well one can articulate their thoughts. To the contrary, the most positive contribution to successful communication is not found in one’s ability to speak but it is in the ability of a person to listen and to hear what their partner means when he or she uses phrases and words in the communication process. Often a woman is accused of nagging – what she is really doing sis crying out for cooperation and help. A sensitive and understanding husband will listen beyond the words that she uses.

USING THE MASTER KEY

A marriage can be likened to a large house with many rooms which a couple occupy. Their hope is to use and enjoy these facilities. They will try to use these rooms as we do in comfortable home, to serve their many activities. They can only have access into those rooms if the doors are unlocked. Regrettably, in most marriages, doors are found to be locked. They represent areas in the relationship which the couple are unable to explore together. Their attempts to open these doors may lead to failure and frustration. Some cannot find the right key so the couple resign themselves to living in a confined space because access to the whole house is not possible.

Communication helps a couple to explore life together and its many challenges. The master key to successful relationships is found in the art of effective marital communication.

VITAL COMPONENTS

Another aspect of communicating is that when we send a message, there are three components that are employed. There is 1) the content, 2) the tone of voice, 3) the facial expression or what we could call, the nonverbal communication. With changes in the tone of voice, or in the non-verbal component, it is possible to express many different messages using the same word, statement or question.

AN example of non-verbal communication which should be avoided is holding a newspaper in front of your face when being spoken to. This non-verbal communication includes body posture and actions. The three components of content, tone and expression must be complimentary, and an awareness of one’s attitude and expression will help you as a couple to maintain respect and balance in your relationship.

One researcher has suggested that the following breakdown is important in communication. 

Confusing messages are often sent because the three components contradict one another. It would be good for couples to take a minute or two and think about how they communicate non-verbally. It is also important that we become more aware of our tone of voice when communicating.

FIVE LEVELS OF COMMUNICAITON

Level One: Cliché conversation

This type of talk is very safe – we use phrases such as “it’s a nice day”; “how are you”, “I like your dress.” In this type of conversation there is little personal sharing. Each person remains safely behind his/her defences.

Level Two: Facts about Others

The content of this conversation usually centres around what someone else has said. We share what we hear on the six o’clock news or we narrate some latest gossip. We do not commit ourselves as to how we feel about this information.

Level Three: Ideas and Judgements

It is at this level that real communication begins to unfold. We begin to step out of our solitary confinement and express some of our ideas or decisions we are hoping to make. However, one is still cautious at this level because if you sense that your ideas are not being accepted, you can still retreat or change your mind.

Level Four: Feelings or Emotions

At this level the person begins to share how he feels about facts and ideas. His feelings underneath these areas are revealed. He begins to explain why he thinks the way he does, why he wants to make the decisions expressed in level three. He begins now to share his emotions and feelings.
Level Five: Personal

All deep relationships are based on openness and honesty. Trust begins to develop and a bonding takes place as the very deep inferiorities, fears, and inhibitions or one’s goals and dreams are shared with the person that you love. There are certain risks of being rejected at this level but one is prepared to take that risk because trust and intimacy have been established with your partner.

BECOME A GOOD LISTENER

“A wise person learns by listening.” Proverbs 21:11

“He who answers a matter before he hears the facts is a fool.” Proverbs 18:13

“Let every person be quick to hear and slow to speak.” James 1:19

My suggestion to couples is to listen very carefully to what your partner is saying before reacting and responding. Conversation is like toothpaste that is squeezed out of the tube – once it’s out, there’s no going back!

SEEING THE RESULTS

When a husband, or wife, become good listeners, they meet the basic requirement of peace of mind and sanity. Conversation is the best therapy for a troubled mind – as you listen and reflect you become a counsellor, an advisor, and you also assist in the healing process of your partner’s emotions. I hope that you will meet the wonderful challenge of good communication.

CHAPTER FOUR

TRUST

What is Trust?

It has been said that it takes a life time to establish trust and a few seconds to destroy it. What is trust? It is believing in your partner’s faithfulness. To be unfaithful has often been thought of in terms of a third party but once can unfaithful in allowing work, circumstances and things to break down the element of trust. By putting any other person, possession or activity before your partner without due consideration could be an act of unfaithfulness in
marriage.

What you need in your marriage is creative fidelity. This means being sensitive to the needs of each other, supporting your partner and being together through emotional and physical crises. Adaptability in the relationship is of prime importance because it helps one to break free from the cycle that is stereo and boring. Trust helps one to express a new interest, believing that your partner will understand and seek to cooperate in achieving the new goals set.

DISPELLING INSECURITES

Just as a little girl places her hand into her father’s hand and walks across a busy road, so it is with trust in each other, to walk hand in hand into the future. Remember, the degree by which you will trust your partner is determined by how much you trust yourself.

Furthermore, your trust for yourself increases as you place your trust in God. Confidence is a vital ingredient in the recipe of successful relationships. It is trusting your wife’s judgement and wisdom in caring for your children, or trusting her decisions to purchase what is needed in the home. It’s also the wife trusting the husband in being a provider for the family.

Trust neutralises insecurity and jealousy which are the terrible twins that can destroy a beautiful, happy and compatible union.

DIFFERENCES CAN BE STRENGTHS

Every person who marries has characteristics similar to the one they marry but they also have many differences. There are different ways of perceiving, thinking, feeling and behaving. These differences are part of marital adjustment. Consciously or unconsciously people choose others who can help them feel complete. We must not see differences as a weakness – they can be your greatest strengths in marriage. For far too long people have believed that if it’s different, it’s wrong. Our backgrounds both culturally and emotionally have a direct bearing on these misperceptions. The element of trust can be strengthened if we recognise these different characteristics as important building blocks. We must allow our partner to be different.

AFTER THE HONEYMOON

In the midst of the marital struggle the honeymoon vanishes and the despair over the old relationship comes up for re-examination. Suddenly each spouse turns their eyes away from their partner and begins to look inwardly asking “What am I doing to my partner?” “What is wrong with me?” “What am I misunderstanding?” “What must I do to rescue this marriage?” Now if you are honest with yourself, you will find the answers to these questions in the following:

“I married my partner because I saw something in them that I myself did not possess. I was attracted to those characteristics that are absent in my own life.”

It is also found in not trying to change your partner to fit into your way of thinking but rather it is nurturing the difference and discovering it as a great asset and value in your marriage. Learn to accept these differences and recognise the uniqueness of your partner. Begin to participate and discover that you can beautifully compliment each other. It is arrogant to think that you can shape another human being. Begin to trust those differences as a power to forge a union resulting in lasting happiness and contentment.

TRUE LIBERATION

When you make that decision, you set your partner free to be who they were created to be. The pattern of behaviour that will emerge from such freedom will obviate the negative connotations of differences and you will discover that what has restricted the development of your relationship in the past will become the energy that will weld your two separate natures into the oneness that God intended for your lives. After all, a person is incomplete as a male or female until they find a life-long partner who is their soul mate.

CHAPTER FIVE

CO-OPERATION

Marriage involves two people bonding together in a long-term intimate relationship. This necessitates co-operation.

When two people are forged together into one unit, there are still differences in likes and dislikes, in tastes and opinions. Often couples struggle to find the formula that enables them to arrive at joint decisions that are mutually acceptable and beneficial to the family.

“COW-OPERATION”

As a little boy in Sunday School, I recall a teacher explaining what co-operation meant. She said that co-operation was like having two cows in the meadow tied together by a rope but the first cow wanted to eat a tuft of grass on the east of the meadow and other one was determined to eat from the pasture on the west side of the meadow. They struggled and strained against each other, and neither could get to where they wanted to be. Eventually the two cows put their heads together and agreed that it would be a lot better for the one to join the other on the east side to enjoy the grass before moving to the west together. This, said the teacher, is what one calls “cow-operation!”

This graphic illustration reflects the importance of a couple working together to resolve problems in their marriage and relationship. It is simply giving and taking, fairly and sincerely.

WEDDING VOWS

The wedding vows include the following, that a couple pledge themselves to live together according to the law of God (Ephesians 5:22-33). This togetherness is learning the art of co-habitation. The vows go on to address the importance of loving, protecting, honouring and keeping. These four “actions” coupled with the desire to succeed will result in cooperation and oneness.

Another wedding vow states that you will love and appreciate one another, although problems may come. You will learn to encourage each other, stand by one another and then that well known declaration is made – “Till death do us part.” This is a solemn promise made in the company of witnesses with the desire to seek God’s will and live together happily.

How can these ideals be realised unless both parties commit themselves to co-operation? May God help you to work at this vitally important principle in your marriage.

CHAPTER SIX

EMOTIONS

The emotional fibre of a man and a woman is different. A woman is normally more sensitive in the dimension of her emotions. Men often overlook this fundamental difference and act recklessly when dealing with emotional issues.

EMOTIONAL SENSITIVITY

It has been said that if two men have a disagreement, within five minutes it can be resoled and forgotten, but when having an argument with a women, twenty five years later she will still remind you of the disagreement. Women place a greater degree of value on words and actions than men. She is convinced of her husband’s love when he treats her with dignity and appreciation.

EMOTIONAL DISORDERS

The way we have been designed physically means that we have to consider the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dr Nico Lotter, in his outstanding thesis on emotional disorders and “burn out” says that in family practice, more and more patients are suffering from symptoms of fatigue, pain disorders, sleep disturbances and emotional mood swings.

CUASES OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

We all know that our physical bodies need sleep. Without a regular six hour delta level sleep the body will fail to produce sufficient neuro-chemicals to aid our nervous system and our emotional balance. Sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes for emotional disorders. A second major cause for emotional disturbances is the lack of regular exercise and the third reason why most people have emotional problems is due to poor eating habits.

The old adage “we are what we eat” is so true. In a bygone era people never suffered with depression and emotional trauma s they do today. One of the reasons for this is that the foods we eat do not contain the vital vitamins and minerals that our system needs. It is always wise sot supplement one’s intake of food with multivitamins. Through mass production, insecticides, canned and frozen foods we are not deriving the full nutritional benefit from what we eat.

PROTEINS

Protein is a substance necessary to life. In fact the word “protein” comes from a Greek expression meaning “first”. Protein was thought to be the most important part of living matter centuries ago. Proteins are made up of a combination of substances called “amino acids.” There are more than 21 amino acids and each group contains the chemical elements of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Most of us know that meat contains protein but did you know that it is made up of at least twelve different proteins, all of which are needed by the human body. Remember that milk, eggs, fish, peas, beans, nuts and certain grains also contain proteins. The body itself cannot produce amino acids. If a person goes on an unhealthy diet, they deny their body of these vital proteins and this may result in nervous and emotional disorders. It is worth considering changing your family’s eating patterns. This can be done by serving them a wide range and a good variety of foods through which all the vitamins needed to keep them healthy are supplied. The problem is that a vast majority of people don’t choose foods wisely, they don’t get enough variety and they don’t eat enough basic foods.

It may be helpful to list what foods supply these vitamins:

Vitamin A is for the health of eyes, skin, teeth and bones and is found in green, leafy vegetables, yellow vegetables, fruits, eggs, liver and butter.

Vitamin B1 helps the nervous and digestive system and helps to fight disease. This is found in whole grain bread, cereals, pork and liver.

Vitamin B2 is found in milk, eggs, greens and lean meats.

Vitamin C gives energy, strengthens tissues and is found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, and raw cabbage.

Vitamin D is found in milk and sunshine.

MODERN AGE

The technology of the day that modern man is exposed to also has a detrimental effect on one’s physical constitution. The noise factor in the environment, such as machinery, telephones, vehicles, etc., all contribute to putting one’s system on edge. Cellular telephones may also interfere with the neuro-transmitters in the human brain. A computer may sap the body of Vitamin B and C. This happens because of the concentration of the eyes on the screen resulting in a depletion of energies.

A proper diet, therefore, will help to restore what your body has used through the exposure to modern technology.

BURN OUT

If a person feels ill or out of sorts, it naturally affects their emotions. This has a direct bearing on the way you will respond to your partner. IF you feel good within yourself, it is easier to make your partner feel good about himself/herself.

Burn-out is the result of a depletion of energies within the body that may have been caused through severe stress, prolonged fatigue and constant pressure. This is compounded through a lack of sleep, an imbalanced diet and minimal exercise.

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE THREE-FOLD NATURE

Physical
We live in a material world governed by laws and regulations. Often we forget that as individuals, we are more than flesh and blood. There is a treasure within the physical body.

Personal
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 This is in reference to our personalities, the part of our make-up that is personal.

Spiritual
Then there is a third part to the make-up of every individual that the sacred Scriptures refer to as the human spirit. “The very God of peach separate you and I pray for your spirit, soul and body that it be preserved without blame until the day that the Lord Jesus Christ returns.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 This, beautiful passage emphasises the three-fold-make-up of a person.

SOMETHING MISSING?

A couple may find contentment, compatibility and fulfilment in a love relationship and still feel that something is missing in their lives. There has been a physical and personal bonding resulting in happiness but their spiritual life is empty and a vacuum exists. The Scriptures declare that if one confesses with their lips, Jesus Christ and believes in their heart that God raised Him form the dead, such a person will be saved. (Romans 10:9) It continues to say that “as many as received Him (Christ Jesus) He gives to them the right to be called the children of God.” (John 1:12) When one confesses Jesus Christ as Persona Saviour, a wonderful transformation takes place and one becomes a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

SERIOUS CONSIDERATIONS

I therefore encourage you as a couple to seriously consider your relationship with God. There is only one way to the Lord and that is through His Son (John 14:6). It is my sincere prayer that the two of you will become one (Ephesians 5:31) and that both of you will come to a greater understanding of what it means to be totally united and one with God. Marriage is the beginning of a new life and conversion to Christ Jesus is the birth of a new creation.

THE THREE STAGES OF MARRIAGE

It has been suggested that couples go through three stages of marriage: enchantment, disenchantment and then maturity. Often many expectations come from our own home and background. The statements around the diagrams reflect some of the emotions expressed at that stage of marriage. 

WEDDING CUSTOMS

Marriage, as a custom, goes back to the very earliest history of man. It has passed through three stages.

The first was marriage by capture, primitive man simply stealing the woman he wanted for his wife.

The second was marriage by contract or purchase, a bride being bough by a man.

Thirdly we have marriage based on mutual love, but even today we still have traces of the first two stages. “Giving the bride away” is a relic of the time when the bride was really sold. Today we have “weddings” without realising that this very word goes back to one of the early stages of marriage. Among the Anglo Saxons, the “wed” was money, horses, or cattle which the groom gave as security and as a pledge to prove his purchase of the bride from her father.

MARRIAGE SYMBOLISM

The marriage ceremony like so many other important events in life is full of symbolism:

The wedding ring is a circle and therefore speaks of the infinity and completeness of the marriage relationship, a symbol of undying love and devotion. The ring is placed on the third finger of the left hand because the ancients believed that the vein of passion/love passed from this finger directly to the heart.

The wedding cake, to be shared by the newly weds and their guests signifies the “breaking of bread in kinship.” The bride’s knife signifies that the new wife is ready to accept the responsibilities of her role as keeper of her own husband.

Toasting comes from an ancient French custom of placing bread in the bottom of the glass – a good toaster drained the drink to get the “toast.” According to legend, when a bride and groom drink their wedding toast, whoever finishes first will rule the family.

WEDDING AND MARRIAGE

The wedding day normally ends with an exhausted bride and groom making last minute “honeymoon” arrangements and wearily travelling away. The wedding is over but the marriage has just begun.

The formative months in your relationship and union are very important. Try to implement the principles taught in this booklet and I’m confident that you will find the happiness that married life was planned to bring.

Ask the Lord to be with you because if God is for you, who can be against you.

This is the beginning.

Here’s to a wonderful future! 

A Wedding Prayer

Gracious God, richly bless this couple
in the promises that they have made to each other.
Grant that the courtesies, the thoughtfulness,
and the self giving which already
have laid the foundation for their love,
build the home which is raised on it.

May they be loyal and engaging companions to each other,.
and may they be loving and wise parents.
And in this world where there is much disillusion and disappointment...
where love brings delight
and also wounding in the frailty of our ways...
make them a visible symbol of the love that does not wane when
the evening comes but is fresh with each new day.
And as you bless this special couple this day,
bless each union represented here.
Forgive us where we have not been good news
and glad days for each other.
Perfect our imperfect love with the joy that comes from above,
and may we grow ourselves and grow in affirmation of the other.
May the Lord bless you and take care of you:
May the Lord be kind and gracious to you:
May the Lord look on you with favour and give you peace.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Christian Workers Book by Billy Graham

Tell Me Why by Arkady Leokum

After You Say “I Do” by Wes & Judy Roberts and
Robert Wright. 

This book has been written for the express
purpose of assisting couples in making
their marriage a fulfilling and growing experience.

THE AUTHOR
Dr Bruce Woolard is the Senior Minister of the
St Marks Congregational Church in
Cape Road, Western Suburbs,
Port Elizabeth, R.S.A.
www.stmarks.org.za

Download (PDF) 826.91 KB

Subscribe to Our Daily Devotional

Name and Valid Email Adress required!