I’m so excited and honored to have our former pastor, Bruce Goldsmith, of Laurel Hill Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va., guest post on CBB today to share valuable insight on creating a Godly marriage. Our hope is that this will grow into a helpful series to aid couples in forming a beautiful and strong foundation for their marriage built on God’s love. With that, I’ll turn it over to Pastor Bruce:
A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of performing a marriage ceremony for two people whom my wife and I know. When they first asked me to officiate their marriage, I told them that I would love to, but that I require several sessions of counseling beforehand. They gladly and excitedly agreed. Counseling couples who are interested in getting married is something I determined to do many years ago because I have found, with many couples, there is a lack of understanding about marriage. In fact, one of my favorite questions to ask people in the first session which proves this truth is, “why do you want to get married?” To which I commonly get the response, “because we love each other,” with a glazed kind of look as if I just asked them the most ridiculous question of the century. I tell them that I ask that question because I have found most couples really don’t understand why they want to get married or what marriage really is in the eyes of God. Then, I usually get a look that says something like, “you really are crazy and maybe this is a waste of time.” But, as we delve into the subject of marriage, the thoughts about me being an out-of-touch preacher quickly go away and the reactions move from, “this is a waste of time” to “wow, I never thought about that.”
Such was the case with the couple I officiated the wedding for recently. As we started our meeting, I looked at them with eyes full of excitement, for them and their new journey, but also with eyes of inquisitiveness as I asked them, “so, why do you want to get married?” As you might have guessed, they looked at me in a similar fashion as I have just described and said, “well, um, we are getting married because of um,” you get the picture. So, I began an hour-long sermon (not really) on what marriage is and how people can have a wonderful and fulfilling life together. If you are interested, I would like to share some of those thoughts because it may give some clarity about what you are embarking on with the love of your life.
To be clear, I am coming from a Biblical point of view. In other words, my frame of reference is from the Word of God and what He says about marriage. That’s not to say there are not some valuable pieces of information on marriage out there, but the Bible has been tried and tested for centuries and is a proven historical document that has been written by men who were guided directly by God. What makes the Bible so unique, in addition to the fact that God wrote it, is that it is His love letter to us, His creation. Did you know God loves you and wants your marriage to be blessed and for you to enjoy your life with your spouse for as long as you both shall live? It’s true.
As the couple sat with me in my office, I took them to the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. It is called “Genesis” because it means “beginning” or “the beginning.” In other words, it is the record of how life began, and how marriage began. And it’s all in the first two chapters, the first chapter is the record of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth. Specifically, in those first chapters, the Bible tells us that God made all that we know and see on this planet and surrounding this planet. Part of that creation included plants and animals. And interestingly, at least ten times, the Bible says everything was made after its own kind, meaning, everything that was made, had a very unique association with a member of its own kind, plant with plant, animal with animal. And God was very pleased with it all.
But then God created His most crowning and wonderful creature, man! And uniquely, God said He would make man in His image, in His likeness and that he would have dominion over all things on the earth. And the Bible says God created man and gave him command to subdue or have dominion over the rest of creation. And God said all His animal and plant and universe creation was good. I told the couple this story and specifically pointed to the fact that God made man in His image. This means he was made different from the animal world and plant world. In other words, man was given the ability to reflect God. Notice, the Bible does not say, he would be God or become God but that he would be made in His image. This means he would take on His attributes in the sense that he could reason and be able to intellectually process life, feel or have emotion, laugh, cry, etc. But, concerning the man, God said one very important thing: it was not good for man to be alone. At this point in God’s created world, man was the only human species. So, God said, “I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18) Therefore, God put the man to sleep and out of his own body, God took a rib and formed from it a woman. To which the man responded when he awakened, “this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23). Then God said, “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This was the beginning of the institution of marriage.
I said all this to the couple so that they would see and understand that marriage was originally made by God. It was in God’s mind for man to be created to enjoy the world He had made, but also to have a companion to enjoy it with. And to bless them even further, God said, “be fruitful and multiply.” In other words, they were given the privilege to have children so the blessings of their union together could be passed on to other people after them. So back to the question, “why do you want to get married?.” I asked this partially frozen from fear couple in my office. Part of the answer is because you love each other, but there is so much more than that, although that is critical. I told them, you must understand that marriage is a union of two people created in the image of God for companionship, but also to reflect God and His image. In other words, marriage is twofold. First, to show the world that a couple is together because of God. But also, because without Him, as the Creator of it all, marriage does not have the same meaning. Neither cultures or any people from any nation or time are the originator of marriage, God is. And to leave God out, as the One who designed it, is to lose the meaning and purpose of marriage.
At this point, I apologized to the couple because I could tell they felt like they had just entered the fourth year of seminary. So, I simply said, to be married primarily shows the world that you acknowledge God as the originator of your existence and His love to you because He gave you someone to enjoy life with, specifically in the institution of marriage. We were made to reflect His image and marriage becomes the place to do that. That is through selflessness, sacrificial living and giving to each other and many other ways that will be explored in other blog posts.
As you are contemplating marriage, if a pastor asked you, “why do you want to get married?,” what would your answer be? Tell us in the comments.
Photography & Styling by Sarah Darcy.