For Weddings:Rev. Cornell 'Corkie' Haan
Why Marriage is Important and the Five Pillars of a
As we today celebrate the marriage of ________ and
__________, let us reflect on why marriage is important
and what is important to remember in marriage.
Recent research is beginning to document that divorce in general
is harmful to adults and particularly painful and harmful to
children who are forced to live between two worlds and mediate
those two worlds. Research (the Georgia research) shows that
divorce and unmarried women having children are costing the
government over $150 billion a year.
Research also shows that with community marriage initiatives,
divorce in communities can be reduced by up to 50 percent simply
by having churches do a better job. Lives are spared pain and
suffering and taxpayer costs for damage control goes down
sharply, but only if the church, including all those present,
does its job.
That is why we are a church that takes seriously marriage and
offers substantive marriage training for those that will be
married, marriage enrichment for those that are married,
marriage mentoring for marriages in trouble and marriage
mentoring where there is divorce and remarried situations. This
is in addition to sermons on marriage.
We need to understand the purpose of marriage and the five
pillars of a successful marriage.
We need to underline the purpose of marriage:
Genesis 1:28 - "God blessed (the man and the woman) and said to
them "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and
subdue it." This states that the ideal relationship is the marriage of
a man and woman life long with the goal of having children.
Commentators on this verse uniformly note that this is a
rejection of all other types of relationships, particularly
multiple relationships and cult prostitution at the time. In the
1st chapter of Genesis, the theme is that God is bringing order
out of chaos. Divorce brings chaos out of order.
In Matthew 19: 4-6, Jesus said that "at the beginning the
Creator 'made them male and female' and said, 'For this reason a
man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two,
but one." Jesus then added "Therefore, what God has joined
together, let man not separate." Interestingly, in the next
section, Jesus focuses on children and says, "Let the little
children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of
heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19: 14. As one can
see, divorce does hinder children from coming to God and thus
something must be done by the church to NOT let this happen.
The church has a Biblical responsibility to do better and to
uphold the marriage standard by 1) training couples interested
in being engaged and married (note: it is best to do this before
formal engagement), 2) marriage enrichment once married, 3)
marriage mentoring when marriages are in trouble and 4)
mentoring families that have experienced divorce.
What is important in marriage?
There are five pillars for a successful marriage that are
mentioned in the Bible. It not only applies to those being
married today, but to everyone who is married or who will get
The first two pillars involve communication, the next
forgiveness, submission in the very good sense and ultimately
teaching the next generation. Let’s begin:
1. Listen - “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak
and slow to become angry.” James 1.19. God gave us two ears and
one mouth. But one would hardly know it. We are so anxious to
talk that we are frequently get our next thoughts together even
as we listen not so carefully to what is being said to us. We
jump in with what we have to say and fail to listen.
For women in particular, having someone to speak to is
important. When the husband comes home at night from work, a
woman wants to talk about her day. The husband is often tired
and tuned out. Yet, it is the process of listening, which can
begin very simply by asking a question – how was your day? –
that is an important part of the relationship.
When a couple fails to hear each other or talk to each other,
they will tend to grow apart. Thus, it is critical every day to
engage in conversation. It is one sign of love of one for
2. Listen to God – Jesus said “My sheep listen to my voice; I
know them and they know me.” John 10.27
Similarly, it is all too easy to rush into church and tell God
what we need. God knows what we need even before we ask and God
can provide it. But, have we really listened to God. It is
important to note that when Jesus gave the disciples what we
know as the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father, there are three
petitions that start the prayer: First, “Hallowed be thy name”.
Second, “Thy kingdom come” and Third, “Thy will be done.” Notice
that these are prayers for God. It is only after we pray these
prayers that Jesus bids us to ask for prayers for our self –our
daily need of bread, forgiveness of our sins and guidance in on
our way which covers the essentials of our present, past and
God can guide us. The Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple
once said “When I pray coincidences happen. When I stop praying,
coincidences stop happening.” If we listen to God and discern
God’s will and we pray for the three petitions for God in the
Lord’s prayer, then when we ask God for what concerns us, we can
ask it in a much better way, one that is more consistent with
God’s purpose in our life.
As any father, God does not grant everything that we ask for.
Sometimes, God grants very little or even nothing at times. But
it is amazing, if we only discern, what God does do for us if we
are only observant.
God does know us. What we have to do is listen to God.
One great way to do this in marriage is to pray together with
one’s spouse and later, if there are children, with our children.
Families that pray together, stay together.
3. Forgive each other – “Bear with each other and forgive
whatever grievance you may have against one another. Forgive as
the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians
Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things that we do. And
yet, without forgiveness, there can be no reconciliation when we
do something wrong and hurt our spouse. Forgiveness starts with
true repentance and admitting to the other person that we have
made a mistake and ask for forgiveness. Granting forgiveness can
be equally hard, but is the only way.
One of the ways in making forgiveness easier to do is to
remember what God has forgiveness much greater sins. But the two
our linked. In order to get God’s forgiveness, we must forgive
Forgiveness is a unique feature of Christianity. It does not
show up in other faiths. We must always remember to forgive.
4. Submit to each other – Love and respect – “Each of you also
must love his wife as he loves himself and the wife must respect
her husband.” Ephesians 5.33
Submission is a sign of both love and respect for others. Bill Bright, who with
God’s help built one of the largest ministries ever – Campus
Crusade, at the end of a meeting would always ask "what can I do
for you." Imagine a busy founder and CEO of a major ministry
asking the person he is talking to "what can I do for you."
Yet, this is a sign of love and respect for the other person. It
gets other people’s attention and it is amazing the results that
submission to others can achieve.
Submission does have its limits. In terms of intimacy, one only
submits to one’s spouse.
5. Teach the next generation – Deuteronomy 6. 4-7 “Hear, O
Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your
God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be
upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them
when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you
lie down and when you get up.”
This pillar hardly needs much explanation. However, it is hardly
ever done. In years past, fathers and mothers would pray with
their children and often at the dinner table would discuss some
aspect of the Bible. Reading the Bible with one’s family was
very popular in England in the early 19th century as a result of
William Wilberforce and his friends.
Yet, we have stopped doing this for the most part. We need to
Bible studies with our children and with our spouse so that we
can grow together as a family. When one does that, it is amazing
the results that it can have.
Teaching the next generation through Bible study though is one
of the most important things that one can do. It is one of the
few things that a parent should insist upon.
Why Marriage is important
Marriage is important because throughout the Bible the marriage
relationship between a husband and a wife is a metaphor for the
relationship between Christ and the Church throughout the Bible.
In Jeremiah 31:32, God says “The time is coming when I will make
a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of
Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their
forefathers when I took them by the hand and to lead them out of
Egypt, because they broke my covenant though I was a husband to
them.” Notice that God made a covenant with his people and then
states that He was their husband linking the covenant between
God and His people to the marriage covenant between a man and a
woman. In Revelation 19, the wedding of the Lamb, which is
Jesus, has come and his bride, the church, has made herself
In Ephesians 5:28-32, marriage is discussed this way: “In the
same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own
bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one
ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as
Christ does the church –for we are members of the body. For this
reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to
his wife and the two shall become one flesh.”
Everyone present at this wedding by responding “I do” to the
question “Will you do everything in your power to support these
persons?” has an affirmative obligation to do so. The church
will also do its part.