You may have seen the cartoon that showed a father walking his daughter down the church aisle to be married. They are arm in arm, and he is holding on to her hand. He leans over and whispers to her: "Okay, I’ll fake a heart attack and then you run for your life." Now I don’t know if that is what she had in mind for her wedding day. Yet, many of you probably understand that cartoon. It is not that marriage is a bad thing. Marriage, in fact, is something very, very good. However, marriage is big — very big! Marriage is something that demands much grace, much forgiveness, and a solid commitment.
I have performed many, many weddings. I have talked with each one of these couples about marriage prior to the wedding. Never have I talked with a couple I thought knew exactly what they were getting into. How could they possibly know? Even those who have been previously married to someone else and are getting married again do not know what to expect from this new marriage. After all, this is the first time that these two people have ever married one another. So they really don’t know what they are getting into as they anticipate marrying THIS person. We can do our very best to prepare ourselves for marriage but that does not remove the risk. Yet, a part of the unknown includes the tremendous joy that may be in store for this couple.
Now this is not a knock on these couples who are about to get married. I had no idea what I was getting into either. Charlotte and I will have been married thirty years on August 11, 2008. We continue to learn and grow.
What would you say to encourage someone about to get married? Suppose that two people are about to be married. They have asked for some advice from you. What would you say?
I might encourage the following:
- Treasure God above all else.
- Be quick to say, "I’m sorry."
- Ask for help sooner rather than later.
- Avoid, at all costs, credit card debt.
- Love her/him for who this person is and not who you want them to be.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage your spouse.
- Be a person who is growing to become more Christlike. Be intentional about this.
This list is just a start. What would you add?