“As time as gone by and we’ve moved towards marriage, we’ve found that God’s love is the greatest love in any relationship of all. When we decided to put God at the center of our relationship, we found a deeper love both for Him and for each other.” – My Vows.
February is always a special month in the Anderson home. It’s the month of our wedding anniversary and the month we get to reflect on our marriage and how much we have grown together as a couple since we said our vows. This year, I have decided not just to reflect on who we have become as husband and wife since our wedding day, but to reflect on the intentions of our hearts on that day and where our intentions are now.
On our wedding day we both made promises in our vows to one another. But more than that, we committed our marriage to God and made a promise to keep Him at the center. We committed that to each other and to Him. Our pastor who married us said it best on our wedding day:
“Allow and believe the best in one another, and above all, keep Jesus Christ first as the foundation of your marriage. Chase Him as individuals, and you’ll grow closer together.”. – Pastor Curt Seaburg.
I have been reflecting on the things said at our wedding recently and asking myself if I am living in those words daily in my marriage. Do I allow and believe the best in my husband? Do I keep Jesus Christ first in my marriage and in my life? Do I chase Him? I try my best, but there are times the answers to those questions is “no”. My husband said in his vows, “we both know that our love for each other is limitless, we also know that we have room to grow”. I have held on to those words in our marriage, especially that we have room to grow. We will always have room to grow. The question is, how do we grow?
We grow by doing exactly what we committed to, by keeping Jesus at the center of it all. By taking the advice of our pastor on our wedding day and chasing Him. For me, that looks like quiet time in His Word, studying and praying for understanding. For taking His Word to heart and living by it.
Like many couples, we referenced and quoted scripture on our wedding day. For us, Mark 10:9 was the verse we wanted to represent our marriage and what it means to us. “What God has joined together, let no man separate”. This verse was read at our wedding because we know that our love for God is what binds us, and our faith in Him is what keeps us. It was the perfect verse for us to have read out loud, but scripture needs to be so much more than just something said on our wedding day.
I decided to read Mark 10 when going back to our wedding day and reliving the memories of it this month. I wanted to get back into the scripture from our marriage ceremony and ask myself if I am living in my marriage by it. I wanted to re commit to studying it and understanding it in a way that serves my marriage. I turned my bible to Mark 10 and read the heading “Discussion about Divorce and Marriage”. It stood out to me that the word “divorce” was mentioned. Before even reading any of the scripture I thought of the very real fact that this world, that man, can easily destroy a marriage when it’s foundation is build on anything but Jesus. It was a sobering reminder that I need to stay in the Word and stay chasing God so that my foundation remains sturdy and strong.
What I read was the story of Jesus teaching and Pharisees doing their best to trick him into answering their questions against the Word of God. They wanted Him to say it is okay for a man to divorce His wife, but Jesus did not fall for the trap. Jesus reminded the Pharisees that God created male and female “from the beginning of creation” and they were meant to come together as one. (Mark 10:6). This was God’s intention for marriage, that once together, nothing would separate it. Since this is God’s intention, this is my intention. That nothing would separate my marriage.
I think it’s safe to say the enemy will use anything to trick us in the same way the Pharisees tried to trick Jesus. The enemy wants us to think it’s okay to give up, to let things come between us and our husband, to walk away. That’s why understanding God’s Word is so important. In Mark 10, the Pharisees trying to trick Jesus were using the law of Moses as a justification to divorce. They wanted a reason for divorce and to justify it being lawful. What Jesus did with His response to them was to remind them of God’s will for marriage. We all need that reminder in our own marriages, what exactly God’s will is for us in them. Where does that reminder come from? It comes from our time in His Word, understanding it, studying it, and standing on it. This is the foundation for our marriage that God has built for us. This is why we quote scripture on our wedding day.
Think back to your own wedding day. What verse was read aloud for all those present to hear you commit to? Maybe it was 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, or was it Ephesians 4:2, or perhaps 1 Peter 4:8? What led you to that particular piece of scripture? I’ve found that while scripture is commonly quoted at marriage ceremonies, it is more rarely lived out in marriages themselves. So how do we go back to our wedding day Bible verse and use it for growth in our marriage? Well, we open our Bibles. We take the time to study that scripture, where it comes from, what it means, and how God intends us to live it out. We chase after God and we never stop.
Did you know that Corinthians and Ephesians were letters written by Paul to the churches? They were instruction and encouragement for living out a Christ centered life. 1 Peter 4 is literally titled “Living for God”. The reason these Bible verses are so commonly read on wedding days is that they instruct a husband and wife to live for God. To live in their marriage in a way that serves and honors Christ. We need to pay attention to this instruction and use it daily in our marriage. It would be such a shame to be someone who hears but doesn’t listen or understand.
“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” Matthew 13:12.
I want to be the wife who listens. I want to be the wife who chases after Jesus and follows Him like those who followed Him everywhere He went for His teachings. I do not want to lose the understanding of God’s intentions for marriage that I had on my wedding day. I want to grow in my understanding and continue to build from that foundation. That is why it is so important to study His Word, not just read it out loud. To understand it, not just quote it. And to live by it, not just preach it. That is how we will not let man separate what God has joined together. That is how we grow, closer to Him and closer to one another.