Marriage as Death

The following was a wedding homily, which I’ve adapted here for written and public format.

“Marriage is…(fill in the blank?)” I wonder how we would finish that sentence, using just one word. “Marriage is (what?).” If we had the time, it’d be interesting to survey a range of people and hear all the different ways folks would answer that question.

Maybe some would say, especially at a wedding, “Marriage is… beautiful.” Or maybe others would say, “Marriage is a gift.”

And both of those are true. But what if I told you that we could also finish that sentence this way, “Marriage is death”?

Now if marriage is something of a death, I suppose that means a wedding is in fact a funeral. And if you’re the ones getting married, that means on your wedding day you’re actually attending your own funerals!

That’s what I would like us to consider: marriage as a death.

1. Leaving & Cleaving

First, marriage involves the death of two independent lives, as husband and wife come together to form “one flesh.”

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Our Wedding Vows

Framed and hanging on a wall in our apartment are the wedding vows of my wife and I. I put the piece together (a four-frame piece, two slots being filled with pictures and the other two with our vows) as a Christmas present for my wife our first Christmas together, a little over a month after we were married (11.19.11). Seeing that today is our one-year wedding anniversary, I thought it would be appropriate and encouraging to share our wedding vows in a post.

As you will see, we decided to write our own vows (in a sense) by combining a modified set of traditional vows with Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 5:22-33. In Ephesians 5:22-33 Paul sets forth the beautiful, distinct, functional roles of the husband and wife in marriage, which, contrary to much contemporary thought, are nothing short of a blessing when lived out properly. Although neither of us is perfect and neither of us perfectly fulfills God’s intention perfectly in this regard (hence “Although I will often fail you…”), our prayer is to strive towards this model year after year.

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