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Adams Chapel AME Church

Valerie Walker, M. Div., Pastor

Marriage: More Than A Human Institution

By Jacques R. Days, MD

Marriage was ordained by God in the Garden of Eden. He made note of the significance of matrimony by His presence through Jesus Christ at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. Christ further affirmed marriage by blessing the wedding at Cana with a miraculous gift; the wedding ceremony, itself, is a sacred symbol and a spiritual sign of the great union between God and man, between Christ and His Church.[1]

Marriage, then, is more than a legal contract and much more than a social tradition. It is a sacred and spiritual union between one man and one woman.[2] It is that provision of God by which a man and woman unite their lives --- their faith and love, their hopes and dreams, their resources and energies --- toward a common goal. That aim, ultimately, is to dedicate themselves as a unit to the service of God, each other, their children, and the world.

The union, in essence, involves loving patience, reciprocal forgiveness, mutual trust, shared confidence, and a common desire to please one another.[3] Like some other human bonds, marriage should provide for mutual protection, advancement of calling, and benefits to all. However, unlike other human compacts, marriage is a holy covenant that is intended to endure all the blessings of life as well as the challenges. It is not to be ended except by death. Thus, the procession toward such a commitment should not be taken lightly nor the marriage entered into without solemn consideration. Rather, a man and a woman should prayerfully, earnestly, and reverently seek the face of God as they pursue this holy institution.

Therefore, marriage, in all its beauty, is to be counted a worthy institution which none should shun.[4] It has been ordained by God from the very beginning of human existence. Hence, whether the coming years bring good times or bad, wealth or want, ease or adversity, sickness or health, hopes fulfilled or dreams deferred, joy or sorrow, sunshine or rain, let husband and wife be one. Let man and woman find in matrimony that sacred trust and mutual love which is a gracious gift of a faithful God.[5]

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Genesis2:21-24(NKJV)

AndHe answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,'and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, andthe two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:4-6(NKJV)

[1] The Book of Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (Nashville, TN: AMEC Publishing Company, 2008), 513 [2]Romans 7:2-3[3] 1 Corinthians 7:3-5; Ephesians 5:21-22, 25, 28-33[4]Hebrews 13:4 [5]Matthew 19:4-9