Let’s Celebrate Marriage!

Let’s Celebrate Marriage!

Churches should celebrate marriage in June!

2024 | Week of June 17 | Radio Transcript #1571

Marriage is the institution that is the foundation of the family and of society. Its stability is basic to morality and civilization, and of vital interest to the society and the state.

That sounds like something you’d hear from a pulpit or read in a Wisconsin Family Council press release or legislative memo. It’s something we could all agree on—the importance of marriage to every aspect of society. Would you believe our very own State Legislature wrote this statement?

It’s actually part of the “intent” clause opening the Wisconsin Family Code, dozens of state statutes on marriage and family that make up Chapter 765 of the Wisconsin Statutes. The State Legislature wanted to make it crystal clear that the related statutes were necessary in order to protect marriage and family in Wisconsin. They recognized their responsibility to uphold the institution of marriage for the civil good of society.

And it’s a good thing they did because as marriage and family go, so goes the state. The institution of marriage pre-dates government. The state didn’t create the institution of marriage; God did. God also has some things to say about the importance of marriage. And what God’s says about this institution is just a little more passionate, motivating, and meaningful than the intent clause of Chapter 765.

What is God’s intent for marriage? Like the story of salvation, this divine intent woven throughout the Scriptures, beginning with The Ultimate Beginning, Creation. Genesis 1:27 says that God created male and female in His Own Image. The man and the woman, together, constitute an earthly representation of God’s image. Genesis chapter 2:24 says, “[A] man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”  Similar to the mystery of the Trinity, the married man and woman are one.

In Ephesians 5:31 and 32, Paul quotes Genesis 2:24, adding, “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” Marriage also illustrates the relationship between Christ, the divine Groom, and His Bride, the Church. The implications here are tremendous.

Marriage is the first institution God created and His intent for it is rich, full of meaning, both practical and marvelous. As the Bride of Christ, the Church has a very important responsibility to uphold, preserve and champion the institution of marriage as God designed it—one man and one woman for life. That’s the gold standard for marriage, but because we live in a fallen world it’s not always the reality.

This is where the Church comes in. It’s why we over the years have encouraged pastors and churches to make June Marriage Month, a time to promote and champion marriage in their congregation and community. We can’t guarantee the gold standard for everyone, but what we can do, as a Christian community, is give people the information, training, resources, and help they need to make wise decisions about marriage.

Unfortunately, in a fallen world divorce is part of marriage. While it’s true that the number of divorces in Wisconsin has been dropping, that’s largely because our marriage rate has been falling. We need to increase the marriage rate, while keeping the divorce rate low. Did you know that solid pre-marital counseling and attending church together regularly as a couple, actually significantly increase the chances a marriage will last?

This is what people need to hear. They also need to understand God’s design for marriage so they can understand why it’s the best way. We have the wonderful message that marriage can work and that it’s the best possible situation for a man and a woman and the best environment in which to raise their children.

Yes, the state has a responsibility to promote and preserve marriage. But the Church has an even greater responsibility. As the Bride of Christ, we have a message about fulfillment, love, and commitment that the world is desperate to hear. As we close out the month of June, I encourage you again to take some time to promote marriage in your church by hosting a date-night for couples, focusing on marriage in your Bible studies, and asking your pastor to preach on the importance of marriage and in other ways champion marriage. It’s time to focus on God’s intent for marriage because it’s good for everyone.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you that God, through the Prophet Hosea, said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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