Perhaps there should be less sacred marriages and more secular civil unions.
Have you ever asked the question, “Why do people get married in the church?” Ministers are not called when foreigners wish to become United States citizens, parents wish to complete adoptions, or young people wish to enlist in the armed forces. When it comes to purchasing real estate or adding a partner to a firm, the church is not used to substantiate such contracts. So when two people are signing a marriage license and intending to form a new unity in the eyes of the state, why involve the church and the clergy?
The reason is as follows: marriage is a divinely originated covenant made between a man, a woman, and their God, in the presence of the congregated community. It is more than a ceremony. It is more than a contract. It is more than a civil union. In marriage, two people promise unconditional and unending love one to another, and they swear to do so before the face of God.
And this “swearing” is a most serious activity:
Numbers 30:1–4 Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the Lord has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. “If a woman vows a vow to the Lord and binds herself by a pledge, while within her father’s house in her youth, and her father hears of her vow and of her pledge by which she has bound herself and says nothing to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand.
Therefore, with this thought in mind, I might suggest three responses by those reading this devotional.
First, those who have already made unconditional and unending sacred vows before their God, spouse, minister, and congregation, they ought to keep their word. They ought not be liars who lack integrity. In an act of public worship, these individuals freely proclaimed holy vows. Therefore, as true believers of Christ who prove their salvation by their continued worship, they ought to keep their promises. Those married in the church of Christ ought not get divorced.
In addition, neither should men and women remain married and not do that which they sword. Married Christians ought to honor their words, honor their spouses, honor their ministers, honor their congregation, honor their church, and most importantly honor their God by daily performing that which they promised one another. It is not OK to get divorced. It is not OK to separate. Neither is it allowable to break one’s vows and live in sin though remaining wed.
Thirdly, those who do not plan on making or keeping such antiquated vows, perhaps they ought to pursue civil unions with a judge in a courthouse. Perhaps they want to live together in some sort of partnership. Perhaps they are willing to file their taxes jointly. Perhaps they want to have kids in a respectable manner. But if they plan not to honor God in the making and keeping of sacred vows, then they ought to leave the sacred deity and his church ought of their civil transaction.