Weddings. Men hate them, especially when it’s their own; women love them, especially when it’s their own. Men watch the time at weddings, always worried they’ll miss their cue; women cry at weddings, which is another reason men don’t like weddings.
Weddings are fertile ground for the unexpected. A ring is dropped and falls through the floor register, clanking its way to the furnace in the basement. In one wedding we had a “groomsman delay,” because he dropped like a fly right in the middle of the ceremony. In another, I called the bride by her sister’s name all the way through the ceremony.
I know a preacher who unconsciously switches the initial sounds of words. At one ceremony, he asked the groom to place the ring on his bride’s finger and repeat what was supposed to have been: “with this ring I seal this vow.” Instead, he asked the groom to say, “with this ring I feel this sow.” I don’t know, but I imagine the mother of the bride wept while the men snickered and couldn’t wait to talk about it at the reception.
Weddings are a lot of things, but one thing they are not: weddings are not marriages. A wedding ceremony is simply the opportunity for a man and a woman to pick up tools and start working the bare plot of ground that God has put before them. And if they will do that, there’s a monumental chance that they will discover somewhere down the road that the little patch of dirt has become a beautiful garden called marriage.
Granted, the landscape of marriage is often a checkerboard of gardens and weeds. (And the gardens may even be dotted with some nasty looking weeds.) So, some have come to the conclusion that marriage doesn’t work.
In 50 years of ministry, I have seldom dealt with people whose marriages don’t work, but I have listened to a lot of couples who have not worked their marriage. They either never picked up the tools or, somewhere along the line, they laid them down. Some believed that the first flush of love and marriage would carry them for the rest of their lives. Others just got lazy and decided that a few weeds wouldn’t hurt a thing. Solomon was right, it is those little foxes that ruin the vineyard of love (Song of Solomon 2:15 ).
True, some marriages end up ugly. But most of the time it is not because of huge, dramatic sins. Most of the time the problem is the man and woman’s failure to catch the little foxes and to dig up the weeds while they are tender. The weeds of stubbornness, pride, and childishness and the fox of communication that often eludes us. While not unmanageable in themselves, left unchecked, once-beautiful gardens and vineyards are ruined.
If you want to “adult” in your marriage, stop kidding around. Man up! Woman up! Catch those little foxes that create havoc in your marriage. Pull those weeds before they overcome the garden and that’s all you can see. For better, for worse. You have a choice. Marriage can deliver on its promise of lifetime love.
This Sunday, Sept 3 we’re talking about what God has to say about marriage. Don’t miss these practical steps to experiencing life in your marriage!