Wedding Message to Linus and Danielle

To Linus John Morris Jr. and Danielle Helene Coetzee

By Linus John Morris Sr.

 THE 4 Cs OF A SUCCESSFUL MARRIAGE

Linus and Dani, God reveals the ingredients of a successful marriage in Scripture. The first three are embedded in the very first book of the Bible at the beginning of creation and the union of the first man and woman. Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

CHOICE

The first ingredient of a successful marriage is choice. God designed our world so that a man and woman would be attracted to each other. He uses that attraction to draw them together as you, Linus and Dani, have been. But he also designed us so that we could choose whether or not to pursue the relationship and to join together as husband and wife. So, Linus and Dani, you have chosen to come together as husband and wife and all of us present here today affirm that choice, as does God who created you. God has worked though your choices to become husband and wife and will continue to work through your marriage as you make Him the center of your relationship.

Linus and Dani, you have not chosen each other because you are perfect or because you can meet each others needs. You have chosen each other because you compliment each other, and through God’s work in and through you, you will be the instrument of growth, maturity, redemption, companionship, pleasure, and fruitfulness in each others lives.

COMMITMENT

The second ingredient of a successful marriage is commitment. Your attraction to and choice of one another will not be enough to sustain your marriage through the challenges and tests ahead in the years to come. The success of your marriage will require an enduring commitment to each other. The modern view of marriage can be summed up by the expression, “As long as we both shall love.” The Biblical view of marriage, however, is captured by a commitment, “Till death do us part.”

Most marriage couples today end up living parallel lives, separate, or divorce. In contrast, God wants us to experience an enduring mutuality and intimacy. Our commitment is not just to stay together but to keep moving toward each other. Genesis 2 says, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife….” To cleave is to “stick together like glue.”

The Hebrew word that expresses the kind of cleaving God intends for us is the word “hesed.” This Biblical word is translated into English as “unfailing love,” “loyal love,” “enduring love,” “devotion,” and “kindness.” Hesed is the word the Bible uses to express God’s relationship to us, that is, to those who turn to Him and put their trust in Him. Psalm 136 is one of many passages that speak of God’s hesed. In this one Psalm, the refrain “His love (hesed) endures forever” resounds twenty six times. God’s love is a committed, enduring, loyal love. The commitment of husband of love is to be the same.

The Old English word that captures the marital commitment of cleaving is the word “troth.” A man and woman pledge each other their troth—their trust, love, devotion, reliability and commitment. And so, Linus and Dani, you stand here today in the presence of God and all these witnesses to proclaim your “hesed,” your “troth,” your “loyal love,” your “enduring love,” your commitment to one another.

It is this commitment to an enduring love and faithfulness that will enable you to face the hurts and struggles that will come in your relationship. It is this commitment that will enable you to renew your love, continue to change, and keep moving toward the mutuality and intimacy God desires for you. It is this commitment that will enable you to value and esteem each other and put each others interests ahead of your own, and cause your love to grow and deepen.

COMMUNICATION

The third ingredient of a successful marriage is communication. It will take more than commitment to enter into the fullness of your marriage. It will also take communication. Communication is more than the exchanging of information; it is more that asking, “How was your day?” Communication involves listening and drawing out what each other thinks and feels. True communication asks and seeks to understand, “How are you?”

Communication is more than expressing your desire to be understood and accepted—though it is that. But it is more, it is seeking to understand and accept the other person. It is more than getting your point across; it is getting the other person’s point. This is what is in view in Genesis 2:24 where it says, “The two shall become one flesh.”

By communicating with one another and understanding each other you will blend your lives together like two large trees that stand side by side. While separate, their root systems have so grown together and intertwined over the years that to uproot one is to uproot the other.

Communication will most certainly involve forgiveness. Communication means you will learn to say, “I’m sorry, will you forgive me?” and “I forgive you, will you forgive me?” Each time you your forgive and ask forgiveness, the root system of your lives will intertwine even more, you will deepen in the intimacy of being “one flesh,” and the fruit of love the fruitfulness of your marriage will increase.

CHRIST

This brings us to the fourth ingredient of a successful marriage: Christ. There is an uniqueness to a marriage where both husband and wife put Christ at the center of their lives and marriage. Jesus is the greatest example of God’s hesed, or loyal love toward us. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

As you grasp the magnitude of God’s forgiveness of each of you, it will become easier to forgive one another. As you look to Christ and invite His presence into your lives and marriage, God’s love or hesed will flow in and through you, and you will be drawn closer together. As His love and grace flow in and through you, you will discover the greater purpose for which He has drawn you together. As you invite His presence into your lives and marriage, you will spread the fruit of loyal love.

In light of your commitment to enter this union of loyal love, Linus/Dani do you take Dani/Linus to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, as long as you both shall live, till death do you part?

PSALM 136

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,

His love endures forever.

who by his understanding made the heavens,

His love endures forever.

who spread out the earth upon the waters,

His love endures forever.

who made the great lights —

His love endures forever.

the sun to govern the day,

His love endures forever.

the moon and stars to govern the night;

His love endures forever.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt

His love endures forever.

and brought Israel out from among them

His love endures forever.

with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;

His love endures forever.

to him who divided the Red Sea asunder

His love endures forever.

and brought Israel through the midst of it,

His love endures forever.

but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;

His love endures forever.

to him who led his people through the desert,

His love endures forever.

who struck down great kings,

His love endures forever.

and killed mighty kings —

His love endures forever.

Sihon king of the Amorites

His love endures forever.

and Og king of Bashan —

His love endures forever.

and gave their land as an inheritance,

His love endures forever.

an inheritance to his servant Israel;

His love endures forever.

to the One who remembered us in our low estate

His love endures forever.

and freed us from our enemies,

His love endures forever.

and who gives food to every creature.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

(Psalm 136:1-26)


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