Homily For Couples At Their Wedding

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November 17, 1971

Number-One Daughter married her love last week by candle light in a little country church. Snow fell softly to frost the pines while an old pump-organ played bitter-sweet music.

Is it possible that my little princess has toddled from the cradle to a husband so quickly? Why, I hardly blinked an eye.

But it is so because it was my voice that answered, "Her mother and I" when The Reverend James Watt asked, "Who gives this woman in marriage?"

Suddenly I realized that I hadn't yet told Christy all I felt I knew about the joys and responsibilities of marriage. Oh, if I only had one more day!

Then I heard Skipper Jim saying the last few things I wished I had said. It was kind, of old-fashioned and stressed the duties of marriage. He called it his "homily", and it was so full of meaning that Christy asked for a copy to save and re-read. Good idea.

Skipper said I could give you a copy, too. Here it is:

We are gathered here to join you, Jim and Chris, in holy marriage. I hope you feel the solemnity of the moment, as well as the joy and gaiety of it.

The late Peter Marshall said: "Marriage is not a federation of two sovereign states. It is a union – domestic, social, spiritual, physical. It is a fusion of two hearts, the union of two lives, the coming together of two tributaries , which, after being joined in marriage, will flow in the same channel in the same direction … carrying the same burdens of responsibility and obligation. "

When you cast your lives together in this union, you become particular instruments of God's love. You may honorably share with Him in the mystery and miracle of creation. Your children, born in His image, will work, play, love and worship – like you, according to your example. So your marriage is sacred in a very special way.

"Joined" is a strong word. You will be two no longer, but one. You will see your oneness in a new frame of mind, in redirected interests, and later, hopefully, in the faces of your children. You will hear someone say, "She has her mother's eyes" or "He has his father's height."

But being "one" sometimes turns into a struggle of individuals to decide which one! It should be a blending of the best in each: the best talents, best tolerance, the most all-cherishing and freely-expressed love. We can all help this blending, by recognizing the best that's in each.

In a moment you will be taking the most solemn vow that you have taken in your whole life. There is no way to be almost true. So any vow that is kept, is kept unviolated. It cannot be smudged even a little. To have the faithful, undivided love of a good husband or a good wife is to be rich, no matter what the bank statement may say.

No one is perfect, and you will fail each other in many ways. You will forgive and be forgiven. But willfully or irresponsibly failing each other is breaking faith.

Husbands and wives can be unfaithful in many ways: by nagging or belittling; by listening to gossip about the other; by withholding the self – failing to confide, to listen or to share.

A strange mystery is that these tender marriage-bonds can be the strongest bonds on earth. Yet they are most easily broken by interference. "Let no one put asunder" is an admonition for neighbors, friends, associates and even parents.

The wedding ring is an outward and visible symbol of an inward and spiritual bond. It is only a symbol, of course. Without inward and spiritual fidelity, all symbols are meaningless. The flag is just a piece of cloth; the cross is no more than a bit of wood or metal; the wedding ring, by itself, is merely a piece of jewelry.

But worn with sturdy, unqualified loyalty, and with love, the wedding ring may be the strongest thing of its size in the world. Our civilization, built on the family, would fall apart except for the bond that unites two hearts in endless love.

As you establish your home, if you seek in prayer the benediction of God in love, in patience, and in wisdom – then you will have begun a successful marriage.

When, as the years roll by, you learn to express appreciation of one another's virtues and to overlook one another's shortcomings and weaknesses; when you, the wife, cheerfully make the most of your opportunity to be a helpmate indeed; when you, the husband, constantly show that you love the wife as yourself and encourage her in her special interests; when together you guide and nurture your children in the Christian faith and regard them as a gift of and trust from the Lord – then indeed, have you gone a long way in the development of a successful marriage.

When through many years you have shared one another's struggles and victories, sorrows and rejoicings; when you have become to one another ever more indispensable; when contentment and peace is at its height when you are together, whether in the home, in church, or in any other situation; when different points of view are accepted as normal and no longer ruffle; when the best in the years that lie ahead is looked for in being together and sharing the hope of continued fellowship in the life beyond – then in the deepest sense yours has been a successful marriage.

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Source by Lindsey Williams

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