I once had a counselor fire a very direct statement at me when I was doing more than my share of pointing blame at someone who’d wounded me in a pretty devastating way. He said, “Kevin, don’t you think it’s about time you began to ask what your part in this was?” I was incredulous! “Are you kidding me?” I said, quite taken aback by his lack of empathy.
I think it might be time to stop pointing fingers at those whose view of marriage is not at all like ours, or the Bible’s, and ask, “What might be our part in this?”
Rather than point out a problem, I’d like to offer a solution—honor God by honoring marriage from here on out with reckless abandon!
When ministry leaders put the spotlight on what has great impact, things will start to change. As the marriages of your church go, so goes your church! I truly believe that. People can get saved, but if we don’t disciple them (and a part of discipleship is teaching Biblical commands for relationships/marriage), then we won’t make a huge impact where we live, work, and play. Discipleship and marriage go together. We can’t really separate the two. And frankly, we’ve made divorce too easy.
Lately, as I officiate weddings, I get downright direct with the couple and all of the witnesses. I have the couple turn around and face the people they invited (and any wedding crashers too – lol). While they’re looking out on the crowd, I tell them this is their accountability team. I tell those in attendance that they aren’t here just to watch a cute, expensive, romantic ceremony but that by being here they must do whatever is necessary to get in there and “duke it out” with the couple when they know they may be struggling. To do whatever it takes – not to help them pick up the pieces when things don’t work out, but to do whatever it takes to prevent it. This is one way we can honor marriage – make a big deal out of being married for life!
Another way we can honor marriage is to monthly acknowledge those who are celebrating anniversaries. Have them stand up, clap for them, pray over them, have those around them lay a hand on their shoulder, and pray for them. When we take time to publicly esteem them, it honors them and marriage. Devoting a few minutes once a month in a worship service to publicly esteem them honors them, and it honors marriage – an institution that is sacred, holy, and pleasing to God.