More Than a Wedding Day Declaration

By: Jenny Stricklin
Eighteen years ago this month, I stood at the double back doors of my childhood church sanctuary. The pews were packed with dear family and friends. And I’m positive there were at least as many butterflies making a scene in my stomach.

Everything was perfect. Only the flower-petal path lay between me and my soon-to-be-husband. I tried my best to take it all in as I took my dad’s arm, and the band began to play and sing:

We’ve come to declare the beauty of the Lord,
declare the beauty of the Lord.

We had chosen this song for our wedding because it seemed to perfectly reflect the sacred privilege of husbands and wives in kingdom-of-God marriages. Marriage is meant to display, albeit in a less than perfect way, the beautiful love of God in Christ Jesus for us, His people.

But those lyrics are more than a wedding day declaration. They are a whole way of life… for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part!

In fact, every day of marriage, we have a choice. Will we follow our feelings and fight for ourselves? Or will we follow in His steps and choose what He chose – gentleness, purity, forgiveness, humility, faithfulness, submission, and love?

Will we partner with each other in pleasing God? Will we peel back the pretty facades and attend to the hidden issues of the heart? Will we bear with one another and honor each other? Even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when it isn’t reciprocated. Even if everyone else calls it crazy.

It’s easy to declare the beauty of the Lord when you’re wearing white, and the candles are lit, and the cake is waiting to be cut.

The real challenge comes later - when the music fades and the make-up has been washed off, and everything feels far from perfect. When the tensions are high, and you don’t see eye to eye. When feelings are hurt, and pride is wounded. When you’re tempted to pick up an offense or just focus on lesser things. That’s when the declaration really makes a difference. That’s when it’s most compelling.

If you would have asked me in June 2006, if I believed the words of that song as it related to my marriage, I would have blissfully said, I do. And I really did.

But all these years later, after good seasons and bad, I am more convinced than ever of the honor and responsibility we have as citizens of heaven in kingdom-of-God marriages.

As husbands and wives set apart from this world, we come to declare the beauty of the Lord!

(1 Peter 2:21-3:7)
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