Wednesday, July 5, 2017

"TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE" VS 'WHITE WEDDING'

There is a major misunderstanding among single Christians regarding getting married traditionally and getting married in church.
The major confusion centers around whether a couple can start living together as husband and wife after they have been traditionally married. This came about mostly because of two main reasons:
i. In many cultures, once a girl has been married traditionally, her family and the man's expect her to move in with the man because in their eyes marriage has been contracted and is final.
ii. For Christians, they also desire to have a so-called 'white wedding' in church with all the trappings thereof- wedding gowns and suits, bridal train, wedding reception and so forth.
Owing however to the fact that the TM usually gulps a lot of money, many couples claim that they cannot afford the 'WW' immediately, as they require time to gather enough funds to take on the 'WW'. And so in the interim they start living together as husband and wife and some of them actually go ahead and have a 'WW' after some months or even years.

So, is this the right approach for believers?
What should the right progression be towards the altar and married life for born again Christians?
At what point in the entire journey does a couple become truly joined together and fully married in the sight of the Lord and can start living together as husband and wife?
Errors in knowledge concerning marriage result in error in thinking, error in attitudes and erroneous behavior. Jesus said “you err when you do not know the scriptures Matthew 22:29

We need to understand from the outset that God is a God of order and He wants us to maintain order in our affairs.

1 Corinthians 14:40
40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

Let us start by defining marriage.
What is marriage? Definition-
    Without definition there will be deviation
    Marriage can be defined as a formal union between a man and a woman to become each other's loving companion for life as they fulfill God's given purpose on the earth.

    This means among other things that marriage is a Formal union, that is how God designed it to be. Opposite of formal is casual.  This is not meant to be a casual relationship; but a formal relationship.
    This addresses the legality and the type of relationship it is. It is a contractual relationship called a covenant.
    A covenant is a bond.
Malachi 2:14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant NIV

Proverbs 2:16-17 NIV [16] Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, [17] who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.

    Therefore scripturally the marriage relationship is a covenant relationship. This is God’s verdict.
Having said that, there is also a need to understand that there is a process involved leading up to the covenant of marriage. There are three  significant steps that must be fulfilled.

1.          PARENTAL CONSENT.
God recognizes our parents as His appointed authority figures in our lives. Thus He expects us to honour them.
Exodus 20:12; Deut. 5:16; Mat. 19:19; Mark 7:10; Lk. 18:20
 One way to do that is  by obtaining their consent and blessing before you get married. Gen. 24.
When you do that your parents release their blessings on you and God confirms it. This forms the scriptural rationale for TM.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PARENTAL CONSENT/BLESSING.
Apart from blessing their children's marriage union, Parents are supposed to provide a support system for their children after their marriage. So if one of the two is misbehaving or treating their spouse unfairly, the parents can step in and call their own child to order in order to protect the spouse. This of course works where the parents themselves are not the problem, and are not interfering or taking sides unfairly with their own child!!!
So marrying traditionally involves the family in the process, but also leaves the door open for unbiased mediation in case of crises in the marriage tomorrow.
  
2. LEGAL ASPECT.
In keeping with the laws of our land, for your marriage to be recognized, it has to be legal. This involves exchanging vows in a court of law/ registry and signing of a certificate or marriage license in the presence of witnesses.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LEGAL (COURT/REGISTRY) FORMALITIES.
-       It protects the man and the woman.
-       It protects the children from being abandoned or un-catered for especially if the marriage relationship goes sour.
-       If problems arise in the marriage in the future, you can seek legal redress from a court of law.
-       There have been cases where a man who married a woman only traditionally went ahead to marry another woman legally ( in court)! In some instances, they marry and migrate out of the country with the legal wife, abandoning the 'traditional' wife.
This would not have been possible if they were legally married in the first instance.

3. THE BLESSING OF GOD.
This is the culmination of the entire process where you come into the house of God to be formally joined together in His presence by His representative before a cloud of witnesses. The significance and high point of the ceremony is the proclamation of blessings upon you both.
Remember that marriage is fundamentally a covenant relationship.
At what point do you enter covenant?
The covenant is contracted or entered into when you exchange your vows.
Ezekiel 16:8 NIV “ 'Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.

So, you enter into a covenant relationship with vows before a cloud of witnesses with the proclamation of blessings upon you by God's representative.
-       If later on there is a breakdown with parents mediating in the marriage when a problem arises, the church can step in to reinstate order and peace. This is done by providing counsel, prayer etc.
-       Let me point out quickly that you do not need to do an elaborate and expensive wedding like most people do IF YOU CANNOT AFFORD IT!
This is where the problem of co-habitation begins. Singles living together pending when they will be able to 'afford' to get married in church.
Once the first two conditions have been fulfilled, all you need do is inform your pastor in advance so that the formal blessing of the marriage by God's representative can be done on the same day as the TM,
Once the traditional rites have been concluded, then the pastor steps forward and conducts the same ceremony conducted in church during weddings.
He admonishes you, you exchange vows before him and n the presence of witnesses and then he proclaimed God's blessings upon you and declares you husband and wife. Voila! You are married.
You both can even change clothes and wear a wedding gown and suit if you so wish!
You could also have the same ceremony performed on the same day as your TM in church, your pastor's office or wherever you please. You only need to discuss your options with your pastor and carry him and the church along. It's that simple!


THREE THINGS THAT TAKE PLACE ON THE WEDDING DAY.
i.           Holy Solemnization. This means to perform the formal christian ceremony of marriage by God's representative. It is called 'holy' because both parties are supposed to stand before God in sincerity, truth, integrity and purity of heart and body. They must both remember that they are before the Judge of the whole earth and so must come with purity and clean hands.
ii.          Exchange of vows. Remember that according to Ezekiel 16:8, the covenant of marriage is initiated by oaths. So, you both exchange vows before God in the presence of witnesses to signify the beginning of a lifelong, exclusive marriage covenant relationship.
iii.        Proclamation of blessings. This is the high point and culmination of i. and ii. The proclamation of God's blessings is what makes the parents' blessings stick and yield fruit. You must understand that blessing is not in the hand of any man apart from God almighty.
So you see, you cannot enter into the covenant of marriage anyhow ( disorderly) and expect God's blessing and sanction.
Do the correct thing not only for yourself but also in order to set godly precedence for your children and their own children after them in all their generations.

WHERE DOES SEX COME IN?
Sex is a covenant act. It is the sealing of the covenant of marriage that has already been enacted between a man and a woman. If you haven't entered into a covenant you can't have sex. To do otherwise is tantamount to madness!
Even legally, if you wish to have a document or contract notarised (certified) before a notary public, the document or contract must carry the signatures of the parties involved in the contract before the red seal is applied to it. Their signatures attest to the consensual agreement they have entered into, more like the marriage certificate obtained from the court/church which indicates that a covenant has been entered into.
Then and ONLY then can the red seal of authentication be applied to impart a formal character to the document. Sex is like  that red seal. It is the culmination of a process of entering the covenant relationship of marriage, which includes the parental consent, legal aspect as well as the proclaimed blessing.
Please note, dear singles.
You cannot give your body to someone who is not committed to you in the covenant relationship of marriage. It is an aberration and it has consequences.
Until he/she presents themselves at the marriage altar, nothing is sure. Anything can happen! Don't be naive, please. Stories abound that prove this point.
Not being willing to go through this process is an indication of a weakness in character. And of a lack of value for God's blessing.
The problem is that most singles do not value the blessing of God because they do not even understand its import. Remember how Esau wept bitterly upon realizing that his brother Jacob had conned him out of their father's blessing irreversibly? That's because he understood the place of the blessing.

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BLESSING OF GOD?
-       The blessing of God is the guarantee that God will always be with you in that marriage relationship.
So violating the process is tantamount to you saying you do not need God in the journey.
-       The blessing of God removes the struggle from the journey of marriage. Even though challenges are bound to come in different guises on the journey, you will be fighting from a position of victory as a blessed couple/ family.
-       It honors God!
When you choose to fulfill all righteousness (Mat. 3:15) in obedience to God's order, you demonstrate that you honour God and have chosen to defer to Him and His ways.
-       If you boycott the blessing and start living together as husband and wife, know that you have not yet entered into a covenant. Parental blessing is just that; it cannot take the place of the covenant or even the legal aspect of the process.

SO, TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE IS NOT A COVENANT SERVICE BUT A SERVICE OF PARENTAL BLESSING! It cannot take the place of the other two which are necessary to conclude the process of entering into a covenant.
Here's to a rock solid foundation and a regret-free married life!

N.B I acknowledge the input of my friend Pst. (Mrs) Joy Ajibade in this post.








20 comments:

  1. So elaborate. Thank you and God bless you ma!

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  2. Favour Chris NwakaJuly 6, 2017 at 1:28 PM

    Thanks ma for continously adding value to lives. You are indeed a VAP(Value Adding Personality)

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  3. Thank you ma for this wisdom,more grace in Jesus name.
    Kaffy Olawoyin

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  4. This is a book on it's own. Thank you Pastor for this wonderful piece. This is so easy to understand, clear and traceable to the Bible.

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  5. Thank you mamaaaaa.

    Sharing.....

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  6. More grace Ma.thank you for sharing

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  7. Mama, this is really an eye opener, I need to share this immediately. God bless your ministry more and more.

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    1. Hi Mayowa. Please feel free to share. Amen to you prayer. Thanks

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  8. My mama. Always blessed by your ministry. More Grace

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  9. Good morning mummy, God bless you for your thought concerning families. I have learn to keep faith and concentrate on the strength of my child via your teaching. God bless

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