"Foreasmuch as Clayton and Jean have consented together in holy wedlock...... I pronounce that they are husband and wife...." --- statements made at conclusion of a wedding ceremony held at Monroe Chapel Methodist Church, south of Clarion PA, on June 13, 1953 by Pastor Paul B. Dunlap.
I confess to a long standing conviction -- I'm 100 per cent sold on marriage for some solid reasons!
First, my life is richer and fuller because of a very special person by the name of Jean who has been my wife for 58 years. That means she has worn many "hats" in her experiences with me over these years. She has been confidant, friend, lover, comforter, supporter, partner, mother of our five children, nurse at times, prayer warrior, and the "always there" person whom I so often needed!
Second, marriage is that very special arrangment in which two persons become as "one." It is a perpetual sharing experience over time. Each day is an open door to new adventures and opportunities. Sometimes the experiences are trying, difficult and painful -- but the comfort is in knowing one is not alone -- the "partner" in this special arrangement is there to share and to give support -- so together, you press on. But there are the blessed times and those numerous occasions of joy and delight which make the painful moments fade away into the valley of insignificance!
Third, this is a great institution because God Himself so arranged it to be. In the book of Genesis we are informed that a man will leave his father and mother and be joined unto his wife and they shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Jesus confirmed that this is how it is to be when it comes to the issue of marriage as He made reference to that early declaration in the book of Genesis -- a man leaving his parents behind and being joined to his wife with the result that they are no longer two, but one in that special union known as marriage (Matthew 19:4-6).
However, in unstable times such as these there are those persons and groups that want to alter this special arrangement which God has clearly established. These are days of "redefinition" and the vain attempt to say that marriage must also include 2 sodomites or 2 lesbians being permitted to marry! There is absolutely no Biblical revelation that permits this to take place. God has explicitly set the boundaries for marriage and sexual expression and experience. Those are limited exclusively to a male and a female within the covenant of marriage.
Yeah, yeah -- I know, such statements as these place me in the category of a Bible-thumping, mean-spirited, homophobic radical. But I can live with that knowing that the day will come when God will have the last word on this issue and will confirm that the arrangement of marriage that He originally revealed through His inspired Word is indeed true.
We are warned that the time would come when there would be those persons who would, by their very conduct and attitudes, cause the earth to become defiled -- "The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." (Isaiah 24:5).
I'm sold 100 per cent on marriage and the fact that it is limited to one male and one female -- and the best wife I ever had agrees with me on that. We claim that we are living proof by the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ that it is indeed very true!
And now a PS on that wedding, preceding events, and later ones -- I was on a short leave between my schooling in TN near Memphis and my orders to report to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station near New Bern NC. We had to get blood tests, apply for marriage license and all those details in a short time. We made it to the court house about 45 minutes on Saturday before it closed to pick up the license. The preacher was about 20 minutes late for the wedding which was scheduled for 8:00 PM. We had a fender-bender accident turning into a motel that was closed for our wedding night and then went back to Clarion to the hotel. Some neighbors surprised us with a serenade on Sunday night. We left early on Monday morning for North Carolina. It was raining in New Bern when we arrived. We got a newspaper and started looking at apartment ads. Found a kind of broken down place and rented it for a while, and set up housekeeping -- a chair collapsed the first time Jean sat in it -- and no, she was definitely not overweight! Anyway, I thank God that in His great mercy and goodness, He arranged for Jean and me to meet, fall in love, (at our home church) and eventually enter into a very special covenant known as marriage reserved exclusively for one male and one female!
Oh, and now a PPS: I heard an unusal tribute to marriage a few years ago -- a man was asked, "If there is such a things as reincarnation, what would you like to come back as in the next life?" Instantly without hesitation the man answered, "My wife's second husband!" Sounds like he was sold on marriage also, does it not?
Finally, a PPSS: A while back I got a card for Jean which was very simple in its design and in the words expressed -- it said this, "I wonder where all the years have gone, but never how else I might have spent them." On this day of June 13, 2011, those words still very much apply!
And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
--- Matthew 19:4-6