The past several decades have seen an increasing escalation in the cost of weddings in most western societies. It is not unusual today to spend anywhere from $30-50,000 on a wedding. A quick Google search says that the average cost for a wedding is $27,000. Paralleling this rise in the cost of the wedding day, has been an equal downward spiral marking the value of marriages. Divorce rates in western countries approach 50% for first marriages and even higher for second and third marriages. The reasons, like Legion, are many, and require the same casting out by divine power.
Planning, commitment, hard work, and determination are all involved in planning the “big day.” Sadly, the same qualities are all too apparent by their absence in some marriages. But why should we as Christians view this societal trend with alarm? What do expensive weddings and cheap marriages have to do with us?
First, we should pray for the preservation of the institution of marriage. In western cultures, we are viewing a total reversal of “normal.” People who should marry are now opting for living together; people who should not marry are now engaged in lobbying for rights to marriage. The foundation of every stable society has been marriage and the family unit. Remove marriage and family, and society quickly disintegrates. As believers, we should not be involved in the politics of the left or the right; rather, we should pray for stability in society in which testimony for God can be maintained.
But beyond the societal effects of the lessening of the importance of marriage, the gradual incursion of this thinking can also affect believers. We are all delighted and honored to be invited to the wedding of two believers. No one complains if we have filet mignon or salmon instead of hot dogs; no one seems to mind the country club reception. Yet, if this is at the expense of realizing the value of marriage, then we have put our emphasis on the wrong thing. A wedding is not a marriage but gives a couple the opportunity to have a marriage!
Marriages among believers are intended by God to be purposeful – to reflect the union of Christ and His Church (Eph 5:22-33); they are intended to be permanent, not subject to moods and changes in affections. They are intended, as well, to be precious (Heb 13:4). God intends for Christian marriages to be not only a relationship of mutual delight, but also of mutual devotion and commitment.
Yes, celebrate and enjoy weddings. But amidst our enjoyment, pray for and celebrate a marriage that is maintained, by the grace of God, for the glory and honor of God. We cannot change our society – except perhaps by prayer; but we can give testimony to it by our marriages and our homes.