One month ago Prince William and his wife, Kate, celebrated their first anniversary. It’s hard to believe a year has passed since this worldwide event. Every news agency and gossip publishing house was abuzz with wonder and amazement as they exchanged their vows. The paparazzi craved details–some interesting and some we could go forever not knowing. One I found interesting was the wedding vows they chose to recite. They were from the 1662 Book Of Common Prayer.
You may be surprised to read the original marriage vows. This book was written 350 years ago, yet the words recorded are still helpful in establishing a lifetime of covenant love.
EARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.
Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.
Most people think of a wedding as being romantic and beautiful, which it is. However, we must not miss what is recorded here; marriage is to be pursued reverently (with respectful regard), discreetly (prudently; circumspectly; cautiously), advisedly (With deliberation or advice; heedfully; purposely), and soberly (Without intemperate passion; coolly; calmly; moderately).
In our society marriage has simply become another ceremony fraught with tradition that has lost much of its meaning. Here, in our Vineyard, we want to celebrate marriage the way God intended it to be. This is why it is important for us to reflect back to recapture the true meaning of the marriage vows we committed to as husband and wife.
God doesn’t take marriage lightly, nor should we.
When was the last time you and your spouse read your marriage vows? Why not make plans to review them together? It may serve as a timely reminder as to the promises your relationship is built upon.