Let’s Celebrate: Marriage, Honored By All

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I’m married, but I struggle to see widely portrayed images of happy couples who are thriving as husband and wife. I know that there are marriages who are growing, learning, and happy. I have one myself. But beyond my own and others that are close to me, many of the images of our culture is one of marriage being an optional exploration of personal happiness rather than a lifelong commitment of sacrifice, loyalty, and selflessness.

This idea of honor is an encouragement to let marriage be celebrated (literal translation). This encouragement and admonition suggests that marriage is deserving of honor and is of high status.

It is unfortunate that some see marriage as slavery or a temporary experiment, a method to have children or even a financial arrangement. Others see marriage as a hopeless assignment where authentic purpose and joy will always remain elusive. This couldn’t be further from God’s approach to marriage. Marriage is a liberating and redemptive commitment and covenant that God created to shine light on His love for us and His idea of family. It is the cornerstone of our society and training ground for our family legacies. The way that we, as followers of Christ, are to approach marriage should instill a dynamic hope in others, of the power of agreement and unity. A united home should project a fragrance that is breath-taking to those who are tangibly looking for what is hardwired into our souls. Marriage is a gift from God.

This gift is not shameful and should not be condemned. It should not be ridiculed as old-fashioned and minimized as something “cool” to have. The stuff of marriage should be humorous, but the institution should be honored. Marriage is not an escape from single-life loneliness nor an antidote for selfish gain. It is the daily walk of Jesus coming to earth for the lives of someone else. It is a proving ground the confirms our faith, reveals and develops genuine character and is a gauge of the validity of a selfless heart.

It is no secret that honor has been redefined. Our honor has become conditional and circumstantial. We’ve added strings to whether or not we dish out our honor. If we agree politically and socially, then we honor a person or a thing. If we seemingly can get something from a person or their position, then we honor them. If a person’s public persona seems tightly fitting towards perfection, then we deem it appropriate to honor them.

I think if we agree with Scripture – we’ll find that our honor must be unconditional, our respect must be consistent, and our view must be to celebrate what God celebrates. God celebrates marriage. He believes in it and puts his grace on it. God established and believes in marriage.  It’s time we get behind that and celebrate it as well.

Finally, many of the marriages that are thriving and healthy are so busy working at marriage and life, that they have not created a platform that magnifies their success. This is unfortunate as the negative gets broadcasted louder and faster, which skews the reality. The reality is very simple: marriage works when you work it. And there are many who are working it, enjoying it, fulfilled by it and would highly recommend it. Let’s celebrate that reality. Let’s celebrate God for creating marriage. Let’s celebrate marriage.

Christopher J. Harris, a native of Palatka, Florida, is Director of Ministry Operations of the historic mega-church Fellowship Church of Chicago. He is also Overseer of Youth for Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. Harris currently resides in Chicago with his wife and children. www.ChristopherJHarris.com.

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