A Christian marriage is woven to last. Have you ever tried to snap a woven rope into two with your bare hands? If the braid is made out of flimsy threads, the "rope" is pretty easy to break. If the braid is made of thick and sturdy cords, it may be possible if there is only one or two cords. Add a third cord and it is nearly impossible without cutting your flesh or breaking a bone.
A Christian marriage is like that strong rope -- if you have three strong cords in place that are tightly connected. When a married couple takes Christian wedding vows, they celebrate a special bond of love, hope and faith between a man, a woman and God. Married couples take vows at their wedding to be faithful to each other and to God throughout their entire lives. As social science research shows, when husband and wife attend church together, marriages last longer.
There are many encouraging words about marriage in the Christian Bible. The words of Jesus, the writings of St. Paul and the other books of the New Testament offer a model for a joyful, permanent marriage. For example. In the Gospel of John, the first act of Jesus' ministry was at a wedding. He transformed a bountiful amount of water into wine at Cana. Jesus challenged his society to avoid divorce by making marriage a solemn covenant between husband and wife.
You can have a loving, lasting relationship with your spouse. If you are engaged and preparing for marriage, you can lay a foundation that will last for your entire life. Weave your rope of three cords with faith, hope and love that will bring the blessings of marriage to you, your family and everyone who witnesses your marriage.
The first cord of your marriage is faith. You express faith in your marriage, faith in each other, and faith in God's presence. Faith is the basis for a lasting and happy marriage. You show and live your faith by the way you relate to your spouse. As you grow closer in a Christian marriage relationship with your spouse and with God, you build belief in each other as a married couple.
Christian pastors and marriage counselors concur that marriage is all relationship. Being in a relationship means sharing. Tell your spouse your personal feelings and thoughts in person or in writing. Pray alone; pray together. As individuals, both husband and wife have personal relationships with Jesus Christ. And, as a couple, you and your spouse live out Christian marriage goals by praying together.
The second cord of marriage is hope. Hope is the expectation that what you don't see now, you will experience and realize one day. Hope builds upon faith and has confidence that "with God all things are possible."
In contemporary American society, the divorce rate for first marriages is 55%. It is an act of hope to imagine a Christian marriage relationship lasting throughout your entire life. You can draw upon the practice of hope to keep your Christian marriage vows. Do this by drawing power from God to strengthen your relationship.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote, "Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us..." Jesus gives you the power to have a lasting marriage of love, joy, goodness, peace, services and happiness. Be confident that Jesus is risen and present to you and your spouse as a third partner.
Do you know what the third cord of marriage? If you say love, you are right. Love is the ultimate sign of a healthy, lifelong marriage. A marriage relationship is the highest calling of the teaching of Christ on love. Consider the words from Chapter Thirteen from St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. "Love is patient and kind... Love rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things endures all things. Love never fails."
Love is the work of faith--believing in all things. Love flowers from hope by enduring and persevering all things. Love is the power of God in your marriage relationship that brings joy, peace, security and happiness.
Make your married life an example of the love that Christ has for the Church. Be a witness to your spouse, your family, your church, and society. In your Christian marriage, you and your spouse are the light of the world to those desiring more meaning, love, faith, hope and in their lives.