I'm sitting in the church sanctuary while Tammi (our wedding coordinator) has fun helping a couple and their family and friends rehearse. My main job tomorrow is to share a brief message. The messages are similar, one wedding to another, because marriage is God's idea, not ours. God made us male and female and established marriage as a way of raising, guiding and protecting the generations to come. A side benefit is that couples enjoy each other and support each other throughout life.
The couple to be married tomorrow is very fortunate. Both bride and groom come from families where mom and dad are still together. I'm sure things aren't perfect - they never are - but they seem to be basically relaxed with one another. That's the goal.
Please pray for healthy marriages. Pay attention to God's plan. "A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one." From the two together, under God's plan and protection, children grow and are blessed with love. The whole community is blessed with strong families.
When challenges come, don't despair, and don't wait too long to seek help. Too many families and children suffer. If there isn't more joy at home than out in the world, it's time to make things better. Don't settle for ongoing strife. Marriage, as God planned it, is a place for safety, a refuge from the life's trouble, not the source of it. Talk with a trusted friend, pastor or counselor when things are hard -- ask them to help you work with your spouse. Marriage is too precious to keep silent as it goes bad.
We, as a church, are always here when there is a need. We can sit with you, listen to you, and help you find a better way. We will also help you seek protection if needed.
I'm on my way out to the rehearsal dinner now. I'm looking forward to it. Then I'll go spend some time with my own family. What a blessing!