Getting Ready For Marriage

vintage-wedding-cake-toppers-13In January, my daughter got married. I had the privilege of officiating the wedding, but I want to make a few observations about the other part I had in the ceremony, giving away the bride. Where does that come from? What does it mean, the bride being given away but the groom isn’t? Secularists like to say that marriage is simply a creation of culture. They theorize that ancient communities decided that a legal contract between a man and a woman was a good way to organize families and take care of children. In reality, we are told in Genesis chapter 2 that God is the one responsible for instituting marriage. Adam was understandably impressed when he saw the woman that God created. After thinking to himself, “Wow!” he was then given revelation from God concerning marriage.

“The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:23) Then Moses, the writer of Genesis, makes this very important observation. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) This is where giving away the bride originated.
We are told that the man leaves his father and mother with the purpose of being joined to his wife and thereby beginning a new family. However, the woman isn’t spoken of as leaving her father and mother like the man is. There is clearly a difference here. We can see it in a phrase that is often used in the Bible … “married and given in marriage.” Sons marry and daughters are given in marriage. Who does the giving? On behalf of both the mother and father, the father gives their daughter to be married. In other words, the parents of the bride are expressing their approval of the groom and giving their permission for their daughter to marry him.

One of the things that are clearly implied here is that the man has proven himself a person who would be a good husband for their daughter. In other words, this man is ready to be a husband. How do you get ready to be a husband? I think there are several things that most parents say a man needs to be before they would agree to give their daughter to be married to him.

He needs to be a man who has shown himself responsible. People can depend on him to do what he is supposed to do. You learn to be responsible in very simple ways. If it is your job to take out the trash in your family, then you take out the trash. When you are given assignments in school, you do the assignments. When your employer gives you a task, you do what they say. When you have bills to pay, you pay your bills. If a man has not proven himself responsible then he has no business becoming a husband.

He needs to be a kind man. He forgives when someone does him wrong. He is not a person who is driven by anger. He looks for practical ways to help others. He has learned to pick up after himself and not expect his mother to do that for him. If a man has not learned to be kind, then he has no business becoming a husband.

The final quality I would mention is godliness. The man needs to be a committed Christian. He has committed himself to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I know that not everyone would agree with this requirement, but I think anyone who has been married any length of time knows that marriage is not easy. There are major challenges involved. The reality is that no matter how mature a man or woman may be, they are going to struggle to be a good husband or wife. We will do things wrong for which we need to be forgiven. We will encounter situations that we do not know how to handle. When those times come, we are more aware than ever that we need a Savior.

“Who gives this woman to be married to this man,” is a simple yet weighty question. I am grateful for a son-in-law who made it easy to answer, “Her mother and I.”