Strong nations depend upon strong Christian assemblies. Strong assemblies depend upon strong families. And strong families are built on the unity of the husband and wife. Marriage is the union of a man and woman into one. God's intention is that they become one in spirit, soul and body. This is God's doing and is so important that Satan will do everything in his power to destroy this relationship. Therefore, we must know and obey God's principles of marriage. The assembly must do everything in its power to protect the marriages of its members.
In the war between God and Satan, marriage is one area where many of the greatest battles are being fought. We must be on God's side in this battle, doing His will. Because of Satan's deceitfulness concerning marriage, divorce, and fairness, many have made major mistakes in marriage. Although our policy concerning marriage may not be popular, we must never make any concessions or exceptions to God's principles concerning marriage.
1. COVENANT AGREEMENT: In view of the significance of the wedding traditions all weddings will emphasize that marriage is not a contract but a covenant relationship between the husband and wife. The marriage ceremony pictures the covenant relationship between Christ and His Assembly.
2. COUNSELING: In view of the tremendous importance of marriage all couples must attend a series of marriage counseling sessions by the Elders. A wedding will not be performed for those not finishing the sessions. The couple will be urged to keep the ceremony meaningful but not expensive, with an open invitation for all relatives and friends to attend, followed by a simple reception.
3. DIVORCE: In view of the spiritual meaning and message of marriage which this assembly is committed to preserve, and in view of the vows which a married person has made, we will not marry a divorced person whose former partner is still living. See 1 Corinthians 7:11,16, 39; Romans 7:1-3; Ephesians 5:21-33; and Luke 16:17,18.
4. PARENTAL CONSENT: In view of God's command to honor and obey parents and not to forsake their counsel as they grow older, we will not marry a couple unless the parents on both sides are in full harmony with the marriage. See Exodus 20:12; Proverbs 6:20; 23:22; 30:17.
5. NONCHRISTIAN: In view of God's clear command not to be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers" we will not marry a believer with a nonbeliever. See 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Amos 3:3; and 1 Corinthians 7:39. Also we will not marry couples who are not Christians and only in unusual cases will we marry Christian couples who are not members of our assembly.
For more information on the principles of marriage see the following four publications by IBLP: The Wedding Covenant, Under-standing the Biblical Foundations of Marriage, Rebuilders Guide, and Rebuilders Supplement.
[To the groom before the bride arrives.] ____________________ as you come before these witnesses, are you signifying that you are taking the initiative in this marriage covenant, and that you will, by the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, assume the greater responsibility in carrying out its terms? [Response by the groom "I will."]
Procession of bride with her father.
[To the father of the bride.] Who gives this women to be married to this man? [Response by the father.]
By the institution of our Lord and savior, man shall forsake his father and mother and cleave to his wife. Rightly regarded, marriage is the highest and happiest of human relationships, the foundation of the home, the bulwark of society, and the preserver of true love. As the Holy Spirit said through Paul, "Love is patient, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
[Please join your right hands. To the groom.] Do you ___________________ take __________ to be your wife, to live with her according to God's holy ordinance; to love her forsaking all others, keeping yourself only for her, so long as you both live? [Response by groom, "I will."]
[To the groom.] _____________, please repeat after me, "I ______________________, take you _____________________ to my wedded wife, ... to have and to hold from this day forward ... for better for worse ...for richer for poorer, ... in sickness and in health, ... to love and to cherish, ... till death do us part, ... according to God's holy ordinance; ... and there to I pledge my troth."
[To the bride.] Do you ____________________ take ______________________ to be your husband, to live with him according to God's holy ordinance; to respect him forsaking all others, keeping yourself only for him, so long as you both live? [Response by the bride, "I will."]
[To the bride.] _____________, please repeat after me, "I __________________, take you ___________________ to my wedded husband, ... to have and to hold from this day forward, ... for better for worse, ... for richer for poorer, ... in sickness and in health, ... to love and to cherish, ... till death do us part, ... according to God's holy ordinance; ... and there to I pledge my troth."
[To the groom.] _________________ is there a token of this marriage?
[To the bride.] ___________________ is there further token of this marriage?
By the giving and receiving of these rings you do each the other wed, and these marriage vows and covenant relationships you do now forever seal.
Forasmuch as ___________________ and _____________________ have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God in this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth, each to the other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands; I pronounce that by the authority of the state of _________ and the higher authority of the Word of God that they are husband and wife. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
What God has joined together let no man put asunder. May God bless all who assist and support this couple in their marriage.
[Prayer of blessing on the couple.]
[To the audience.] Please sign the guest book as you leave. By signing you are saying, "I have witnessed the vows, and I testify to the reality of this marriage." You are also serving as God's reminders to this couple to be faithful to their marriage vows.
I now introduce to you, Mr. and Mrs. _______________.
Christ also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27 WEB
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Created January 1999