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Marriage is God’s invention. The Bible tells us he designed us, male and female, for the purpose of marriage. The Bible also sets out God’s clear instructions about how to make marriage work. The bottom line is: a marriage is between one man and one woman for life.
Too many marriages fail today because we don’t follow God’s instructions. It’s hard for two people who have lived 20, 30 or more years independently to start living together harmoniously. We are born with a rebellious, self-centred nature that has a basic instinct to satisfy its own needs and get its own way. The Bible calls this ‘sin’. Ironically, this very nature leads us to fall in love and want someone else to be exclusively committed to us, the trade-off being that we promise to be exclusively committed to them. It’s not rocket science to work out that the marriage relationship is therefore going to be a very complex piece of machinery that’s going to need a detailed instruction manual, written by its ‘Manufacturer’, if it is to stand any chance of running smoothly, and lasting the distance.
Christian marriage recognises God as the one who designed marriage, and the Bible as his instruction manual for life. It recognises the need to be in a right relationship with God by trusting in Jesus if we are to have a happy, fulfilling and lasting relationship with each other – our sinful nature has to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promises to all who see him as their Saviour and Lord.
God also had another purpose in marriage. He intends it to be a simple ‘picture’ of our relationship to him. It is based on love, commitment, faithfulness – the very things that are at the core of that relationship. So he calls the Church his ‘Bride’, and he refers to the worship of other gods as ‘adultery’. This is why the Introduction of our Marriage Service contains the statement: Marriage is a holy estate, instituted by God. The Scriptures hold it in the highest regard, commending it to all people, and consecrating it, because it signifies the mystical union between Christ and his Church.
For these reasons, we at City Central Presbyterian Church take marriage very seriously. Persons who want their marriage to be a Christian marriage need to understand what this means. The first step in arranging a marriage at City Central Presbyterian Church is to contact the Church Office. People who are not regular members of the Congregation will need to spend some sessions with the minister in order to understand our position on Christian marriage, and there are charges for the ministers time and the use of the facilities.