Just finishing my bible study(“Wisdom for Mothers” by Denise Glenn) and this afternoon I learnt furthermore about the meaning of marriage covenant. To be honest, I didn’t know or even understand that the typical wedding ritual (one that I have had gone through) actually have deeper religious meaning. Surely I do know that exchanging marriage vow indeed is sacred, but to find out that it is similarly like cutting the wedding cake ‘wow’ me. I marry for three years already (tomorrow is our 3rd anniversary! Yey!) and I’ve just known it now haha..
So for those of you who are still single or, even better, those of you who are planning to wed in near time, I think you should also know and understand that each part of the wedding ceremony has significance, they are not simply traditions, but they do have deeper, sacred meaning of marriage in Gods eyes 🙂
OK, let’s start…
* The ushers seat family and friends on opposite sides of the church to provide a covenant setting, just as God has Abraham separate the halves of animals in His covenant ceremony in Genesis 15 (please take time to read it so you can understand better). The bride and groom pass through the aisle that is formed by their guests.
* The parents are given special seating because they are participants of the covenant ceremony of their children. They enter in the line of authority and leave in the line of counsel.
* The groom enters first, signifying that he is the covenant initiator and assumes greater responsibility for seeing it fulfilled. He also takes his vows first as he takes the leadership role in the home establishment.
* The father escorts the bride down the aisle to express to his daughter his endorsement of the groom. He is also presenting to the groom his daughter in a white wedding gown as a pure bride.
* When the father “gives away” the bride, he is transferring responsibility for her well-being to the groom. The groom will now provide for her spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
* The right hand, usually the strongest, symbolizes strength. The couple clasps each other’s right hands pledging to defend their partner as they each offer their strengths to the other
* The bride and groom make a binding oath before God and the witnesses as they take their vows. The best man and the maid of honor stand as the designated witness to the covenant.
* The exchange of the wedding rings indicates that the couple has put on the identity of the other. They wear the rings for the rest of their lives to indicate to everyone who sees them that they are in a marriage covenant.
* The bride’s veil has special meaning. She enters the covenant ceremony with her face veiled to represent her purity and modesty. After the groom has taken his vows of commitment to her, he lifts the veil that separates them and kisses the bride symbolizing their full access to one another.
* The pronouncement of husband and wife establishes a definite point in time for beginning of the marriage. The introduction of the couple reveals their new identity.
* The guests sign the register as witnesses of the covenant ceremony and to hold accountable the couple to be faithful to their marriage vows.
* The celebration meal is a symbol of the two covenant parties uniting. The couple cuts the cake together to represent the cutting of the covenant they have just made. As they feed each other, they signify that they are becoming one (similarly like when Christ offered the bread during the Last Supper, by feeding the cake to one another, the couple is saying, “This represents my body. As you eat this, you are becoming me and as you feed me, I am becoming you“).. now you do also know that cutting wedding cake is not about how many tiers the cake has, but so much importance of a cake that cannot be treated as ‘a piece of cake’ 😉
* The wedding covenant between a bride and a groom is a picture of the covenant between Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom and the Church, His earthly bride. As important as the wedding ceremony is to the bride and groom and all who commit to uphold the covenant, the ultimate marriage relationship is that of the believer with his or her Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord.
To understand that all the rituals involved in a wedding ceremony has this deep meaning in the eyes of the Lord may help you to see and treat each steps seriously and wholeheartedly rather than just focusing on the ‘physical beauty of the wedding’ or ‘guests satisfaction during your happiest day’.. I pray may this post gives you a new understanding and all the best with your wedding and marriage preparation (both of you having it in near time or still in couple years to come :P)
To end this note, I copy a lil bit excerpts from the author to serve as reminder to myself:
“On every altar, there is a sacrifice where something dies. Did you stop to think on your wedding day, ‘what or who dies in the marriage altar?’ The answer to that question is, “The bride and the groom!”
They are to die to singleness, self-centeredness, and selfishness. This is the purpose for coming to the altar.
Don’t you wish someone had told you what you were doing on your wedding day? I think if couples understood the concepts of covenant, altar, and sacrifice, we could avert many marriage problems and even divorces right where they start – the day of the wedding!