This weekend I performed a wedding with a former pastor of our church. At the rehersal last night we were talking about the qualifications each of us have before we will marry someone. Though I do not want to share his opinions, the conversation spurred me to record my own thoughts. I basically have five qualifications that are important to answer before I will perform someone’s marriage.
- Dedicated to God (and to His Church). (1st John 2:15-17)
- Sexual purity before marriage. (1 Thess. 4:3-8 )
- Devoted to one another exclusively. (1 Cor. 6:15-20)
- Honorable conduct towards one another. (Acts 24:16)
- Prepare for marriage by attending premarital counseling. (Luke 14:28 )
I call these qualifications, but they are meant to be a call to righteousness rather than a barrier to marriage. For instance, I know that people in this day often fail in the area of purity. In situations where people have failed, I bring up these issues to call them to recommit to being sexually pure until their wedding night. The four other qualifications are similar in their thrust, as reminders and encouragements to make right any sinfulness before the wedding day. Should a couple not agree to respond to these calls for righteousness, then I would hesitate to perform their marriage.
As a minister when I marry someone I am affirming God’s blessing on their union. Civil servants performing weddings do not have the same burden on their shoulders. Those servants can leagally perform ceremonies as officers of the government without and thoughts on what God thinks about that union. Because of my role as a minister, I need to help the couple consider how they can truly live a life of holiness with the happiness of marriage. Even so, I am no one’s judge. I can only sit down to talk about these five qualifications. They make their own decision about my involvement in their wedding by being willing to respond to these qualifications. Some may respond merely so that I will perform their ceremony. Some may respond with changes for the rest of their life. In either case, before the wedding bells ring it is my responsiblity before God to see that the couple focuses not on fleeting emotions, but on the firm foundation they can have in Jesus Christ!