By the grace of God both of my sets of grandparents have been married for over 50 years, and my parents for over 25. Most people don't have that blessing in our society, though, where marriage is entered (and exited) so lightly. In an age where marriage often follows several years of "testing each other out" by living together, it is no wonder that marriage is not seen as a binding commitment. When two people have cohabitated for years before "tying the knot," on the eve of their wedding I cannot help but mentally ask the first question Jewish children ask their parents during Passover: What makes this night different from all others? It also makes me all the more thankful to be able to witness a ceremony like Paul & Ashley's, where marriage is approached with real weightiness and commitment. Just before the ceremony began, the pastor asked that there be no photography during the ceremony. Not an unusual request, but his reason stuck with me: because of the sacredness of the ceremony.
Marriage is so easily broken in our society because most people do not really stop and think that they are making their vows to God, not just another human being. There are two sets of vows in the typical wedding ceremony: one set of vows is exchanged between the man and woman, but the other set of vows is made to God, who binds a marriage together. Unless a marriage is built on the foundation of Christ, it is built on sand.
In Stepping Heavenward, Katy's sister-in-law Helen asks Katy the "secret" to her long, steadfast marriage with Ernest. Here is a portion of Katy's reply:
. . . I was struck with Ernest's asking in the very first prayer he offered in my presence, after our marriage, that God would help us love each other; I felt that love was the very foundation on which it was built and that there was no danger that I should ever fall short in giving to my husband all he wanted in full measure. But as he went on day after day repeating this prayer, and I naturally made it with him, I came to see that this most precious of earthly blessings had been and must be God's gift and that while we both looked at it in that light and felt our dependence on Him for it, we might safely encounter together all the assaults made up on us by the world, the flesh, and the devil. I believe we owe it to this constant prayer that we have loved each other so uniformly and with such growing comfort in each other; so that our little discords always have ended in fresh accord, and our love has felt conscious of resting on a rock - and that rock was the will of God.