Can Marriage Survive?

A Father's Words on His Daughter's Wedding Day

This homily was given by Peter Jones at the wedding of his daughter, Eowyn, to David Stoddard on December 27, 1997.


A recent book by secular commentator, Wellesley grad, and single mother Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage: How We Destroy Lasting Love, says: Not only is marriage in danger of disappearing . . .  Though we do not realize it yet, it already has . . .  By expanding the definition of marriage to the point of meaninglessness, courts are gradually redefining marriage out of existence (p.131).

David and Eowyn, you marry today in an ethos of egalitarian androgyny and sexual confusion. You marry in a culture that has "redefined marriage out of existence." What you are doing today is profoundly counter-cultural, and thus extremely significant.

Ephesians 5:22-33, this bright jewel of Scriptural revelation regarding marriage, calls to us across the centuries. How surprisingly appropriate are the three lessons it teaches us:

Marriage is Total Commitment

Yesterday, you could have awakened, wondered what you were about to do and called the whole thing off--as happened to a New York socialite whose beau did not show but took the airplane to the honeymoon venue--alone, the cad! And so the would-be bride and her guests celebrated the sixty thousand dollar reception without him. This morning that option remained for you--though not the $60,000 reception. Tomorrow morning it will no longer be open. Today, before the Lord, the swearer of unbreakable oaths, you totally commit yourselves to each other "till death do you part."

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We do not here celebrate animalistic coupling, as if you were rabbits (or the Hollywood equivalent, serial monogamy).

In days ahead, emotions will sometimes flag and seemingly intractable problems nag. Our love is weak and we are insecure. In Isaiah 49:15, God's people, His bride, says, "'The Lord has forsaken me'" God answers: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?" You may have read about the lady who put her baby in a car seat on the roof of her car while she fiddled for her keys, and then drove off. The car seat and the bambino, like humpty dumpty, had a great fall--in the middle of a busy intersection . . .  The Lord continues with all-knowing realism: "Though she may forget, I will not forget you."

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