The Relevance of Wedding Ceremonies

Written by Drew on January 20th, 2006

My dad, Andy Kizer, just wrote an excellent piece in his bulletin entitled, “When Does Marriage Take Place?” The article addresses the notion that a man and woman do not become husband and wife until after they have had sexual intercourse for the first time.

Dad responds by arguing that there is a designated point at which persons are married. The circumstances of this occasion depend on culture. God doesn’t specify details concerning wedding ceremonies, but they are still relevant. A couple should follow social customs in marking the beginning of their marriage.

This point has never been more important. Scores of other misconceptions could be added to the one addressed in Dad’s article. For example, I once saw a young man tell his girlfriend she could not break up with him because they had been sexually active. His point was that sexual intercourse had joined them in matrimony. First, I was shocked at the young man’s total lack of shame. He was building a case based on immorality, right in front of two ministers and an elder! (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21). On top of that, I was appalled at his desperation. A couple can have sex without being married, a point that my dad made by referencing Jesus’ words in John 4:17-18. If this weren’t the case, the phrase “premarital sex” would be meaningless!

Another reason we ought to stress the relevancy of wedding ceremonies is that the rate of cohabitation is on the rise. In 1960 about 400,000 couples were living together without being married. In 1994 that number had increased to 4 million. That is almost a tenfold increase in 34 years! (Stephen A. Grunlan, Marriage and the Family, 86). In 2003 the Barna Research Group published a report saying that 75 percent of those aged 18-19 believe living together before marriage is morally acceptable. Sixty percent of those aged 39-57 and 41 percent of those aged 58 and up share the same belief.

Typically men are disinterested in the details of an elaborate church wedding. Many would just as soon go to the courthouse. If it weren’t for the bride, weddings might have vanished a long time ago. We need them now more than ever. Without a wedding, a couple has no way to mark the beginning of their family. And without families, America is in trouble.


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