The Difference Between a Wedding and a Marriage

Weddings Then

At the beginning of the Bible, just after God has created everything, in Genesis 2:24-25, we are told about the first marriage on earth: “…. a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.”

This is when Adam and Eve were living in the Garden of Eden, and sin had not yet entered the world. They were physically, actually walking with God. Every spiritual, emotional and physical need they had was met–they were in paradise. In a way, they were “at the top”; they could go no higher. They had power and dominion over everything. (Genesis 1:28-31)

Immediately, the attack of Satan began and changed everything–see Genesis 3.

As a result of this attack, the First Couple went from pure paradise; literally walking with God, to being banished from the Garden and infected with sin that every generation since has inherited. Wow! This is when the sin that we all continually struggle against came into the world. God has not abandoned us (nor did He abandon Adam and Eve); He is with us today through His Holy Spirit, His Holy Word, and we have Jesus if we have received Him by faith.


Weddings Now

Today, weddings are the public ceremony and reception that follows when a couple comes together in marriage. Weddings can be simple or very elaborate. The average cost of a wedding in the United States in 2019 was close to $30,000. Planning a typical wedding can easily take a year.

Weddings are the birth, the beginning, of a marriage. The actual wedding ceremony may be over in minutes–the marriage should last a lifetime. Some couples focus 95% on the wedding and 5% on the marriage. Prepare for your marriage as you prepared for your wedding. What does it mean when we agree to “… for better or worse , in sickness and in health, ‘till death do us part ….”? These are serious words.

Reaching true unity requires assessing your relationship now, before marriage. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a couple? What persistent struggles are you dealing with now before you say “I do”? We often say couples are much more pliable, willing to address issues, and make changes before the ceremony rather than afterwards. Marriage does not necessarily “fix” the problems. More likely, the stresses of life will magnify these problems. Often, the trying times are when couples begin to “drift” from each other. The abundant time, energy, conversations and money that is spent for the wedding day can appear nearly perfect, but this appearance does not matter months or years later when deep-seated issues surface and block a couple’s oneness.

Help is available. There are many resources available now to strengthen the relationship and heal the hurts before the wedding day. One resource we offer is Prepare/Enrich. This is a survey that helps you ask questions you might have forgotten to ask. The assessment will uncover both strengths and opportunities for improvement. Face your marriage with truth and love, and learn to do it God’s way. By addressing each of these questions as a couple, you will develop a greater understanding of each other and learn how to address the potential pitfalls and strengths of your marriage.

As life together begins, couples realize, and maybe for the first time, this person does not do life or _________________ (fill in the blank) the way I do. On top of that, this person doesn’t go home. Proper prior planning not only pays off at the wedding itself, but also for the many years to come afterward. You can learn tools to build a strong, life-giving marriage of oneness.

In the wedding you agreed to “us”; now you begin living and learning how to make that agreement a reality. Dating is not the same environment at all as marriage. What was all about “I” or “me” now must shift to “us–ours”. We are now one flesh, and the journey in marriage is to do the work to live out this unity. This effort entails daily work, but it’s very much worth the effort and sacrifice. The benefits are glorious.

Dying to self is HUGE in marriage. Selfishness has got to go. Being selfless can be hard, but the result can be pure gold. Often, it’s his rules vs. her rules, back and forth and fighting over differences God designed between men and women. The quicker we put down our rules and agree to follow what the Bible says about love, respect, humility, burdens, prayer, sex, raising children, money, going to church, serving, and other aspects of daily life, the quicker we can grow the wedding into something that can stand the test of time.

Two becoming one in Christ is bulletproof. Prepare for married life more than the wedding that only lasts one day.