Doris Fisher Harris
The Associated Press carried this story from the Times of India: It was a double wedding. The beautiful brides were veiled. The traditional Hindu ceremony of circling a fire seven times with the groom was carried out in a lawful manner. But when the veils were lifted, the brides realized to their horror that each had married the wrong man. The story goes on to say that the authorities determined that the vows were sacred and that the wedding was valid. How sad! Each bride had her vision impaired by a veil!
But sadly enough in many Christian marriages today when the veil is removed, many brides and bridegrooms find they have married the wrong person. What veils today’s vision?
A common veil is a false concept of “romance.” Are you in love with that person, or are you in love with love? Does the romance and beauty of the wedding gown and the excitement of leaving home and its problems obscure your intellectual, spiritual, and emotional view of the beloved one? Marriage will never solve your problems. You take your problems into a marriage and add them to the problems of your partner.
Another veil that impedes vision is the illusion that you can change your husband or wife to be what you want him or her to be after marriage. No, you can’t. A man comes into a marriage to “love . . . as Christ loved the church.” That must embrace the unlovely. A woman is to “honor and obey.” That includes the less than lovely aspects. Only true love, a love that overlooks the frailties, can see and desire to share all that is beautiful.
Before planning for a wedding, take some time to observe how the object of your affection relates to the Lord Jesus Christ. Daily consistency in the Christian life is an indicator of future consistency in a relationship to a marriage partner.
Take some time to observe your special one’s relationships with those who love him or her. How does he relate to his mother? Is he kind, thoughtful, tender, helpful? If so, he’ll be more likely to show those qualities in his relationship to his wife. How does she relate to her father? Is she obedient? Is she respectful? Watch the relationship your beloved one has with mother, father, siblings, teachers, and pastor, and you will have a sound indicator of what the relationship may one day be with you.
Marriage is for life. Even divorce will not erase its consequences. Be sure you enter this life-altering arrangement fully aware of your beloved’s strengths and weaknesses.
At the time of original publication, Doris Fisher Harris was a freelance writer living in Greenville, South Carolina.
(Originally published in FrontLine • May/June 2001. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)