What does saying, “I do” really mean?

Wedding_ringsWhat does saying, “I do” really mean? In the context of marriage, what are you saying when you say, “I do.” or “I will.”?

While there are a whole bunch of different wedding vows, when you say, “I do” traditionally you are saying that you promise to…

have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

You’re making a solemn promise before God that you have chosen that person to be your life’s partner for your entire life. Period. I don’t want to get too high and mighty and come across with a condemning tone. Mistakes are made. Sins are committed. Only Jesus is perfect.

However, I noticed something today from Dan DeHaan in his book, The God You Can Know. He said this about marriage:

When I am gone from home, the ring that my wife has given me is not for my sake, necessarily. It is for those who see me. Others could ask, “I wonder if Dan DeHaan is married.?” Then they could look at the ring on my finger and see that I am. They know that I belong to someone. It is an amazing fact that the moment that I said, “I do,” to my wife, it meant that I said, “I don’t,” to 110 million other women in America.

Saying “I do,” to one meant that I said “I don’t” to any other woman – past or future, besides my beautiful bride. Marriages vows are both inclusive and exclusive.

They are inclusive in that we give every bit of ourselves to our significant others. For better or worse, they immediately become entitled to all of our being and all of our possessions. We can hold nothing back.

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 1 Cor. 7:2-4

In the union of marriage, the husband and the wife enter into an inclusive relationship.

But it is also an exclusive relationship. On June 14, 1997, by saying I do to Nina, I said, “I don’t” to everyone else, and by the grace of God I’ve never regretted it.

Facebook, emails, phone calls, online, offline. Doesn’t matter. In an exclusive relationship, there’s only room for two. That’s the way God intended it.

You know what’s even better than that? The Lord describes His relationship with the church in the same vein. The church is the bride of Christ and enters into both an inclusive and exclusive relationship with her groom, the Lord Jesus.

Think on that for while.

  • Mom

    I’ve learned some of the benefits of a long and exclusive relationship. Living through tragedy has changed our relationship. It has taught us the value each has to the other as well as from the other. Had either of us not had an exclusive and permanent point of view about marriage, our union probably would not have survived the trials of this tragedy. Our relationship is richer and more enjoyable by far than it was. God knew when he fashioned us as male and female, the union, though not perfect because of our sinful nature, made the two stronger as one. It’s sort of like two trees planted side-by-side. After many years they are so joined that they are inseperable and unrecognizable as two. And in our union with Christ it is the same. As we grow in Him, we become more like Him.

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