The Marriage Covenant

Introduction to the Marriage Ceremony

(Before the Processional)

Family and friends, we are assembled in the sight of God to witness the wedding covenant between _______________________ and ___________________________.

Marriage is an honorable estate, instituted of God, and adorned by our Lord Jesus Christ by His Presence at the first miracle that He wrought in Cana of Galilee. It is commended by the Apostle Paul to be honorable among men; and therefore is not to be entered into lightly, but reverently, soberly, discretely.

The Holy Scriptures set before us the love of Christ for His Church, His Bride, as an example for marriage devotion. We are not left without guidance concerning the meaning of that love. These are the words of the Apostle Paul:

"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."
- I Corinthians 13:4-8a
Into such a union these two now come to be joined.

The Wedding Covenant

Marriage is a sacred covenant, not a contract. It is written in Malachi 2:14 - "She is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant." A covenant is a compact made by passing between pieces of flesh. When God cut a covenant with Abram, God had Abram sacrifice and divide the carcasses into halves. "And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram."
- Genesis 15:17-18.

Seating families and friends on each side of the white runner symbolizes the sacrifices which have been made in order for the bride and groom to enter into this covenant. The white runner is a symbol of walking on holy ground. A covenant is not made merely between two people and their witnesses. It is made in the presence of God, and He is actively involved in the agreement, since it is God that joins them together. In Genesis 2:18-25 it is written,

"And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground that the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air, and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said; 'This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh: She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: And they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

Since God has brought this woman to this man, and they declare that they are bone, we will now witness the covenant between them which will make them one flesh.

Processional of the Groom and His Attendants

Initiating the Covenant to the People

By entering first, the groom signifies that he is the covenant initiator. This is important because whoever initiates the covenant assumes greater responsibility for seeing it fulfilled.

(To the groom)
As you come before these witnesses, are you signifying that you are taking the initiative in this marriage covenant, and that you will, by the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, assume the greater responsibility in carrying out its terms? (Response of the groom - "I do.")

Processional of the Bride and Her Attendants

(After the bridal party arrives at the altar)
Our Lord God has declared that a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. By His apostles, He has instructed those who enter into this relationship, to cherish a mutual esteem and love; to bear with each other's infirmities and weaknesses; to comfort each other in sickness, trouble and sorrow; in honesty and industry to provide for each other and for their household, in temporal things; to pray for and encourage each other in things pertaining to God; and to live together as mutual heirs of His grace.

To the Father of the Bride

A. Who gives this woman to be married to this man?

B. By walking down the aisle with your daughter, are you and your wife affirming that you are giving your full blessing to the marriage of your daughter to this man?

C. Are you also hereby transferring your God given responsibility for the care and protection of your daughter to this man?

Prayer Asking God's Blessing on the Union

Let us pray. Our Father, whose presence brings happiness to every condition, and whose favor sweetens every relationship in life; we pray that you be present and favor these two children of yours. That they may be truly joined in the holy and honorable covenant of marriage. As they have been brought together by you, sanctify them by the Spirit, and grant them full understanding of their new relationship. Enrich their lives by thy grace, that they may enjoy the comforts, undergo the cares, endure the trials, and perform the duties of life together as Christians under thy guidance and protection; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Charge to the Couple

For as much as these two have come to this place to be made one in the holy covenant of marriage, it is understood that neither of them are aware of any just reason why they may not be lawfully joined. I charge you both, before God and Father, that if either of you know any reason why you may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, you do now make it known. For should any persons be joined together otherwise than in harmony with the perfect will of God, your union is not blessed of Him. If, then, you know this to be God's perfect will for you both - light your candles.

Groom lights his candle first, then the bride lights her candle.

The Ceremony

(To the groom)
_______________________, do you solemnly agree before God and these witnesses to take this woman to be your lawful, wedded wife; to love and respect her, honor and cherish her, in health and in sickness, in prosperity and in adversity; leaving all others, to keep yourself only unto her, so long as you both shall live?

Groom - "I do."

(To the bride)
_______________________, do you in like manner solemnly agree to receive this man as your lawful, wedded husband; to love and respect him; and to live with him in all faith and tenderness, in health and in sickness, in prosperity and in adversity; and leaving all others to keep yourself only unto him, as long as you both shall live?

Bride - "I do."

(To the groom)
I, ___________________, take you, ____________________, to be my wedded wife; and I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, as long as we both shall live.

(To the bride)
I, ___________________, take you, _____________________, to be my wedded husband; and I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful wife, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, as long as we both shall live.

The Rings

In scripture, the ring is a symbol of authority and the resources which go with it. It is written in Esther 3:10,11:

In a covenant relationship, the ring symbolizes identification. When God made a covenant with Noah, He put a symbol in the sky - a rainbow. When viewed from the sky, the rainbow is a circle. It is a continual reminder to God of the covenant that He had made. It is written in Genesis 9:12-17:

These rings are a token of the covenant now established between these two. Repeat after me:

This ring I give you, in token and pledge, of our constant faith, and abiding love.

(Groom rings thumb, 1st. finger and 2nd. finger)
In the name of the Father (thumb), and the Son (1st. finger), and the Holy Spirit (2nd. finger), I make you mine (3rd. finger).

This ring I give you, in token and pledge, of our constant faith, and abiding love.

(Bride rings thumb, 1st. finger, and 2nd. finger)
In the name of the Father (thumb), and the Son (1st. finger), and the Holy Spirit (2nd. finger), I make you mine (3rd. finger).

Band Couple Together with Robe Shawl

By the authority committed unto me as a minister of the Gospel, I declare _________________________ and ________________________ are now husband and wife, according to the ordinance of God and the law of the state. God having joined these two together in the covenant of marriage let no man or woman seek to dissolve this union.

Groom and bride take their candles, and light center candle. Blow out each other's candles.

You may now kiss your bride.

Introducing the New Couple

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we have heard from these two the acceptance of the solemn and holy vows of marriage. Grant to them grace and courage, love and loyalty, constancy and faith to maintain these vows to the end of the way. May this new home radiate the sunshine of Thy love, and may every heart that comes in contact with this home in its several relationships be enriched and ennobled. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

It is written in Numbers 6:24-26:

Family and friends, I present to you Mr. and Mrs.____________________

Recessional and Instructions About Receiving the Line

Receiving Line

Invitation to the Reception

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© 1995, Elijah Fellowship International
Last Updated: May 23, 2011
Text Written 6/28/95