Tuesday, April 5, 2022
There’s a new wedding tradition that was introduced to me almost 10 years ago. It occurs near the conclusion of the ceremony. I encourage all couples to adopt it into their ceremony. It represents our current passage of Scripture from Ephesians 5.
Use your visualization skills for a moment and picture the front of a church during a wedding. The bride and the groom have taken their places on the stage. The groom is on the right as the audience sees them. His family and friends have all sat on that same side of the church. The same is true for the bride’s family and friends on the left. The groom has already stated his covenantal vows to his bride, and she has done the same. They have exchanged rings as a seal of their covenant and commitment. Now they move around the back of a table on which the unity candle has been placed. As a beautiful song is sung, they take the individual candles that were lit by their mothers and light the unity candle in the middle, after which they extinguish their individual candles. This symbol of the oneness of marriage has long been a part of our marriage ceremonies.
Then something unique happens. As they prepare to move back to the front of the stage, the groom moves from the bride’s left side to her right side, and escorts her back to the front of the stage. The audience wonders if a mistake has been made. He is now standing between the bride and her family. The pastor says these simple words to the groom – “Having now taken your rightful and God-honoring place as the head of this relationship and the protector of your bride, love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Do you see the symbolism? Several things have been represented by this move. First, the groom has left his father and mother and become the head of a new family. The bride has left the security and protection of her family and surrendered herself to a new protector. The groom, with his right hand now free while his bride holds to his left arm, can protect his bride in the event of danger or attack. He is willing to sacrifice his life to defend her.
Isn’t that awesome? It so beautifully portrays the marriage relationship Paul describes in Ephesians 5. I wish every married couple understood this. If you’re already married, I hope you don’t think it’s too late for you and your spouse to start living like this. When wives willingly submit to the leadership and protection of a sacrificial husband, God’s love is magnified. It’s how He designed marriage to work.