At the end of this year my husband Lloyd and I will celebrate 50 years of matrimony. It is a cause for great celebration – not enough marriages last that long for reasons of sickness, accident, death or separation and divorce. Churches should be one of the first to celebrate such marriages reinforcing the idea that marriage is designed for “until death do us part.” After all, Jesus in Mark 10: 7-9 speaking of marriage, stated, “What God has joined together, let no one separate.”
In some countries marriage does not happen because it is an expensive process and because people do not believe it to be important. Lloyd and I had the privilege of attending the wedding in Mexico of a couple that had lived together for almost twenty years. Jorge chose marriage because he felt it was necessary to what was right before God. His decision was also a testimony to his sons and daughters who challenged him saying why should they marry if he had not married. We also attended and became padrinos at several weddings in the Dominican Republic. (A padrino commits to care for children coming from the marriage if anything happens to the parents.) Members of the church marry legally before the law but do not consummate the marriage until they marry in the church.
Some churches in the Dominican are encouraging couples who have lived together for some time to get married. Marriage is expensive as the paper work can cost more than a simple wedding reception. (In the wedding in Mexico, the paperwork cost more than a reception for about 35 people.) A couple in Canada could work with a Dominican church to sponsor a wedding and covering some or all of the costs. In April, a couple in Maizal, Dominican Republic will be the first of several from the congregation to marry with the help of the church and a sponsor. This couple has been together for 13 years and are now seeking God’s blessing as He makes them one.