Peter & Tristin's Wedding
Peter and Tristin, you approached me ages ago, asking if I would be willing to lead your marriage ceremony. Thank you for this privilege. It has been excellent getting to know you over the last several months.
Do you remember what we talked about the very first time we met in my office? In addition to talking about your request to getting married, who your parents are and all that, we talked about love.
Love is a very versatile word, it can mean a lot of things. We can love ice cream, clothes, children, spouses, pets, furniture, artwork, adventure, all kinds of things. But the meaning behind loving ice cream or a spouse is very different. I know that the two of you love each other more than you love ice cream or adventure, or talking.
When we talked about love during your marriage classes, I shared that there are three different kinds of love, and all three are necessary for marriage, and of the three, one is most necessary.
The first kind of love we talked about is friendship love. This is the love that friends have for one another—shocking, I know. It is the expression of an inner desire for relationships beyond our own families. These are people who share our lives. They are important, and our love for them is important.
And yet, this kind of love, the love that you have for your friends is of a different order than, say the love you have for your parents, who raised you, have put up with you, have endured the frightening, horrifying, terrifying part of parenthood called teaching your child how to drive.
Friendship love is what initially brought the two of you together. You started hanging out, you spent time together with other friends. You got to know each other over time.
But then another kind of love entered the picture, emotional love.
Emotional love is what attracted you to each other. You appreciated each other’s beauty. Not only on the outside, but also on the inside. As you got to know each other, you became physically attracted, you began spending more and more time exclusively with each other and developing a deeper love.
Emotional love is very important in marriage because it is what brings you together in unity. The Bible describes this as becoming one flesh. There’s a physical vulnerability that must be maintained.
Now, the first two loves are easy. They are emotionally based. You have feelings of love for each other. This love is what we see in tabloid relationships that don’t last. They have all kinds of emotional, physical attraction and connection, but they can’t maintain it because something is missing. Commitment love is missing.
Commitment love is the stuff of 65th wedding anniversaries. It says, no matter what happens in our married life together, we are together to the end, that is, only death will separate us.
Commitment is a choice. Commitment is a decision. It is not based on emotions. It is not based on situations. It is not based on terms, agreements, expectations. It just is.
And that’s the kind of love that your Bible passage describes, Tristin and Peter. The Greek language uses four different words for love, and the word used in is the commitment kind of love.
Love is patient. Love waits for the emotions to catch up, or to reset. I’m sure there have been times in your relationship together that you’ve not always felt true love. Commitment love waits for feelings to resolve themselves, even if it takes a long time.
Love is kind. This love guards words, even thoughts, and redirects them. This love binds the tongue from saying the wrong thing.
Love isn’t envious. Envy differs from jealousy—which is wanting what someone else has, envy wants what someone else has, but only if the person no longer gets to have it. There’s no room for that in love.
Love works quietly in the background. It keeps listening, when Tristin keeps talking. It says way more words in one conversation than you’d usually say in a week, Peter. It doesn’t draw attention to itself, it just shows up with flowers, with expressions of love, with out expectation of receiving anything in kind.
Love serves. it is the opposite of attention seeking. Love resets every day to zero. Whatever didn’t go well in the past, stays in the past. You will mess up against each other. You won’t always do what you promise to do. Some days, Peter, you might think that Tristin sounds like a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. Tristin, you might think that Peter’s giving you the silent treatment. When in fact, you are simply being who you are. Love not only accepts it, it embraces the way you are.
Love focuses on the truth, and goodness. Be honest and real with each other. Share how you’re feeling, even if you don’t have the words to express it.
Love, true love, protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Pray for each other, especially when you don’t feel like it, pray for each other.
God is love. Not only did he invent it, he is the essence of it, and he has been demonstrating it eternally, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in an eternal, perfect, loving relationship.
Our tendency is to be focused on self, on our wants, our needs. God isn’t like that at all. Even though we were enemies with God, even though ever since Adam and Eve in the garden said, “We’re going to do it our way, not your way.” God has loved us. He commitment loves us. No matter what we do, he will always love us. No matter what has happened in the past, present or future, God loves you and proved it by Jesus dying on a cross to pay our debts.
The same love that motivates God, the same love that Jesus displayed in his death and his rising from the dead, that same love is in you. Commit yourselves to demonstrating that love to each other.
Love never fails. Choose to love each other, commit to loving each other. Demonstrate your love for each other, through words, actions, emotions and friendship. Don’t neglect to love those around you, your friends, your family, your church family.
We’re here to witness your love, and to hold you to it!
God bless you both! Amen.