I promise to love you, to comfort you, to honor and protect you, forsaking all others and remain faithful to you for as long as both of us shall live.
I acknowledge you, Tan Wai Jia, to be my wife, to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and honour, according to God’s Holy Law and this is my solemn vow.
I give you this ring as a symbol of our marriage, with my body I honour you, with all that I am, I give to you, with all that I have, I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
This is not cut and paste. I spent the past few days memorizing this. We decided to memorize the wedding vow because we both believe this is important.
And I never realize how serious this is until a brother prayed for me a few days ago in which he said,
“Pray for Cliff as he will be making a vow before You, Holy One. How can a mere man make a vow before You.”
What’s a vow? Didn’t Jesus says don’t make a vow or swear before Heaven? I don’t want to get too deep into analyzing this (at this not in this post).
For me, a vow, is made before the Lord a promise that you will do in His Name and for His Glory. It is serious because it is a contract in which I made with the Lord. It is almost like a covenant.
The only other time I made a similar promise like a marriage vow was in Dec 25, 2007 when I signed a contract with the Lord that I will seek Him first in everything I do. It was a declaration that my life belongs to Him. I am heading my life over. I no longer belong to myself. He’s my witness. He’s also the one I am making the contract with. This is like a covenant. Except that a covenant is an agreement God made with man (not vice versa).
The instant I signed the contract, I was scared. I was scared because I know there will be moment when I am weak and I will want to back out. Then God will throw the contract in my face and tells me, “Look, Cliff. I keep my end of the bargain. Why are you not keeping yours?”
You might think, Cliff, isn’t it better not to make a promise you can’t keep? Don’t you feel trap? God never ask us to sign anything. We should live freely and enjoy all His Blessings.
This is an incorrect way in following God. The contract I signed, though at times it is painful, it helped me laid a stronger foundation to seek Him and follow Him. The reality is that I am not strong. There are times when I am like Jonah. I want to run away. I want to live my own life. I want to be independent. I want to be happy. I love stuff. I want to dictate how I live and how I serve. In another words, I don’t want to be a disciple. I want to be disobedient.
It is exactly because of this contract, I am reminded and re-evaluate those situation where I have to make a choice to seek Him or not. And this contract helped me walk His ways. Not mine.
I am not here advocating every Christian must make a vow or a contract with God. But I am here to say if we are to say we follow Jesus (aka being a Christian), then we better walk the talk. If we are to walk, we better surrendering everything. Everything means everything. It means our lives.
I looked at John Piper, Tim Keller and D A Carson in this article about marriage vow and is encouraged. These great role models of faith shared the vow kept their marriage strong.
In a few days (27th October), I will be standing before my family, before my friends, before the church, before the Holy One, and make a declaration that I will love, cherish and honor my wife to be. Like the contract that sustained my walk with Christ. This declaration will sustain our love and our marriage.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer told a young couple about to enter into holy matrimony: “It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”