The Communities all over the world have gone through radical changes socially, spiritually and materially over the past two decades. As the third and fourth generations of the Christian community who are born and brought up in a totally different culture are now ready to enter into family life, there has been an increasing concern over the fast changing practices of the choice of partners as well as the actual wedding ceremony. Apart from the cultural and generational differences, what is seriously lacking in our communities is a set of written guidelines based on biblical patterns and conservative Christian traditions. An effort to address these concerns has been made here. It is suggested that Pastors, Parents, and Young men and women take these guidelines seriously and follow a pattern that will bring glory and honor to our eternal bridegroom
Choice of Partner
Prayerful Approach – Young men and women as they enter into adulthood must earnestly seek God’s guidance in finding the right person for them for the long lasting covenant of marriage. Whether arranged by parents or the partners themselves, the first and foremost prerequisite is seeking God’s will through Prayer. This will lead to friends, family, circumstances, and other situations that clearly identifies God’s will before one commits to say ‘I do’
Parental Involvement – Whether arranged by parents or by other means, parental involvement in choice of partners for their children and the arrangement of the marriage function is extremely crucial. The parents and the young man or woman together must come to a loving and prayerful understanding about it.
Testimony – Testimony in the family, church and society is an integral aspect of choosing a suitable marriage partner
Compatibility – Compatibility in many areas is an important component of a healthy choice
o Spiritual – The partner chosen must be saved and water baptized without any exceptions. It is desirable that the person is also filled with the Holy Spirit. If that is not the case, the person must have an earnest desire to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
o Physical – Chemistry between partners is absolutely essential for a long lasting relationship. This can include height or in other words over all physique of both partners
o Social – Two individuals from similar back grounds especially in relation to family back grounds, financial status, education etc are a better match than two individuals from strikingly dissimilar social strata even though there may be exceptions to this. A good background check done prior to making engagement and wedding plans may save a lot of grief later
o Inter Personal Relationships – An individual’s interpersonal relationships in family, church and society will clearly portray a picture of how that person will relate to the spouse and other members of the extended family.
o Clean Pre-Marital Life – Holiness and separation are outward visible signs of a person who is saved and water baptized. Hence, the partners are to keep themselves holy from any form of sexual immorality. If there are affairs or relationships that haunt the individual, the same must be communicated prior to making a commitment to say ‘I do’
o Race and Ethnicity – History proves that interracial marriages in any society have had a short shelf life. Language, cultural, social differences among family members cause unnecessary tension that eventually lead to a painful break up.
Planning – Planning a wedding ceremony takes a lot of effort. Some key areas that are usually overlooked in today’s weddings are”
o Prayer – The same way as partners and families pray for a suitable helpmate, the prayers should continue to have a blessed wedding ceremony. More than anyone else, the partners must spend more time in prayer upholding every aspect of the ceremony.
o Family Involvement – Parents and siblings of both partners must consult each other before making a final decision about the actual ceremony and reception
o Local Church Involvement – At the very least, the local Pastor must know the programs for both the ceremony and reception ahead of time to avoid unnecessary and unpleasant surprises. This includes any culturally related program that the bride and the groom want to be included in their wedding ceremony
Ceremony – Modesty should be the hallmark of a Christian wedding ceremony.
o Approach the ceremony with reverence – The bride and groom, members of both parties and everyone else entrusted with any function must approach the ceremony with reverence to the presence of God as well as respect the audience in everything they do.
o Bridal and Groom’s Party – Both parties should completely avoid any non-Christian person especially for the wedding ceremony even in the capacity of grooms men and brides maids. Everyone that has some function to carry out during the ceremony must be well informed about the solemnity of the occasion.
o Dress Code – Whether in the traditional Indian attire or in the more contemporary gowns, the Bride and the maids must wear clothes that sufficiently cover all body parts in a decent manner as pleasing unto the Lord. No revealing clothes must be permitted.
o Songs – All songs chosen for the ceremony must be glorifying Christ. No secular songs that depict the love of a man to a woman or vice versa must be allowed to be sung at the function.
o Ministry of the Word – The word of God has paramount importance in any Christian function and marriage is no exception. There must at least be 10-15 minutes set apart for an anointed minister of the gospel who is proven to address a mixed audience to share the word of God. The delivery of God’s word must be in contemporary and understandable language.
o Length of Program – Do not pack the ceremony with messages, songs, introductions, announcements and prayers. The entire length of program from the processional to the recessional should take no longer than 90 minutes. Avoid repetitive prayers and reading of scriptures to accommodate the invited guests or ministers present.
o Food – The invited guests must always be in mind while choosing the type of food served at a wedding. As most of our invitees are people of Indian origin, rice must be part of the food either during the cocktail hour or when the main course is served. It is recommended that a mix of American and Asian food items is the best balanced approach. Always bear in mind that people who have driven for miles to get to the wedding must not go back starving.
o Programs for Reception – It is a time of celebration. However, no one should forget that the same presence of God that was at the ceremony is expected to be there during reception as well.
Never serve any alcoholic beverages
Off-color jokes that comprises the principles of Christianity must not be allowed
Music chosen for reception must be free of any sexual, satanic, and anti Christian innuendo.
Dance, disco, and other non-Christian traditions such as throwing of the bouquet etc must be strongly discouraged.