Here is a speech that Tirah and I gave for a wedding recently:
Consent is the Essence of Marriage.
In the book ‘Married Love’ by Emanuel Swedenborg it says, “Consent is the essential element in marriage.” (CL 21)
This appears obvious from the way that marriage comes about. There is a proposal and consent at the time of engagement. There is the exchange of ‘I do’ at the time of the wedding. But when this quote says that ‘consent is the essence of marriage’ it’s not just talking about the engagement and wedding.
Because consent is the essence of marriage and not just the beginning of marriage, marriage love becomes blessed when that consent continues throughout the life of the marriage.
There are several words that relate to how this ‘consent’ shows up in marriage. Words like ‘choice,’ ‘commitment,’ and ‘promise,’
As individuals we make daily choices that guide us along our spiritual paths. The same is true for a marriage. When a husband and wife daily choose to love each other as their spiritual path, and not just exist in marital status, then the Lord can bless them with becoming closer and closer to eternity.
So what does that look like, to choose marriage love every day? It involves maintenance of the marriage relationship. ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ It’s a cliche but its very true in this case. Giving your marriage regular attention can prevent the common cold. It’s like changing the oil in your car. The more often you do it, the better your car will run. The less often you do it, the more likely the car will fall apart.
This choice or consent can be illustrated by the words you spoke today: Will you marry me today? Yes. Will you marry me today? Yes. Will you marry me today? Yes. Marriage love grows as that commitment is strengthened. This could also be phrased as Thank you for marrying me today. Thank you for marrying me today.
The consent involved in marriage is not a one-time thing, it’s a life-time thing. And just like exercising a muscle, as your commitment to each other grows, your love will grow, because consent is the essence of marriage.
Our advice to you:
1. Consent to have the Lord in your marriage: Read the Word together, pray together.
2. Regularly show appreciation for what your spouse does for you.
3. Continue to be curious about who your spouse is. Remember that you will get to know them better and better to eternity, and that involves actively learning about them.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from the Lord and from your friends and family.
Remember that everyone in this room is here to support you on this journey. When the hard times come, remember that you can call on the Lord, and you can call on us to be there for you. We are the witnesses to your marriage, and so we promise to support you. Take a minute to look around the room...
Don’t forget that marriage is not just a promise made between each other, it is also a promise made by the Lord that if you hold on to this commitment, these joyful feelings of love that you are experiencing right now, can continue forever in heaven.
Love from, - Solomon and Tirah Keal