After puberty, the surges in hormones such as testosterone make young people develop an incredible amount of interest in sexual activities, romance and intimacy with the opposite sex.
Girls begin to desire comfort, sweet words and a shoulder to cry on whereas boys become desperate to know more about sex and yearn to even experience it. Youthful passions as the Bible calls it in 2 Timothy 2:22 are absolutely normal and every healthy young person experiences it in one way or the other.
This strong burning urge to have a lover as well as a sexual partner can cause many to deviate from the Lord’s path that leads to righteousness to the one that leads to eternal damnation. The battle against fornication is almost impossible to win in our technological age.
The airwaves, internet, television, billboards etc. are flooded with nudity, profane music, pornographic videos, sex tapes and other materials that stimulate lustful desires. Today, most nursery kids are more fluent in songs which have profane lyrics than nursery rhymes and bible stories.
The path of chastity is too difficult for most young people to walk on due to the sexual distractions that have engulfed our world. It is good to marry early and for this reason, the Bible warns strongly in 1 Corinthians 7:9 that, “If you cannot control your sexual desires, you should get married. It is better for you to marry than to burn with lust”. However, some young people have found it very hard to get married, not because they are unemployed or have not found a good person, but due to the tough marriage standards and requirements of their churches.
Some churches request for tithe cards before considering to officiate marriage ceremonies. Others do not regard other denominations as Christians and will not approve of marriage ceremonies between their member and someone else from other denominations. Some churches also do not regard those who choose to go the more affordable customary way as properly married. Does God require believers to have church weddings at all cost?
In the Bible days, all wedding ceremonies had nothing to do with the priests, the temples, synagogues and the early church. Marriage was a purely cultural ceremony organised between the two families in which the groom paid the bride’s dowry to her father. Similarly, marriage ceremonies in the African society had been organised the traditional way before the white missionaries arrived and has remained that way. God in His infinite wisdom gave man the way of life in the Bible but never interfered with the marriage process of man because He has given our parents the authority to be responsible for us until we are married.
However, there were some lapses in the cultural marriages because it did not offer enough security for the woman and the children. For this reason, the lawmakers of the nation drafted into the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana, the three main forms of marriage recognizable by law: (1) Customary marriage (2) Islamic marriage and (3) Marriage under the ordinance.
Let us take note that unlike Islamic marriage, there is nothing like Christian marriage. The Bible did not disclose any other type of marriage apart from customary marriage that existed in those days hence marriage under the ordinance was created by man to provide security for married couples and to prevent polygamy which is accepted by customary marriage from the days of the Bible.
Unfortunately, some churches do not approve those who choose customary marriage and regard them as fornicators. This is very strange because there is no scripture that gives pastors the authority to bind a man and a woman as husband and wife. From the days of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob etc., men could only have wives after seeing the bride’s father to pay the agreed dowry. Customary marriages are recognized in heaven, and anyone who marries by that way is also a partaker in the heavenly blessings that come with marriage.
Church weddings are not mandated by the Bible but the constitution of the Republic of Ghana hence only pastors who have been officially licensed or gazetted by the state can officiate weddings. Any pastor who relies on his anointing to officiate a wedding without a state licence will be arrested, prosecuted and jailed.
The law allows those who have been married traditionally to legalize their marriage in the nearest district court or the church of the couple by signing their marriage certificates which have been authorized by the government. Church weddings are great but not compulsory or mandated by the Bible to qualify a couple for supernatural marital blessings.
A church wedding is a bonus but not the main deal. Even though it is good to have a church wedding, it does not mean you are bringing your marriage before God. God does not have his office in church buildings. “The Most High does not live in temples made by human hand” (Acts 7:48). Let us remember that God is present at traditional weddings too. He is omnipresent and does not only listen to prayers said in temples or church buildings. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them” (Matthew 18:20).
Wedding vows said in church are not from the Bible. They are quoted from the “Book of Common Prayer” by Thomas Crammer, Archbishop of Canterbury, which was written in 1549 and revised in 1662. Also, wedding rings which are exchanged during wedding ceremonies in church are not even authorized by the Bible. They are good but not a necessity if a couple cannot afford to buy them.
The authority from God to pronounce a man and a woman as husband and wife lies mainly in the hands of the bride’s father and not her pastor. After her dowry has been paid by her husband-to-be during their traditional marriage, she becomes a married woman, not one who has been engaged to be married.
Hence, sex after traditional marriage is acceptable by God and not fornication as some religious people claim. None of the Bible figures such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Ruth, Boaz, Queen Esther, Abigail, Mary & Joseph etc. got married in the temple or synagogue.
A church wedding is good but does not guarantee a successful and happy marriage. The success of a marriage depends on love and submission, not how and where you decide to marry. If you don’t have money for a church wedding, do a simple traditional wedding, invite your pastor to pray for you and get your marriage certificate from the nearest district court for just 250 Cedis.
Source: Tony Osei Akowuah