Listen to Thought For The Day on BBC Radio Ulster.

Later today I’m looking forward to conducting Philippa and Ismael’s wedding ceremony.

At 2 o’clock this afternoon they will promise to ‘Have and to hold from this day forth, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer: in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live’ and everyone will cry when the groom is invited to kiss the bride.

Interestingly enough the wedding liturgy does not ask “Do you love this woman’, or ‘Do you love this man’. But rather “Will you promise to love her, comfort her, honour and keep her.”

For in-spite of what we might see on Love Island and come to expect as the norm, love that lasts is not a feeling:- it is a choice of the will.

Not long ago I asked a group of older people what one piece of advice they would give to young couples about to get married and their insights ranged from “Laugh a lot” to ‘Never let the sun go down on your anger.” But one comment particularly took my attention.

It simply said “Build each other up”. I thought that was beautiful.

As a husband complements his wife and as she is kind toward him with her words, both thrive rather than survive. Popular love culture is impatient and unkind. It envies, boasts and is full of pride. It dishonours the other in favour of self. It is easily wronged and quick to hold a grudge. This kind of love doubts, it mistrusts and easily gives up. Unlike the love highlighted in (the NT letter of) 1st Corinthians Chapter 13, this kind of love is destined to fail. But real love doesn’t let us stay as we are. It motivates both those who are married and those who are single towards some thing or some one that is better:

It points to the person who fulfills the deepest desire within the human heart to love and be loved, to be respected and understood, demonstrated supremely on the cross that true love is sacrificial.

So today as Ismael and Philippa tie the knot at 2 o clock this afternoon, perhaps you might (say a prayer) ask God’s blessings on them and for all other couples, that together, secure in Christ’s love they may in turn chose to love and care for one another ‘sacrificially’.

Good Morning!