There are various functions and purposes to marriage, but protection against sin is a primary one. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:2 that both men and women are to have their spouses to avoid fornication. As Jesus is in the business of justifying, redeeming, cleansing, and sanctifying, He also uses marriage as a tool in this process. Along with the Sabbath, marriage is one of the two institutions we have from the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 2:24, 25 records the wedding ceremony that commenced the first marriage. It says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Just as the man left his mother and father, it is assumed and understood that the woman would leave her mother and father. After all, the two do become one flesh. Jesus needs the two individuals to be in a safe zone, in a covenant-promise-kept state for true sanctification to occur. The two were not to experience shame in front of each other. This implies a secure relationship where they could be surrounded by unconditional love and acceptance. With these parameters, the two would be spiritually, physically, intellectually, and socially fulfilled. Even after sin, God would use these environmental parameters to teach and impart sanctifying principles and power to redeem humanity.
The fact that God Himself was present and officiated at the first wedding (Gen. 2:22–24) points to the importance that God places on marriages and wedding ceremonies. It’s not about the ceremony itself but the demarcation line that man and woman cross together at the threshold before God. Ironically, today’s wedding ceremonies have effectively excised God out, or merely made Him a formality. Rather than being vows to each other, the vows should be directed to God, asking Him to help enable their commitments. Rather than guests, the people attending the ceremony are witnesses to this vow. Rather than special musical items, the songs are musical offerings on the couple’s behalf.
As the song says, “With Jesus in the family, happy, happy home,” it is likewise “with Jesus in the wedding, happy, happy marriage”! Jesus is to be the Divine Officiant of the wedding, Orchestrator of the marriage, Conductor of the family, and Sealer of the couple. God indeed does seal both man and woman by His grace, not to eternal imprisonment with each other as some would scathingly joke, but in a relationship that has everlasting ramifications in not only protection from fornication but development of character and glory.