Today we celebrated with our parents their 50th wedding anniversary – the Golden Anniversary. This is a special day for any family; however, every anniversary is worth prioritizing and celebrating. Over the years at times I have done well with celebrating my own anniversary, and disappointingly, there are times I have failed to appreciate the day for what it is worth. Let me give you 9 reasons why you should celebrate wedding anniversaries.
1. Covenant Faithfulness. Marriage is a life-long covenant of companionship between a man and a woman, created in the image of God, which results in unity for the purpose of dominion under God. This beautiful and serious marriage covenant has two aspects – both horizontal and vertical: a promise to each other and, as a couple, a promise to God. The ceremony includes the exchanging of covenant promises, with witnesses, and an official. It involves an agreement between a man and a woman to hold fast to one another, by the grace of God, as husband and wife during their earthly lives. Each anniversary celebrates another year of covenant faithfulness – not perfection as a couple but faithfulness to a promise made with each other and God.
This is a component of marriage that helps make us more like God. One of God’s greatest attributes is His covenant faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-24). Throughout the Bible God’s covenant faithfulness is celebrated – from Genesis with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, throughout Israel’s history, highlighted in Ruth, and ultimately celebrated in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Marriage is a visible, physical, temporal covenant that pictures, embodies, and points to the eternal covenant between Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). As we stay faithful to our earthly spouse, we choose to be covenant faithful and shower our spouse with blessings like our God. This is the covenant faithfulness celebrated every anniversary.
2. Powerful Grace. Powerful grace indeed! Every marriage thrives off of grace. Grace is the oil that keeps the marriage running. In God’s kindness He provides grace that is new every morning. It is powerful grace that is empowered by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:19-23). It is necessary grace that is required because we are sinners and sufferers. Life in a broken world is not easy. Life with another sinner striving for unity and faithfulness is also difficult. However, God provides sufficient grace that is always up to the challenge (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is the grace celebrated every anniversary.
3. Forgiveness in Christ. A personal relationship with God begins with eternal forgiveness from God to the believer through the personal work of Jesus. As followers of Christ, we forgive people as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). Marriage creates a context where both spouses have the privilege and responsibility to forgive each other often. We sin. We offend. We fail. As we live and these offenses occur, it requires that forgiveness is requested and received, needed and granted. This is the forgiveness celebrated every anniversary.
4. Commitment to Glorifying God. God desires for all followers to glorify Him daily in everything (1 Corinthians 10:31). Marriage becomes the proving ground where these decisions are determined and demonstrated. Our lives include many ups and downs, unexpected turns, and mountain tops and valleys. On this journey, as couples, we regularly must choose to glorify God in all these moments together. Sometimes we nail it perfectly; sometimes we fail. This is the commitment to glorifying God celebrated every anniversary.
5. Progressive Sanctification. Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives. Life’s most significant process – progressive sanctification – takes place in the rich environment of marriage. Two sinners. One covenant. A life full of opportunities to grow in Christ together. Marriage, this special and distinct inseparable relationship provides companionship along the journey of Christ-likeness (Ephesians 5:25-32). This is the sanctification process celebrated every anniversary.
6. Lifelong Companions. When we make our marriage vowels, we begin making a life together – learning to love each other as we weld two individual lives together as one. We commit to each other as we commit to Christ. We recognize we are in this for life. Not a blind chance but a deliberate choice. Not convenience but obedience. Not how the cards fall but a covenant. Not about compatibility but a welding of two lives together. We are lifelong companions. Two friends choosing to stay in the boat together regardless of the heavy winds, waves, or tempestuous sea. This is the lifelong companionship celebrated every anniversary.
7. God’s Sovereignty. Just as specifically as God gave Adam and Eve to each other, God uses our own personal choices to give us our spouses. As we choose each other on our wedding day, God providentially and lovingly works out His plan. God uses the occasion of our marriage to provide for us our lifelong companion. The couple has not been given the authority to dissolve the marriage (Matthew 19:6). Separation only becomes appealing as a husband or wife looks at self and not God’s purpose for “us.” Therefore, the couple must avoid selfishness in order to not make separation appealing in life. Instead, the couple embraces the similarities and differences, the strengths and weaknesses, and the moments of delight and disappointments as part of God’s plan. This is the sovereignty of God celebrated every anniversary.
8. Building and Celebrating Memories. Each anniversary means another calendar year has transpired. Twelve months. Four seasons. Good days. Not so good days. Sometimes horrific days. Good times. Bad times. Holidays. Work days. Weekends. Vacations. Life. Memories have been built as days have been lived. The contours of life change as these moments apply pressure, make impressions, and provide wrinkles. This is building and celebrating of memories celebrated every anniversary.
9. Continued Love. From the first conversations, through the length of the engagement, to the wedding day, love drives the process. Immature love changes to a mature love. Imperfect love remains imperfect but steadfast. Even though we understand Christ’s perfect love, none of us can ever live up to the ideal. Instead, we strive to love better and remain steadfast in it. Biblical love for your spouse is based on God’s love for you and must be practiced out of a desire to honor the Lord. For the husband, love means that a husband gives his life for his wife, just as Christ gave His live for the church (Ephesians 5:25-33). For the husband and wife, we together seek to imitate the love of Christ with each other. This is the continued love celebrated every anniversary.
Regardless if this is your 50th anniversary, 70th anniversary, 16th anniversary, or 1st anniversary – whatever the year it is for you – this is an important celebration. We celebrate together with you all the energy and effort it takes to live life together as lifelong companions committed to the love and glory of God.
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