Every couple attended my pre-marital counseling needs to take a test over the couple's knowledge of the meanings of Christian wedding tradition. The reason why a Christian wedding ceremony is so beautiful because it contains rich meanings based on biblical teachings about marriage.
The very first question on the questionnaire is: "Why do ushers seat the family and friends of the bride and groom on opposite sides of the auditorium?" There were five possible options for this question. They are: "a. To sit with those they know. b. To show whom they support. c. To symbolize uniting two families. d. To see who has more friends. e. None of the above." What is your answer to this question, and why?
To get the right answer, we need to know what a marriage relationship is in God's book. In the very first marriage ceremony which God officiated Himself, God says: "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24, NIV) The Marriage relationship is a non-breakable covenant (it is another issue when one of the covenantal parties breach the relationship) between one man and one woman, which Jesus Christ compares it with His covenantal relationship with His Church. With this fundamental idea in mind, we can then turn to how our spiritual forefathers symbolize the covenant of joining two sides, or the groom and the bride in this case, in a wedding ceremony. In Genesis 15, God entered into a covenantal relationship with Abram, who is later named Abraham. God told Abram to bring him five different animals and "Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other." (v.10) That night, God made "a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces" to make the covenant with Abram. (v.17) Now back to our question: "Why do ushers seat the family and friends of the bride and groom on opposite sides of the auditorium?" The answer is "d. None of the above."
Some people might think the answer is "c. To symbolize uniting two families." However, the question is asking about the families and friends sitting on the opposite sides. And in the story of Genesis 15, the objects sitting on the opposing sides were the sacrificial animals. So families and friends sitting on either side of the aisle represents the sacrifices they made to bring the groom and bride into this covenantal relationship.
Have you ever thought about your conversion to Christianity as a covenant made between God and you? Share with your devotional partner what other rituals in a Christian wedding might symbolize. Pray for each other that we will always treasure the relationship we have with God.