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The Mathematics of Marriage

Sacrament of Marriage

A Wedding Sermon

For a relationship that really adds up!

Genesis 2:24

Ephesians 5:21

by Reverend Adrian Richard Kelly

November 26, 1977

Dear Rudy and Carol & all present:

Since you both have been in the school of business, I thought we would spend a few moments talking about the Math of Marriage.

By the grace of God, you both have been brought up in the Christian faith and know and have received Jesus Christ as your Savior. You both know that one of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith is that which says that 1 = 3, and 3 = 1. By which we mean that we believe in 1 God, who is shown to us in 3 different persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

As you, your loved ones, and loving friends gather here today, we discover that God’s unique math carries over into marriage. In this situation, it involves the addition of 1 + 1 = 1. This is the normal equation of marriage. 2 persons come together as husband and wife, and they become one. As long ago as the writing of the book of Genesis, this was known. Two come together and become a new entity – a new being. As married people, you think new thoughts, do new things. For you are now together; your love and concern for the other moves you in other directions than you moved in the past. You have been moving toward this as you have spent months courting each other, but now you will realize how fully this is true. Your actions will be conditioned by and dependent upon the feelings of the other.

Becoming one means orienting your life so that your whole being is tied to each other. It means the “you”, “1,” Rudy and Carol, accept and love each other. Your real identity is found in your involvement with each other. You will rejoice with each other and share each other’s sorrows. You should be so much one that you lose yourselves in service to the other: 100% from Rudy, Carol, and 100% from Carol, Rudy. Never just 50-50.

A man and woman receive the marriage blessing at the altar under a glowing cross.

And yet as we say that the 2 of you have become 1, we must say that 1 + 1 still = 2. You are still 2 individuals. You still have your own personalities. You still have your own dreams, hopes, and thought. For each of you is a unique being and it is of greatest importance in marriage for you, Rudy, to accept Carol as she is and for you, Carol, to accept Rudy as he is. Don’t ever try to make each other over into some image of perfection. Remember that it’s usually little things which start a marriage on the downhill course. All of this involves the big F of Marriage, Forgiveness. Simply because each of you is an individual, you will have to learn ever more clearly the need to forgive. Only when your marriage is blessed with a large measure of the ingredient of forgiveness can it be truly happy.

Carol and Rudy, you will really understand that 1 + 1 = 1 and 1 + 1 = 2 only as you recognize and appreciate that 1 + 1 = 3. Some might immediately think of the child which you hope will become a part of your marriage. But I am thinking of the fact that if yours is a Christian marriage, there is a 3rd party, namely God. The essence of marriage is that 2 separate individuals, while keeping their own identity also receive a new identity in the oneness of marriage. But this is possible only when you have Jesus Christ in your hearts and home.

The promise of the Christian faith is that God is indeed with us in the person of Jesus Christ. So your marriage, Rudy and Carol, has some strange math. 2 become 1. 2 remain 2. 2 become 3. And this math becomes real through the power of God for whom you live. Amen.

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