Thursday, January 8, 2015

Three Biblical Love Stories

My wonderful, amazing, beautiful little sister got married just before Thanksgiving. It was incredible to watch her-- my little sister-- get married to a wonderful man, in the right place, and in the right way. Her wedding was beautiful, magical, and holy.

Really, it was perfect in every way. Even the torrential rain was perfect, because as she optimistically told me in the Bride's dressing room in the temple, "A wet rope makes a tighter knot. So it is good luck to 'tie the knot' on a rainy day!"

Her day was also special for me because she asked me to speak at their ring ceremony. Her husband's (that feels so weird to type) family are not LDS and  since they couldn't go inside the temple they had a nice event where they had speakers and exchanged rings. With her permission I'd like to share what I said at the ring ceremony. And just so you can get the full effect, here is the photograph the photographer took of me giving it. I just about died that I had to read it off my phone (I had printer problems) but I think it turned out okay anyway. 

Hilary and Dave, I am so honored to be a part of this incredible day in your lives. Your love story has been and will be... epic. It will be something your children and grandchildren will pass down and share for generations. And so as I thought about the impact your love will have on future generations I thought of some of the love stories we have from those who have gone before us.  I’ve entitled my remarks today “Three Biblical Love Stories” and hope you will find strength from the stories of these incredible examples of love.

Adam and Eve

The first love story I want to share is the very first love story-- Adam and Eve. When I think back to these two people I am impressed with their courage. They were willing to tackle a new world together, relying only on God and each other.

In Genesis 2:22-24 it tells their story:

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

I’m not exactly sure how Eve was created, but it is a powerful image that she was made of Adam’s rib. A rib comes from your side and it is a beautiful illustration of how a husband and a wife are to walk side by side. The woman doesn’t walk behind or in front of the man.  You are equals and you walk together.

Hilary and Dave the lesson I want you to remember from Adam and Eve is to BE UNIFIED.

After the promises you have made today you are just like Adam and Eve-- and there is no one else in the world. You are joined at the hip—side by side. Counsel together and make decisions as a team. Remember everyone's dreams are important. Listen to one another and share your hearts with each other, don’t hold anything back. Two learning to be one can be hard, but as you learn to be unified you will influence and shape the world just like Adam and Eve did.

Isaac and Rebekah

The next love story I want to share is one of my very favorite Bible stories. It is the love story of Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac was the miracle son of Abraham and Sarah, and because his parents wanted to make sure that he married a woman who shared his same beliefs, they sent their servant hundreds of miles to seek a bride for Isaac. The servant came to the well outside where Abraham’s brother’s family lived and, not knowing how else to find the right woman, he asked God for a sign. He asked that the first woman to come to the well who offered to draw water for his camels would be the woman God had chosen to marry Isaac.

The first woman to come to the well was Rebekah, who astonished the servant by offering to water his camels. After, he went with Rebekah back to her Father’s tent where it was arranged for her to marry Isaac. Yet instead of allowing her the several weeks needed to get her dowry and things ready for her to leave, He asked that Rebekah leave with him the very next morning. This was a decision that her family thought only Rebekah could make and so they asked her if she would be willing to go immediately and leave her family forever, travel hundreds of miles into a strange land, and marry man she’d never met.

And in an act of great faith Rebekah replied, “I will go.”

Then in Genesis 24:61-67 it says that,

“And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.

And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. {Which can also be interpreted as she "fell" off the camel... something I thought Hilary could appreciate}

For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a veil, and covered herself. 

And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her." 

I love the last line, "and he loved her”. Isaac and Rebekah had never met before they were married. They went off faith, and they learned to love one another. Choosing to love someone is always an act of faith.

Dave and Hilary, the lesson I want you to remember about Isaac and Rebekah is that love is a Choice. 

As much as you think you know each other now, the truth is that you really don’t know each other at all. I’ve been married to Jon for nearly 10 years and there are still days when I look at him and see depth in him that scares me. I realize that I have just barely scratched the surface of who he is as an eternal being. Yet, the best part about being married is that you two now have eternity to discover and learn about each other. It is an incredible journey and one that I am so excited that you have undertaken today.

Christ as the Bridegroom

The last love story I want to share is the greatest one of them all.

Throughout the scriptures Christ refers to himself as the bridegroom and the church, or those He has saved, as the bride. This is a powerful image and helps us understand just what type of love God expects husbands and wives to have for each other. In Ephesians 5:25 it says,

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

And I think the reverse is also true,

“Wives, love your husbands, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

That is no small thing to ask. Christ gave everything for us. He suffered beyond anything we can imagine, He took blame and responsibility for things that were not His fault, and He humbled himself below all things. This is the type of love that Christ asks husbands and wives to have for each other.

Hilary and Dave the lesson I want you to remember from Christ is to sacrifice for each other. 

This is an easy thing to say, but much harder to put into practice. We are by nature, selfish creatures, and learning to sacrifice for another person is hard. But as the hymn says “sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven” and I know that as you find ways to sacrifice for each other your love will grow. A marriage without sacrifice is like a tree without water, it will wither and die. Always keep your marriage and your love nourished by making sacrifices, big and small, for each other.

And as I end I just want to express my great love for both of you. Individually, you are both amazing people but combined you are absolutely incredible. Great things await you and the two of you are going to be a power to be reckoned with.

All photographs by MalloryReneePhoto


  1. These are beautiful lessons. Thank you for sharing them!

  2. I had never thought of Adam and Eve and their new world like that. Thank you for sharing that.

  3. I have always loved the story of Isaac and Rebekah. It is an incredible example of faith. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ze FB share button iz broked....I still like.

  5. This is so beautiful! What wonderful insights into scriptures and such powerful applications for the lives of your sister and her husband and all of us. Thanks for sharing!


  6. We send our best wishes to Hilary. We enjoyed working with her at the HCO. Please send our best as she begins her marriage. Linda Rowley

  7. This is so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this very true reminders of what a marriage relationship should be.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing! I used the examples you shared for the visiting teaching message of this month.