Our situation is this: we are officially married, but we did not perform the marriage ceremony. We have a girl with a problem at birth. I would like to know if the problem of the girl is connected that we were not married in the church? Can we now, after several years of marriage to perform the wedding ceremony? What is the procedure of a Baptist wedding ceremony?
The marriage is valid
If you have not had sexual relations with your wife before the civil marriage ceremony (I understand and assume that it was so) you have no reason to feel guilty that you have committed fornication because you have not sinned. Even if you have not officiated the wedding then, your marriage is valid and is accepted in the eyes of God, just as marriages of people of other religions are acceptable before Him, even if they do not yet know Him and worship.
The sin of the parents affects their children
But if you have had sexual intercourse before marriage, yes, the girl’s disease may be a consequence. But the reasons may be others, too. Here’s what Scripture tells us in this regard:
As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (The Gospel of John 9:1-3)(NASB)
When Jesus said that it was neither that this man who sinned, nor his parents, He did not want to say that these people had never sinned, because it would contradict a fundamental truth of Scripture that says that all people have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Neither Lord Jesus wanted to say that sin was not the reason for the disease, because that was a doctrine clearly presented throughout the Bible. The Savior only said about this specific case, that the reason that that man was blind from birth was to glorify God through him, and that happened later, as the Scripture says:
When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent) So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. (The Gospel of John 9:6-7) (NASB)
Now, judge by yourselves, put things together and see the reasons that have brought the disease of your girl.
The marriage ceremony is necessary
Even if your marriage is valid, God had reason to be saddened by the way you have done and because you did not come before Him to enter this covenant, to ask His blessing, because He is the author of marriage and He has brought you one to another and united you together. Therefore, it is beautiful and very appropriate to officiate the wedding ceremony soon.
How is the wedding ceremony performed?
Go and tell your situation to a priest (pastor) and ask him to officiate your wedding. Put a special day and invite your relatives, friends, people whom you love and whom you want to invite at this important celebration. The wedding may be celebrated in church but also at home or in a restaurant. You do not need to buy and wear your wedding dress. In the most important part of the ceremony the priest (pastor) will preach and then he will pray for your marriage, asking God’s blessing.
If you live in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, and if you want to invite me, I will gladly come to officiate your wedding ceremony.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru