The Marriage Coin is inspired by our good brother Kim Costanza’s practice of asking the groom at weddings he presides over to call a coin toss before he begins his message. He uses this as a picture of the failure rate of marriages, and then asks if they would be interested in a pathway to beat the odds. Sadly, professed Christians are failing in their marriages at a disturbingly high rate like non-Christians. A big reason for the failure of Christian marriages is that we have become consumer driven in relationships just like the world. If we don’t like the service at our favorite restaurant we go find a new one. If we don’t like what our friend tells us or what our pastor teaches we replace them. Whether we attend church regularly and hold a set of moral values as central to our lives or not we will fail unless we repent from our consumer driven mindset to embrace God’s covenant design for marriage. I have been using these coins at marriage ceremonies to communicate visually to couples the message of covenant.
The coin was designed to depict the two pathways that we will choose in our marriages. The words at the top of each side reflect these two opposing mindsets: God’s Marriage Covenant or A Worldly Marriage. The phrases at the bottom of each side embody both the consumer mindset and self-fulfillment of a worldly marriage or the sacrificial love and submission of the covenant marriage. The pyramid is used as a symbol depicting man’s needs, the highest of which according to Abraham Maslow is self-actualization. Self-actualization can be defined as the achievement of one’s full potential. This has been chosen to depict the worldly marriage since the individuals’ need for love, validation, respect, or independence is put above all things. This is the 50% and 50% approach to marriage. You meet my needs and I will meet your needs. If you fail to meet my needs I am looking elsewhere. The scripture verse on the bottom of the pyramid is Proverbs 14:12. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Putting our needs ahead of our spouse, or holding unforgiveness can seem like the right thing when we have been hurt deeply, but in the end they lead to emotional, physical, and spiritual separation in our marriages. We can never trust the way that feels right.
In stark contrast to the symbol of the pyramid is the symbol of the cross. The cross is the symbol of death. Jesus Christ of Nazareth defines the meaning of the cross for us. It is the symbol of God’s covenant love and Jesus’ self-denial. This unconditional love has been poured out extravagantly to us through Christ in the cross. The cross also represents the costly love and self-denial he calls us to live out in our marriages. This is the 100% and 0% approach to marriage if needed since our love for Christ is our highest goal. Only in the power of the gospel through the Holy Spirit’s work in us can we live out God’s covenant love to one another. The scripture verse chosen to depict this pathway is Ephesians 5:21. “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The emphasis is on a mutual submission to one another with the whole motivation being to honor Christ. This demonstrates his humility and unconditional love through our marriages as a picture of the gospel.
It is very important that we grasp God’s covenant design at the outset, but it is equally important that we live each day in conscious awareness of our covenant relationship with God and our spouse. Even if we have begun our marriages on the wrong path we can by God’s mercy be forgiven and reconciled to our mate, entrusting our marriage to Him and embracing his covenant design.
Director Locking Arms Men