Greetings by Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly at MERGE (Marriage Enrichment and Recommitment with God and Each Other)
The first love story of the Bible, one of the greatest love stories of all times, has never been retold in weddings and counselling sessions. When you first read the story, of the fall of man – the essence of true romance is unmistakable in this tragic tale.
The love story I am speaking about of courseis the story of Adam and Eve. When Adam saw Eve, that glorious being who had been made just for him, and sealed to him as his wife, he was filled with love for her, for she had been taken symbolically from his rib next to his heart. We all know the significance: she was not taken from his head to stand over him, nor from his breast to go before him, nor from his back to walk three paces behind him, nor from his foot to be trodden upon. She was taken symbolically from his side—close to his heart to stand by him as a noble companion.
As his heart filled with love for her, he 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” (Genesis 2:23). What Adam meant by these words can be paraphrased as: “I love her with all my heart. She is as important to me as life itself. She is as vital to me as my own flesh and bone. I treasure her as I do my own body—as much as my own life. Without her life would be meaningless. I love her!”
Marriage can be likened to a journey, an odyssey that presents many surprises – some exquisite, others painful. Unforeseen terrain can present unexpected obstacles, some of which may seem insurmountable. Nevertheless, many people make this journey successfully and happily, with only minor mishaps. Indeed, success in marriage is not measured so much by the highs and lows of the journey as it is by how couples deal with those ups and downs.
Love and marriage are however, unpredictable; and then unforeseen terrain can present unexpected obstacles, some of which may seem insurmountable. Marriage can be likened to a journey, an odyssey that presents many surprises – some exquisite, others painful. Nevertheless, many people make this journey successfully and happily, with only minor bumps along the way. Indeed, success in marriage is not measured so much by the highs and lows of the journey, as it is by how couples deal with those ups and down.
The statistics will show that marriages are under attack and this is not new. In a 2017 article in the Newsday, the Chief Justice was quoted as saying new divorce filings are down by 17%, but that for the year (2016-2017), new divorce filings numbered a whopping 2,878! Our changing world and value systems, changing paradigms, focus on “I” and the impact of technology has altered many areas of society including the concept and practice of marriage. The question is…is all change for the good? And for those who believe in what marriage represents, how can this institution be preserved, protected and promoted?
This is where a community such as the MERGE group – Marriage Enrichment and Recommitment with God and Each Other is critical and very relevant to our society today. Marriage is a community affair; most of us cannot do it on our own. A community in its authentic form protects and provides for its members, a group of like-minded individuals with similar values, social norms and behaviours. As such a community, designed to encourage and strengthen.
This community is essential to keeping a marriage strong, particularly when the marriage is being tested which we know can be every single day!
We all have a responsibility to help build a community of support and encouragement for marriage. Thus, I am pleased to support this initiative which has laid the foundation to building resilient communities through building and keeping families and relationships together.
Strong families = Strong communities = strong constituencies = strong country.
Congratulations to MERGE for using the gifts God has given you to support couple; the friendships you have help create and the roots you have nurtured in communities provide an irreplaceable system of sustenance.
To the couples gathered here this evening, never forget what is worth remembering and what is best forgotten. May your love endure beyond the last sunset and may God continue to richly bless your union.
Thank you and God Bless.