A Wedding Anniversary Sermon 


Introduction. — The fundamental institution of our civiliza- 
tion is the home, and marriage is its basis. 

I. Marriage Is a Partnership. 

1. The man is the maker of the living. 

2. The woman is the maker of the home. 

n. Some Don'ts for Husbands. 

1. Don't treat your partner as though she were your 


2. Don't assume the right of being treasurer in the new 


3. Don't fail to deliver the goods according to the 


m. Some Don'ts for "Wives. 

1. Don't neglect your home. 

2. Don't be extravagant. 

3. Don't live with relatives if you can avoid it. 

Husbands, love your wives. . . . Wives, reverence your hus- 
bands.— Eph. 5 : 22, 25. 

HUSBANDS, love your wives.'' ''Wives, rever- 
ence your husbands." Such is the substance of 
Paul's teaching in Eph. 5:22-33. In order that this 
double injunction may be carried out, wives must be 
lovable and husbands must be worthy of reverence. 
The fundamental institution of our civilization is 
the home. None other has such influence. No other 
institution means so much for the weal or woe of the 
human race. There is a well-nigh universal desire, 
both on the part of the man and the woman, for their 
own home. If one is not happy in his home, he can not 
find happiness anywhere. 

'*Home is not merely four square walls, 
Though hung with pictures finely gilded; 
Home is where affection dwells. 

Filled with shrines the heart hath builded. ' ' 

There is only one foundation upon which a happy 
home can rest — and that foundation is love. There 
are marriages for convenience, for position, for wealth 
and for social advantage. When such a marriage is 
contemplated, our caution would be ''Don't!'' Love 
— and love alone — can create the atmosphere of that 
sanctuary which we call home. 

The ladies* aid society asked an old bachelor to 
speak at their social function, on the subject ** Woman! 
Without her, man would be a savage/' When the 
hour arrived he arose, and said: '^The ladies have fur- 
nished my theme for this evening. The wording of it 
runs, 'Woman without her man, would be a savage.' " 
He wondered why they smiled. It is true he had al- 
tered the meaning by his change of punctuation, but 
I am sure there is much truth in both of the state- 
ments. God felt that Adam was not complete without 
his helpmate — and God ought to know. 

* ^ As unto the bow the cord is^ 
So unto man is woman; 
While she bends him she obeys him, 
While she leads him yet she follows; 
Useless each without the other.'* 

I. Marriage Is a Partnership. 

I wish, in this sermon, to emphasize the fact that 
marriage is a partnership. I shall then define the 
duties and add some don'ts. 

'^I take thee to be my wedded wife, to have and 
to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, 
for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to 
love and to cherish till death us do part, according to 
God's holy ordinance, and thereto I pledge thee my 

No more sacred pledge has ever passed the lips 
of any man in the sealing of an earthly contract. If 
marriage is not a partnership, then there are no part- 
nerships in life. In this sacred partnership there is 

1. The man, the maker of the living. It is his part 
to support the home, to maintain his wife and babies, 
to plan, to work, to toil for others, to spend his life 
in service for her whom he has selected from all the 
noble women of the world, to be her constant com- 
panion in joy or sorrow, to be such a father to her 
children as the children can honor, and to be the stay 
and support of her life. This, my friends, is not an 
effort at romantic idealism; it is a plain statement of 
plain truth. If it is a dream, then as a dream it has 
been the inspiration for life's most heroic service. 
Ponder well your promises, and, above all things else 
in life, keep faith with her. 

The husband is the house-band. He must keep the 
home together, provide the family shelter, food, cloth- 
ing, and keep in comfort the sacred place where the 
physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual culture of 
the next generation must be provided. Surely such a 
task is worthy of man's best effort. This is a busy 
world. Competition is tremendously keen. Our mod- 
ern life is complex and strenuous, and, in order to 
accomplish the tasks incident to the maintenance of 
a home, a man needs a clear brain and a strong body. 
As nearly as possible, he should be free from petty 
annoyances and always able to approach his daily 
tasks with full mental vigor. This can only be done 
when things are right at home. 

2. The woman, the maker of the home. The wife 
must be a helpmeet. Not merely a housekeeper, but 
a home-maker, and there is every difference in the 
world between these two. The most important thing 
about a home is not the house, nor is it the furnish- 
ing; it is not gilded pictures and upholstered divans, 
nor velvet carpets and magnificent draperies. The 
vital thing is an atmosphere. Yes, I like to think that 
the woman's sphere is in the creation of an atmos- 
phere. In this atmosphere the husband finds his re- 
laxation and his joy; his daily recreation for the 
tasks and toil of another day amidst the busy whirl 
of this commercial age. In this atmosphere the chil- 
dren love to play, and in it their characters are 
molded for useful citizenship in years to be. The wife 
must be the inspiration for her husband. He must 
achieve for her. Her faith in him must be the well- 
spring of his effort, and, because of her, he must not 

There are many things that are vital, things with- 
out which this atmosphere can not be maintained. 
The house must be orderly and clean. It should be 
light and cheerful. Much fresh air must be supplied, 
and every appointment should speak real comfort. 
This does not necessarily mean extravagance. The 
wife must learn to make a real home on whatever in- 
come her husband can provide, and with that income 
she must be content. 

I have little patience with those who speak of the 
limited sphere of woman. Her sphere is well-nigh 
limitless. God places in her arms an infant race. It 
is hers to form and fashion, to mold and model the 
generation of the days to come. She has just been 
given the ballot, but long ago God gave to her the 
boy; momentous compliment — ^the greatest in the his- 
tory of men. 

II. Same Don'ts for Husbands. 

1. Don't treat your partner as though site were 
your slave. Remember that in the formation of that 
sacred partnership she placed her all. She sacrificed 
a home filled with the material comforts in which she 
had been cradled and cultured and nurtured, in 
which she had been loved and shielded and protected. 
She sacrificed a rich reality for that which she hoped 
you could provide. I believe that it is not exaggera- 
tion to say that 90 per cent, of the women who marry, 
step out of father's home into a less comfortable and 
convenient house. I have united in marriage more 
than two thousand couples in the last nine years, 
and by far the larger number of them have taken 
but temporary quarters in a few rooms. Remember, 
she sacrificed because she loved and trusted you. You 
are less than a real man if you forget that love or 
betray that trust. She is your partner — ^not your 

2. Don't assume the right of being treasurer in 
the new partnership. She has an equal right in the 
funds of this new firm. Imagine, if you can, a busi- 
ness partnership in which two parties place their 
available capital. The business prospers, but, without 
agreement, one assumes the responsibility for hand- 
ling all the funds. He banks the money and checks 
it out without conference or consultation. For the 
barest necessities of life, the other partner must come 
to him and ask for funds. In feeling at least, reduced 
to beggary, humiliated beyond measure, always un- 
certain as to whether or not his frugal request will 
be granted. I ask you, as a man, how long would 
such a partnership be tolerated? My friends, this il- 
lustration is not an overdraft. Millions of partners in 
that most sacred of partnerships — ^noble women, wives 
and mothers — submit to such an enforced arrange- 
ment without complaint. I know no greater tribute 
to the power of true love than this submission, but 
it is not right. Give to her an allowance that is en- 
tirely adequate for her many needs, or, better still, 
bank the income in a joint account, and, if she is a 
worthy woman, she will suffer want rather than betray 
your confidence and trust. If the funds are too mea- 
ger for a bank account, share the meagerness equally, 
and plan for better days ahead. 

3. Don't fail to deliver the goods according to the 
sample. Some time ago I purchased a suit of clothes 
from a traveling salesman. He displayed a splendid 
line of samples. I selected a very beautiful piece, and 
ordered the suit, which was to be made to my measure, 
and delivered within three weeks. What was my sur- 
prise, about a month later, to receive a suit of inferior 
workmanship, poorer and lighter quality, and of an 
entirely different shade! Upon comparing the material 
with the sample, which I had kept, my ''righteous in- 
dignation'' was aroused and forthwith the suit went 
back. Suppose you were to purchase an Oriental rug 
of beautiful design, and find, upon delivery, that they 
had sent to you the cheapest imitation. Recently I 
heard a woman tell her husband that he was not even 
distantly related to the man she thought she married. 
How courteous and thoughtful he once was! How 
graceful and how kind! How considerate of her com- 
fort and her pleasure! Her slightest wish was his 
supreme law. Think of the flowers and the candy and 
the love tokens! Ah, yes! But you must remember 
that these were in the courtship days. My brother! 
why not deliver the goods according to the sample? 
These things, and a million other little courtesies, must 
not be forgotten. If you forget them, you have been 
deceiving her. 

III. Some Don'ts for Wives. 

1. Don't neglect your home. The home is woman's 
throne. Here she reigns as queen, and here she must 
be queenly. No social success imaginable is sufficient 
recompense for the neglect of the home. The card- 
case and the automobile must not displace the needle 
and the baby-carriage. Women, happy in and en- 
tirely dedicated to the domestic art, are the crying 
need of our generation. Nothing can do more to 
check moral decline and social degeneracy than for 
our wives and mothers to dedicate themselves to the 
creation of a right home atmosphere and fully appre- 
ciate the exalted privilege, the high responsibility, and 
the incalculable influence of true motherhood. 

2. Don't be extravagant. Whatever happens, live 
within your means. Every young couple should make 
it the unalterable rule to save some money from each 
pay. Remember that expenses will increase with the grow- 
ing family, and that it is easier to save your means 
with a family of two than it will be with three or 
five. Then, too, if we do not form the thrift habit 
in our early married life, it is probable that later it 
will be necessary for the children to sacrifice their 
higher education and miss the largest usefulness in 
life. Again, there is, perhaps, no more prolific source 
of domestic infelicity than the consciousness that one 
can not get ahead. A growing bank account is the 
best insurance policy for domestic happiness. 

3. Don't live with relatives, if you can avoid it. 
How many are the homes that have come to ruin be- 
cause of the sympathetic comfort and ill-advised ad- 
vice of relatives or friends! For instance, there is 
a difference of opinion between the newly-weds, per- 
haps a discussion, maybe an unkind word with ruffled 
feelings and copious tears. She may refuse the good- 
by kiss. With heavy heart he leaves the home mental- 
ly incapacitated for his best work that day. Then the 
inevitable happens. She confides in mother, the mother 
love responds with sympathy and comfort, and in the 
light of this she feels that she really has been wronged. 
The breach is widened, and when he returns they quar- 
rel, and thus they leave the peaceful harbor and 
launch upon a troubled sea. No, my friends, as man 
and wife sail out together they do not need anything 
so much as they need an open sea. If given plenty of 
sea room, the chances are that they will unitedly 
weather the severest storm. Above all things, when 
difficulties come, brook no interference from relatives 
or friends. 

And, finally, let me say to both, be cheerful, be 
happy, count your blessings, and thank God, remem- 
bering that nothing ever yet brought larger returns 
than kindness, consideration and love. 

*'If with pleasure you are viewing any work your wife is doing; 

If you like her or you love her, tell her now; 
Don't withhold your approbation till the parson makes oration, 

And she lies with snowy lilies o'er her brow; 
For no matter how you shout it, she won't really care about it; 

'She won't know how many teardrops you have shed. 
If you think some praise is due her, now's the time to tell it 
to her, 

For she can not read her tombstone when she's dead. 

''More than fame and more than money is the comment kind and 

And the hearty, warm approval of a friend; 
For it gives to life a savor, and it makes you stronger, braver, 

And it gives you heart and spirit to the end. 
If she earns your praise, bestow it ; if you love her, let her know it ; 

Let the words of true encouragement be said. 
Bo not wait till life is over and she's underneath the clover, 

For she can not read her tombstone when she's dead."
L, N, D, Wells

CIRCA 1921