Q: My boyfriend and I are planning to get married in a few months, and I'd like to ask you a question. What difference does it make whether or not we get married in a church (which is what my mother wants)? A marriage performed by a judge is just as valid as one done by a minister, isn't it? - J.P.
A: Legally you're right, of course; if your state authorizes a judge or other official to perform weddings, then any marriage they perform will be legal. The same is true, of course, of a minister.
But the real question for you is this: Do you want God to bless you and help you in your marriage - or will you take the risk of leaving Him out of it? So far, I suspect, God hasn't been a part of your lives; you have acted almost as if He didn't exist. But He does exist - and He not only exists, but He loves you and wants you to discover the joy of following Him every day. His will is always best for us - but when we ignore Him and trust only our own judgment, we risk disaster.
I've often said that a good marriage involves three persons: the husband, the wife - and God. May you and your future husband begin your life together by committing your marriage - and your lives - to Jesus Christ. By a simple prayer of faith ask Christ to come into your lives today.
Then begin your marriage by making your vows not only to each other but to God, and in the presence of His people. The Bible says the husband and wife "are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:6).
Affectionately known as the "World's Preacher" for more than 60 years, the Rev. Billy Graham is one of the most influential and respected spiritual leaders of the 20th century. He has been a friend and spiritual advisor to ten American presidents and has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history - nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories - through various meetings. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts. Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.