Day 42: Valuing Marriage

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend when I turn on my TV, listen to conversations around me, and when I log onto social media.

Marriage isn’t valued anymore.

People ask “why get married” when they are happy just living together. Spouses say mean things about each other in their friend groups, and often in the guise of joking. Unhealthy statements are made, and spouses are neglected.

I wonder how we got here as a society.

Then I think about all of the rhetoric I have heard about marriage equality that “it is destroying family and marriage as an institution,” and I think about how often those messages have come from the Church.

Could it be that in the demeaning of love between two people of the same gender, a wider demeaning actually happened? And could it be that a new generation now wants little to do with an institution that has been the topic of hateful words and actions by those who want to limit it to only opposite-sex couples?

These are the questions I ponder on while I am driving in to work.

My marriage to my wife has been sacrament. I have learned so much about God, and about how to love, and about patience and grace. I have been able to experience love on a deeper level than ever before, and it has changed me. For the better.

I am so thankful for our church community, and our friends, and their support and love for our marriage, and for our denomination as a whole.

We married on October 6, 2012, underneath a beautiful tree, and in the presence of our family and friends. As part of the ceremony, we had our friends place flowers around our feet, in the shape of an infinity symbol, to show support for our togetherness and for the endurance of our love. We exchanged rings, read passages from the Bible, prayed, and made our vows.

Though it was a year later in October 2013 that we flew to Seattle for a legal wedding, it was in Chattanooga, that our marriage began – through the Church.

I believe strongly that it is the communal nature of the body of Christ that helps bind us together in friendship, in sisterhood, and in marriage.

It has been difficult to organize my thoughts well this year for my entry, due to our trying to expand our family, and to strain from work. But in those things, and through those things, I have found peace and strength from my marriage and from our communities of faith and friends. And I can’t help but think, that that’s the very reason the Church should care so much about marriage, and its accessibility to couples like us. Because it is such a beautiful and tangible reminder of love enduring all things.

The states of Georgia and Tennessee do not recognize our marriage like the federal government does, but when we walk into Pilgrim Congregational on Sundays, we are never treated as anything other than married, truly married – and we are so blessed. I want the same for everyone.

When we show value for marriage – all marriages that are good – we demonstrate support and love. We demonstrate that marriage matters, and that it is beautiful. We demonstrate Christ, and that first miracle of water to wine, when we celebrate union and champion its cause.

I understand that many churches shy away from politics, but I also know there is a rich history of certain denominations and churches in doing the work of social justice and civil rights. I believe it is our duty, as the Church, to not only uphold marriage, but to uphold the weak and the hurting. The LGBT community has been wounded for so many years, and marriage has taken wound after wound by our society. Isn’t it time we bind those wounds, and bind ourselves together?

Why do YOU think the church should care about marriage?