At a basic level, the church exists to promote and enhance the well-being of creation; to care for, protect, and nourish the people and environment we claim God has created. Since marriage and relationships are a huge part of anyone’s well-being, the church naturally has reason to care about marriage – and to promote healthy, life-giving standards and policies that will promote the well-being of all.
Curiously, my thinking on relationships is informed by Genesis 2:18-23 – but hang with me, GLAD friends, and read the text carefully. The LORD declares: It is not good that the man should be alone. So God decides to form Adam a partner. And what does God start with? Animals. God brings Adam animals – first birds, then cattle, then every living creature. But it seems that none of them were the partner Adam wanted (Gen. 2:20). When God creates woman, Adam finally says: This at last is [what I’m looking for]. (Gen. 2:23a paraphrased.)
Now, other people have drawn different conclusions from this story, but what I read is that Adam gets to choose whom he wants to love. Or perhaps not choose – perhaps he just knew instantaneously who/what was right for him. He knew deep in his bones. God kept at it, kept offering Adam creatures for relationship, and in the end, Adam got to choose who was right for him. God knows that relationships are important for us, and God knows we need to be REALLY happy with them. God wants our well-being – and so God was willing to experiment long enough for Adam to find a partner who was life-giving for him.
In both Genesis 1 & 2, God seems to have created the world to be a delight, created humans to live well, enjoying the blessings of life and sharing them with each other. As the church is called to promote and enhance the well-being of creation, we would do well to protect the rights of all people to find healthy and life-giving relationships. And we would do well to do all we can to help nourish and support healthy relationships – for the well-being of all and for the glory of God.
Why do YOU think the church should care about marriage?