Marriage: The Conversation We Should Be Having

Like everyone else in the country this week, my social media networks have been blowing up with reactions, both positive and negative, to the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. There have been more than enough opinions shared on the matter. However, I think in light of these conversations, we are also in danger of overlooking an extremely important aspect of the marriage dialogue...the trivialization of marriage as a whole.

Please understand me clearly, I am in no way stating that the SC's decision is contributing to this devaluing. Frankly, I think the ruling was long overdue in a country so determined on freedom and giving its citizens equal rights, and I am very happy for the numerous friends who have found love, support, and hope in the decision. 
The real perpetrators? Society. And the church. (Please, don't stop reading just yet.)

Addressing the first, it is clear that as a nation we have made marriage into a game of sport and entertainment. Whether from the perspective of reality tv shows or from the reinforced negative stereotypes of the institution in popular sitcoms, no matter where you look, marriage is a joke. By and large, the even louder message streaming across the airwaves is that the marriage itself is secondary to the wedding.

A dizzying array of superficiality...all focused on the party, not the lifelong commitment.
And if that wasn't enough to make your head spin, how about the fact that the average couple in the US spends between $20,000 and $33,000 on the wedding day alone. What are we doing, people?!

And after you're back from that fabulous honeymoon, don't expect the media to suddenly encourage your new life. Women in particular will be assaulted by a barrage of useless television husbands, the wives typically portrayed as exhausted and defeated or as master manipulators tricking their husbands into getting what they want. Any media-based role models coming to mind yet?

When did we, as a society, decide to make the wedding day a collective orgy of expense and superficiality? 
When did we decide to strip men of their intelligence and value in the home? 

Which leads me to the second purveyor of marriage devaluation...the church. Keep in mind that Strider and I are both Christians and believe firmly that Christ is the true foundation of our marriage covenant. Naturally, I recognize that there are many other couples, married or otherwise, who do not feel this way. But there is a huge issue of, dare I say, tolerance, in the church in regards to marriage. And I'm not talking about accepting our new legal equality. I'm talking about inside the church itself

When Strider and I got engaged, we longed for spiritual support and challenges to us as we moved towards making our marriage covenant together. Honestly, we both felt like church fell short in its duties. During our 8 month engagement, I couldn't tell you the number of times someone asked us about our plans regarding the trivial details of the wedding day (flowers, dresses, colors, etc.). The number of times someone asked us about pre-marital counseling, even close friends/mentors in the church? I could count them on one hand.

What does that say about us? That even inside the church, we would rather focus on the superficial than the spiritual? That we hesitate to challenge each other during one of the most fundamentally life-changing moments of our journey? And that later in our marriages, we are reticent to be honest about shortcomings and struggles? Even with our brothers and sisters in the church, transparency and authenticity can be difficult to display and hard to come by. Clearly, something is off track.

What if instead of expending energy to shout negative views about our country's new marriage laws, we looked inward and challenged our youth to consider their vows more seriously? Or if more of us took on the role of active mentors to our engaged couples?

What if instead of turning up our noses at what our fallible human minds might perceive as right or wrong, we look at our own hearts and ask Christ to bless those couple pursuing Him together, regardless of gender?

What if we stop focusing on others' choices and instead, delve into a celebration of our own spouse and a renewal of our own covenants? Or a renewal of authenticity with our church family?

What if instead of continuing to push a huge population of our world even further from Christians who have persecuted them as assuredly as the Christians themselves were persecuted in the ancient world, we embraced them and shared in their joy? Or in the blessing that their children will now have the opportunity to grow in a home with two loving parents who both have rights? 

What if we take this historic opportunity to call ourselves out as not being the examples of Christ or of Christ-centered marriages that we should be, instead of as a chance to throw stones?

There is a lot of beauty and love pouring out from certain corners of the Christian church in response to this national shift, and for that, I am joyous. From other areas, my heart breaks to see us continue to widen the divisions inside the church as well as the chasm that sometimes exists between the church and the rest of the world. A world full of people, which we need not be reminded, were created by and bought with love by the same God.

That being said...I am first in line. I want to be challenged to love my husband more each day, to set an example of marriage for younger believers, regardless of with whom they choose to spend their life. I want the church, as our family of faith, to keep tabs on our marriage, to call us out when we falter. And most of all, I would hope Christ continues to teach me how to love better, to encourage more, and to serve in new ways. 
And those are the conversations really worth having.


  1. Especially loved what you said in the last paragraph! I agree with your points and am so glad that Adam and I had a strong spiritual foundation through our counseling over the last year. My only regret is that there is no first year married couples' mentoring program of any sort and wish we had that!!

    1. After doing diligent research and seeking on our own, Charlie and also found many great resources and people to counsel us. Unfortunately, it wasn't as widely available or encouraged as I thought it would have been, And we would love a mentoring program, too! Especially being in a new town. Maybe one day you guys will start one!

  2. Great post! I completely agree in what you have said...and the wedding industry has definitely become quite a business. Marriage is really the last thing that so many are focused on and I think due to the hype of all the wedding planning...the marriage falls short and so many end in divorce. I work in the wedding industry 4 years spent at Kleinfeld Bridal (Say Yes to the Dress) and now I work at a local salon still as a bridal consultant. It definitely amazes me from what I have seen over the years working with so many brides. Really great post...marriage has definitely lost its sacred meaning.

    1. Thanks, Deb! I worked as an Event Coordinator at a wedding venue for a year and saw enough for me during that time. It's such a beautiful time that it's sad that brides focus on the wrong things, they're only cheating themselves out of really enjoying the part that matters.


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