Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Communal Marriage

“Marriage, to be sure, is an intimate matter, the making of a partnership that knits two people together in secret and inside ways.... But it is a pernicious myth of modernity that marriage is merely private: Marriage is also a community endeavor.”

– Lauren Winner, Mudhouse Sabbath

This past weekend, I had the honor and joy of standing beside Caitlin, my surrogate little sister, as she became a wife. As I returned home and got back into the swing of everyday life, I found myself reflecting on the above quote.

Caitlin and I grew up in a true community of friends that became family, linked through generations, and enduring through time. As I stood up at the front of the church and looked out at the people gathered to celebrate Caitlin's wedding to her husband, Greg, I was struck in a new way by the fact that marriage is not merely private. These loved ones, friends and family, were not assembled merely to celebrate; they were there to witness. They were there to bear witness to the love that Caitlin and Greg share and to be witnesses to the commitment that these lovers would make to join their two lives into one.

We are their witnesses. We are their community. We are their support, guidance, and accountability. We are the ones who will celebrate, God willing, the births of their children. We are the ones who will mourn with them in grief. We are the ones who will walk with them through it all. Their marriage will never be merely their own. We are a part of it.

Think of the weddings you have attended. Do you see yourself as a part of the community endeavour of the couples you have acted as witness for?

It is a tragic fact of modern life that we live in a culture of divorce. Sometimes we feel that there is so little we can do to fight this growing trend of broken marriages, but there is so much we can do if we are willing!
  • We can counsel couples when they are dating and engaged, helping them to realize the profundity of the matrimonial covenant.
  • We can pray for the marriages of our loved ones.
  • We can send anniversary cards and letters to those whose weddings we have witnessed or participated in.
  • We can live chastely, honoring the marriage bed.
  • We can encourage married people that we know to speak positively about their spouse at all times.
  • We can check in with married couples that we know, giving them opportunity to seek advice or support for their marriages if needed.
  • We can choose to actively love our own spouses, living as a light to the world and bearing witness to the strength of love between Christ and His Bride, the Church.
How do you bear living witness to the communal aspects of marriage?


  1. What a fabulous post! I'm certainly no expert ... but I do make an effort to talk with my friends who are in long-term dating relationships about the benefits of marriage. My husband and I *despise* the myth that marriage "ties someone down" or restricts freedom. Both of us try to mention how wonderful it is to be married ~ not in an obnoxious way, but gently and when the subject comes up. Bearing witness to the beauty of God's design for marriage is so important!


  2. I believe that it is a good thing to compliment someone to their spouse. Too often girlfriends fall into the habit of complaining about their husbands together. Why not, instead, compliment your friends' spouses, and make an effort to show positive support for both your friend and her husband.

  3. Thanks for this post! I am having a good time reading your blog, now that I found you! Thanks for the thought provoking posts!

    I agree with Val. One thing I have shrived to do is NEVER speak ill of my husband to anyone. If I have a issue or problem, that is not just me, I go to him in love and talk to him.

    Also, its important to live by example. We are called to be lights in all things in our Christian walk, in our relationship with God, in our marriages (which is an example of Christ and the Church) in our parenting.....


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