August 24 – Building Strong Marriages in a Marriage-Confused World

Bob Taylor, our Adult Ministries Elder, called me the other day and asked if I would include a reminder about the Harvey Cedars Couples’ Conference coming up this November 2-4 on Long Beach Island at the Jersey shore. Normally such reminders go out in the email version of the e-Pistle which is designed primarily for the LPC family rather than those others who read just the web version.

Okay, email readers, you’ve seen the reminder.

Marriage has become a political issue in our time. Some speak of marriage equality and others talk about the importance of traditional marriage.  It’s another battle field in the seemingly endless culture wars. Of course, the minute marriage became a political issue, marriage lost. We all lost. Some things are bigger and better than politics, and marriage is one of those things.

Regardless of what the politicians, the courts or a plebiscite may decide, those of us who hold to the Scriptures as “the whole counsel of God” (Westminster Confession, 1.6) know marriage to be a gift from God, not from the state. God calls man and woman into marriage (Mark 10:6-9); it is not ours to renegotiate the deal.

But if marriage is more than a political issue, then its defense requires more than votes and lobbying. If marriage is a gift from God, we must receive it thankfully, use it joyfully and tend to it carefully.

The marriage crisis that our culture faces is not the attempt by a few of us to redefine it; it is the failure of many of us to receive it thankfully, use it joyfully and tend to it carefully. The greatest threat to marriage is not from the courts or the statehouse; it is from the house of worship and the people who gather there. The most compelling case for marriage is not to be made by sound bites blasted over airwaves and through fiber optic cable, it is to be made by those who know marriage to be a gift and who live out that gift in gratitude to its giver.

Marriage is hard work and a good marriage is the result good hard work. The conference at Harvey Cedars is a great time for couples whose marriages are strong and for those whose marriages need a bit of tending. It is a wonderful way to give thanks to God for the gift of marriage and to your husband or wife for being your partner in the adventure of marriage. (And it just happens to be the weekend before the election – a weekend away from all those warring sound bites.)

Are you thankful for the gift? Why not consider the Harvey Cedars Couples Conference as a way to say thanks. LPC people may speak with Bob or Kay to get details about the conference.

LPC people and others of us may feel called to engage the political debate about marriage; all of us – single and married alike – should give thanks for the gift and encourage the good hard work that makes marriage such a joy.