Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled. // Hebrews 13:4
What does letting marriage be honored mean to you? Does it mean images of sentimental, puffy-sleeved wedding dresses? Does it mean legalistic realities where a woman could only purchase land or vote if she had a legal husband? Does it mean holding marriage as the ultimate happiness? Does it mean a loveless relationship held together by expectations and determination?
We all have deeply personal experiences of marriage, whether that of the marriage of our parents, marriages of those around us, or marriages of our own. That is part of what makes marriage so important: that it deeply impresses so much upon children and in turn, the community at large. But the negative aspect of this is that we all have our individual issues when it comes to marriage as a concept and as a lived experience.
It is a necessary and important reminder to us then that marriage is holy to God. We need to reorient our ideas about marriage in God’s light, not let the burdens, damage, and wounds from marriage that we carry extinguish it. Honoring marriage may begin in our own marriage, right now. Or it may come in how we speak of marriage, how we approach dating, how we empathize with children of divorce.
In today’s Gospel (Mark 6:14-29), Saint John the Baptist was killed for speaking the truth about marriage; that is how important it was then, and still, is to God.
Lord, we pray today for marriage: our marriages, the marriages within our family, the marriages of those around us, and for a strengthening of married love.