God’s design for sex, marriage, and the family matters. It matters to God and it should matter to us. It matters to our communities and to our nation – Marriage is a main component of the Lord’s blueprint for humans to flourish spiritually and materially. The health of a community directly correlates to the types of relationships that build it. Marriage and thus families are the foundational elements of every society because societies and cultures are comprised of lots of families living in them. We in the church should be world changers; and one way to do it is through forming communities with a marriage culture that shows God’s design and purpose for marriage to the world around us. Married couples bearing witness to the authority of Christ in our relationships and in our marriages.
We also need to look beyond equipping those who are already married to those who are single with aspirations of marriage to show them what their future marriage means to the community and for them to prepare for their marriage more than they prepare for their wedding. Also looking to those who are single for what ever reason and show them how they can honour the marriages around them.
The latest figures from the ABS, that is for 2018, show that the proportion of the population getting married is at its lowest point at least for the last 20 years – 4.8 marriages per 1000 population against 5.9 in 1998. Of the 119,188 registered marriages in 2018 were 6,538 ssm, representing 5.5% of all marriages. Just 20.3% of marriages were performed by a minister of religion against 50.5% in 1998. The role of the church in weddings and the “married life” of couples is sadly diminished. There are approx. 4.5 to 5m marriages (including our own) all of which have probably had to adjust in varying degrees to the situations caused by this pandemic and a number of those marriages are hurting and need help.
Innovative ways are being found to worship, to minister, to teach and to encourage. In the Church we care about our communities, we love their neighbours, and seek the good of those around us. Being missional and bearing witness to the authority of Christ while seeing people come to know him lies at the heart of the Great Commission, but we still need to encourage the body of the church to reach out to their neighbour to encourage, support and maybe even mentor marriage & family relationships around them. This can be done over the fence, the ‘phone; there are still many ways even in ‘home confinement’.
Our stock of married couples, couples who are in a covenant relationship, understand commitment, share a common purpose, communicate deeply, seek to ensure their spouse is enabled to do their very best, and who forgive each other are a massive resource this country has to bring recovery from this pandemic and all the chaos it has brought.