“The church rightly understands that we no more know the person we marry than we know ourselves. However, that we lack such knowledge in no way renders marriage problematic, at least not marriage between Christians; for to be married as Christians is possible because we understand that we are members of a community more determinative than marriage.
That the church is a more determinative community than a marriage is evidenced by the fact that it requires Christian marriage vows to be made with the church as witness. This is a reminder that we as a church rightfully will hold you to promises you made when you did not and could not fully comprehend what you were promising. How could anyone know what it means to promise life-long monogamous fidelity? From the church’s perspective the question is not whether you know what you are promising; rather, the question is whether you are the kind of person who can be held to a promise you made when you did not know what you were promising. We believe, of course, that baptism creates the condition that makes possible the presumption that we might just be such a people.”
I think we do not even begin to take seriously enough the need to recognize that marriage, like communion and baptism, is meant to be done in front of and with the church, our community. In light of this Isaac and I have become intentional in a lot of the way we approach marriage now. It's less of an attitude of "keep your problems private and resolve them behind closed doors" and more honesty with our community about what we're going through and conflicts we're having so that they can encourage us and hold us accountable. I've also taken much more seriously being invited to and being in peoples' weddings. This past summer I was a witness as Rachel's wedding, this upcoming summer I'll be in my sister Jana's wedding. In those roles I am a witness to the promise AND a tool to help make possible that life-long fidelity.