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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'We are what we practice'

Marriage offers a daily training ground for faith

We don't know if statistics still place June as the month of weddings, but ours was in May — 36 years ago this month — and we think we've learned some important things about how this intimate relationship enhances a life of faith. So we're offering this reflection on marriage as a spiritual practice now.

PhotodiscWe're not at all surprised, for example, that Jesus chose a wedding as the setting for his first miracle (John 2:1-11). He must have known that couples need all the help they can get and that marriage is a sacred covenant. We concur with the Jewish sages who taught that God is the third participant in a happy marriage.

We also understand a view of marriage expressed by workshop leader and writer Steven Levine. He asked his teacher how committing to the woman he loved might affect his spiritual practice. The response was: "Affect your practice! It is your practice. Always remember, your partner is your practice."

Since 1969, we have weathered many storms and coped with challenges to our committed relationship: our very high expectations in the beginning, the need to balance togetherness and solitude, the complications that come from relatives, the constant anxiety over money in our tent-making ministry, the quest for community, and adaptation to life in a city with all its high-tension drama.


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