The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Marriage matters

Love is not enough. Justice must be added for a union to thrive.

When Phyllis and I were married in 1964, I assumed that at least three things would be constant in our relationship: I would be the primary wage earner; I would cast the deciding vote if there were a difference of opinion in such things as buying a car or moving to a new home; and I would be the most widely known person in the public arena of the church, except perhaps in our local congregation.

Married coupleNone of these things is true today—particularly as Phyllis is president of Pacific Lutheran Seminary, Berkeley, Calif. Each of these changed assumptions required that we rethink the connection between love and justice in our life together. We learned that love isn’t enough. Justice must be added for the relationship to thrive.

Families constantly face questions of justice whether they realize it or not. Some issues of justice are raised by major decisions, such as whether to move the family so the mother can accept an attractive job offer; whether one of the parents should switch to a part-time position after the birth of a child—and if so, which parent; or how to deal with vastly different needs of older and younger siblings.

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