Violence and Marriage

Domestic violence is a clear manifestation of human sin at work in the most intimate of human relationships. It is a gross distortion of the covenant of love between married or unmarried partners, or the violation of a relationship of love, trust, and care between parents and children.

God created us male and female, saying, “let us make humankind in our own image, according to our likeness . . .” Genesis 1:26. It is worth noting that God speaks in the plural, evoking an understanding of God’s identity as being in relationship with God’s total self. If both male and female are created in the image of God, then both are sacred manifestations of God’s being. Human beings are created to be in partnership with God and with each other, and our concept of partnership is illustrated in the covenantal relationships that God established with many biblical couples, including Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Joseph and Mary. Human partnership is most fully developed in the context of covenant when both parties bind themselves to each other through self-giving love and mutual forbearance.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

In addressing the community of Corinth in the passage above, the Apostle Paul defines the role that self-giving love is to play in human relationships. As such, this passage applies not only to relationships within communities of faith, it also communicates a very tangible ethic for the intimacy of family relationships. This passage identifies the high level of commitment and devotion involved in covenantal love. When used as a guide for one’s own actions within family relationships, this passage sets a standard of behavior and accountability reflective of the love of Jesus Christ.