Certainly gay marriage is opposed to the scriptural mandate of one man and one woman (Mt. 19:3-6). And certainly the church needs to stand up and be clear in saying no if asked to perform same-sex weddings. But what if we did say yes. It’s crazy to think about, but there could be some positive ramifications.
Most churches don’t just marry a couple Las Vegas style with a quickie in the sanctuary with no instruction or pre-marital counseling, but most have a very well thought out time of preparation. At least there is a sit-down with the pastor for a number of sessions. Some have videos to watch or books to read and meet with marriage mentors. The most committed have a combination of all the above. The goal usually is that the couple would gain advice and counsel that would prepare them for their new life together. An essential part would be what is marriage and how does scripture say it should operate.
If same-sex partners had to go through all that, just like any other couple, think of the things they would hear that could speak volumes to them, assuming you could say it in a non-discriminating way.
- Fidelity in marriage – Marriage is to be an exclusive relationship “ ‘till death do us part” with purity before it and no one else during it. Is that what the homosexual couple really wants or is it really freedom from all restraints? Would they abstain before marriage? Would they be bound to this person for life without anyone else? According to one activist, they do not want to be bound by cultural constraints at all. It is interesting that gay marriage has come at the same time that more people are living together instead of marriage. So today there are more unmarried adults in the US than married. Is marriage want they really want?
- Separation from parents – On one level that’s not much of an issue, of course they want their own family unit. On another, it is more striking. The Bible says they should “leave father and mother” (Gen. 2:24). And that means that all unresolved issues need to be settled and dependence cut off. How many gays have unresolved father wounds or unhealthy parental dependence issues? It would be good to investigate those issues even though uncomfortable.
- Differentiation of Roles – A complimentarian view of marriage understands that husband and wife are not the same, but each has an important role to play. Though not hard and fast there are differences between them. Good counseling often includes as well, understanding gender differences that inform roles. Some questions the gay couple would need to face: who is the husband and who is the wife? Who will stay home with the kids? (Procreation is an important part of most marriages.) Who will be the gender model for a boy or for a girl? Even with heterosexual couples there is confusion, how much more with a gay couple?
- The Beauty of Human Sexuality – At the end of the season of counseling, just before the wedding day comes the frank discussion of sex which includes practical how-tos and techniques. The foundation of the time is the way God has designed the body for sexual pleasure. Here it becomes very apparent we are talking about heterosexual sex. Though other kinds of sex can be pleasurable, the bodies of men and women are designed for each other. Even without the revelation of scripture, the argument of design shows sex is for a man and a woman.
- The Good News of God’s Love – Foundational to Christian marriage is the gospel of Christ. Christ’s love for his people, the church, is the very model of sacrificial, unconditional love (Eph. 5:22-32). The gospel is not an add-on at this point in order to convert the couple; it is essential for their understanding of how to love each other. Of course if you are not a believer it is hard to understand, so discussion of the heart of the faith is certainly in order as it should be for any couple.
Would all this change the couple? Perhaps. Or maybe they would be like some heterosexual couples, who feign interest in these issues but quickly go back to old ways of thinking after the wedding. Most though have some level of change as a result of their counseling time. With prayer, maybe it would be so for a gay couple.
I pray and hope that gay marriage never comes to the church, but it is interesting to think about how God could use it if it did.