Dear church,

God’s people should provide each other space to be “free at home” in order to build up the most important of human relationships – the one between a husband and a wife. The ancient Israelite ordinance provided a leave of absence to newly married men, giving them freedom from military duty or other public service so they could devote a year to their wives. 

We can imagine the purpose of this. The young couple could establish themselves economically before the husband was called away. They could begin the very important work of baby-making. And they could strengthen their relationship with each other.

The couple were permitted to put aside any public service within the people of God in order to pursue this sacred work. This practice was not a cop-out for the couple to forsake their community. The idea was they would return to service relatively quickly. 

Healthy marriages and families are critical to life in the church. Do we make them a priority in how we live our lives together as the body of Christ? Are we working together to build up those relationships, understanding that healthy marriages raise healthy children, who send the church out further into the world?


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