The Bravery Marriage Requires

Feast of the Righteous Fathers Sergius & Herman, Founders of Valaam Monstery

Cana_Weddigin_square.jpgLAST FALL, I attended a wedding for a work friend of my fiancé. It was an unofficiated union for two women who had fallen in love and were deeply committed to each other. In my heart, I wished them well.

But I didn't tell anyone at the time. I didn't want to seem either approving or disapproving; I guess because I was not sure what I had just seen. 

When my husband and I got married last winter, these two lovely women came to our wedding, officiated in the Orthodox Christian church. They were so kind, and wished us joy. 

But I could not have gotten married in the way they did. I couldn't have gotten married in the way most people do. For most people, marriage is a kind of contract or covenant. 

I am not so brave as that. 


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I am an Orthodox Christian, which means that I believe in sacramental theology. I believe that when I receive Communion, I am receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. I believe that when I go to Confession, I am forgiven. 

A person who believes in sacramental theology believes there are things that God does in this world that only He can do. That He graces us humans whom He loves with everyday miracles. 

I am married in the sacramental sense. My marriage is something that God is doing. Something He does in and through my husband and I, between us. My marriage is not my own, it is God's. I tend it, but He makes it. I don't understand it, I live it. 

Kind of like the earth we live on. Kind of like our lives. 

I don't understand how people got so brave as to make contracts and covenants with each other. 

I don't understand how marriage became a legal, governmental union rather than a sacramental, ecclesial one. 

I wish those that are in love joy; I do.

But more than that, I wish for a sacramental world. One in which we expect God to do things. One in which we see everyday miracles. 


Nyleen Lenk reads, writes, worships, and teaches people shorter than she is. To her, the most important thing is wonderment; and this is why she hides her life with Christ in God. She lives in Wichita with her husband the photographer, her stepsons the gamers, and her cat who is channeling Marmie from Little Women.

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