spiritual journey of an individual can be enhanced and strengthened
in the marital relationship. The covenant of marriage
opens the door to free and unreserved love, to forgiveness, to
sharing strengths, to trust, and to the nurture of each other’s
growth. The relationship thrives in the mutual practice of openness,
honesty, and shared responsibility.
responsibility for nurturing, supporting and
celebrating a marriage under its care does not end with the wedding,
but endures throughout the whole of life. The marriage clearness
committee may take the lead in establishing an ongoing relationship
with the couple. For example, celebrations, workshops and
supportive discussion groups as well as Meetings for Worship are
important within the life of the marriage. Couples often appreciate
the feeling of oversight that the Meeting offers when times are easy,
but fail to invite the oversight process during difficult times.
with marriages conducted under the care of the Meeting, members’ marriages
outside the Meeting require loving support and oversight. If a
member is married outside the care of the
Meeting, members of the Oversight Committee should visit with
the newly married couple, expressing the support of the Meeting for
the new relationship. A non-member partner should be made
welcome and invited to attend Meeting.
a concern about their own or others’ marriages
should bring such concern to the Oversight Committee. As
witnesses and parties to the marriage, the Meeting has the
responsibility to be steadfast and direct in fulfilling its oversight
obligation. Overseers may see a need for concern and action before
the couple does. Prayerful worship and God’s leading should
all in these matters, overcoming hesitancies and embarrassment.
Meetings may wish to develop guidelines for the support of both
healthy and troubled marriages, and thus find it easier to nurture
marriage partners in its community. Similar support can be offered
to non-member couples who are active in the life of the Meeting.
should not endure physical or emotional abuse nor should they or
their children be exposed to sexual exploitation.
the Oversight Committee becomes aware of such exploitation or
abuse, they should approach the offender(s) forthrightly, seeking
correction of the unacceptable behavior. While holding both the
violator and the violated in the Light, it is incumbent upon Friends
to protect the victim(s) and seek help for the violator. This may
appropriately involve informing legal authorities and other services.
Where abuse or exploitation exists, counseling and/or separation
divorce may be advised.