Marriage positional statement


Marriage has existed in some form throughout human history. The Salvation Army endorses the view that marriage should be much more than a legal union or a contract. Christians see marriage as a covenant relationship, a gift from God and a calling. Marriage is part of God’s creation plan for human blessing and flourishing. Its purpose is to provide loving support and companionship, to facilitate emotional, intellectual, spiritual and sexual fulfilment and to secure the foundation of family life.

The Salvation Army’s Articles of Marriage express the intentions of Salvationists as they enter into marriage.
The Salvation Army believes that God ordained marriage to be an exclusive and lifelong relationship between one man and one woman which is characterised by mutual submission, respect, self-giving love, faithfulness and openness to each other. It is a holy relationship, sanctioned and blessed by Christ.

For Christians the lifelong commitment of marriage is affirmed in vows freely, joyfully and publicly exchanged and celebrated in the supportive presence of witnesses – God, family, friends, the church community and the state. Familiar promises echoed in The Salvation Army’s marriage ceremony, ‘for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part’, clearly express the covenantal nature of marriage.

However, human imperfection and sinfulness may make it difficult to reach the goal of lifelong faithfulness. The Christian ideal of marriage is compromised by breakdown, separation and divorce, cohabitation, forced marriage, same-sex partnerships and polygamy. The Salvation Army does not condemn or abandon people who fall short of the ideal. Rather, in God’s name, it seeks to offer support, reconciliation, counsel, grace and forgiveness. Where marriage irretrievably breaks down and results in divorce, remarriage by a Salvation Army officer may be permitted, following careful counselling.

In seeking to uphold marriage, The Salvation Army bears witness to God’s plan and purposes for human society. It believes the state has a duty to provide a just and legal framework to support the status of marriage and to encourage the maintenance of secure and happy family life. For its part, The Salvation Army seeks to fulfil its own duty to nurture marriage by biblical teaching, pre-marriage preparation classes, marriage enrichment seminars and skilled, compassionate pastoral care.