Religion and Relationships

Christians believe that marriage is instituted by and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one as a husband and one woman as a wife. In the New Testament marriage is thought of as normal and proper. It is to be “held in honour among all.” Christians get married in a Church. They read from the Bible and say prayers. They give each other rings; these are symbols of everlasting love that never ends because they are circles and circles have no end. The vows are a “contract” between the couple to symbolise their love for each other.

Prayers are said to bond the couple and help keep their marriage bond safe and happy. The marriage is a sacrament. The couple make a bond with each other and with God. The marriage is believed to be a gift from God. When the couple get married they also promise to bring a family up in the Christian faith. They give their lives to each other; candles are lit to show their lives becoming one. In the Bible it says, “The two will become one flesh.” The quote tells us that ones they are married they become one. The white wedding dress which is worn by the dress is to show the purity of the bride and is recognition of the bride’s virginity. The dress is also a reminder that sex belongs within the marriage only.

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Their marriage is exclusive. This means that they will always remain faithful to each other. The rings are also a symbol to show the whole world that they are married and unavailable to anyone else. In the Bible it says, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

The only way the marriage can end is if one of them dies.

However marriage is not for everyone. Unmarried people who have either chosen to remain single or who have lost their spouse for some reason are neither incomplete in Christ nor personal failures. There is no suggestion that Jesus was ever married. The marriage is permanent, so it’s everlasting. In the vows they say, “Till death us do part.” This shows that they together until they die, so to the end.

As the marriage is a bond between the couple and God it is sacred. In the vows they say, “According to God’s holy law.”

The importance of marriage is emphasised by Jesus,

“But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:6-9

This is showing that men and women were created to become one together and God wants everyone to become one and no one should be alone.

Divorce is the legal process to show the marriage has legally been ended. Divorce is the termination of a marriage, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage between two people. In most countries divorce requires the sanction of a judge or another authority in a legal process to complete a divorce. A divorce does not declare a marriage null and void, as in an annulment, but divorce cancels the material status of the parties, allowing them to marry someone else if they wish to.

In order to prove this to a court the parties need to give evidence in writing (in the divorce petition) of anyone of these facts, which need to be accepted by the court for the divorce to be approved.

These 5 facts are:

1. The other spouse has committed adultery (quote from Bible, “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14)

2. The unreasonable behaviour of the other spouse

3. 2 or more year’s desertion

4. The couple have lived apart for 2 years and the other spouse consents to the divorce.

5. If the couple have been separated for more than 5 years they don’t require the other spouse to get a divorce

A divorce will not be granted if the marriage ceremony was invalid. When one of the partners is already married to someone else and when one or both of the partners didn’t mean some of the vows they took.

In the New Testament it states that the teachings of Jesus were against divorce,

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32

The above quote shows that Jesus believed that man should not divorce his wife and that marrying a divorced woman is seen as adultery.

The Roman Catholic Church is totally opposed to people cohabiting. Some Protestant Churches allow cohabitation but in the hope that the couple will eventually get married. Sexual intercourse outside of a marriage is a serious sin and couples who sin in this way cannot receive communion in church. Also the Roman Catholic Church believes that a divorce can never take place as the marriage bond can never be broken. The Catholic Church realises that some marriages will fail and advises the couple to seek counselling. However another option to having a divorce is an annulment in the Roman Catholic Church. This is not a divorce but a legal cancellation of the marriage declaring it null and void. The church will state that the marriage was never really valid to begin with for certain reasons or if the marriage was never consummated.

Some Christian Churches, such as Church of England, will allow a divorce. They allow the couple to divorce because they believe it is the lesser of two evils or the most compassionate thing to do for the couple because of adultery or abuse (physical or mental).

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