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Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted. It is the right atmosphere to engage in sexual relations and to build a family life. Getting married in a church, in front of God, is very important. A marriage is a public declaration of love and commitment.
The institution of marriage is now the subject of a bitter national debate. how did marriage begin and why?
This declaration is made in front of friends and family in a church ceremony. Marriage vows, in the form "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part", have been recited at UK church weddings since But before the wedding service was written into the Book of Common Prayer, marriages were much more informal: couples could simply promise themselves to one another at any time or place and the spoken word was as good as the written contract.
In this audio clip, three academics - Janet Soskice, Reader in Modern Theology and Philosophical Theology, Cambridge University; Frederik Pedersen, Lecturer in History, Aberdeen University; and Christina Hardyment, social historian and journalist - discuss the history of and the role of state and church in marriage. If you choose to get married in church, there is an added dimension - the assurance that God cares about your relationship and that His resources and strength are available to help you.
Including God in your marriage doesn't mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that His love will sustain you. You will also have the support of the Christian Church family. A couple may marry in their local Church of England parish church if either the man or woman lives in the parish. Beforethey could not be married in another parish unless they had attended church services there for six months and were on its electoral roll.
Marriage and weddings
In Julyhowever, the Church of England initiated a change in the law to make it easier for couples to have a church wedding in a parish other than their own. The changes make it easier for a couple to marry in a church where there is a family or other special connection. The meeting of the General Synod on Saturday 7 July unanimously approved the draft measure. Because the Church of England is the official state church, the measure had to be approved by the Parliamentary Ecclesiastical Committee before going through both Houses of Parliament and receiving Royal Assent.
It is expected to become law in autumn Before the ceremony, there are several things the couple must do. Firstly, they must arrange to have their banns a public announcement of a forthcoming marriage read out on three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. They must be read out in the parishes of both people.
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If the banns cannot be read out for any reason, a special licence can be issued by the bishop of the diocese. Secondly, the couple must speak to the priest about hymns and prayers they may want on the day. Many couples want to include extra touches, such as flower arrangements or musicians.
Some churches offer marriage preparation, where the priest will discuss subjects such as money, conflict, communication and sex. This throws up possible problems which the couple may come across during their marriage, and helps suggest ideas for handling them. Orthodox Jewish and Church of England contributors discuss the question with a marriage counsellor. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions.
Christian views on marriage
The union, then, of male and female for the purpose of procreation is the natural good of marriage. The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is God's doing: "God himself is the author of marriage", which is his way of showing love for those he created.
Because a marriage is a divine institution it can never be broken, even if the partners are legally divorced: as long as they are both alive, the Church considers them bound together by God. Catholics are encouraged to marry other Catholics in order to attain a "perfect union of mind and full communion of life", but it is also the priest's duty to remember that marriage is part of God's natural law and to support the couple if they do choose to marry. Today in countries throughout the world it is common for Catholics to enter into a 'mixed marriage' a marriage between a Catholic and a baptised non-Catholic.
Couples entering into a mixed marriage are usually allowed to marry in a Catholic church provided they have embraced the following principles:. When one member of the couple is not a Catholic, a dispensation is required for a mixed marriage to take place.
This is normally granted by the priest who is conducting the marriage. If one of the partners is not baptised they belong to a non-Christian religion, or to none a dispensation for 'disparity of the cult' is required. This must be granted by the bishop. It is usually a straightforward matter as long as the dispensation is applied for in time. The priest will usually take care of the paperwork. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognises that mixed marriages can pose difficulties but it also points towards the importance of growing together through dialogue and a common faith in Jesus Christ.
Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple's obligations to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what separates them. The Catechism also makes a distinction between a mixed marriage and a marriage with 'disparity of cult' a marriage between a Catholic and non-baptised person.
The meaning and purpose of marriage
Priests are required by the Church to ensure that such marriages will not endanger the faith of the Catholic partner. In practice, priests will judge each situation on a case by case basis. If difficulties arise, it is the pastoral duty of the priest to raise questions and initiate a frank discussion with the couple. He would use the same logic as any other situation in life where the faith of a Catholic could be in jeopardy.
While the Church urges caution in the case of marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, it does not prevent a Catholic from marrying the person of their choice.
It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult between a Catholic and non-baptised person requires even greater circumspection. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from that fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. The spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties.
Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. The temptation to religious indifference can then arise. Before a marriage takes place, a couple must spend time with the priest to talk about the sanctity of marriage and their role within the church in preparation for their life together. Questions concerning family and children, money issues, lifestyle choices and religion will be asked.
These marriage preparations are known as pre-Cana. It is an educational and maturing process for married life. Pre-Cana can take place over six months or an intensive weekend course and is mandatory for Catholics wishing to get married. Whilst a couple is engaged but not yet married, they are expected to refrain from sexual activity: "They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love".
This is because the Church teaches that sex is part of the procreation process and should only happen within the right framework, which is marriage. There are two types of Catholic marriage ceremony. One is with Mass and celebrates the Eucharist, which lasts for about an hour. The other is without Mass and only takes about 20 minutes. From their covenant arises "an institution, confirmed by the divine law.
This bond, which from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom.
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This has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about archiving. Marriage and weddings Last updated The different wedding ceremonies and teachings about marriage among Christian churches. Christian weddings Christian marriage Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted.
The history of marriage Marriage vows, in the form "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part", have been recited at UK church weddings since Church of England weddings Marriage in the Church of England If you choose to get married in church, there is an added dimension - the assurance that God cares about your relationship and that His resources and strength are available to help you.
Your Marriage in the Church of England. Traditional words for the exchange of rings. Catholic weddings Marriage in the Catholic Church The union, then, of male and female for the purpose of procreation is the natural good of marriage. Catechism of the Catholic Church. See also.