Marriage and The Family

  • Created by: Nivea
  • Created on: 19-01-20 19:50

Marriage In Society

Marriage is the lifelong commitment between two people. 

There are three legal requirements that must be fulfilled before a marriage can take place in the UK. These are; partners must be over 16, neither partner must be married to someone else and they must enter marriage freely, not under threat. Although in some cultures it is normal for a person to have multiple partners, this is known as bigamy and this isn't allowed in the UK

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Why is marriage important in society?

There are many reasons as to why marriage is important in society. These reasons are also the same for Christians (and other religions).

  • It structures society into family groups
  • Encourages stability
  • Provides a secure environment for bringing up children
  • Nurtures feelings of self-esteem and value
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What do Christians believe about marriage?

Sanctity of marriage- Marriage is a holy gift from God in which partners make a commitment to each other to live together in an exclusive loving relationship until the death of one of them

Here are some quotes which teach Christians about the value of marriage:

  • 'Two will become one flesh'- Mark 10
  • 'What God has joined together let no one separate'- Mark 10
  • 'A man leaves his Father and Mother and is united to his wife'- Genesis 2

Marriage is also a sacrament.

The Bible teaches that there is an order in the marriage relationship whereby the husband is the head of the wife and wives must submit to their husband. Admittedly, in the 21st century context this is a bit sexist, however the husband is also commanded to love and honour her and she in turn must respect and honour him. In this way, the relationship is equal. However, other interpretations include that viewpoint women should be housewives and look after the children. Another interpretation is that they both have different roles which still have the same value so there is a sense of balance

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Cohabitation means living together in a sexual relationship without being married or in a civil partnership. Many Christians are against Cohabitation.

Arguments for Cohabitation:

  • It allows couples to get to know each other properly before marrying
  • A divorce is not necessary if the couple want to split up
  • Mariage is not necessary to bring up children succrssfully
  • Partners can commit to each other without getting married

Arguments against Cohabitation

  • It can encourage a casual attittude towards relationships
  • It makes it too easy to break up without trying to mend the relationship
  • Children should be raised in a stable home with two married parents
  • The Bible supports marriage
  • Christianity teaches that sex outside marriage is wrong
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Non-religious attitudes towards marriage

Marriage is a sign of commitment towards a long and loving relationship.

Atheists will not get married in a Church because the Church would have no importance to them. They will often get married in a civil ceremony conducted by a registrar. Humanists may have a civil ceremony followed by a Humanist celebration.

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Sexual Relationships

  • Christianity teaches that sex should only take place within marriage.
  • Christian views about same-sex relationships vary.
  • Many non-religious people agree with sex before marriage and same-sex relationships, although views vary.

1) Sex should only be between a man and a woman

    The Bible describes marriage as a man being united to his wife.

-Some Christians and many non-religious people think sexual relationships between same-sex couples are fine.

2) Sex should only take place within a marriage

    Sex is meant to be the consummation of a loving relationship.

-Some Christians and many non-religious people belive that sex before marriage is acceptable.

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3) Adultery is wrong

    Adultery is forbidden by the Ten Commandments. It brekas trust between a couple and undermines the stability of family life

-Some people accept adultery if it does not cause physical or emotional harm to anyone involved.                    

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Traditional Angelican and Catholic Teachings

  • Homosexual sex is wrong
  • The Bible teaches that sex should be between a man and a woman
  • Sexual immorality is a sin against God

Other Christian Beliefs

  • Homosexual sex within committed and loving homosexual relationships is acceptable
  • Marriage should still be reserved for a man and a woman


  • Same-sex relationships are fine as long as the relationship does not cause any harm to those involved
  • Personal choice and freedom are important, including the freedom to be in a same-sex relationship


  • Many atheists accept same-sex relatiosnhips
  • Some may oppose them for social or cultural reasons
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Family structures

Nuclear family- Two parents and their children

Same-sex family- Two same-sex parents and their children

Extended family- Parents, children and other relations living closely together

Single parent family- One parent living alone with their children

Blended family- Parents with children rom previous relationships

Divergent attitudes

-Chritsians who follow traditional Christian teaching and disapprove of same-sex relationships believe that children should grow up in nuclear families

-Some Christians are more understanding of different familt types and aim to welcome everyone into Church life

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The purpose of the family

According to Christian teachings:


Children are considered to be a gift of God and so producing children is an important purpose of Christian marriage.


  • The Christsian family is where children first learn about God
  • This is because Christian parents usually bring their children up within the faith
  • 'Bring them up in training and instruction of the Lord' - Ephesians 6


  • The family provides a safe, stable environment in which to bring up children
  • Christsians believe that all children should have this security
  • A Christian Charity that would support this would be Action for Children
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Support for family in the local parish


Many Christian churches believe that it is important to provide support for parents and their children. They do this by offering a range of groups, services and rites of passages that welcome families into the Church. 


They hope that this will ensure that there will be a new generation of believers and supporting families will also demonstrate inclusion and helps to foster a sense of community.

Features of family services are as follows:

  • A welcoming atmosphere for children
  • A talk or part of the service aimed at children
  • Opportunities for teenagers to lead worship
  • Opportunities to help Christians participate
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Rites of passage

1) Thanksgiving service

--A service giving thanks for the birth of a baby and welcoming them into the Church

2) Baptism or Christening

---When a child is made a member of the Church

3) First communion

---When a child recieves their first Holy Communion

4) Confirmation

--When a person confirms they want to be a member of that Church

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Groups for children and parents

Groups for children:

  • Sunday school
  • Music, art and drama classes
  • Tuition classses for schoolwork
  • Confirmation preparation classes
  • Youth groups for teenagers
  • Childcare groups to support working parents


Groups for parents:

  • Parenting classes
  • Parent and baby groups
  • Family counselling
  • Baptism preparation classes
  • Marriage enrichment groups
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