- public declaration - ceremony requires a witness
- marking of the forming of a new family unit
- vows made by the partners to commit themselves to a new life with one another
Order of Service:
- hymn - focus minds on God
- opening statement - summaries what marriage is for
- declaration - witnesses and couple are asked if there are an objections
- vows - make promises to God and one another in front of witness
- exchange of rings
- proclamation - "you are now husband and wife"
- prayers - sermon about marriage
- sign register - now legal
- closing worship - photos taken, reception or party
Christian Attitudes to Marriage
Christians believe marriage is:
- The rings represent an unending circle of love between God and the couple which forms a bond between the three
- Takes place in sight of God so it's a sacrament (holy)
- "With my body I thee worship"
- Reception for family and friends to support the pair in their life together
- Marriage vows forsake all others
- Till death parts them
- Vicar asks for any objections
- Congregation says prayers to bless the couple's new life
Christian Attitudes to Divorce
Christians have 2 views of divorce:
1. Old Testament
- "When a man hath taken a wife...and it comes to pass that she finds no favour in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: Then let him write her a bill of divorcement."
- Divorce is permitted in the man finds uncleanness in his wife.
2. New Testament
- Jesus says, "What God hath joined together let no man put asunder."
- God has formed a bond between a couple which no man can break.
40% marriages end in divorce.
Christian Attitudes to Remarriage
- not allow remarriage
- doesn't accept divorce > Jesus says a woman commits adultery is she remarries, so a civil, legal divorce is not recognised
- vows = for life and marriage = sacrament, cannot be broken
- rarely, a marriage can be annulled by a Bishop (never took place)
Church of England:
- rarely allows remarriage > civil divorce is valid but discouraged
- remarriage allowed at the discretion of minister, RARELY, but Bishop's permission cannot be given
- Jesus taught forgiveness > regular churchgoers allowed to remarry
- 2nd chances > shows Christian Compassion
Marriage vs Cohabitation
Arguments for marriage:
- Something special about standing up and making public vows
- Bond formed with God
- Safer and more secure for couple and children
- More likely to make relationship work
Arguments for cohabitation:
- Marriage kills excitement in relationship
- Can be just as committed to each other when living together
- Test to see if a couple is compatible
- People hurt in the past may not wish to marry again - cohabitation is protective
Christian Views - Sex Before Marriage
Most (and Catholics) believe: sex should only happen in marriage because...
- Bible teaches fornication is wrong and sex before marriage is fornication
- sex before marriage is a sin
Protestants: it's fine as long as they love each other, are in long-term relationship and intend to marry eventually because...
- Jesus taught love is most important thing
- Bible does not specifically condemn it
- Church are coming to terms with modern attitudes to cohabitation
ALL CHRISTIANS believe: adultery is wrong > breaks marriage vows and the 7th commandment.
GIFT FROM GOD, but don't have to marry. Reasons for marrying are:
- couple to be able to live together in love and have lawful sex
- to have comfort and companionship
- to have children and create a Christian family
Christian Views of Contraception
Protestants: have long accepted the need for contraception, since the Depression.
Roman Catholics: against it, only accept natural forms of birth control:
- Believe a large family is a blessing from God, and is part of God's plan
- Wrong to interfere with natural processes
- God's natural laws - includes accepting the possibility that sex may lead to new life
- Allow you to take advantage of when a woman is naturally infertile
Most Christians: use combo of their conscience, the Bible teachings and church, thought and prayer to determine own attitude.
More widely accepted amongst religions because they understand the need to limit the size of a family and realise the importance of family-planning.
Christian Attitudes towards Homosexuality
Most Christians accept homosexual orientation because it is a fact of life, but no Christian should be involved in homosexual activity.
- Most say: homosexual activity is sinful
- A few say: a lifelong partnership is acceptable, but not a casual sexual relationship
It is called 'sinful' because:
- Old Testament condemns it
- New Testament does not directly condemn it > Jesus said, the coming together of a man and a woman until they are one flesh is God's ideal for everybody
Christian Approaches to Family Life
1. Father is the Head
- father figure has to provide for each family member
- wife's duty is to support him
- came from story of Creation - God realised Adam was alone and created Eve because man cannot be without a companion
2. Equal Roles
- man and woman are equal and made to compliment each other
- share equal responsibilities and duties within family
- both be allowed careers
- have equal hand in raising children
- Bible says, in God's eyes, men and women are no different!
Modern attitudes to roles of women have meant more Christians adopt approach NUMBER 2!
Children in a Christian Family
- are a blessing from God! HAHA! YES WE ARE!
- bringing them up correctly is SUPER important
- important responsibility for parents
- adding new members to the church
In a Christian family:
- parents expected to provide a secure and loving and environment for children
- includes Christian upbringing and introduction of spiritual activities e.g. praying, Church-going
- parents must care for their spiritual welfare
- respect and obey their parents
- care for parents when they can no longer take care of themselves
- Bible: "Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents."
Christian Views of Fertility
Childlessness in Biblical times:
- was looked upon as the will of God and was accepted
- most churches accept IVF and AIH
- childlessness is no longer viewed as God's will
Roman Catholic Church:
- oppose all infertility treatment
- it involves destruction of some embryos
- sinful activity of masturbation
- denies the right of every child to know the identity of both parents
Paul the Apostle said that marriage was a social obligation which could distract from Christ, so celibacy allowed a life free of these distractions to focus on faith. But marriage, however, is encouraged in the Bible, as it represents a bond between God and a couple.
Christian Attitudes to GE
- do not object to research carried out on human embryos: but must be properly controlled and performed on embryos less than 14 days old
- human beings have a God-given responsibility to look after the whole of creation
- creation of human life must remain with God > He has provided to bring this about - sexual intercourse - and nothing is allowed to interfere
- totally opposed to GE
- genetic make-up of a person > gives them unique identity > God-given > no interference
- changing genetic make-up is exceeding the authority God has given us
- suffering is necessary otherwise people cannot learn spiritual lessons
Decisions for not having children: having careers, people who do not care much for children, some people believe children can ruin a relationship with a partner
Consequences of Marriage Breakdown
Stress on Children:
- choose between parents > feel stuck, unhappiness
- moving house, location, school > major change to way they live
- live in single-parent families
- addition of new children to family (remarriage)
- Possibly lose members of their faith
- Might reject the divorcees if it is seen as a sin
- Community can help support upbringing of children, help sustain family life, and keep families together to prevent this.
Reasons for changing nature of families:
- People live longer and have more time to spend together which may make them become fed up with each other
- Women less inclined to put up with bad treatment from husbands
- People travelling abroad for work tends to break up close/extended families