Unit 3.3-Marriage and the Family GCSE Edexcel RE

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3.1-Changing attitudes to marriage & family life 1


  • Marriage:
    • Expected that most would marry, and around 25-av. age has increased. Much more pre-marital s ex now.
    • 2005-25% under 60s were cohabiting. Marriage rates-lowest since records began n 1800s.
    • Men and women are now expected to be treated equally. Most marriages-not in a church.
  • Divorce:
    • Before-hardly occured, and if it did-huge fall out with friends and family.
    • Now-45% of marriages end in divorce. Cohabitation-more likely to divorce eventually.
  • Family life:
    • Before-Illegitimate children-a scandal. Parents were encouraged to marry as soon as they found out so the child was born in 'wedlock'.
    • 2005-43% of children in the UK were born outside of marriage. 1980-12%
    • Now-both parents' responsibility to raise children.
    • Now-many reconstituted families.
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3.2-Changing attitudes to marriage & family life 2

  • Homosexuality:
    Not accepted before-many would hide and marry to pretend to be heterosexual.
    Before-homosexual acts-illegal, risk of imprisonment.
    1967-legal to engage in homosexual acts. 1994-2000-age of consent lowered from 21 to 16.
    Civil partnerships-2001. 2002-homosexual couples could adopt.


  • Marriage: Contraception-pre-marital sex is safe. Less go to church, not encouraged against anything. Media & celebrities-made cohabitation look respectable.
  • Divorce: media, new law in 1969-more reasons to divorce allowed and was cheaper.
  • Family life:
    1. cohabitation-more families without being married.
    2. Reconstituted marriages-due to more divorce. More single parents too.
    3. Mothers in jobs-close relatives look after the children
  • Homosexuality:
    1. media-homosexual couple accepted in Coronation St. Celebrities-John Barrowman, Elton John.
    2. Changes in laws-more people are openly homosexual.
    3. medical research-it is natural, which leads to accepting equality for homosexuals.
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3.3-Christian Attitudes to Sex outside Marriage

  • Bible: "You shall not commit adultery."
    • "Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit"-1 Corinthians.
    • Sermon on the Mount-"anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
    • "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid immorality"-1 Thess.
  • Catholic
    • Catechism: "sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage."
    • children should be brought up in a Christian family-no pre-marital se x.
    • S ex is a gift from God for married couples.
    • Promiscuity-abuses gift from God. No to adultery.
  • Liberals
    • No to promiscuity & adultery.
    • Love-most important; pre-marital s ex is allowed, if it is a long-term committed relationship.
    • Bible-written ages ago, doesn't apply to modern society.
  • Reasons for pre-marital sex: Contraception, accepted by society.
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3.4-Purposes of Catholic Marriage & Wedding

1. Priest in introduction says it is a "special sacrament".

2. Brings catholics closer to God. Blessing: "May the Lord bless this ring."
3. "May the Lord in his goodness fill you both with his blessings".
1. "Until death do us apart"-vows. "for the rest of your lives" "lasting fidelity."

2. Rings-show the unending nature of marriage.
1. Greeting "mutual and lasting fidelity"  "freely and without reservation"-questions.

2. Rings: "Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity."
1. Questions-"are you ready to accept children lovingly?" 2. Preparation course: discussion about how the couple should bring up their children-reference to sacraments & schools.

3. Putting life into marriage- "in sickness and in health".
4. Readings, homily & prayers-about acceptance of children.
Against this improving marriage
1. Statistics-Catholic marriages just as likely to end in divorce as those marrying in a registry office.

2. Couple loving each other-more important than wedding ceremony
3. Couples not likely to think of wedding ceremony in a major row.

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1. Wrong in all circumstances-breaks promise of permanence in marriage ceremony.
2. Only way to dissolve a marriage-death or annullment.
3. Legal divorces allowed, but they are stull married in the eyes of God and the sacrament can't be broken.
4. Mark 10 "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery."

Other Christians
1. Some think it is wrong, but it is allowed if the marriage breaks down.
2. Most churches allow re-marriage, but requires explanation for the failiure of the first marriage, and sometimes they ask the person to show repentence for the failiure and promise to make this marriage permanent.
3. Matt. 19: Jesus allowed divorced for a partner's adultery.
4. Lesser of two evils.
5. Christians are allowed forgiveness if they are sorry and confess their sins.

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Evangelicals-no, no, no
1. Homosexual thoughts and acts-wrong. Should pray for them to become heterosexual.
2. Leviticus 18:22-"No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that."
3. 1 Corinthians-Paul-"Neither the sexually immoral nor homosexual offenders will inherit the kingdom."
4. Purpose of sex-procreation.
5. Evangelical Alliance however, recently condemned homophobia.
Catholics-yes, just no sex
1. Bible against homosexual acts. Feelings-not a sin.
2. Sex-only for within marriage. Marriage is heterosexual. Homosexual sex-no.
3. No procreation, no sex.
1. Not wrong if within a stable relationship

2. Religion-spiritual not sexual
3.Bible-need re-interpretation.
Church of England-yes
1. homosexual relationshps-judges on strength of love & commitment-God created us in his image.
2. Accepts that they enter a relationship in hope of companionship and expression

 For equal rights:
1. British law-equal rights for homosexuals is a human right.
2. Medical research-homosexuality is probably genetic and therefore natural.

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3.7-Roman Catholic and Family Life

  • Family-basis for a stable society, it's within family that children learn about faith. Adam & Eve-first family.
  • Purpose of marriage-procreation & bringing them up in a Christian environment. Duty to love and provide for children.
  • Children-duty to respect parents-Ten Commandments.
  • Jesus-born into a loving and caring family

Family life is not more important for religious than non-religious

  • Many non-religious people see family as most important, religious people see religion as more important.
  • Non-religious families can respect children more-don't have to force religion on them.
  • Religion-no difference to extent of love.
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3.8-Catholic Parishes helping with family life

  • Baptism-ensures that child is part of faith. Congregation pray for family, who are given God's blessing & strength to raise the child.
  • Catholic school-school teaches ethos of faith & emphasises shared faith and values.
  • Church groups-scouts/guides-can learn about faith.
  • Sunday school-can learn about faith at own level/


  •  Not all parishes have children's liturgies.
  • Not all have youth activities.
  • Some make the young feel unwanted as they are thought to disturb the seriousness of worship.
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  • Natural-natural family planners(NFP)-reduces chance of pregnancy; most infertile period of month
  • Hormone levels in urine measured-94% effective.
    Artificial-Condoms, cap, sterilisation, pill, coil, injection, implant, patch.


  • Family planning
  • Too young/old
  • Poor quality parents
  • Pregnancy is harmful to health of mother.
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3.10-Christian Attitudes to contraception

Catholics and conservative evangelicals-No.

  • Every sexual act-open to children.
  • Genesis "be fruitful adn multiply."
  • Don't reserve anything from each other, including fertility-marriage is exclusive.
  • Encourages promiscuity and spread of STDs.

Church of England and Liberals-yes

  • Population control
  • Pleasure-love-most important.
  • Not against God's plan-Bible doesn't condemn it.
  • Protection of woman's health
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  • Celebrities presenting cohabitation as good-look at earlier cards.
  • The Simpsons-children are presented as quite rebellious, which discourages good family life.
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