GCSE Half Course Religious Studies

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Marriage and the Family

Key Words

Adultery = a sexual act between a married person and someone other than there mirage partner. 

Civil Partnership = a legal ceremony giving a homosexual couple the same legal rights as a husband and wife. 

Cohabitation = living together without being married.

Contraception = intentionally preventing  pregnancy.

Faithfulness = staying with your marriage partner and only having sex with them.

Homosexuality = sexual attraction to the same sex.

Nuclear Family =mother father and children living as a unit.

Pre-Marital Sex = sex before marriage.

Procreation = making a new life.

Promiscuity = having sex with several partners, without commitment.

Reconstituted Family = two sets of children become one family when there divorced parents marry each other. 

Re-Marriage = marrying again after being divorced.

Changing attitudes to marriage and family life 

Social Background 

Many people have sex before marriage - contraceptives have made it safer and fewer people go to church where they are encouraged to wait until marriage for sex.

More couples cohabit rather than marry - media celebrities made it look acceptable.

The average age for marriage has increased - more people cohabit first rather than marry. 

Most marriages do not take place in churches - religion is not widely practiced. 

Many more marriages end in divorce which is now seen as normal - laws made divorce cheaper and easier, also women are less prepared to put up with bad treatment from husbands.  

There are more single parent families - rise in pre-marital sex and divorces.

There are more reconstituted families - increase in the number of divorcees getting remarried. 

More extended families - mothers are in full-time employment so grandparents are more likely to look after children. 

Homosexuality is more acceptable in society - changes in the law have made it easier to be openly homosexual.

Same sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples - changes in the law for homosexuals rights. 

Christian teachings on sex outside marriage 

Most believe you should only have sex within marriage, so sex before marriage is wrong. They think this because;

  • God gave us sex for the procreation of children who should be brought up in a Christian family.
  • The bible says pre-marital sex is wrong and christians should follow the teachings of the bible. 
  • Church leaders and the catholic catechism say sex before marriage is wrong and catholics should follow the catechism. 

More liberal protestants allow pre-marital sex as long as the couple love each other, are in a long term relationship and intend to marry. They allow this because;

  • Jesus taught love is the most important thing.
  • The church has to move with the times.

All christians disagree with adultery as;

  • Breaks the seventh commandment in the bible. 
  • Breaks the marriage vows and breaks up families. 

Islam teaching on sex ousted marriage

Islam does not allow pre-marital or adultery sex as;

  • The Quran teaches that sex outside marriage is the same as adultery, which is a great sin. As the Quran


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