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Main article: Marriage rites
Main article: Marriage in various religions

All mainstream religions have strong views relating to marriage. Most religions perform a marriage rite of a wedding ceremony to solemnize the beginning of a marriage.

Christianity Edit

File:St Mary's Church, Kyoto.jpg
Main article: Christian views of marriage

Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted. They variously regard it as a sacrament, a contract, a sacred institution, or a covenant.[1] From the very beginning of the Christian Church, marriage law and theology have been a major matter.[2] The foundation of the Western tradition of Christian marriages have been the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul.[3]

Christians often marry for religious reasons ranging from following the biblical injunction for a "man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one,"Template:Bibleref2c [4] to obeying Canon Law stating marriage between baptized persons is a sacrament.[5]

Divorce is not encouraged. Most Protestant churches allow people to marry again after a divorce. In the Roman Catholic Church, marriage can only be ended by an annulment where the Church for special reasons regards it as never having taken place.[6]

Template:"'...So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

— JesusTemplate:Bibleref2c

Liturgical Christianity Edit

Anglicans, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox consider marriage termed holy matrimony to be an expression of divine grace, termed a sacrament or mystery. Roman Catholics consider marriage between baptized persons a sacrament.[5] In Western ritual, the ministers of the sacrament are the husband and wife themselves, with a bishop, priest, or deacon merely witnessing the union on behalf of the church, and adding a blessing. In Eastern ritual churches, the bishop or priest functions as the actual minister of the Sacred Mystery (Eastern Orthodox deacons may not perform marriages). Western Christians commonly refer to marriage as a vocation, while Eastern Christians consider it an ordination and a martyrdom, though the theological emphases indicated by the various names are not excluded by the teachings of either tradition. Marriage is commonly celebrated in the context of a Eucharistic service (a nuptial Mass or Divine Liturgy). The sacrament of marriage is indicative of the relationship between Christ and the Church.Template:Bibleref2c

The Roman Catholic tradition of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries defined marriage as a sacrament.[3] Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. According to the Church's Catechism,[7] "the spouses as ministers of Christ's grace mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church." In Catholicism, a principle objective of marriage is procreation: "[e]ntering marriage with the intention of never having children is a grave wrong and more than likely grounds for an annulment."[8] According to current Catholic legislation governing marriage, "The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility; in Christian marriage they acquire a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament.[9]

Protestantism Edit

Protestant denominations see the primary purpose of marriage to be to glorify[10] God by demonstrating his love to the world.[citation needed] Other purposes of marriage include intimate companionship, rearing children and mutual support for both husband and wife to fulfill their life callings. Protestants generally approve of birth control[citation needed] and consider marital sexual pleasure to be a gift of God.

Most Reformed Christians would deny the elevation of marriage to the status of a sacrament, nevertheless it is considered a covenant between spouses before

Historically, five competing models of marriage in Christianity have shaped Western marriage and legal tradition:

  • The Protestant Reformationists replaced the Roman Catholic sacramental model.
  • Martin Luther saw it as a social "estate of the earthly kingdom…subject to the prince, not the Pope."
  • John Calvin taught that marriage was a covenant of grace that required the coercive power of the state to preserve its integrity.
  • Anglicans regarded marriage as a domestic commonwealth within England and the church. By the seventeenth century, Anglican theologians had begun to develop a theology of marriage to replace the sacramental model of marriage. These "regarded the interlocking commonwealths of state, church, and family as something of an earthly form of heavenly government."
  • The secularism of the Enlightenment emphasized marriage as a contract "to be formed, maintained, and dissolved as the couple sees fit."[3]

John Witte, Professor of Law and director of the Law and Religion Program at Emory University, warns that contemporary liberal attitudes toward marriage ultimately will produce a family that is "haphazardly bound together in the common pursuit of selfish ends."[3]

Latter-day Saints Edit

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Main article: Celestial marriage

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) believe that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." The LDS belief is that marriage between a man and a woman can last beyond death and into eternity.[11]

Judaism Edit

File:Israëls-A Jewish Wedding-1903.jpg
Main article: Jewish views of marriage

In Judaism, marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship in which God is directly involved.Template:Bibleref2c Though procreation is not the sole purpose, a Jewish marriage is also expected to fulfill the commandment to have children.Template:Bibleref2c The main focus centers around the relationship between the husband and wife. Kabbalistically, marriage is understood to mean that the husband and wife are merging together into a single soul. This is why a man is considered "incomplete" if he is not married, as his soul is only one part of a larger whole that remains to be unified.[12]

Islam Edit

Main article: Islamic marital jurisprudence
File:Nikah 003.jpg
File:Muslim wedding in India.jpg

Islam also commends marriage, with the age of marriage being whenever the individuals feel ready, financially and emotionally.

In Islam, polygamy is allowed for men, with the specific limitation that they can only have up to four wives at any one time, given the religious requirement that they are able to and willing to partition their time and wealth equally among the respective wives.

For a Muslim wedding to take place, the bride and her guardian must both agree on the marriage. Should either the guardian or the girl disagree on the marriage, it may not legally take place. In essence, while the guardian/father of the girl has no right to force her to marry, he has the right to stop a marriage from taking place, given that his reasons are valid. The professed purpose of this practice is to ensure that a woman finds a suitable partner whom she has chosen not out of sheer emotion.

From an Islamic (Shari'Ah) law perspective, the minimum requirements and responsibilities in a Muslim marriage are that the groom provide living expenses (housing, clothing, food, maintenance) to the bride, and in return, the bride's main responsibility is raising children to be proper muslims.. All other rights and responsibilities are to be decided between the husband and wife, and may even be included as stipulations in the marriage contract before the marriage actually takes place, so long as they do not go against the minimum requirements of the marriage. In Shia Islam marriage must take place in the presence of at least two reliable witnesses, with the consent of the guardian of the bride and the consent of both spouses (including the girl). Following the marriage, the couple is immediately allowed to consummate the marriage. To create a religious contract between them, it is sufficient that a man and a woman indicate an intention to marry each other and recite the requisite words in front of a Muslim priest The wedding party can be held days, or months later, whenever the couple and their families want to announce the marriage in public..[13][14][15][16]

In Sunni Islam, marriage must take place in the presence of witnesses, with the consent of the bride and the consent of both spouses (including the girl). Following the marriage they may consummate their marriage.

Bahá'í Edit

In the Bahá'í Faith marriage is encouraged and viewed as a mutually strengthening bond, but is not obligatory. A Bahá'í marriage requires the couple to choose each other, and then the consent of all living parents.[17]

Hinduism Edit

File:Hindu marriage ceremony offering.jpg
Main article: Marriage in Hinduism

Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. Old Hindu literature in Sanskrit gives many different types of marriages and their categorization ranging from "Gandharva Vivaha" (instant marriage by mutual consent of participants only, without any need for even a single third person as witness) to normal (present day) marriages, to "Rakshasa Vivaha" ("demoniac" marriage, performed by abduction of one participant by the other participant, usually, but not always, with the help of other persons). Hindu widows cannot remarry.[18]

Sikhism Edit

In a Sikh marriage, the couple make rounds around the holy book called Guru Granth Sahib four times and the holy man speaks some words from the Guru Granth Sahib in the form of kirtan. The ceremony is known as 'Anand Karaj' and represents the holy union of between two souls that are united as one.


  2. (1971) New Testament nuptial imagery, 1, Brill Archive.
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Witte
  4. See also Template:Bibleref2c, Template:Bibleref2, Template:Bibleref2, Template:Bibleref2
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lehmkuhl, Augustinus. "Sacrament of Marriage." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 21 Aug. 2009
  7. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, Paragraph 1623
  8. Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, by P.McLachlan
  9. 1983 CODE c.1056 (Latin-English edition of the Code of Canon Law and English-language transla­tion of the 5th Spanish-language edition of the commentary prepared under the responsibility of the Instituto Martin de Azpilcueta, 1993)
  10. Praise, honor
  12. Why Marry?. URL accessed on 2007-12-19.
  13. The method of pronouncing the marriage formula
  14. Marriage formula
  15. Conditions of pronouncing Nikah
  16. Women with whom matrimony is Haraam
  17. Smith, Peter (2000). "Marriage". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. 232–233. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  18. "Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die". July 5, 2007.

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