(Closed) What is marriage to you?

posted 6 years ago in Christian
  • poll: What defines marriage to you?
    ceremony : (14 votes)
    34 %
    beliefs and traditions : (17 votes)
    41 %
    sex : (2 votes)
    5 %
    others (see below) : (8 votes)
    20 %
  • Post # 3
    3697 posts
    Sugar bee

    Wow, what an interesting vantage point you have, being able to talk to your grandma and know how things have changed so much over a few generations!

    Marriage is a lot of things and, like you point out, it depends on the time and place you live in. In most modern countries it’s a legal institution. In some Christian churches, it’s also a sacrament.

    In the Catholic church, marriage is both the religious ceremony *and* sex. It hasn’t been very widely known for a long time, until fairly recently with John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” that has helped to publicize the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality. In a nutshell, though, Catholics recognize seven sacraments, which are outward actions that humans make, in partnership with God, to bring about a spiritual reality. Baptism is one that almost all Christian traditions share: by pouring water and invoking the Trinity (the outward action), a person is initiated into God’s people (the spiritual effect). It also has to be done properly (i.e. you can only baptize with water – you couldn’t use holy oils, or it wouldn’t count. You also have to say the proper words and have the proper intention to carry out a baptism in order for it to be effective.)

    In Catholicism’s understanding of marriage, sex is the sacramental action between married people that unites them as one. For that reason, a couple is “married” at the wedding ceremony (and the marriage carries legal weight from that point on), but the marriage is completed *sacramentally* when it’s consummated. That’s why historically (in many places in Europe, at least) it was such a big deal to inspect the bloody sheet the next morning, why Henry VIII’s divorce centered around the gritty details of his & his brother’s sex lives, etc. An unconsummated marriage is not yet a sacrament, and not yet complete, because it lacks the proper form (similar to a baptism done incorrectly).

    Not sure how much other Christian traditions have retained that same understanding of the relationship between sex and marriage, but if you’re curious, John Paul II has some beautiful writings about it.

    Post # 4
    7977 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

    Fiance and I were discussing what marriage was with our priest. We were wondering what made people want to get married in this day and age. Where we live, you can live together and have children without being married… it’s very common, no big deal. If you get married then you get cretain legal and financial benefits… but I think that’s a terrible reason to get married. Then there’s sex… but getting married so you can have sex is a stupid reason, IMO, because marriage should be about partnership, not the sins of the flesh.

    So what are you left with? Married couples tend to stay together longer, so it’s probably good to be married before you raise a family. then there’s the religious aspect… promising to be together before God. That’s the huge one for me. However, Fiance and I feel married already. We have already promised to be together before God, privately. So why have a wedding? Why get married?

    The only answer I can give is that it is because mariage is a social contract, as well as a religious one, and that there is a value in having your union publically recognised which goes beyond the leegal side of things.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents.

    Post # 5
    3697 posts
    Sugar bee

    @Rachel631:  getting married so you can have sex is a stupid reason, IMO, because marriage should be about partnership, not the sins of the flesh.

    It misses the point, though, to call married sex “the sins of the flesh.” Married sex is by definition NOT sinful, it’s a wonderful gift.

    Post # 7
    1161 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    @com4rt:  OMG I was literally just talking to Fiance about this same topic like 2 days ago! I think the ceremony or lack thereof has more to do with what your culture or traditions dictate. What actually makes you married legally of course would be the license and paperwork.

    However, I’m a Christian too so the legal part to me is just a formality. I’m convinced that what will make Fiance and I married is when we say our vows before God. And honestly I don’t even know if an officiate is really even necessary for that. I think it’s the outward confession of an inward decision that really makes you married.

    Post # 10
    3117 posts
    Sugar bee

    Good question!

    In my humble opinion, marriage cannot be only after sex.  If that was the case and when thinking of the Bible, there were harlots that men of God laid with but they weren’t married to the person (eg. Solomon).  David slept with Bathsheba.  She was another man’s wife.  In other words, sex in itself couldn’t possibly gain you marriage.  Marriage is an intentional committment to the other person to forsake all others and be with only you.  It is a mental state and sex is the product of that.  If I went out and had a random one night stand, I didn’t do what was right before God and I would have fornicated according to God’s word but I would not be married to the person.

    However, when you do have sex with someone, there are spiritual consequences because at the time of the act, you become one which means that you can get both physically and spiritually, aspects of the person that is transferred to you in the moment.  That’s why the Bible talks of having sex only in marriage.  For instance, physically you can get a sexual disease if that person has one, etc.

    An actual ceremony has nothing to do with marriage.  But, it’s a beautiful tradition.  However, you would still have to adhere to what being married means in that culture.  If in your culture you are supposed to get a marriage license to show that you are married, then apart from God’s word and the committment, you have to get that license because it is the law of the land.

    Post # 12
    3117 posts
    Sugar bee

    @com4rt:  Absolutely. 


    By the way, I am from the Caribbean but I have never witnessed an arranged marriage.  I think the concept is so fascinating to me.  What if you are not attracted to the person at all?  What happens then?

    Post # 14
    6741 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: June 2014

    Wow!  I LOVE your history and that you know so much about it.  I really love to learn about other cultures. 

    To me, marriage has nothing to do with religion or sex.  It’s all about commitment.  When 2 people agree to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, that’s when they’ve gotten married. 

    I’m an athiest, so I have different views than people who are religious will have about things like marriage and sex, I think.  Specifically, I don’t think sex creates a marriage and I don’t think that the lack of one means there is no marriage (although legally, it has to be consummated).  But, I will say that the lack of sex in a marriage will likely destroy it.  Humans are animals who have basic needs and instincts and there is a basic need for sex.  Otherwise, sex would not be pleasurable, if you ask me. 

    So I had to mark “other” because to me, marriage is about commiting to someone for the rest of your life. 

    Post # 15
    846 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    isn’t marriage about love? unconditional and committed love of another person? i think that’s what makes a marriage- not a ceremony or sex or anything else like that.

    Post # 16
    341 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    @com4rt:  hmmm. Marriage. Socially, I think marriage marks a point of a new level of responsibility for your partner… The expectations jump, which is partially why it’s such a big deal. But I don’t think marriage is just some kind of social label either… spiritually, its a vow before God that you take that responsibility, and all the blessings and difficulties that come with it. There’s no other more intimate promise that I can think of that could be made between a man and woman. Sex is more serious than our culture gives it credit for, I think. Especially if you’ve never shared that part of yourself with anyone else. I look forward to being that awesomely exclusive with Fiance that way. 

    But I think the social, spiritual and sexual aspects play into each other… God doesn’t care how many people you have at your wedding, but those people help hold you accountable for the promise you make on the altar. A vow that monumental, to dedicate your life to another person!!.. The POINT OF NO RETUUUURRNN.hehe 🙂  It makes sense that you have witnesses. Even though they’re a pain sometimes 😉 and these people aren’t going to be able to keep tabs on your sex life, but God has designed us to be sexual and gifted us the ability to powerfully and even spiritually connect that way. So obviously we’d be missing out if we didn’t take advantage of that! I see the initial unification of marriage as three separate but interconnected aspects. You gotta have em all. One before society, one before God, (hopefully you’ve been committed enough during dating to be one in mind), and one in body. You can’t just have sex and be Married. That’s just body. And you can’t live like you’re dating but call yourselves married. Friends and family need to see you’ve put serious time and thought into it. It’s not just a label. And for spiritual/religious people, including God is a no-brainer. Gotta have all three. (I think!)

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