What is Christian Marriage? 10 Quick Points

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1.  In the Christian tradition, human beings were not given the gift of sex. Rather, humans were given the gift of marriage, and sex is an essential part of that gift. The purpose of both sex and marriage is to create families; the purpose of family is to create love .This basic design is written into human nature and any attempt to re-engineer the nature of the family is bound to lead to harm. The Christian believes that humanity has a deep purpose and a metaphysical significance. Human nature cannot be reshaped to our preferred ends.

2. Marriage is not a contract which exits to meet each partner’s needs and which can be dissolved when one partner is no longer satisfied. Nor does marriage exist to honour romantic love.  It was not given to legally protect domestic living arrangements. Marriage is a covenant between the generations. It brings a man and a woman together into a comprehensive union. The marriage covenant exists so that the next generation of children can be nurtured and loved.

3.  Marriage is also a covenant between a man and a woman made before God in the presence of the wider community. Marriage teaches us that men and women were made for one another. Sexual unions can be emotionally powerful – but they also have the power to create new life. The marriage covenant insists that men and women take responsibility for that power.

4. On the covenantal understanding, marriage reinforces the obvious truth that no child comes into the world without an act between one man and one woman. If procreation did not involve the union of a man and a woman, there would be no need to have norms for relationships between men and women. In other words, marriage teaches us what should be required of mothers and fathers; how mothers and fathers should commit and sacrifice for one other. 

5. Every marriage is a message and has meaning. Children wish their parents to love them and one another. Now, love is measured in sacrifice and commitment. Therefore sacrificial, exclusive, life-long commitment is the price that a man and woman pay to enter the covenant of marriage. When a man and a woman marry, they tell the watching world that they could accept the gift of children. Therefore, the watching world should honour and protect their relationship.

6. While every marriage is a relationship which can accept the gift of children, a marriage that has been denied this gift is still a family in its own right. Their marriage reminds us that men and women were made for one another, that every child will have a mother and a father, and that every child’s mother and father should be examples of commitment, faithfulness and love.

7. There is more to marriage than romantic love because mere human love is as frail as humans and liable to fail. Love leads the couple to the altar; but when they marry, they enter something which has more value than their feelings; they are given a charge, a mission, from God himself.

8.For the Christian, true love is a virtue, a good part of a character that shapes a whole person. True love changes us, it shapes our whole personality, our entire emotional life. Of course Christian love involves feelings, but it is primarily decision to value another more than myself. So true love is expressed in promises and measured in sacrifices.

9. Marriage is binding because, when I married, I gave my word in front of my friends, my family, my neighbours, my country, my Church, and God.  If I break that promise, what other promise can I keep? If God set the terms of that covenant, who am I to renegotiate it?

10. Once you have made a covenant in front of your friends, family and God there is no turning back. Your marriage is not for you alone, or even for you and your spouse. All this seems challenging and daunting and risky; and that is what makes marriage worthwhile. That, and the fact that God made us in his image, male and female, and called marriage good. Marriage has an absolute value that exists even where it is not recognised and honoured by the world.

 

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