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The Purpose of Marriage:
Many Christians believe that there are 2 purposes of marriage:

1. To love another person, in a distinct and unique way, and to develop your love for that person; 2. To create children.

Marriage in the Old Testament:
In Genesis there are two stories of creation. Each one has something important to say about marriage:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’ (Genesis 1:27-28)

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now he Lord God formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field…He brought them to the man…But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs…made a woman from the rib…and brought her to the man. The man said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.’ For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24)

Marriage in the New Testament:
There are two particularly important passages about marriage in the N.T:
In Mark 10:1-12 Jesus answers a question about divorce, and so talks about marriage. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 5:21-33, he compares the love of a husband and wife to the love of Jesus for his people (the Church).

A man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So, they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church…Now as the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her…

Marriage, a sacrament:

A sacrament is a sign that God is present. Thus a sacrament brings us closer to God; it helps us to follow his example; and it binds us closer to other people in the Church.

Some Christians, for example Baptists and Methodists, believe that there are 2 sacraments.
Catholics, Orthodox and many Anglicans believe that there are 7 sacraments. Marriage is one of them.

Marriage is different from the other sacraments. The main aim in the other sacraments is to bring a person closer to God. The aim in the sacrament of marriage is to bring one person closer to another.

Christians who believe that marriage is a sacrament believe that it include more than 2 people: it includes God. This means that God is there to help married people, to grow in love, especially if their marriage is going through hard times.

Marriage or living together?
Some people think that living together is better than marriage because, for example: • • • You can find out what the other person is really like. You can leave the other person more easily if you fall out of love. You want to enjoy yourself, with some commitment to the other person, but not a permanent commitment.

Christian think that marriage is better than living together because: • • • You have to make a permanent commitment to the other person; this assures them of your enduring love, and your loyalty. It is better for children who are born to the couple. It is the teaching of Jesus.

Freedom & Marriage
The Catholic & Orthodox churches believe that there is no marriage unless the two freely and willingly agree to marry each other. For them, arranged marriages are not valid.

Sex within marriage
Christians believe that sex is an important part of marriage. The Roman Catholic church states that, despite a marriage ceremony, until the couple consummate their marriage there is no valid marriage. In the Anglican marriage service, it is said: Marriage is given…that with delight and tenderness they may know each other in love, and, through the joy of their bodily union, may strengthen the union of their hearts and lives. Christians believe that marriage is an exclusive relationship. All Christians believe that fidelity between a married couple is important. If one person has a sexual affair with another person, this damages the special relationship of marriage; it breaks the trust between the married couple.