Thursday, January 13, 2011

What is Marriage?

Returning to the subject which constituted the impetus behind this entire blog, the following question is posed:

What is Marriage?

Here are the two fundamental elements of every marriage:

1. The Declaration - One having the authority to do so declares that the woman is given in marriage to the particular man.

2. The Taking - The man takes the woman to wife by consummating the marriage with her, becoming "one flesh" in a physical manner.


When these two events occur, in that order, a man and woman become husband and wife. Absolutely nothing else is needed. While a marriage may be surrounded with many other customs and rituals, none of those will make two people any MORE married, and the absence of superfluous customs or rituals does not make two people any less married.

These two essential elements apply to every earthly marriage as well as to the marriage of Christ to his bride, the Church.

Perhaps there can be endless debate over who qualifies as an "authority" for the first element, and whether a universal definition can be established for certain is a valid question. But it IS a certainty that without a declaration by an authority there is no marriage. Likewise, without the consummation, no marriage is established.

3 comments:

Felipe and Dana~ Heirs together of the grace of life. Parents to 10 children said...

Where did you obtain the definition of marriage?

subject by design said...

I made it up! :D Actually, it isn't so much a definition as it is a list of the elements, as I see it. In gleaning these elements I consulted the Scriptures then engaged in a mental exercise of circumstances from every culture and every age in which I asked, "Would this be a marriage?" In my own mind it is not written in stone and I am open to suggestions as to whether other elements are necessary or whether I listed too many. The reason I limited it to these two is that I could not think of any more that were required by Scripture and which would apply universally to every culture, nation and era. For example, many believe that vows are required for marriage. But this is not mentioned in Scripture and certainly they aren't used in the majority of cultures. I think those cultures still have valid marriages, in spite of the lack of vows.

Did that answer the question?

subject by design said...

Also, my husband is not agreeing with my elements and is in the process of revising them. So stay tuned for updates in newer blog posts. He's leaning towards breaking up my first element into two separate ones. So there will be a "giving", then a "public declaration", then a "taking". But this could change, too. :D We're still hashing it out and trying to get it down to its most simple form.