Home | Perspective | Understanding of Christian Marriage

Understanding of Christian Marriage

Marriage is one of the important but controversial topic exists in the Christian ethical life. Like how Christian should marriage? How many at a time? Is remarriage is possible? What is its purpose and function? Here researcher wants to search a Biblical pattern of marriage transaction, types of marriage, with biblical reference.
Definition: Marriage can be defines as follows: according to J.D. Douglas, ‘marriage is the state is which men and women can live together in sexual relationship with the approval of their social group.’ Adultery and fornication are outside constitutes of marriage. But George Arthur Buttrick maintains that ‘at its deepest level, marriage is a personal – sexual – spiritual companionship ordained and instituted by God.’ Oxford Dictionary defined that ‘marriage is a formal union of a man and a women, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.’ Shaji P. John understood that marriage is ‘a relatively permanent union of two people implying a number of inters locking status and roles.’ For the author he agrees that the marriage is an institute where a man lost his bachelor degree and acquired a husband degree and girl loss her miss degree and acquired wife degree.
Types of Marriage: Marriage is understood to signify the fulfillment of God’s purpose in creation by the spiritual and sexual union of a man and women. Scholars have identified two types of marriage. That is ‘Holy Marriage’ and ‘Unholy marriage.’ It is holy marriage which is acceptable before God. Holy Marriage can be sub divided as follows:
Matriarchal Marriage: This type of marriage assumes the authority of the mother. ‘Sadiqa’ marriage is of two types, the ‘beena’ and ‘mota.’ The term ‘beena’ marriage is sometimes used when the children remain under the mother’s control and the husband settles in his wife’s home more or less permanently. Eg., Jacob (Gen. 29: 1-30), and Moses (Ex. 2: 21, 22). In ‘mota’ marriage theorists are periodic. Wife remains with her own kin and is visited there by her husband from time to time. Eg., Samson’s (Judg. 15: 1) and Abimelech (Judg. 9: 1).
Patriarchal Marriage: The authority is upon the father in marriage. It is just opposite to matriarchal marriage. Here the father as a head of family plays major roles.
Monogamy: In literary ‘monogamy’ means ‘the practice of being married only one person.’ God created only one wife; Eve for Adam (Gen. 2: 18-24). It indicates the unique relationship between God and his people (Ezk. 16) and between Christ and his church. The Bible strongly imply this form of marriage (Ex. 20; 17; 21: 5, Lev. 18: 8, Num. 5: 12; Deut. 5: 21).
Exogamy: ‘Exogamy’ means ‘the custom of marrying outside a community, clan, or tribes’ eg., Esau (Gen. 36: 2), Joseph (Gen. 41: 45), Moses (Ex. 2: 21), Gideon (Judg. 8: 31) and Samson (Judg 14: 21). Through intermarriage many times the integrity of Israel’s faith was under mind and ultimately destroyed. Therefore, in NT Paul prohibits marriage with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6: 14, 15).
Endogamy: Marriage in biblical society was restricted to members of the group both by custom and by conscious support of custom. Marriage between members of same tribe or people group but with different clans was not forbidden.
Levirate Marriage: The term ‘levirate’ came from the word ‘levir’ meaning ‘a husband’s brothers.’ It means that if brother die than immediate brother if not than next has to marriage the widow. The purpose of levirate marriage was threefold to preserve the family name, the family estate and to provide for the welfare of the widow.
N.B: The term ‘polygamy’ literally means ‘many marriages.’ Polygamy is adopted from the time of Lemech (Gen. 4: 19). It is strictly forbidden in the scripture. Moreover it brings trouble in family, often result in sin.
Marriage Transaction: The arrangement of a marriage the means of securing a bride, the character of the marriage context or agreement, and the marriage ceremony is clearly reflected in the Biblical writings.
The initiation of the Marriage Transaction: The father as head of the household usually instituted the plans for marriage on behalf of his son. This included the selection of the bride on her parts; she was a more or less passive participant. Since, her father gave her to be the wife of the man involved (Gen. 24: 4; 29: 23; 34: 8; 21: 21, Jud. 1: 12).
Marriage by Purchase: Gen. 31: 15 of Jacob’s marriage with Leah and Rachel refers to marriage by purchase. ‘He has sold us, and he has been using up the money given for us’ (Gen. 34: 12). This Leah and Rachel statement is talks about ‘bride price.’ This price or gift is given to the father but not to the bride. King Saul demand foreskins of 100 philistines from the poor David as marriage present (mohar) for her daughter (1 Sam. 18: 25).
Marriage by Covenant: In the Bible marriage is regarded as a covenant entered into by two families who thereby form an alliance through their representatives, the bridegroom and the bride. So marriage is both personal and communal (Prov. 2: 17; Mal. 2: 14).
The Marriage Ceremony: For the wedding special attire was worn (Isa. 61: 10; Eze. 16) and the bridal pair were bedecked with ornament, including garlands and jewelry. A veil was evidently worn by the bride (Gen. 24: 65; 29: 23, 25). The bridegroom had his party of friends or attendants (Jud. 14: 11).
The two bridal parties left their places of assembly separately and meet at a predetermined location. The processions were accompany by music (Jer. 7: 34). The combined parties moved to the house, usually the bridegrooms, where the wedding feast was to be held (Gen. 29: 22). Sometime, this feast lasted for seven days (Jud. 14: 12). For the completion of the marriage ceremony a special tents or room is prepared as a bridal chamber.  
Function and Purpose of Marriage: It is important to provide and preserving the family name, marriage was practically universal in biblical society. Following are the main purposes and function of marriage.
For Heart to Hearts Talk: One of the important parts of marriage is for communication, like sharing one another’s burden. These help avoid the loneliness one of the most killer disease in the world.
For Biological Fulfillment: Bible mentioned sex organ as a holy vassal. So, it should not be call safe sex but sacred sex. Sex is a holy thing it should be use only in right place (1 Cor. 7: 3-4). So, enjoying physical intimation with spouse is only applicable in the Bible
For Self – Discipline: The goal of all discipline is self – discipline. The word ‘discipline’ came from disciple. Self – discipline in our defense against Satan. Marriage brings discipline in husband and wife and leads them to develop good personality, character and behavior. However, it should be understand that the foundation of all discipline is love. Love disciplines only for the partners benefits, because they spend large amounts of energy looking for the positive. Discipline without a consistent pattern of praise has little effect in partner.
Love: Love is all the emotional attractions between two persons. It can be slightest amount of sympathy to the deepest devotional level. Christian love is love - in - action. It is the warp and woof of marriage and because marriage itself is a life work. This love is worked out through all the days of marriage, growing as it practiced, and result will produce deepest joy. It is to understand that when cross enters in marriage the relationship of husband and wife is recognize as gift. That means marriage is gift of God, on the other word husband is lifelong gift for wife and vice versa.
Conclusion: Bible does not support capture marriage or elope marriage. Book of Hebrew chapter 11 refer that marriage bad should be kept pure because it is one of the most honor institute given to the believers. Paul encourage to marriage only one at a life time except in case of short life of partner. Remarriage is accepted for widow or widower. Marriage life must be bound by Christian love because marriage is done in heaven and celebrated on the earth.

Login or Register to post your Comment (Available for registered users only)

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • email Email to a friend
  • print Print version
  • Plain text Plain text
Log in
No tags for this article