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What do Christians Believe About Marriage?

two gold-colored rings on paperMarriage in the 21st century means different things to different people. For some, it is a piece of paper, a legal contract between two people. It is not something that is necessary to live a fulfilled and happy life as a couple. For others, it is a way of expressing the love that a couple has for each other and a celebration of their relationship. It shows society how serious their commitment to each other is.

Although the legal definitions of marriage are changing, for many Christians marriage is something very specific. It is for them a gift from God for people’s good, found in an exclusive covenant relationship.

  • Marriage is a covenant: this means a two-sided promise between two parties or people. In Christian marriage the couple promise to love and honour the other person, to share everything with their partner.
  • Marriage is exclusive: this means it is only between the couple. The couple promise to be faithful to each other. Sexual relations should only occur between the married couple.
  • Marriage is symbolic of something bigger: the love Jesus Christ has for his Church. Through marriage, Christians understand something more about how Jesus feels about and serves the people of the world. In Christianity, the ideal is monogamy: one man should marry one woman. The Bible says that a special bond is established when the two people marry:

A man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

Generally, Christians choose their own marriage partner and do not usually have arranged marriages. This is a cultural thing, however, not a religious belief. In India, Christians often do have arranged marriages as that is part of their culture. Often, Christians will choose to marry other Christians.

The Bible says, "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers." 2 Corinthians 6: 14. Many Christians apply this advice to the subject of marriage, seeing a lot of sense in committing their lives to someone who shares their beliefs and values.

Did you know? Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe that marriage is a sacrament. The giving and receiving of rings in the ceremony is the outward sign of what God is doing inside the married couple. They believe that once the couple have received the sacrament of marriage God unites the couple. They believe that once God has done this, it cannot be undone.