Christian view of marriage

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In the Christian faith, marriage is viewed as a lifelong union of a man and a woman in the eyes of God. One commonly used text is from the Gospel of Matthew.

"...For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19: 5-6

Virtually all Christian denominations frown on divorce, although some more harshly than others.

View of Catholic Christians

In Catholicism, marriage is one of the seven sacraments. Catholics view divorce (voluntary termination of the marriage) as literally impossible and non-existent; once a couple weds, there is no way to dissolve the marriage. Soon after the development of this rule a loophole developed; a couple could effect what amounted to a divorce if they could prove that their marriage was invalid in the first place; this technique was known as an annullment. Today Catholics in the U.S. can so easily attain annullments, for a modest to substantial donation, that it is considered defacto divorce.

Information on Catholic annullments Diocese of San Jose Annulment Tribunal Catholic divorce?


View of Orthodox Christians

In Eastern Orthodoxy, marriage is also treated as a sacrament, and as an ordination, and (like all ordinations) like a martyrdom, as each spouse learns to die to himself or herself for the sake of the other. Like all ordinations, it is viewed as revealing and sealing the relationship that has formed between the couple. In addition, marriage is an icon or image of the the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. This somewhat akin to the Old Testament prophets' use of marriage as an analogy to describe the relationship between God and Israel. Divorce is discouraged, but allowed, in this case to acknowledge that the relationship no longer exists. A priest or deacon is not permitted to remarry and also remain a priest or deacon, whether they have been divorced or widowed. (Bishops are always celibate.) A lay member may obtain permission to remarry under the counsel of a priest, but the ceremony and prayers would be different, less joyful and more sobre and sombre.

View of Protestant Christians

To protestant Christians, marriage is not a sacrament, because there are no sacraments, in general, for protestants. Marriage is considered to be holy (set apart, specially, by God the meaning of 'sacra'= holy). Marriage is generally agreed to be an earthly figure or type of the christian's relationship with Christ Jesus, especially in regard to the scripture 'the two shall become one', also is a figure of Christ's relationship with God and the Holy Spirit.

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In most countries with religious Christian majorities, civil divorce is legally available and fairly common. Whether or not this civil divorce is recognized by a church varies from denomination to denomination.

Also see the entry on Religious_aspects_of_marriage for all religions.

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