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Describe the biblical teachings of marriage and family life

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a) Describe the Biblical teachings about marriage and family life.

In this essay I will describe the importance of the biblical teachings of marriage and family life. Christian teachings state five important principles on Christian marriage. Marriage is a sacrament based on love which should fruitful, exclusive and permanent. The bible also teaches that family life should be respectful.

Marriage is a sacrament which means that it is a gift from God and through it we experience God. It is a sign of God’s love for us and shows that through it we are in total union with God. In Mark 10:6 its states ‘‘God made them male and female’’ and therefore from the very beginning man and woman where meant to be united as one. The sacrament in marriage is a bond that cannot be broken and it brings us closer to God.

Christian marriage is based on love. This is expressed through friendship, companionship and sexual love. If a marriage has no love in it then it doesn’t make any sense. We are told in 1 John 4:7 ‘‘Let us love one another, because love comes from God’’ this means having a loving relationship is a sign of God’s love for us and that God wants people to love one another, we are told a similar message in Ephesians 5:25 ‘‘Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.’’ It is comparing Christ’s love for the church with a husband and wife’s love therefore saying a husband should be prepared to die for his wife as Christ done for the church. Also in Ephesians 5:32 it says ‘‘Every husband must love his wife as himself, and every wife must respect her husband’’ this means a relationship between man and wife should be equal both full of love for one another.

For marriage to succeed, love is needed however love can be shown in other forms. We are told in 1 Corinthians 7:14 where St Paul wrote ‘‘Do not deny yourselves to each other unless you first agree to do so’’ From this verse we are told that a married couple should be open to a sexual relationship which love is part of.

Not only should marriage be based on love but should also be permanent meaning that there should be no divorce or remarriage. In 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 it clearly states that ‘‘A wife must not leave her husband and a husband must not divorce his wife.’’

In Mathew 19:6 it tells us that ‘‘No human being must then separate what God has joined together.’’ This explains that a husband and wife become one person in marriage and so cannot be divided. God has joined these human beings as one to last forever. This is also what is meant in Mark 10:6 ‘‘A man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife and the two will become one.’’

In Mathew 5:31 Jesus teaches that if a couple is divorced and marry again they are committing adultery as they are breaking the principle that a marriage must be permanent.

Another key teaching is that marriage should be exclusive meaning that both husband and wife must remain faithful in their relationship and that it is only between them and no other except God. Exodus 20:14 in the Ten Commandments it says ‘‘Do not commit adultery’’ which means that neither husband nor wife should have a sexual relationship with anyone other than each other.

In Mathew 5:27 Jesus explains that if anyone looks upon another man or woman and want to ‘‘possess’’ them is ‘‘guilty of committing adultery’’ with them in their heart, meaning that adultery can be committed mentally and not just physically. Overall you must be faithful and trustworthy in a marriage to have an exclusive one.

Finally a marriage has to be fruitful. God intended for humans to have many children as it states in Genesis 1:27-28 ‘‘Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control.’’ God wants us to do his will and gives an understanding that a married couple should have many children. Both should be ready to have children and so a marriage should be fruitful between man and wife.

Christian teachings on family life have four important principles which are respect, mutual respect, religious formation and responsibility. Christians believe family life is a relationship which involves God.

Having respect is an important principle as in Exodus 20:12 it says ‘‘Respect your mother and father’’ however it states in Colossians 3:21 ‘‘Parents, do not irritate your children, or they will become discouraged.’’ This means that their must also be respect from parents towards their children and that they should help them with everyday life. Parents should not nag their children constantly this is apparent in Ephesians 6:4 ‘’Parents do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry.’’ Instead parents and children should respect each other

In Ephesians 6:4 it also states for parents to bring up their children in the Christian faith ‘‘Bring them up with Christian discipline and instruction.’’ Parents must teach their children how to be a good Christian and teach them the importance of Christian life such as faith, honesty, loyalty and trust.

Another teaching is that as Christians we must take care of our relatives and help them when in need this is stated in 1 Timothy 5:8 ‘‘Take care of your relatives.’’ This means we are responsible for our relatives and must take look after them.

In conclusion I have decided that Christian teachings on marriage and family life are both very important and should be followed by all Christians. Family life must include respect, responsibility and religious formation while a marriage must be fruitful, loving, permanent, exclusive and a sacrament for the marriage to truly work and be a true union in the presence of God.

B) Explain how Roman Catholics might put their beliefs about marriage and family into action.

This essay will focus on how Catholics can put their beliefs about marriage and family into action. Christians should realise a marriage is a vocation, something special not just a legal agreement. A couple must be prepared for the life challenges ahead of them therefore should take time to prepare in order for their marriage to be successful. Couples should look realistically towards their future lives together.  Couples must learn to communicate, get to know each other in different situations, sort out mutual expectations and practical plans. Also the Catholic Church requires a couple to follow a pre-marriage course to help them discuss their plans for the future. Couples should know that marriage comes from the understanding that it is fruitful, permanent, exclusive and a sacrament.

The bible teaches a marriage should be permanent meaning that the couple must not divorce or remarry. However permanence of a marriage can be broken by arguments, fights and cases when no love is left between the couple as people can change. One of the most popular problems is lack of communication between couples. For a couple to be able to put the biblical teaching into action they should learn to communicate with each other so they can solve their problems. If a couple cannot communicate what they are thinking to each other than nothing else will work in their marriage. A couple must show forgiveness towards one another in all situations as Jesus states in Matthew 18:35 ‘‘Forgive your brother from your heart’’ if the couple learn to forgive their relationship will last forever. The couple should also attend marriage counseling to help solve their problems and prepare themselves for marriage without resulting in an argument. This shows that a couple can show mutual respect to each other and are one step closer to having a successful marriage.

A marriage should also be exclusive just between the couple and God although this can be damaged by adultery and un-faithfulness. In our society affairs are usually glamorized by the media and television. Yet a couple can put this biblical teaching into action by forgiving one another for the adultery they have committed. Roman Catholics believe that the relationship will grow much stronger if a couple is able to forgive and carry on with their lives, this reflects Christ’s love for the couple. The couple should seek counseling to help them through this difficult time and help them to overcome this situation.

A couple should be prepared for new life which emphasizes the biblical teaching that a marriage should be fruitful. A couple should be willing to start a family of their own after they’re married. Problems such as infertility, STI’s and just not being able to afford children all prevent a marriage from being fruitful. Also unwillingness of a couple to leave their careers to look after the children and the fact of not wanting to have children causes more problems for a couple. Couples can put this biblical teaching into action by praying for God to grant them the gift of having children or pray for the acceptance of not being able to have children. If a couple doesn’t wish to have any children then they should not marry in a Catholic Church as they cannot fulfil all the marriage teachings.

A couple must acknowledge that a marriage should be a sacrament which means that it is a gift from God. However problems may arise not allowing the couple to fulfil this biblical teaching such as not being able to understand the biblical teachings of a marriage and not being committed to the teachings of Christ. A couple should prepare properly for a sacramental marriage by speaking to a priest and marrying in a Catholic Church in the presence of God to make their marriage a sacrament.

The bible also teaches about the Christian way of family life and a couple must know this to have a successful and happy family. Many problems can arise preventing the family from getting along such as no respect, no love or care, domestic violence, not being able to cope with the responsibilities of parenthood. Furthermore a Christian family should send their children to a Catholic school and must know the importance of church and sacraments. To put the biblical teachings into action families need to communicate and listen without interrupting each other and should admit when they are wrong and should seek counselling if they need help.

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