The Ethics of Marriage and Divorce.

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The Ethics of Marriage and Divorce

Over eighty percent of adults marry at some time in their lives. A couple may choose to marry for several reasons, the most common of which being that the couple are in love with each other and want to show their commitment to each other by sharing the same name, house and living with each other. If a couple are already living with each other, as is often the case, it may be a financial, social and legal advantage for them to get married. The couple may want to start and maintain a family, and might want a stable relationship and home for the children to grow up in. The bonds between families, and the ownership of property established by a marriage also affect the choice to marry. As well as the fact that many religions encourage marriage, which could affect the couple’s choice.

        In a Christian marriage, the couple will be married by a clergyman, usually in a church with friends and family in attendance. The couple will be told about their relationships with God and each other and the seriousness of the process they are undertaking. The bride and groom will then make promises to each other, called the Wedding Vows. Rituals and symbolism that reflect purity, the white wedding dress worn by the bride; the desire for fertility, the sprinkling of rice and confetti over the bride and groom; and the exchanging of rings, the never ending circle of unity between the bride, groom and God, usually take place.

        The Wedding Vows are repeated by the bride and groom during the ceremony. They are similar throughout most denominations, although the vows used in the Alternative Service Book of the Church of England are considered unanimous.

        The bride and groom’s promises are reasonably straight forward. They will promise to “have and to hold from this day forward”, to accept as a husband or wife from then on. “For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health” meaning that they will stay together throughout all adversity or prosperity “until death do us part” until one of them dies.

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        In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul taught that wives should “submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22) meaning that wives should submit to the authority of their husbands, just as they follow the commandments of God. In return, husbands should “love their wives even as their own bodies” which is pretty straightforward. This is believed and followed  by Christians which is reflected in the Wedding Vows.

        Christians view marriage as exclusive – between one man and woman only, until one of them dies. Once a couple have consecrated their marriage through sexual intercourse, they have ...

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