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Does My Wedding Ceremony And Government Certificate Prove I am Married in The Sight of God?
by Paulraj P
3/07/2020 / Marriage
My wife Vanaja and I got married on 23rd May 1977 making our vows at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Palayamkottai, in Tirunelvely District of Tamil Nadu, India and the wedding was conducted by the then Bishop in the presence of thousands of people who were witnesses. We are still husband and wife. We have government documents to prove it. We wear our wedding rings. All our friends know we are married.
Does the Bible speak about the rules for getting married? Well, I have examined. There are no ceremony instructions. No mention of government certificates, rules and regulations. No wedding vows suggested. Nowhere does the Bible mention about wedding ring, church service or a function, dress code, or even about a pastor or someone to conduct the ceremony. The Bible seems to give much freedom to individuals and cultures to mandate these things as they will.
What if my wife and I got our marriage certificate after a month? Were we considered married during that month?
What do you think makes two people really married? Different countries have different laws. I know some couples who never had any wedding ceremony and are living together more faithful to one another than many who remain completely disconnected in every way despite having all proofs of their marriage.
Since there are no specific biblical instructions, I assume that we as Christians need to recognize the marriage internally. The vows in other words the “contract” are the most essential. Without these, there cannot be a marriage.
There are two things that are not that important, though culturally and legally necessary. The pronouncement that the priest makes at the end of the wedding ceremony that we are married and the marriage certificate issued by the government. I think these do not matter in the sight of God as proof of marriage.
You are married if you are living according to your vows. This will include faithfulness, love, commitment to the spouse, mutual care and concern, regular sex, recognition of the marriage, and forgiveness. If a marriage lacks these things, I don’t care how many certificates and pronouncements you have made, you are not really married. In the sight of God, our marriage status is based not on something we did, but something we do, an ongoing process though imperfect.
We need to discuss another aspect of the marriage. Divorce. In spite of a wedding ceremony and marriage certificate, what if there is no sexual intimacy, no sharing, no talking with each other, no emotional bond, and no relationship at all? The vows are being completely ignored. Despite being Christians, they live like roommates rather than husband and wife. They think talking about divorce is blasphemous. So what is a divorce? If everything that makes a marriage is being ignored, are they even married anymore? Haven’t they already gone through an ‘illegal divorce’? It is ‘illegal’ because the government does not recognize it. I think in the sight of God, they are divorced.
Please comment as to what you think about these thoughts I initiated.
I am a rebel, saved by God's Grace through Jesus Christ. Married. Live in India.
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