He must love her as much as he loves himself – and she must love him in the same way
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He must love her as much as he loves himself – and she must love him in the same way
He must love her as much as he loves himself – and she must love him in the same way

The golden idea of marriage

If there was not a golden age of marriage, there was at least a golden idea of marriage, based upon Christian teaching.

What is that teaching? An excellent summary is in just three sentences of the teaching of Jesus. To quote from Mark 10:6-8:

At the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they XMATCH de registro are no longer two, but one.

In this we see the critical order of marriage formation. A man must leave, he must join with his wife, and they must become one. Of course, the wife must do the same. She must leave her father and mother, she must be united to her husband, and become one with him.

In Christian teaching, sex is the crowning joy of an intimate relationship; but it comes last, after the leaving and the cleaving – the uniting of two into one

In that, there is profound wisdom. The act of leaving is essential. Men and women need to leave behind their family of origin, need to leave their parents and establish something new. And parents need to give their children up to the new family which is being formed in that marriage ceremony. The tradition of the father giving away the bride is symbolic of this important step of letting go, giving up. The mother too must give up her son, allow his new wife to establish her own way of running the household that may well differ in material ways from the way she ran her own household. From two different families of origin comes a new family, neither a replica of one nor of the other, just as the children to be born from that union will have their own individuality.

Consequent upon leaving, the husband and wife must unite. They are now one entity, one unit, and no longer can either the husband or wife think selfishly. No longer is it about his interests, his needs, his desires. It must just as much be about her interests, needs and desires.

That call to lose one's individual identity in the collectivity of the marriage is now utterly counter-cultural. We are so obsessed with our individual rights and needs that the idea that in some way we should lose our identity in marriage is hard to comprehend; but note, it is not just the woman who loses her identity in marriage, not just the woman who traditionally loses her family name to adopt his. No, he must give up his individualism too, in order to be united with her. Equality is at the very heart of Christian teaching about marriage.

And finally, there is the third element of ‘becoming one flesh', typically understood as consummating the marriage through sexual intercourse.

This is, of course, an absurd notion to young people in the modern era. Those of us who adhere to those traditional ways are now a relatively small proportion of the population. 81% of all couples who marry have lived together before marriage. The idea that sexual intercourse should be the final step of that union, something that occurs after leaving, after committing to one another in marriage, may seem at best quaint; at worst, it is a throwback to a dark past when young women who lost their virginity prior to ed, whereas men who sowed their wild oats were admired for their sexual prowess and boasted of their conquests.

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