Marriage implies different meanings based on the time and place of the culture and people concerned. Some notions about marriage are clear for some people and absurd for others. None of the notions are either right or erroneous, but only refers to different forms of marriage. Thoughts of one culture should not be forced on other cultures. The viewpoints vary, that is, some believe in multiple marriage partners while others believe in having only straight marriages yet others believe in certain age restrictions. It is impracticable for governments to permit their people get into all forms of marriage according to the likings of people. Certain known specifications are needed for legal contracts to have legal value. Making one type of marriage legal leads to isolation and standardization of marriage ultimately results in codifying traditions into static legal codes and making them sluggish as society transforms. (Marriage: www.vexen.co.uk)
Thus, legalized forms of marriage lead to looking upon illegal marriage as wrong. In other words, we get prejudiced toward our own form of marriage and come to think any other form as wrong or irrelevant. Hence, those who opted for romantic marriage will be considered as thoughtless or silly by those practicing arranged marriages. But romantic couples see themselves differently, that is, they probably see arranged marriages as cruel, substandard and repressive. Both people do not understand the different meanings of different forms of marriage. The quarrel between both these people will not come to a conclusion as they are arguing about totally different things. Marriage refers to different things in different cultures. Western marriage used to be executed wholly under Christian clergy and is completely under the control of Christianity. The mammoth restrictions of remarriage and women inferiority in marriage are largely due to Christianity.
In early Christianity marriage was not a strong doctrine of love, but one of fear. St. Paul, whose huge writings on the topic of marriage and women are well-established in the Bible under various books and letters, wrote that marriage is a last alternative for the hopeless man who could not hold back himself from sex. The ideal was to remain single, but marrying a woman was best done if one cannot help oneself. This dysfunctional theology of sex was one of the worst things to occur to marriage. It is only since the Enlightenment and Reformation that more a sensible, positive, basis of marriage has been brought to the front. (Marriage: www.vexen.co.uk)
Marriage, as we know it nowadays, has developed over the centuries, as is the case with other social institutions. Marriage has increased its intricacies with regard to joining of man and woman as societies have become more refined and civilized. Many practices greatly soaked in both custom and tradition; religion and civil law have died away as new ones substituted them. The genesis of marriage shows that marriage has evolved through three broad stages: marriage trough force or capture, marriage by means of purchase or contract, and marriage by mutual love. The oscillation of control between religion and civil controlled the marriage. Presently, marriage is governed by civil law and ecclesiastical canon law. No one can break away from the laws of the State even though adherence to canon law depends on one's belief in a particular religion. Those marriages carried out in the presence of a priest, rabbi, or minister may also become unacceptable if those marriages are not registered with the State as well. For instance, in New York, a valid marriage license is required for a marriage Official to conduct a ceremony. The influence of Christianity on modern marriage has made it more formal and spiritual. Other than this religious character, slices of the old customs stay in the fashionable memory. Old-fashioned traditions come back as symbols, unifying the old with the new and which make modern marriages as romantic and colorful. (A Compilation of Customs and Traditions regarding Marriage)
Marriage comprises of many changes and challenges and is the largest step that anyone makes. It is considered that the marriage of a Christian with great care and it is an occasion of great celebration. Marriage among two Christians is an event of great public celebration of God's grace and blessing. Only if at least one of the couple is a practicing Catholic, the marriage can take place in church buildings. In other words, for a person to get married in a church, he must have received the sacraments of initiation like Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist and be habitually attending mass and following the life of an active member of a parish. To be more specific, this means that for the three months prior before finalizing the marriage date and during the process of preparation before the marriage, regular presence at mass every Sunday is needed. After the establishment of this habit, a dialogue with one of the priests of the parish can be found for the marriage date. If a person lives in another city, he/she needs to establish a connection with a parish there and execute this requirement in order to get married. Specific rules exist in Catholic Church about who may be married in a particular parish. These rules are based on the idea of people who are connected to faith communities. (Before you marry)
In general, it could be said that a person who lives in a particular geographical area of St. Jude and who is registered and practicing their faith there, may be married there. In case of college students or those in military service, if their parents live in a particular parish, they can get married in that area even if they do not live there. According to Catholic Church, preparation for marriage is necessary for every one planning to marry. This preparation consists of three areas, namely, documents, spiritual formation, and preparation for the ceremony. In the Catholic Church those who prepare for marriage must be free to do so. The first meeting with the priest will help to find out this if there are questions. Those who have been married before must permit extra time for this examination. In majority of the cases, a Catholic who has been married before must have an annulment before they can go on with the preparation.
If an annulment is in process then one need to wait until he has received the concluding judgment of the tribunal before a date can be decided for a wedding. Nowadays it is common for Catholics to marry people belonging to another faith. While it is the standard that Catholics have to marry within their Church, permission is usually provided to marry outside the Catholic Church as well. There are two important points to be noted in this regard: the Catholic party for the marriage will not be influenced by their non-Catholic spouse to put an end to their participation in the Catholic Church and the Catholic spouse will do everything necessary to bring up their children in the Catholic faith. For a Catholic and non-Catholic couple, it is more essential that the ceremony be simple even though the wedding ceremony can incorporate a mass. A marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic can take place in a non-Catholic church. However, this type of marriage needs an exclusive permission. (Before you marry)
Catholics trust that there are seven sacraments that are the means of God's grace. Hence, the Roman Catholic wedding ritual takes place with the one of the seven sacraments, namely, Sacrament of Matrimony. The sequence of the ceremony includes a minimum of "three biblical readings, the exchange of vows, the exchange of rings, the Prayer of the Faithful, the nuptial blessing, prayers and music." The Roman Catholic wedding is loaded with tradition and liturgy. Great attention and care should be considered for planning the ceremony as a wedding is chiefly a worship service, the worship and praise of God who unites a man and a woman together in the bond of marriage. The Church provides this sacred facility to join along with family and friends in devoting the couple's marriage to God who is the creator of all love. The marriage ceremony is a public ritual. It is performed in the community prayer space that is in the premises of the church building and not outside, and allows those who have gathered not only to observe the vows of the couple, but also to take part fully in the liturgy. The Sacrament usually takes place during a Mass, referred to as a Nuptial Mass and is typically celebrated in the morning or early afternoon. (Roman Catholic Traditions)
The Catholic Church allows the couple and others to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. Weddings are not planned on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Holy Saturday. Weddings are also not planned during those hours of the Mass. As the Church is a place hallowed by communal worship and is the place where the sacrament of marriage is more appreciably represented, it is the suitable setting…