The Church of England is a big supporter of marriage! A good marriage has a positive effect on couples and all those whose lives they touch as a result of that marriage. Here’s why.
Good for you
Marriage provides a lifetime of opportunity ‘to love and to cherish’ another person. Throughout your married life you will build shared memories and a deep understanding of each other, how the other thinks. When your life is interweaved with another’s in such detail, you become a part of each other.
A verse in the Bible (Mark 10:8), which speaks of the committed relationship between a man and a woman, describes it as becoming ‘one flesh’. This is more than just a reference to physical intimacy. When you become this close to someone, and know them so well, it provides a sense of security, with an expectation that they will always be there for you, on your side and by your side.
And some people may be surprised that the church marriage ceremony speaks positively and directly about the physical intimacy of marriage, but not only is it a Biblical truth, it is a key part of a good marriage. Marriage can create the right conditions for a lifetime of physical pleasure – not just for meaningful and rewarding sex, although that is really important, but also enjoying each other’s company, talking, listening, holding hands and a deep affection that long outlasts plain lust.
Good for the soul
Your spouse is your life-partner and as such you will have shared ideas about spirituality and a philosophy of life. Marriage can help you develop this together. You may like to pray together, pray for each other, take time to be thankful and count the blessings God brings you throughout your marriage. Your maturity as a couple brings a sense of the things that really matter in life and together you will discover what is most important to you and to your family.
Good for families
When you get married, you are a new family unit. The family of the other person becomes part of your family too. Traditionally (though not always), the wife takes the name of the husband. This is simply a sign of what has changed – you are a new family now. You’ll meet people across your spouse’s family from different generations, who will each have had a part in shaping the person your spouse has become. As the years go by the sharing of family celebrations, traditions, happy times and sad times will shape the person you become too.
Your family will change if and when you have children. If you already have children together, or are bringing children together from a previous partnership, your marriage is a statement that you’re committed to staying together and providing a loving and stable home for children to grow up in. Whatever the circumstances, the marriage signals a commitment, a new beginning and new family adventures.
Good for everyone
The church marriage ceremony has a focus on you and your love for each other, but it also mentions that marriage has an impact on society and community.
At the start of the service, the vicar says:
“Marriage is a sign of unity and loyalty which all should uphold and honour. It enriches society and strengthens community. No one should enter into it lightly or selfishly, but reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God.”
Marriage is a way of life that brings stability and steadfast love over many years, and this is the kind of love that all of us can support. This kind of love is open to the needs of others, which might be as simple as showing hospitality to neighbours, or it might be about helping out locally with community events and interests. For some, it might be about supporting charities either financially or with time.