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What is Marriage... or What Should Determine Whether You Are Married?

The following was posted by someone on a myspace group that I frequent. What Are your thoughts? I have underlined the key points in case you are not a reader...

Posted: May 1, 2008 10:52 PM
here are my personal thoughts on this subject. i know most others will not agree but what if God sees it this way.
I believe that there is a doctrine that we don’t teach that is of utmost importance. that is the fact that when you have sex you have just married that person.
the Jews at a wedding would send the bride and groom into a room and they would consummate their love. after wards the groom would take the sheets out and show them to the priest to prove that they had knew each other. the blood on the sheets proved two things. one she was a virgin and two that they had knew each other. then the priest would bless them as husband and wife. it was the physical act that married them, not the priest.
Genesis 24:67
And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Isaac took Rebekah and she became his wife.
Matthew 19:4-6 (King James Version)
4And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
here Jesus talks about two becoming one.
1 Corinthians 6:15-17 (King James Version)
15Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
16What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
so how would you be joined to a harlot? the only thing i can see that you would do with a harlot is have sex. and again he talks about the two becoming one.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9 (King James Version)
8I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.
9But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
what i believe this is saying is that if you can not control your lust then go ahead and be joined. it is better for you to become one than to burn with lust.
1 Corinthians 7:36-38 (New International Version)
36If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does even better.
this i think is saying that if we cannot control our selves and we want to be together then be together. but if you can control your self and don’t want to be together then that is better.
my main point is that once you have sex the two have just become one and you are married.
most people don’t like this doctrine because they have had other partners than their spouse, either before or after the wedding.
i believe that marriage as we know it, where a pastor joins you as husband and wife came from the RCC. this made him feel like he had the power of God to join two people together.
One other thought, most states require consummation of the marriage for it to be legal. If the marriage is never consummated then it can be annulled, but once it is consummated you have to get a divorce.
just my thoughts. maybe right, may be wrong
may God guide you in all you do
your brother in Christ

p.s. if we taught this doctrine it just might slow down teen pregnancy.

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I disagree with the premise.

To put it simply, the Bible tells us that sex outside marriage is either fornication or adultery. The instruction is that we are to be married before we have sex. Therefore, it is not sex that "makes" the marriage it is being married that "gives permission" for you to have sex.

Otherwise, their would be no such thing as adultery as whenever one slept with another person you would become married to them. The inclusion of the reference to marriage as being "from" the Roman Catholic Church is strange as I am sure that people were getting married long before that Church came on the scene. Sounds more like trying to shore up a "strange doctrine".

It wasn't just the Jews that displayed the blood on the sheets... if a dowry is being paid you want to be sure that you aren't getting soiled goods!

No, I think the Bible is very clear that marriage makes sex legal, not the other way around.

Postscript: In some Islamic countries they recognise a short ceremony that allows a man to be temporarily married to a prostitute so that he can "lawfully" have sex with her as she is temporarily his wife. Note, it is the same principle as above - marriage "allows" you to have sex.
While I am not disagreeing with you - I always like the phrase "the Bible Says" to be followed with a quote from the scriptures..... After all, Jerry, the person with whom you are disagreeing, has tons of scriptures in his argument.

I had a friend who was following some strange ideology where the men believed that everyone that they slept with became their wives. Scary. He is no longer adhering to such beliefs...

*Rachel is eating popcorn and seeing where this discussion goes...*

This is the way that I see it. I ask myself is it a routine at church by saying I do that really joins a Man and Woman together. Where in the bible are the words I do?

I do know that there was a wedding recorded in Mathew but the events involved was not recorded save for the running out of wine.

I do believe that this is a great topic.
I totally disagree with the above author and his theory.

Gen. 2:22 God brought Eve to Adam, that's the first wedding in the Bible God and His angels were the witnesses to the union.

John 2:1-11 Jesus' first miracle was at a wedding, laminating that people get together in marriage before witnesses.

Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31 State that "For this reason...meaning for the reason that God created Man and Woman and they'll only unite in marriage like it was before in the beginning when God married Adam and Eve.

Sex isn't whats called Marriage because if it were so, then there would not be such a word like "Sexual immorality - Fornication"

Yes the Bible speaks about fornication in Gal. 5:19, Eph 5:3, Jude 7, I Thess 4:3, Col. 3:5, Rom 1:29, Acts 5:20, I Corinth 5: 1; 6:13, 18; 7:2; 10:8; 12:21

So what is Fornication, just like adultery it's having sexual relations with someone you are not married to.

Genesis 24: 51 "...Here is Rebekah take her go, and let her become the wife of your master's son, as the Lord directed."
Notice what the verse says, long before Isaac knew not who is gonna be the wife negotiations took place with the parents of Rebekah. In verse 57-60, we see Rebekah's union with Isaac being showered with awesome blessings before they even had sex!
Verse 60 " And they blessed Rebekah and said to her , Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies."

Then in verse 66, Isaac is told what had transpired and that they have got him a wife, remember the entourage of Abraham's servant was still in presence.

Isaac meets Rebekah in the fields and is briefed that his lonliness has ended, they have got him a wife and in verse 66, Isaac doesn't bed Sarah right away there in the fields in the presence of Abraham's servants and their camels and all they had, but "Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Yes when you have sex with someone either a harlot or girfriend/ boyfriend you are one but not married.
As stated above Marriage is done in public with witness around.
First God was the witness between the union of Adam and Eve, Jesus attended a Wedding which was public and anything get one in flesh outside marriage is what is termed as "Fornication/ Adultery"

Exodus 22:16, 17
If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.

Notice that the above verses mention that sex outside marriage was deemed as an abomination and it wasn't marriage.

Deuteronomy 22:13-21
If a man takes a wife and, after lying with her, dislikes her and slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, "I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity,
It's also stated here that if after having had sex with your wife and you found out that the books were read before you, meaning marriage is first and then sex makes it complete.

To avoid sexual immorality/ fornication outside marriage people are supposed to marry as state in I Corinth. 7:1-2Now about the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to live a celibate life. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.

If you are struggling with wanting to have sex, get married. Premarital sex isn't an option for dealing with lust. It's either marriage or you are in sexual sin. I Corinthians 7:8-9 Now I say to those who aren't married and to widows it's better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can't control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It's better to marry than to burn with lust.

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

I Timothy 5:2
Treat older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
This is basically saying if you are not married to her, she is your sister and treat her with absolute purity, forget the fantasies and feelings.

So my conclusion is Virginity is purity before marriage, and sex outside marriage is a sin and God is calling us to be Perfect and pure because he is Perfect and Holy.

So then What's marriage according to the Bible?

Below is a Ten point program describing the steps leading to Marriage
1. Get a partner
2. Inform parents
3. Know his inside and out (God fearing)
4. If he/she fits you, Ask what the parents and God's church family think?
5. Get blessings from the parents (Green light very important)
6*. Pay bride-price (Some countries it's called Introduction and that's engagement, It's like a mini-wedding ceremony with all clan, family members and friends attending)
7*. Get permission for the wedding to take place (Some countries after Introduction you are given a certificate to go ahead with wedding plans)
8. Start wedding plans (Now already engaged)
9. Wedding day (Prepare for the big game)
10. First Sex (For this reason a man willleave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh)

* Not applicable to all countries
Dear Sammy,

I especially liked your 10 steps program to marriage. However, isn't that so simplistic? Relationships do not conform to programs. Step 1 do this. Step 2 do that? There are alot of ways we can deal with marriage etc but fitting it into a program like a choreography is not going to work for we are all different in background, experience etc. I would like to advocate God's plan in the garden of eden which was:
1) there was a home made for Adam.
2) there was work given for Adam in the Eden
3) there was then a wife for Adam.
- This is the ideal. Basic principles to marriage a home, work then a partner???????????
- With regards to sex outside marriage, perhaps it is not enough for us to say that the bible says so? Reason being is that our young people are faced with the overwhelming pressure to experience sex to become a part of the in-group, to be worthy in the eyes of their peers for it is most popular culture in the western countries of today.
Perhaps it is wise to state the reasons why God forbid adultery and fornication rather than relying on a simple for the bible tells me so!

Sex is not marriage! Sex is sex! I cannot support this premise. What would slow down teen pregnancy is not saying that once you have sex, it is marriage--that would increase the stats on divorce which is bad as it is.......hahahaha
What constitutes a marriage? Do we bring direct example as you used in the bible such as Isaac? Part of Eleazer's(Abraham's servant?) prayer, "was Lord give me success today?" Eleazer was going on a trip to get a wife for Isaac. That was established long before Rebecca and Isaac got together.
However, the next question would be, when were they married? The time that they had sex in Sarah's tent? Or would it be the time that Rebecca accepted the invitation to leave her house and family in order to be Isaac?
So when does marriage begin? In today's opinion, a marriage is a marriage if it is recognizable by law, publicized by some religious order and celebrated by the circle of friends and family and of course consummated usually after the vows which is becoming more unpopular these days unfortunately (correct me if assumptions are wrong).
Probably it would be wiser if when we take out stories from the bible and/or verses; we first look at the context of what, where and how it happen in THAT time before we apply it to ourselves today.
What makes a marriage? First, a public confirmation to the world and God you have chosen each other. Then, it needs to be lived out daily, the decision to live as one , and nothing and no one is to come between you and your spouse. Your desire will be to please each other. Sex is only one way to do that.
The way I behave around men tells them I am happily married, not a wedding ring. The way my husband behaves around other women tells them he is happily married. We tell others "I choose to love my spouse" when we talk about our spouses lovingly, and include our spouses in our daily routines.
I love this idea of the world should being able to tell whether someone is happily married by how they present themselves.

This "public confirmation" is culturally determined correct? So, by this definition, marriage can be official by many means.
I agree that marriage should be a public confirmation. But I have a situation where I know someone who got married in secret for months, and just revealed it. Young people. They didn't tell their parents. The act is done. So what now? There was no counseling involved, as far as I know. It was just a spontaneous act. Is the only thing left to do support them? I know the bible does say it is better to marry than to burn, But is such a thing really condoned by God? There really isn't anything saying you should tell your family is there? I read Joseph's comment on the ten steps earlier, which is an interesting perspective on it, although not completely rigid. It's a really unusual situation for me personally, and I'm not sure how to handle it. I know love is the best response to any situation, but I'd like to hear your opinions.
Me thinking:

If two people plan a wedding, do everything by the book, meaning they do all the things society expects them to do, but do not consumate their union, will you consider them married?
Shebasdreams said: "Jerry, the person with whom you are disagreeing, has tons of scriptures in his argument."

Hi Shebasdreams, can I start of by saying, "Quality, not quantity" :-)

I must confess that I read the underlined parts and that was enough for me. Following your post I went through the scriptures and my conclusion was that out of the 5 scriptures that Jerry quoted, none of them support his premise. For example, the first quote says that Isaac took Rebecca to his mother's tent, accepted her and married her. There's nothing in that scripture to suggest pre-marital sex unless you want to make an unnatural meaning out of what is plainly written. Sadly, this is what Jerry does throughout his post. Rather than accept the natural meaning he puts a "spin" on it; he tries to read each verse as if it were written in 21st century language rather than 16th century language and for the last verse he even changes to a modern translation and it still doesn't mean what he is trying to say it means!

In the first paragraph he moves from "my personal thoughts" to a suggestion that God sees it the same way, then it becomes "a doctrine" and then "a fact". This is immediately followed by a bold statement that sex, not the priest, marries someone - with nothing at all to support his theory.

This is followed by 5 texts that do not support his "fact". I would tend to think that the reason that "most people don't like this doctrine" is because it is pure rubbish. He is unable to support it with scripture and then tries to make out that marriage "as we know it" comes from the Catholic church, again with absolutely no evidence to support his opinion. I suspect that it is there to scare people into thinking that if they disagree with him then they are supporting Cathlic doctrine.

The last part about teen pregnancy is, to be blunt, ludicrous - just another psychological attempt to bring some worth to his preposterous suggestion.

This is a very good example of a man having an idea, trying to force scripture to fit in with his idea and then using spin and psychology to try and get everyone else to accept his idea.

Thankfully, Sammy has saved me the need to pull up scriptures and in any event I really don't think there is a need because this is not a scriptural issue. Just somebody trying to make God fit in with his weird theory.

Jerry says at the end... "just my thoughts. maybe right, may be wrong"

Jerry... you are so-o wrong I can't believe you even posted this somewhere.
Thanks for responding again. Great response IMO. I think it is important not to dismiss a persons idea simply because it is grandiose or just bizarre. We do not know who is reading these messages and how Biblically well read they are so it is important to back everything that we say with exactly what the Lord says.

I agree that there is nothing in Gen 24 that indicates that Rebekah and Issac has sex to determine their weddedness.

Genesis 29 indicates that when Jacob was working those 7 years, he already understood Rachel to be his wife and had not yet slept with her. In Genesis 29:21 He says to Laban, "...Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her." He does not say, make her my wife, or let us be married so that I may Go in unto her. Jacob was married and yet did not consummate this marriage until he had fulfilled his vow to Laban. Of course he was tricked and was given Leah. After which he was married to Rachel and worked a week before being able to have sex with her. Jacob was married for 7 years before having any sex. Because he was so in love, verse 20 says that it seemed like a few days for Jacob. This example, for me, expresses the importance of marriage and of sex . They should both be held in high regard, because they are both spiritual acts with spiritual consequences.

Culture may dictate the differences in ceremony and what determines when a person is married or not, but it seems that sex is too precious of an act to be had outside of marriage. In Exodus 2 to was enough for Reuel to give his daughter to Moses as an act of marriage. Maybe there was a ceremony, maybe not, but it was culturally acceptable and clearly understood that Zipporah was Moses' wife.

Genesis 38 will totally mess a person up who is thinking about the issues raised in discussion. I read it and I think Poor Tamar. It seems that Judah wanted Onan to have sex with Tamar and then marry her, and then raise her future children. Onan did not want to do the raise the children part , but slept with her anyway - God did not like this and he killed Onan. The rest of the story is equally disturbing an bizarre.

For those who are interested in this issue of pre-marital sex and determining what initiates a marriage: It is a fascinating study to simply go through the Bible and look at the couples. Last year one of our Sabbath School quarterlies did this - that would be a good way to begin.

I think there are a lot of people that share Jerry's view and/or are simply not sure about what marriage really is or its worth This is the postmodern age where a lot of people are not clear about right and wrong. We see too many ungodly (unions where everything but Jesus is the center), unhappy, destructive marriages; in the Church. Meanwhile those who are breaking the rules seem to be having a smooth time. it is that old trick of the devil, of doubting the consequences of what looks, feel, and tastes good - did God say you would surely die? Did God say that you should not have sex before marriage? Psalms 73:3-4; 16-18 comes to mind; For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.


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