Christianity: marriage and divorce
Christians see marriage as vows taken before God, and divorce is not encouraged.
In the marriage service of the Church of England, the couple getting married make vows to each other. The traditional marriage vows are:
I, take you,to be my wife [or husband].to have and to holdfrom this day forward;for better, for worse,for richer, for poorer,in sickness and in health,to love and to cherish,till death us do part,according to God’s holy law;and this is my solemn vow.
Marriage is important for Christians because:
The importance of marriage is emphasised by Jesus
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.
The teaching of Jesus in the New Testament is against divorce (the legal ending of a marriage before the death of a spouse).
It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Adultery (sex with someone who you are not married to) is also wrong according to the teachings of the Ten Commandments:
You shall not commit adultery.
Many churches now allow divorce but a marriage can only be ended by an annulment in the Roman Catholic Church. This means that the marriage is regarded as never having taken place for special reasons.
In 1981 the Church of England allowed people to marry again after a divorce. Many other churches now hold this position.
The Roman Catholic Church is totally opposed to people cohabiting (living together without being married). Sexual intercourse outside of a marriage is a serious sin [Sin: Act of rebellion or disobedience against the known will of God. ] and couples who sin in this way cannot receive communion in church. Some Protestant churches accept cohabitation although they hope that the couple will choose eventually to be married in church.
|Year||Number of divorces||Year||Number of divorces|
|Year||Number of marriages||Year||Number of marriages|
|Year||Number of marriages||Percentage of marriages|
|1990||-||47% of all marriages|
|2004||184,910||68% of all marriages|
|2005||160,270||65% of all marriages|