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Marriage is a social union and a legal contract between two or more people that creates a companion. It is organization in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are recognized in various ways, depending on the cultural foundation upon which the relationship is based. Marriage can be formal or informal. Formal marriages include those issued with a certificate in the church or if they are done in the attorney general’s chambers. Informal marriages are not issued with any certificate but are still recognized. They include traditional marriages which are accompanied by paying of dowry but no certificate is issued (Nock, S., 1995).
Some of the reasons include emotional satisfaction. People have emotions and they are social beings too hence need to have partners to share those emotions. People also do not want to live in isolation. When God created Adam, he realized Adam was lonely by the fact that there was creature which resembled him and that is why created him a helper Eve. Other people marry to improve their financial net-worth. One plus one is two and hence always couples always pull their resources together with an aim to better their living standards. The church requires that people marry with holy weddings in church. Some churches will only give couples church responsibilities once they held holy wedding. Those with church obligation would strive to be ‘clean’ in the church. Other reason could be legal. Marriage requires a lot of sacrifice by both parties in the contract. Dialogue is of the strongest tools to making a marriage work. The reason for advocating dialogue is because those in the marriage have different interests and ambitions in life hence they need to agree on some things and compromise on most their stands (Nock, S., 1995)
Marriage practices vary across cultures. However each society and culture recognizes marriage and they have a form ensuring the contract is successful between a man and a woman.
Marriage can take the form of monogamy, polygamy or even polyandry. In monogamous marriage one woman is married to one man. The man can only marry another woman if and only if the first woman dies. In other cultures one man can be allowed to be married to more than one woman at any given time. This kind of a marriage is referred to as polygamous. Though rare, there are some cultures that allow one woman to have more than one man as husband in a single word referred to as polyandry. Lately, there are other types of marriages that are cropping up though they are seen as a social misnomer. They include lesbians and the gays both of whom represent the homosexual society. Lesbianism involves marriage between two women while gays are two men marrying. Societies frequently have other restrictions on marriage based on the ages of the participants, pre-existing kinship, and membership in religious or other social groups for instance brothers and sisters are not allowed to marry.
Many countries have an act of marriage which usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved in the marriage. In some societies the obligations also extend to certain family members of the married persons and this form the in-laws to the married couple. Almost each and every culture that recognizes marriage also recognizes adultery as a violation of the terms of marriage. At this point in time, marriage is considered a contract and any form of violation would result to breach of the contract. The contract can be terminated through divorce or separation. In cultures that allow the dissolution or the end of the marriage this is referred to as divorce
Marriage is usually recognized by the law of the state, religious authorities, or both. It is often viewed as a contract though a more permanent one with most of its terms and conditions.
The way in which the contract of marriage is entered also determines what kind a marriage it is. Marriages held at the attorney general’s chambers are referred to as civil marriage which is the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution irrespective of religious affiliation of those getting married, in accordance with marriage laws of the jurisdiction of a particular country. Once recognized by the state or the religion the couples belong to then it is a legal contract. The two are treated as wife and husband.
From the biblical point of view, marriage is a holy thing and needs to be respected by both those who are getting married and also those outside the marriage. This is the reason why God through his holy book says that those he has united no man shall lay apart until death do them part. L This is an indication that God respects marriage. He goes ahead to give the circumstances upon which married people can divorce or separate. The only justified reason for divorce between married people is when either of the partners is unfaithful. At this first instance there is no indication people should engage in sexual intercourse before marriage.
2.2 Volicators and adulterous
t is also very clear in the bible there is a group of people who will not see the kingdom of heaven. One of the groups are vonicators and adulterous. Vonication refers to people of the opposite sex having sexual intercourse before they are legally married either through the civic law or religious. God is so furious with vonicators to an extend that he even promises to curse the act and the consequence which could be giving birth out of wed lock to the fourth generation. Cohabitation falls under this category of vonicators. The only difference between vonicators and cohabitors is that with vonication, the vonicators meet once in a while and get engaged in the activity. With cohabitation, the cohabitors live together in such a way that it may seem they are married but the marriage is not legal and it is not recognized.
The bible emphasizes more on our bodies being the holy temples of the Holy Spirit. We are urged as followers of Christ to keep those temples pure and holy. One way of doing this by avoiding anything that changes the operation of the body. All classes of drugs are put in this category. About sexual intercourse the calling is to abstain until marriage for anything less than that then we shall be sinning against the will of God.
The absence of perfection in humanity makes man understand the same things differently. Though the bible carries the same message, once read by different people they understand and interpret it differently. Running a church and becoming a pastor has of late become a big business with every preacher trying capturing as many sheep as possible to their own churches. So many protestant churches have cropped up and the most interesting phenomenon is that once a person breaks from a church and develops their own they always accuse the former church of misleading the flock. With this king of an environment it is difficult to know who is telling the truth. Some people will try to justify wrong doings for as long as they capture new flock and at the same time maintain the old ones. This is a very weak humanly way of looking at things. God is no respecter of man and its man to comply with God’s teachings or perish. Cohabitation is completely unacceptable.
Every person has a chance of choosing of whether to do as they think is appropriate or following what the word of God demands. We live in life of relativity. People have used relativity to justify what they do even if it’s not in line with what God demands. Most are the times when people do evil things and if confronted on them they imply that it all depends. The implication here is that all can fall short of the God’s glory depending on our circumstances but should not be the case.
From a humans point of view cohabitation has its own disadvantages. It is a sign of non commitment to the relationship. Both unwanted and unplanned pregnancies are stressing to both the cohabiting parties. More often than not the pregnancies are aborted posing the danger of death of the mother. When the mother does not die, they are faced with the danger of health problems and general weakness. On abortion, it is wrong against the law of the land and at the same time wrong against the will of God. So on abortion a person commits two sins at the same time. They have committed vonication and at the same time they have killed so it is better not to kill and that way one will have only one sin to repent vonication (Sassler, S., 2004)
The behaviors have some advantages and disadvantages too. Marriage on one hand has the following advantages. In marriage there is emotional satisfaction. Sometimes people are low emotionally even when they have not been messed up. At his time one a person they can trust and explain what is going through their mind. The partner should be available at that hour of need. Through sweet words, outings and good treatment one can regain their moods. Women are always affected because their bodies are often influenced by their hormonal changes as their bodies respond.
Companionship is another advantage for getting into this contract. Marriage always involves talking and another to listen to what is being talked. The result is lack of communication which is a very big problem in any marriage. Smooth exchange leads to a clear understanding by the couple of their spouse. It is always encouraging to have somebody by the side to give support and give back ideas and advices. Two brains can think better than one having a companion is excellent especially during bad times for instance if one loses their loved ones. Companions are helpful over when one is alone and has to go through the time all alone.
Human beings are social beings and cannot live in isolation. By having your partner then you avoid any life that is available for singletons. You can travel and visit places and friends together making the better and more sweet. This is quite difficult for singles for current life is oriented towards coupling.
Children are an important integral part of us and our life. Some marriages are held together by the fact that the couple has children. Children also are happy creatures especially during their tender age of innocence. They do not face the challenges their parents face. As a result they can act as a buffer for stress in the house. They are also a motivation for the parents to continue working to see that the children live even a better life than the parents. This is the joy of the parents. Children are also a form of future security when the parents are too old to work and take care of themselves. The children at that time take the responsibility of feeding them.
Seeing another day is the wish of everybody. Results from research have proved that married man have a high life expectancy then their unmarried counterparts. The reason is that married men have less stress and also have more opportunities to relieve stress and gain back their happiness. To my surprise from the research, even a bad marriage is better than being single for men such as a bad marriage is not always bad. On the other hand, this is not true for women who get stressed by bad marriage (Teitler, J., & Reichman, N., 2001)
Rearing children is one of the greatest challenges parents face. Single parents are worse off when it comes to bringing up children. Married couple enjoys the support of their partners in decision making and also financial support.
Money is a good mechanism of making things move. Married couples always join their resources in terms of money among other resources to better their life and also in a short time. This can through joint investments, joint money savings or sharing home expenses. Despite the advantages associated with this joint money management there are difficulties too. Sometimes the partners may not be truthful. They may not reveal their incomes hence those joint projects may not succeed. On joint bank accounts, some partners may access the money and waste it instead of taking it to the planned use. The greatest challenge is posed by if the marriage does not work and the couple has to separate or even worse divorce. Sharing of the joint property becomes most challenging and as a result many people avoid any joint arrangements.
Conjugal rights are part of human satisfaction. With your own partner, sex is guaranteed for as long as the two members are in good terms and willing to enjoys those rights together.
With the many advantages in marriage, it cannot be said to be an ideal contract. Some of the challenges of the marriage arrangement include unfaithfulness. Some partners are not faithful. The danger here is the risk of disease HIV included.
In marriage one does not have full control of things. A lot of consultations are necessary. Some people are not ready to compromise their stands making it even more difficult to reach an agreement.
Home violence is another very common challenge with the married. Wife battering has been a common phenomenon in most families. Other abuse behaviors include marital rape and abandonment of responsibilities.
Due to the challenges faced by the married people are changing their approach to addressing marriage. Most of them are going for cohabitation. This refers to just living together without any recognized arrangements. Some of the people who are cohabiting end up marrying but most of them end up breaking.
Cohabiting couples gather less wealth than married people. Married people are more successful in their careers particularly when they become parents. They have a reason to work extra hard to feed their families as opposed to couples in cohabitation who do not have any binding responsibilities (Sassler, S., 2004)
Health risks are high with cohabiting couples. This is so because cohabitants can tolerate behaviors in their partners which husbands and their wives would not for instance smoking, drinking and other substance abuse including having more than one sexual partner.
People who are cohabiting tend to be younger than people in marital relationships. This supports the thinking that cohabitation is often a prerequisite to marriage. The young are generally more unstable than the aged. They do not want to get into some serious commitment hence they end up cohabiting.
Cohabitation is in the rise but even then, with its numerical growth and spread throughout society it is not as socially acceptable as marriage. Cohabitation is socially tolerated in part because the assumption is that cohabiting partners will eventually become married. Those cohabiting always have plans to marry their partners even when it does not happen. The youth form the major portion of cohabitors hence this is an indication that marriage is the preferred relationship for it was an alternative to marriage then it would be preferred the older more settled individuals which is not the case. It’s only that people delay marrying but they still would want to marry once they put things in order. A main reason why cohabitations have lower fertility in other words they do not want to sire children than marriage is because couples tend to abandon cohabitation when children are in the immediate future. In most countries, marriage is perceived as the most secure and legitimate union when children are involved as opposed to cohabitation which can end any time for there is no legitimacy.
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Up-to this point, it is very clear that cohabitation is no good and cannot be treated as an alternative to marriage. People need to court and then get officially married when the time is due.
The church though faced by the challenge of guiding the flock towards the righteous ways, it should stand firm and ensure they preach and teach what the bible says not what they think should be the case. Sexual arrangements outside marriage should be discouraged and people should be made to understand the consequences of such behavior. For the clergy to succeed in the fight against cohabitation and other similar behaviors, they need to be role models doing what is right and building strong families that can be emulated by the rest of the of the community. They need to preach water and take water at the same time not a case of preaching water as they take wine.