Marriage Matters

A few years ago a friend of mine decided to marry his girlfriend using an online prompter to initiate the vows, while a few friends were present as witnesses in their apartment.

One of the things he asked my advice on was whether or not he needed be married by the state, since in their minds, they were married in the eyes of God.

I told him that our government requires us to have a marriage license in order to be “legally married.”  Since a marriage ceremony and marriage license is a civil requirement, it would appear we are obligated as law-abiding citizens and Christians to observe it (Matthew 22:21).

This week I was asked a similar question in light of a couple who wanted to get married in the church, but not by the state, due to the financial strain it would put on them.  My response was similar.

Any further considerations or another perspective to add on this matter?


~ by Dave Smith on January 12, 2010.

6 Responses to “Marriage Matters”

  1. I am being completely honest when I ask how much strain is it financially to get married by the state? Isn’t it just the marriage license? Seems like it would be less than $100…maybe could ask for that as a wedding gift from family if it was a burden.

  2. The civil estate of marriage is the exact opposite of a financial strain …

    Short term, there are small costs. Long term, there are amazing tax incentives.

    I don’t understand why anyone would get married “religiously” and the not want to get married civilly.

  3. Yea, in the latest scenario there was apparent financial heartache due to the loss of pensions and various tax laws.

  4. Thinking about it more … I could envision some scenarios in which protesting civil marriage could actually be morally justified.

    Here’s one example that comes to mind:

    If I were born 70 years ago in the South as a white male, and I wanted to get married some time around 1950 to a white woman, I might not opt for a civil marriage — because civil marriages at that time discriminated along racial lines.

    In other words, my refusal to participate in an unjust legal system could actually be morally and theologically justified (I think).

  5. ok… so I never did this because I think who in the world, in particular Mr. Smith, would want to know what nonsense runs through MY mind… That being said, ALOT runs through my noodle. My husband and my families come from a certain ‘Church’ and we thought when the time came that being married in that church is what we wanted. Since then we have gone down other paths and no longer ‘feel’ as we did back then… We have friends and family who are wonderful and open and glad to have us in their lives and we have ‘some’ family and friends who think that we are making a big mistake not following their faith and their churches… This has been very hard on me as I am not lazy with regard to ‘God’, I am simply not able to come to conclusions about my beliefs and therefore when I am ‘confronted’ by some people who wish to judge me I tend to have long conversations with my husband that seem to last years… How I think, How I respect others, How I this and that. So… now I come to my actual comment…. I think this could be quite offensive to some and I can only say that I can’t tell you how much that is NOT what is intended….. I think that Churches should not be able to perform legal marriages. There is part of me that thinks that you should go down to City Hall and get married and that is what EVERYONE has to do. THEN, if that is not enough for you? If you want to include God? Then I say ROCK ON and GOOD FOR YOU and then you can have a ceremony at your Church or with your pastor or priest… This also would take away any concern with regard to LGBT marriages or civil unions…. You can even strip away the word marriage if I had my way… you can say Civil Unions are performed at City Hall and Marriages are what you choose to get at your place of worship… the only legal on is a civil union and it can’t be performed anywhere but by the govt. ok…. now I’m sorry that this subject is the one I choose to comment on…. ok… well…. off it goes….. click 🙂

  6. Mrs. Weiss!

    This is a VERY thought-provoking and exceptional comment. I think the divide you are talking about makes a lot of sense, and would free up the other issues circling other more controversial “marriages” as well.

    And as for your comment leading into your point…know that you can always freely share you opinions with us, having no judgment passed on!

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