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May 30, 2011 at 1:12pm

CARV’S WEEKLY BLOG: On traditional marriage

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When we hear the phrase traditional marriage, we have to ask, "Whose tradition do you mean?" Every culture has its own wedding day customs, and the nature of marriage itself changes from land to land and from year to year. In German villages, for example, the couple's friends kidnap the bride and make the groom go look for her. In Scotland, a bride-to-be is doused with eggs and garbage and paraded through town. At Swedish wedding receptions, if either the bride or groom steps out to the restroom, the guests line up quickly to kiss the remaining partner.

Even our most sacred wedding traditions have changed over the years. In the Hebrew Law of Moses, a man married a woman simply by buying her from her father. She had very little say in the matter. A man could marry as many women as he could afford. Solomon had 700 wives, plus 300 concubines. It got awkward. In Islam to this day, a man can have as many as four wives.

First-century Christians considered marriage a private matter and had no formal service to ordain it. In fact, Christian brides didn't take their husbands' names until the 12th century. There were times when China, Greece, and Rome all recognized same-sex marriages; and in India, the arranged marriage of children was common for centuries-and some kids were married before they were even born. But that doesn't hold a candle to a culture in India, the Manglik Dosh, where women prepare for their weddings by first marrying trees. The trees are then burned to dispel a supposed curse. What matters most on a couple's special day is not some cultural habit, but rather, what marriage means to that couple alone. Amanda and I have differing spiritual backgrounds. It'd be impossible to deliver a service that would fit every family member's hopes for our wedding ceremony. Yet a wedding demonstrates reverence for the abiding things in life. It is a moment of spiritual unison.

Love is the substance of spirit. Our better selves are made manifest in love, and in commitment and trust. Our differing faiths become reconciled through our faith in one another. Amanda and I are devotedly, deeply in love; we are committed. For us, the meaning of marriage is lifelong unity and joy.

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Comments for "CARV’S WEEKLY BLOG: On traditional marriage " (1)

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chris c said on May. 30, 2011 at 5:47pm

you forgot the public nature of weddings and how the ceremony piece of it all sort of says to the world, "that person is now off limits!"

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