That Christ Has His Rightful Position In This Marriage

A Metaphor of Christ and the Church

That Christ Has His Rightful Position In This Marriage

John Piper, “A Metaphor of Christ and the Church,” The Standard 74:2 (February 1984): 27, 29. Alvera and Berekely Micklesen responded with, “Marriage as Submission? Response from the Mickelsens,” The Standard 74:2 (February 1984): 30.

Ephesians 5:31 is a quotation of Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one.” Then Paul adds in verse 32: “This is a great mystery, and I take it to mean Christ and the church.”

The union of man and woman in marriage is a mystery because it conceals, as in a parable, a truth about Christ and the church. The divine reality hidden in the metaphor of marriage is that God ordained a permanent union between His Son and the church.

Human marriage is the earthly image of this divine plan. As God willed for Christ and the church to become one body (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13), so He willed for marriage to reflect this pattern—that the husband and wife become one flesh (Gen. 2:24).

It is no accident that human marriage provides language to explain Christ’s relation to the church (2 Cor. 11:2). For human marriage is the copy, not the original. Geoffrey Bromiley is right when he says,

“As God made man in His own image, so He made earthly marriage in the image of His own eternal marriage with His people” (God and Marriage, p. 43).

Distinctive Roles Christ and the Church

The inference Paul draws from this mystery is that the roles of husband and wife in marriage are not arbitrarily assigned but are rooted in the distinctive roles of Christ and His church. Therefore husbands and wives should consciously copy the relationship God intended for Christ and the church.

Accordingly, wives are to take their unique cur from the purpose of the church in its relation to Christ: “Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. As the church is subject to Christ so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands” (Eph. 5:22-24).

To understand the wife’s submission we need to understand the husband’s headship, because her submission is his headship (cf. “for,” v. 23). The Greek word for “head” (kephale) is used in the Old Testament sometimes to refer to a chief or leader (Judges 10:18; 11:8–9; 2 Sam. 22:44; Ps. 18:43; Isa. 7:8).

It is not at first obvious why “head” should be used to refer to a leader, since for many ancients the leading faculty of thought was in the heart (Prov. 23:7), not the head.

Perhaps its position at the top of the body gave the head its association with high rank and power. However, according to Charles Singer in the Oxford Classical Dictionary (p.

59), Aristotle’s opinion that intelligence is in the heart “was contrary to the views of some of his medical contemporaries, contrary to the doctrine of [Plato’s] Timaeus.”

The most pertinent Greek witness for the meaning of “head” in Paul’s time would be his contemporary, Philo, who said, “Just as nature conferred the sovereignty (begemonian) of the body on the head when she granted it also possession of the citadel as the most suitable for its kingly rank, conducted it thither to take command and established it on high with the whole framework from neck to foot set below it, the pedestal under the statue, so too she has given the lordship (to kratos) of the senses to the eyes” (Special Laws, III, 184).

This was the popular view in Paul’s day according to Heinrich Schlier (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 674), as is evident from Stoic sources besides Philo.

Therefore, the Mickelsens were wrong when they said in Christianity Today (October 5, 1979, p.

25) that “for Greek-speaking people in New Testament times who had little opportunity to read the Greek translation of the Old Testament, there were many possible meanings for ‘head’ but ‘supreme over’ or ‘being responsible to’ were not among them.”

“Supremacy” is precisely the quality given to the head of Philo and others.

But most important is that Paul’s own use of the word “head” in Ephesians 1:22 “unquestionably carries with it the idea of authority” (Stephen Bedale, “The Meaning of Kephale in the Pauline Epistles,” Journal of the Theological Society, 1954, p. 215).

God “raised Him from the dead and made Him sit at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named… and He has put all things under His feet and has made Him the head over all things for the church” (Eph. 1:20–22).

Even if the headship of Christ includes the idea of “source” (as in Ephesians 4:15–16), that is a foreign idea here where Christ is installed as supreme over all authorities.

Nor is it ly that this idea was in Paul’s mind in Ephesians 5:23 where the wife’s “subordination” suggests most naturally that her husband is “head” in the sense of leader or authority.

So the primary meaning of headship in Ephesians 5:23 is leadership or authority.

Inclined to Yield, Disposed to Follow

Therefore, when Paul says, “Wives, be subject to your husbands. . . . For the husband is the head of the wife,” he means that a wife should be disposed to yield to her husband’s authority and should be inclined to follow his leadership.

I refer to an inclination to yield and a disposition to follow, because no subjection to another human is absolute. The husband does not replace Christ as the woman’s supreme authority. Therefore, she may never follow her husband into sin.

But even when a Christian wife may have to stand with Christ against the sinful will of her husband, she can still have a spirit of submission. She can show by her attitude and action that she does not resisting his will and that she longs for him to forsake his sin and lead in righteousness, so that her disposition to honor him as her head can again produce harmony.

I stress the wife’s disposition of the submission and the heartfelt honoring of her husband’s headship because the specific behaviors growing this spirit are so varied and can even appear contradictory from culture to culture.

A Humble Servant

If wives take their unique cue in marriage from the church’s subjection to Christ, husbands are to take theirs from Christ’s love for the church.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25).

This means that headship lays upon man the responsibility to lead with the kind of love that is willing to die in order that the wife may live. As Jesus says in Luke 22:26, “Let . . . the leader [become] as one who serves.”

The husband who plops himself in front of the TV and orders his wife around a slave has abandoned Christ for Archie Bunker. Christ bound Himself with a towel and washed the disciples’ feet. If a man wants to be a Christian husband he must copy Jesus, not Jabba the Hut.

Is it true that verse 21 puts this whole section under the sign of mutual submission: “Be subject to one another reverence for Christ.

” But it is utterly unwarranted to infer from this verse that the way Christ submits Himself to the church and the way the church submits herself to Christ are the same. The church submits to Christ by a disposition to follow His leadership.

Christ submits to the church by a disposition to exercise His leadership in humble service to the church.

When Christ said, “Let the leader become as one who serves,” He did not mean, let the leader cease to be leader. Even while He was on His knees washing the disciples’ feet, no one doubted who the leader was. Nor should any Christian husband shirk his responsibility under God to provide moral vision and spiritual leadership as the humble servant of his wife and family.

Redemption Brings Recovery

This understanding of marriage is a remarkable confirmation of my interpretation of Genesis 1–3 (December, pp. 33, 35).

I argued that the fall ruined the harmony of marriage because it twisted man’s loving headship into hostile domination in some men and lazy indifference in others.

And it twisted woman’s intelligent, willing submission into manipulative obsequiousness in some women and brazen insubordination in others.

If this is true, then the redemption we anticipate with the coming of Christ is not the dismantling of the created order, of loving headship and willing submission but a recovery of it.

This is precisely what we find in Ephesians 5:21–33.

Wives, redeem your fallen submission by modeling it after God’s intention for the church! Husbands, redeem your fallen headship by modeling it after God’s intention for Christ!

God created marriage to be a metaphor of Christ’s relationship to the church. Sin has so confused the metaphor as to make it unintelligible. The New Testament once again makes the metaphor transparent. But if contemporary feminist hermeneutics succeed, the meaning of the metaphor will be obscured for many years to come.

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Commitment to Christ – Key to a Successful Marriage Successful Marriage

That Christ Has His Rightful Position In This Marriage

Each marriage will encounter hardships throughout its duration. It is a couple’s faith in Christ that enables them to stay committed to each other in a successful marriage. Unfortunately, empirical evidence reveals that Christian divorce rates are at par or higher than couples who do not identify with a specific religion.

Marriage is a sacred covenant between two individuals and God, marital success is often contingent upon each individual’s intimate relationship with Christ. Often our relationship with God is pictured as a marriage, the church is referred to as the bride of Christ.

One of the most important characteristics of a successful marriage is building a strong bond. In order to develop an unbreakable bond with your spouse you must first do so with Christ.

That individual’s relationship with Christ and the word of God will guide and instruct couples on how to handle conflict and other difficult situations that will inevitably arise.

The keys to successful relationships is to view issues through the lens of the Bible, and address problems in a manner that is undeviating from your faith.

Your spouse is an imperfect being who may do things unintentionally that will irritate and disappoint you. You may ask why your commitment to Christ is the key element of a successful marriage. It is because your commitment to Christ helps you to conform to His character. Conforming to his character helps you to show more mercy and love to your spouse.

Additionally, it helps you become more forgiving, kinder, and wiser. People that are committed to Christ work diligently to embody the characteristics of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5: 22-23 states “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

It is important to display these characteristics on a daily basis. They especially need to be exhibited when you experience your relationship becoming more difficult. Most times when you argue with a partner that is already combative it only escalates the situation.

Biblically, kindness has been shown to disarm anger, Proverbs 15:1 states “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.

Marriage is an opportunity for character building. Character building is important to God and it will be important to your spouse. Constantly renewing your mind each day with his word will ensure that your character will continue to build. It will be another step towards a successful marriage

Commitment to Christ and commitment to your spouse requires practicing similar activities on a daily basis.

There are three biblical marriage principles for a successful marriage that a married couple needs to follow in their relationship for growth to take place in their relationship with God and each other.

1. Cast aside pride and to practice humility

Pride destroys the fabric of a marriage by ripping away at intimacy. Furthermore, pride clouds our mind by giving us a deceptive view of ourselves. Having a deceptive view of ourselves can negatively change how we treat our spouse or make decisions.

Healthy marriages function in a climate of humility. Admitting when you are wrong allows to not only practice humility, it also allows you to become vulnerable with your partner. Vulnerability can increase emotional intimacy within a marriage which further strengthens it. Vulnerability and humility are important for a successful marriage.

2. Work on receiving forgiveness and forgiving your spouse

While it may be difficult it is important to forgive your spouse, Ephesians 4:32 states “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”.

The same forgiveness that God has shown us we must show to our partner for a successful marriage. By letting go of past hurts relationships are able to function at their optimal level. Holding onto past hurts can cause us to harbor resentment that can manifest itself in maladaptive behaviors. These behaviors can have a deleterious effect on our marriage.

3. Serve each other in love

Marriage is at its best when individuals have an attitude of service, servicing your partner strengthens the marriage by allowing your partner to feel loved and appreciated. As a married couple grows in their relationship with God the more they discover that their faith is the bonding agent needed in developing an unshakable successful marriage.

Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?

If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.

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Marriage and weddings

That Christ Has His Rightful Position In This Marriage

Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted. It is the right atmosphere to engage in sexual relations and to build a family life. Getting married in a church, in front of God, is very important.

A marriage is a public declaration of love and commitment. This declaration is made in front of friends and family in a church ceremony.

The history of marriage

Marriage vows, in the form “To have and to hold from 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”, have been recited at UK church weddings since 1552.

But before the wedding service was written into the Book of Common Prayer, marriages were much more informal: couples could simply promise themselves to one another at any time or place and the spoken word was as good as the written contract.

In this audio clip, three academics – Janet Soskice, Reader in Modern Theology and Philosophical Theology, Cambridge University; Frederik Pedersen, Lecturer in History, Aberdeen University; and Christina Hardyment, social historian and journalist – discuss the history of and the role of state and church in marriage.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is God's doing: “God himself is the author of marriage”, which is his way of showing love for those he created. Because a marriage is a divine institution it can never be broken, even if the partners are legally divorced: as long as they are both alive, the Church considers them bound together by God.

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Catholics are encouraged to marry other Catholics in order to attain a “perfect union of mind and full communion of life”, but it is also the priest's duty to remember that marriage is part of God's natural law and to support the couple if they do choose to marry.

Today in countries throughout the world it is common for Catholics to enter into a 'mixed marriage' (a marriage between a Catholic and a baptised non-Catholic).

Couples entering into a mixed marriage are usually allowed to marry in a Catholic church provided they have embraced the following principles:

  • They have chosen to marry of their own accord with no external pressure
  • They intend to remain together for life
  • They intend to be faithful to each other
  • They intend to have children if the bride is of childbearing age

When one member of the couple is not a Catholic, a dispensation is required for a mixed marriage to take place. This is normally granted by the priest who is conducting the marriage.

If one of the partners is not baptised (they belong to a non-Christian religion, or to none) a dispensation for 'disparity of the cult' is required. This must be granted by the bishop. It is usually a straightforward matter as long as the dispensation is applied for in time. The priest will usually take care of the paperwork.

Catholic teaching on marriage to non-Catholics

The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognises that mixed marriages can pose difficulties but it also points towards the importance of growing together through dialogue and a common faith in Jesus Christ.

The Catechism also makes a distinction between a mixed marriage and a marriage with 'disparity of cult' (a marriage between a Catholic and non-baptised person).

Priests are required by the Church to ensure that such marriages will not endanger the faith of the Catholic partner. In practice, priests will judge each situation on a case by case basis.

If difficulties arise, it is the pastoral duty of the priest to raise questions and initiate a frank discussion with the couple.

He would use the same logic as any other situation in life where the faith of a Catholic could be in jeopardy.

While the Church urges caution in the case of marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, it does not prevent a Catholic from marrying the person of their choice.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church sets out the position:

Before a marriage takes place, a couple must spend time with the priest to talk about the sanctity of marriage and their role within the church in preparation for their life together. Questions concerning family and children, money issues, lifestyle choices and religion will be asked.

These marriage preparations are known as pre-Cana. It is an educational and maturing process for married life. Pre-Cana can take place over six months or an intensive weekend course and is mandatory for Catholics wishing to get married.

Whilst a couple is engaged but not yet married, they are expected to refrain from sexual activity: “They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love”. This is because the Church teaches that sex is part of the procreation process and should only happen within the right framework, which is marriage.

A Catholic wedding ceremony

There are two types of Catholic marriage ceremony. One is with Mass and celebrates the Eucharist, which lasts for about an hour. The other is without Mass and only takes about 20 minutes.

The ceremony including Mass is as follows:

  1. Entrance rite: there is a procession, which may include a hymn. The priest greets the congregation then the Penitential rite and opening prayers are said.
  2. Liturgy of the Word: Bible readings, one from the Old Testament, a responsorial psalm, a New Testament reading, a Gospel acclamation, a Gospel reading and a homily (a practical sermon, not a theological one)
  3. The rite of marriage: questions are asked about the couples' faithfulness to one another and their willingness to bring up children. Then the vows are made and the rings are exchanged.
  4. Liturgy of the Eucharist: gifts are presented and the altar is prepared. Then the Eucharist prayer is said. Then the following are sung: Sanctus Sanctus, Memorial acclamation and Great Amen.
  5. Communion rite: The Lord's Prayer is said which is followed by a nuptial blessing. Then follows the Sign of Peace, Agnus Dei and Communion Hymn (sung).
  6. Concluding rite: The final blessing is made, there is a dismissal and the couple kiss. There is a recessional hymn which accompanies everyone the church.

In a wedding without Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist is missed out.

Official Catholic doctrine regarding marriage

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38 Bible Verses About Marriage

That Christ Has His Rightful Position In This Marriage

Couples who wish to show their devotion to each other and to their faith often turn to Bible verses about marriage when planning their nuptials. These scriptures on love from the Holy Book serve as spiritual and sentimental reminders of the love that you share, and provide you with a way to honor your religious beliefs while celebrating with friends and family. 

Marriage Bible verses give you the opportunity to share your thoughts and emotions, even when other sentiments may fall short. There are times when only a carefully chosen piece of scripture will suffice, and now you don't have to peruse the Bible on your own to find the right words.

You can use these Bible verses about marriage and love to express the joy, gratitude and happiness that you feel toward your significant other while paying tribute to your faith.

Here are some of the most treasured Bible verses about love, marriage and relationships that you can incorporate into your wedding day.

Bible Verses About Marriage

The Bible contains numerous references to the sanctity and beauty of marriage. Its poetic love scriptures eloquently sum up what it means to be in love and to commit yourself to your significant other for the rest of your life.

These Bible verses about marriage are the ideal addition to your wedding vows, however, for your reception toast or invitations, consider using Bible verses about love that everyone can relate to.

After all, there’s a myriad of ways to love one another outside of marriage.

Megan Rubey

Genesis 1:27-28: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' “

Malachi 2:14-15: “But you say, 'Why does he not?' Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.”

Isaiah 54:5: “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”

Song of Solomon 8:6-7: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.”

Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Colossians 3:14: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”

Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.”

Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …”

Bible Verses About Love

The Bible has a lot to say about the bonds of love and devotion. Bible verses about love speak of the perfect love that everyone should have toward their friends, family and mankind, not to mention the Lord.

However, Bible verses about love also offer a revealing look at the strength and hope that romantic love can provide.

It can be difficult to put your feelings for one another into words, but these Bible verses about love seem to capture its essence just right.

Megan Rubey

Romans 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

1 Corinthians 13:2: “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

1 Corinthians 16:14: “Do everything in love.”

Song of Solomon 8:7: “Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”

Psalm 143:8: “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

Proverbs 3:3-4: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”

Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Song of Solomon 4:9: “You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.”

Bible Verses About Relationships

There's no relationship manual that tells you how to overcome obstacles and strengthen the ties you have with your loved ones (but Lasting can help).

Thankfully, Bible verses about love serve as excellent guides; these scriptures offer jewels of wisdom that can help you navigate the ups and downs of love, as well as convey your heartfelt thoughts to your future spouse.

There are a number of wedding scriptures and Bible verses about love that touch on the subject of relationships that you may want to mention on your wedding day.

Megan Rubey

Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Proverbs 30:18-19: “There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don't understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.”

1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Proverbs 31:10: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

Ruth 1:16-17: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”

Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

1 Peter 4:8: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”

Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another reverence for Christ.”

Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Genesis 2:18–25: “Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.' …

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

1 Peter 3:7: “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God's gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”

In addition to these Bible verses about marriage, love and relationships, we have these Bible love quotes and an additional 150 quotes about love. 

And for more guidance for your marriage, Lasting is always accessible and dedicated to improving the health of your relationship.

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Victorian era courtship rules and marriage facts

That Christ Has His Rightful Position In This Marriage

The Victorian period is also regarded as the era of Romanticism. In those days, courtship was considered to be a tradition and was very popular. Queen Victoria and her family were the idols of the Victorian society, even in the case of courtship. The society had laid down some stringent rules for courting and these had to be followed.

Love in Victorian era

Social rules in the victorian era

The primary method of knowing prospective suitors were Balls and dances. Society would know young Victorian ladies through a ball or dance. This was called “coming out” and was an indication that a young woman was interested in finding potential suitors.

During Victorian era, a couple which dated would normally get married. After marriage, the property of the woman was automatically transferred to her husband. The Victorian girls, from the very beginning, were well trained and groomed to become the perfect wives and mothers.

A woman was never permitted to go out alone and meet a gentleman. She was always accompanied by some elderly person and it was necessary for the girl to take her mother’s permission before going out. Thus, some or the other kind of supervision was ensured when the couples were meeting.

Victorian etiquette for men courting

A woman was never allowed to go out at night with a gentleman. There were many rules in respect of dating which were to be complied with.

Some of the rules of victorian courting

1. A single woman never addressed a gentleman without an introduction.

2. No impure conversations were held in front of single women.

3. A woman could not receive a man at home if she was alone. Another family member had to be present in the room.

4. There was no physical contact between the woman and the gentleman until marriage.

5. Victorian etiquette for men courting dictated that a man could offer the girl his hand if the road was uneven. That was the only touch, which was accepted between a man and a woman, who was not engaged to him.

6. A woman was allowed some liberties, however. She could flirt with her fan, as this behavior was within the protocol of accepted behavior.

7. An unmarried girl would never date a man at the night. A man could not stay for long in a girl’s home. This was considered extremely impolite.

8. Even if the girl entered the stage of courtship, she could never walk with the gentleman.

9. Women were restrained to ride alone in the closed carriage with a man, expect for a close relative.

10. The girl should not be invited by any gentleman at his place.

11. If engaged, the gentleman could not turn back to see any other girl.

12. Even after an engagement, the couple was not allowed to have sexual behavior.

13. In the relationship, intelligence was not at all required, neither any interest in the politics.

Victorian era marriage customs

Step 1 – courtship

The Victorian people were very cautious about courtships. The dating would firstly begin when the couple would speak to one another. The next step was to go out for a walk and then lastly by keeping company. The upper class socialized at social events while the lowers classes socialized at events Sunday Service or Church suppers.

Step 2 – engagement

After the couple had developed mutual affection, the next step to strengthen their relation was marriage. The second stage of the courtship was engagement. After getting engaged, the couple could get hold hands in public, go for walks alone, and take unchaperoned rides.

The engaged couple was allowed to meet behind closed doors but had to be dutifully separated by nightfall. The men while dating a woman were discreet to never break an engagement as it tarnished the woman’s reputation.

Step 3 – marriage

In Victorian courtships, marriage was the final stage. However, marriage between two persons was permitted so long the couple intending to marry belonged to the same class. After marriage, the woman played the role of a dutiful wife and mother. The dating during the Victorian period was thus very different from what it is today.

Victorian courtship gifts

gift of soap

As you might expect, there were many rules regarding courtship during the Victorian era.

A lady who maintained the rigid strictures of Victorian society wasn’t allowed to accept lavish or expensive gifts at the hands of a gentleman not related or engaged to her.

According to one etiquette expert of the 1870s – 1890s, Professor Thomas E. Hill, there were four items she could accept from a gentleman while still maintaining propriety.

Books, confectionery, flowers, sheet music.

Usually, gentlemen were not supposed to give gifts to ladies unless that lady was their fiancée or a relative. Even then, as per Mrs. Houghton:

“A costly gift from a gentleman to a young lady would be indelicate, as having the appearance of a bribe upon her affections.”

Instead, etiquette demanded that a gentleman gifts flowers, fruit, or candy. These gifts were perishable and therefore left no obligation upon the lady receiving them.

Christmas gifts

Extract from 1879 edition of Harper’s Bazaar

“Gentlemen do not care for the pretty trifles and decorations that delight ladies; and as for real necessities, they are apt to go and buy anything that is a convenience just as soon as it is discovered.”

However, as a general rule, smoking caps, sleeping caps, and house slippers were popular gifts for gentlemen relations, as were handkerchiefs and tobacco pouches.

Books about courtship etiquettes

Several books were published explaining the rules of etiquette to both genders. Here are names of some of those:

Godey’s Lady Book, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, Manners for Men by Mrs. C.E. Humphry, The Laws of Etiquette: or, short rules and reflections for conduct in society, by a gentleman, and Manners and Social Usages.

These books explained several rules for social behavior and those in the Victorian times closely practiced them.

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A Brief History of Marriage | History

That Christ Has His Rightful Position In This Marriage

Early marriage was borne of ancient societies' need to secure a safe environment in which to breed, handle the granting of property rights, and protect bloodlines. Ancient Hebrew law required a man to become the husband of a deceased brother's widow.

But even in these early times, marriage was much about love and desire as it was social and economic stability. In its roundness, the engagement ring, a custom dating back to the Ancient Rome, is believed to represent eternity and everlasting union. It was once believed a vein or nerve ran directly from the 'ring' finger of the left hand to the heart.

Many other modern day marriage traditions have their origins in these ancient times. Newly-weds are said to have aided fertility by drinking a brew made from honey during certain lunar phases and it is this tradition from which we derive the origins of the word 'honeymoon'.


Understanding of marriage contrasted greatly from culture to culture. Some cultures viewed the institution as endogamous (men were required to marry within their own social group, family, clan, or tribe), exogamous (marrying outside the geographical region or social group) or polygamous (allowing men to take more than one bride).

Polygamy was formally banned towards the end of the Roman Empire with laws against adultery, fornication and other relationships outside a monogamous lifelong covenant. The seeds of modern marriage were sowed here and they extended into the modern Western world.


In European nations, marriage was traditionally considered a civil institution. Around 5AD great Christian theologians such as Augustine wrote about marriage and the Christian Church started taking an interest in the ceremony.

It was at this point that Christians began to have their marriages conducted by ministers in Christian gatherings, but it was in the 12th century that the Roman Catholic Church formally defined marriage as a sacrament, sanctioned by God.

In Catholicism, it is still believed that the Sacrament of Matrimony is between God, the man and the woman, while the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century CE re-valued marriage as a merely life-long and monogamous covenant between a man and a woman.


During the Victorian era romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and the rituals of courting became even more formal. An interested gentleman could not simply walk up to a young lady and begin a conversation. He had to be formally introduced and only after some time was considered appropriate for a man to speak to a lady or for a couple to be seen together.

Once formally introduced, if a gentleman wished to escort a lady home from a social function he would present his card to her and at the end of the evening the lady would review her options and chose who would be her escort! She would then notify the lucky gentleman by giving him her own card requesting that he escort her home.

Almost all courting took place in the girl's home, always under the eye of watchful parents. If the courting progressed, the couple might advance to the front porch. It was also rare for couples to see each other without the presence of a chaperone, and marriage proposals were frequently written.


Divorce has existed for about as long as marriage so although we've had a lot of practice at monogamy, we're still not very good at it!

The ancient Greeks liberally allowed divorce, but even then the person requesting divorce had to submit the request to a magistrate, who would determine whether or not the reasons given were sufficient. In contrast divorce was rare in early Roman culture. However, as the empire grew in power and authority, civil law embraced the idea that either husband or wife could renounce the marriage at will.

Throughout the last thousand years, divorce was generally frowned upon and from the earliest years of the Christian age the only 'proper' way to dissolve a marriage was by annulment – a status that was granted only by the Church. Of course, one British king changed all that during the Sixteenth Century by having arguably the most famous divorce in British history.

In 1533 Henry VIII famously broke England's ties with the Catholic Church and changed the face of our nation forever purely because he wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn.


In many parts of 16th and 17th century Europe and America, the concept of 'bundling' was widely used. This process allowed courting couples to share a bed, fully clothed with a 'bundling board' to separate them. This allowed a pair to talk and get to know each other in the safe confines of the girl's house.

In some parts of 18th Century Europe a biscuit or small loaf of bread was broken over the head of the bride as she came out from the church. Unmarried guests scrambled for the pieces, and they would place them under their pillows to aid their own fortunes in marriage. It is believed that the tradition of having a wedding cake stems from this strange custom.

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