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All that I have I share with you… not 21 October 2010

Posted by Dr Moose in Church, Faith, Ponderings.
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Hidden away within the news of the last few days, and unrelated to the Comprehensive Spending Review, there was a potentially ground-breaking case over the interpretation and legality of pre-nuptial agreements. If you haven’t come across them the idea is that couples make written, and in much of the western world, legally-binding agreements to stipulate who gets what if it all falls apart, and on occasion other penalty clauses covering infidelity ($100,000 penalty per time, for example) or other slightly more odd conditions, such as the weight of one partner not exceeding a given amount.

While I find the need for such things as these rather sad, I can fully understand them within the context of a marriage as legal contract. After all, they simply become contractual obligations. However, they certainly are not compatible with the traditional “Christian marriage” as understood in the commonly used words in the exchanging of rings:

N, I give you this ring
as a sign of our marriage.
With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

If such promises are to be “made in the presence of God, who is judge of all and knows all the secrets of our hearts” I wonder how many couples would be rather discomforted were the vicar, as part of the wedding preparation, take them to task, or at least suggest that those words cannot be used. Then again, I wonder what else could be?

Call me cynical if you like, but given how few marriages I take where the couples have any real apparent understanding of the “within the love of God” part,  perhaps the whole thing is due for a re-write. And that’s without the responsibilities of the minister to check on the immigration status and fitness to marry of the partners…. but that’s for another post, I think!

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