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Biblically speaking, what constitutes a marriage?

Scripture does not give us a direct statement , i.e., “To be married one must…” While differences exist regarding exactly what Malachi 2:14 means, it does suggest that one of the things that constituted marriage was a covenant made between a man and a woman (probably in public) of their intention to be joined in marriage as a life-long commitment. Following the presentation of the bride to the groom, they were to go immediately into their house and consummate the marriage through sexual intercourse. These two things constituted the marriage in the culture of the Old Testament and this is also seen in various ways in the gospels. Marriage was in three stages: first, there was the betrothal stage, then, at the right time, there was the presentation of the bride to the groom who would come for his bride. This would be equivalent to our wedding ceremony. This was then followed by a time of celebration or feasting. Important to this was when the bride and groom would go into their home or a designated house to consummate the marriage.

Related Topics: Marriage