Defining Marriage

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Defining Marriage

Words are a part of everyday life. Without them people would have a very hard time conveying a message or showing their feelings to the people around them. Words also provide the groundwork on how we interpret what is expectable and what is not. Although only eight letters, the word marriage carries a lot of meaning for millions of people across the world. Depending on who ask, they might also have a definition of what they think marriage means. I myself define a marriage as a formal relationship between a man and a woman that last until death. The Merriam Webster dictionary on the other hand would define marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband and wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” On the other hand, thousands of men and women are set out to redefine marriage to also include same sex relationships as well. For myself and I’m sure millions of others across the world they do not think that a simple definition can confine someone from living in a regular recognized marriage like everyone else. How we define a particular word can have lasting effects and for the gay and lesbian community restricting them from the same basic rights that everyday couples take advantage of. In this exploratory essay I am dedicated to exploring the contested term “marriage” between the gay and lesbian community and many other people that have their own definition of marriage as well. Because the age we live in now, the commonly accepted definition of marriage between a man and a woman is keeping tens of thousands of same-sex couples by being federally recognized in a union. So what is marriage and why does it matter how people define it?

I first started with Peter Pothan who wrote an article called “The Christian Concept of Marriage”. Pothan is a theological teacher and is currently the Assistant Director of the Distance Learning Department of Southern Asia Bible College in Bangalore. He wastes no time clearly stating that he gets the definition of marriage from the bible. By referencing different parts of the Bible he is able to define what a Christian Marriage is and additional context as well. The first section that he references from the Bible is in Genesis 2:24. It states, “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” By this Pathan concludes that a Marriage is between one man and one woman. Although he breaks the verse down into four parts, for this exploratory essay I want to focus the marriage portion on which I am better trying to understand. During Gods initial creation he only created one wife for Adam. Pothan uses this as a backbone that it is not only a relationship between a man and a woman, but it is also a monogamous relationship that must be maintained as well. Additionally, he uses biblical context to further go to say that marriage is only permanent as long as life last. Overall, Peter Pothan does not try to impose this Christian definition of marriage onto anyone, but merely uses evidence from the Bible to extract the definition of marriage. Several times during the article he consistently uses the Christian definition of marriage evoking that he is clearly not trying to impose a singular definition for the word.

As a Christian myself I did find how he defined marriage very persuasive. He put very little opinion into interpreting what the Bible was saying and just tried to state the facts. I feel that most Christians would have a hard time disagreeing with what Pothan has to say. I also like he was not trying to impose the definition on anyone. Several times throughout the article he consistently use “Christian Marriage”. By this I felt that he clearly recognized that there is a dispute between what the definition of marriage truly is. On the other hand, I can also see one big hole is this definition. Although the Bible is very widely used and accepted across the world...
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