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Unit 3. Marriage and the Family

Revision Guide Mr McCay

March 2011

Section 3: Marriage and the Family Revision Guide In this unit you must know the following: 1. The keywords linked with the section (remember, if you learn these it will gain you an easy 2 marks for each section.

2. The different types of family in the UK (nuclear; extended; reconstituted; single parent etc)

3. The Christian teachings on the importance of the family in society, including the ways in which the Church may help in the upbringing or caring for the family

4. Why attitudes have changed, within the UK, towards cohabitation, marriage, divorce and homosexuality. 5. The different Christian attitudes towards contraception, pre-marital sex and divorce

6. The purpose of marriage (including some of the symbols in the wedding ceremony)

7. The Christian attitudes to homosexuality, including the reasons for the attitudes.

Mr McCay

March 2011


The legal joining of a couple as husband and wife


Living together without being married


Staying with the same partner throughout a person’s life

Pre-marital sex

Having sex before marriage


Having a variety of sexual partners


A married person having sex with someone other than their marriage partner


The legal ending of a marriage


Marrying again after being divorced from a previous marriage


Marriage to one partner only


Marriage to more than one partner at a time

Nuclear family

Mother, father and the children living as a unit

Extended family

Grandparents/aunts/uncles living as a unit with mother, father and the children; or living very close and having a lot of contact

One-parent family Where there has been a separation, divorce or death and only one of the parents is involved in bringing up the children Re-constituted      Family made up of children and step children because the partners have divorced and married again family Homosexuality

Being sexually attracted to members of the same sex


Being sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex

Mr McCay

March 2011

Christian teachings on the importance of family Nearly all Christians believe that in a ideal world children should be brought up in a family with a mother and father (unless one of them has died). Christian marriage services refer to founding a family and bringing children up in a Christian environment as major purposes of marriage. Why is it important? Christians see the family as the basis of society. Children are a gift from God and parents are expected to look after them properly (feeding, clothing, educating, etc.) and help them to be Christians by having them baptized and taking them to church on Sunday. Christian children are expected to respect their parents (fifth commandment) and care for them when they are old.

How the Church helps with the Family life: (learn at least two points) •

Many Churches have infant baptism where parents dedicate their children to God and make promises about bringing their children up in a loving Christian home. Churches which have ‘believer’s baptism’ (being baptized when you are old enough to believe for yourself) have dedication services where similar promises are made. These promises, the services and the prayers made at them must help parents in bringing up their children.

Most churches run Sunday Schools and provide classes for confirmation.

Churches welcome families and have monthly family services and special services at Christmas and Easter to bring families together.

Many churches run uniformed organizations (Cubs, Brownies, girls’ and boys’ brigades, etc.) and youth clubs and youth activities.

Ministers/vicars/priests also act as marriage and family counsellors and some churches (e.g. the Catholic Church) run marriage and family guidance services.

Some Churches run schools which teach the National Curriculum in a Christian environment.

Mr McCay

March 2011

COHABITATION, MARRIAGE, DIVORCE AND HOMOSEXUALITY Why attitudes towards sex outside marriage and co-habitation has changed Contraception has meant that it is now safer to have sex without becoming pregnant. This means that there have been an increase in sex before marriage. Fewer people go to church and this means that less people are encourage to abstain from sex before marriage. The media shows famous people living together without being married, for example Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. This makes cohabitation more acceptable. Soaps and films show people having sex outside marriage as the norm, for example, sex is regularly a storyline in the TV show Friends. This has led to more people seeing sex outside marriage as acceptable.

Christian attitudes towards Sex outside marriage and co-habitation Most Christians (including Catholics) believe that sex should only happen in marriage and so sex before marriage and adultery are wrong. They base this on the teachings of the Bible (the seventh commandment on adultery, the teachings of St Paul) and the teachings of Church leaders such as the Pope. Some liberal Protestants believe sex before marriage is all right as long as: •" The couple love each other; •" They are in a long-term relationship; •" They intend to marry eventually. This is based on Jesus’ teachings about love.

Christian attitudes towards Marriage Christians regard marriage as a gift from God, but they do not have to marry. The reasons (purposes) for Christian marriage are to: be able to live together in love; • have lawful sex; • have comfort and companionship; • have children • create a Christian family. • The main features of a Christian wedding are: • exchange of vows (promises) before God and witnesses; • exchange of rings blessed by God; • prayers, Bible readings on marriage, sermon or talk on the duties of marriage; • communion to unite the couple with Christ and each other.

Mr McCay

March 2011

Christian marriage is for life; a vow (promise) in the marriage service says, ‘to love and to cherish in sickness and in health till death parts us’.

Christian attitudes towards Divorce Some Roman Catholic Christians believe there can be no divorce because Jesus banned divorce. Also when you marry, you make a covenant with God which cannot be broken without God’s consent. Therefore a couple can never be divorced according to God’s law. Catholics do have Marriage Tribunals which can decide that a marriage never existed (annulment), but there can be no divorce and Catholics who have state divorces are not allowed to remarry. Most Protestant Christians believe that if a marriage goes wrong and there is no chance of bringing the couple back together, then there can be divorce. They believe this because God is always prepared to forgive sins if people are determined to live a new life, and in St Matthew’s Gospel Jesus allows divorce for adultery.

Christian attitudes towards Homosexuality Homosexuality is sexual attraction to members of one’s own sex, as opposed to heterosexuality, which is an attraction to members of the opposite sex. Homosexual Christians face a serious problem. They wish to express their love for a partner, but feel that they are not permitted to do so because some biblical teaching appears not to support homosexual practices. However, some churches are prepared to give a blessing service to long-term homosexual relationships.  The Catholic Church:  is NOT against homosexual feelings as God made them; is AGAINST homosexual sexual intercourse Protestants judge homosexual relationships on the strength of their love

Mr McCay

March 2011

Bible Quotes “You shall not commit adultery” Exodus 20:14 Family is important: "Honour your mother and father" Exodus 12 (5th Commandment) Marriage is important: "God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God: and God lives in union with them" John 4:16 Divorce is wrong: “No human being must then separate that which God has joined together" Mark 10:9 Homosexuality is wrong: "no-one who is guilty of homosexual perversion shall enter the kingdom of God" Corinthians 6:9-10 Homosexuality is wrong: "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable" Leviticus 18:22 Equal rights including homosexuals??? “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28 Jesus helped those others would not. Treated women as equals? Homosexuals?

Mr McCay

March 2011

Marriage and the family revision  
Marriage and the family revision  

EDEXCEL GCSE revision document