Your Family Matters with PASTOR CHANDA
FRIDAY, August 11, 2017: I have in front of me an invitation card that I got for a wedding. In it, the bridegroom’s parents are inviting me to a wedding where their
son is “getting married” to the daughter of some other people. I was rather confused. Their son is “getting married”?
I thought that men marry and women get married. I asked a few other people about this and found that there is widespread ignorance and confusion with respect to male and female roles in marriage—all the way from the wedding day. We need to sort out this mess.
I was getting rather worried about all this and so went to the Bible and found that I was right.
Whenever it was a man getting into a marriage, the Bible did not speak of him “getting married” but rather that he was marrying a wife. Here are a few examples.
Some Pharisees asked Jesus, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow….’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother…” (Matt. 22:24–25).
Notice that the brothers married the widow. They did not get married to her.
The Bible reported on the death of John the Baptist due to his opposition to Herod’s marriage, saying, “For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her” (Mark 6:17).
Notice again that Herod married Herodias. He did not get married to her.
One more example of men marrying wives and I think that should suffice. Jesus told a parable of men who were invited for a banquet but they all asked to be excused. One of them said, “I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come” (Luke 14:20).
Again, notice that the man did not say he got married but that he married a wife.
However, when I looked at the more modern translations of the Bible that do not stick closely to the original Greek, they have also changed this and are adding to the confusion. Luke 14:20 in the New Living Translation says, “I just got married, so I can’t come”!
I agree that when we are referring to both bride and bridegroom, it should be up to us to speak in the passive (“they are getting married next week”) or active (“they are marrying next week”), and in this respect today we often tend to speak in the passive tense.
In contrast, the Bible tended to speak in the active tense: “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single…. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Cor. 7:8–9).
Why should a man speak in the passive when he is referring to himself getting a wife?
He went pursuing a woman’s love until she gave in to his overtures. Why must he be passive now and “get married” to her when finishing off the job? He should go and marry her.
Wedding cards always began with a bride’s parents inviting guests to a wedding where their daughter was “getting married” to the son of other people.
It was a female “getting married” to a male. I am shocked that now males are “getting married” to females.
The understanding both in Bible times and in the not-too-distant past was that a bride’s family hosted the wedding.
They invited friends and relatives to this event where a man was coming (with his friends and relatives) to take away their daughter in marriage.
That was why wedding cards were always from the bride’s parents and not from the bridegroom’s parents—and certainly not from the bride and groom!
It was a bittersweet celebration that they were losing their daughter but doing so in the most honourable way.
I think that we need to sort out this mess in our thinking. Are you marrying or getting married?
It depends on whether you are male or female. Men propose and women respond to proposals.
Thus also, males marry and females get married. Let us be clear about this!
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