Christian Marriage Procedure In India
Selection of Marital Partners
The Christians in India selects their marriage partners in three important ways :
- Parents selecting life partners for their children;
- Boys and girls selecting their life partners by themselves;
- Parents and children together selecting life partners.
Due to the impact of modern civilization and values, the present day Christians in India prefer to give freedom to the younger ones to select their life-partners. Most of the times parents and children together finalize the selection process.
Precaution in Selection of Life Partner
Christian community in India stresses on certain precautions to be taken by the young boys and girls before they finalize the selection of their life-partners.
1. Blood relatives are to be avoided.
2. Social status of the partner is to be taken into consideration.
3. The social status and the socio-religious background of the families to be considered.
4. The level of education and the strength of the character of the persons to be taken note of.
5. Finally, the physical fitness, that is, physical and mental health of the persons is to be given due weightage.
Christian Marital Procedure in India
Among the Christians, the “engagement ceremony” or the “betrothal ceremony” is normally arranged soon after the process of the selection of the life-partner is over. The engagement ceremony normally takes place at the bride’s house where the boy gives a ring to the girl. Occasionally, if not invariably, the girl also gives a ring to the boy in exchange for the one she receives. After this engagement the formalities of marriage begin. These formalities include the following conditions.
- Bride and the bridegroom must provide a certificate of their membership of the church.
- They must provide a certificate relating to their character.
- Application for the marriage should be submitted to the church at least three weeks before the date of marriage.
After the fulfillment of these conditions, the churches of the bride and the bridegroom invite written objections, if any, against the marriage from the concerned. If no objection is received in a specified period, the marriage is held on the day fixed for it. The Clergyman performs the marriage ceremony on the specified day in the presence of certain witnesses. Even if the boy and the girl are getting married in a Civil Court, they are required to go to the church to receive the blessings of the Clergyman.
Normally, marriage ceremony takes place in the church of which the girl happens to be the member. The Christian priest asks the bride and the bridegroom whether they accept each other as husband and wife. Depending upon their consent he solemnizes the marriage by asking the couple to declare in the presence of the witnesses that “I (name), in the presence of the Almighty God and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, do take thee (name), to be my lawful wedded wife / husband.”
Legislation Relating to Christian Marriage
The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 covers various aspects of Christian marriage. Several aspects such as — who should perform marriage, the place where it is to be performed [in which church], the time of performance, the relative age of the boy and the girl concerned, etc., are all dealt with by this legislation.