blahchewy (blahchewy) wrote in strangehonor,

The Substance of Marriage

It's been a while since we had a nice talk about social constructs.  The subject came up recently about what the meat and bones of marriage is.  I have decided that the best way to come to a consensus is to turn it over to my fellow Men of Strange Honor for debate.  

First off, I put forward that a marriage is a ritual (that is a distinct ceremonial event with established rites/actions) that is meant to join people in an official, social, emotional or legally binding way.  The ritual is most frequently associated with a romantic subtext or context.  Please note that use of the word "or" in the above list means that the ritual  need only fill one to be a marriage ritual.  Filling more than one is just fine too.

From this definition I asks you fellow Men of Strange Honor the following questions:

Are there any other requirements of a marriage ritual?

Is an officiator essential for a marriage ritual?

If so, what is the purpose of the officiator?

If not, can two people simply marry each other?

To help start discussion my answers to these questions are as follows:

-- For a ritual to be valid it must have a link to a third party that either is or represents a social, spiritual or legal power that the parties being married have a real commitment and faith to.  The philosophical part is that marriage is a blend of the married parties to one another and then to the thing that makes up the fabric of their world.  For some that's God.  For some it's ancestor spirits.  For some it is the rule of law.

-- This means that for the most part an officiator is necessary for marriage.  Lacking the presence of the deity/construct/concept itself as witness, it is necessary to have someone(s) endowed with that deity/construct/concept's authority and power act as its stand-in. (this also answers the question after that)

-- However, I posit that if two people are in a great enough state of commitment and passion to their deity/construct/concept (what some would call "grace") that an officiator is no longer necessary.  For people such as these, the promise that a marriage ritual implies runs deep enough to be a part of thier essence.

-- While Carlos really does believe that people like this are out there right this minute, he's pretty damn sure that 99% of people that claim to be this committed are not.  Furthermore not a single one of the Men of Strange Honor is qualified to waive the presence of an officiator.  Sorry guys!

So let's hear some answers!  I believe in the consensus so I want to see some. . . um. . . consensusing!  Also, please save commentary on the necessity of marriage for another thread.  This is not a debate on why one should get married.  It merely seeks to ask the question "What is a marriage ritual?"

-- Carlos

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