Marriage - Wikipedia
procreative purpose as the only justifying motive for conjugal inter- course held all but exclusive sway. Marriage was rarely or only secondarily thought of in. (commandments ) until we address our relationship with God ( commandments. ). (This reminds me .. "Before me. Lit., "in my sight;" i.e., either in addition to Me or in opposition to Me. Why or why not? I found a couple of interesting quotes concerning that promise: .. "ADULTERY - conjugal infidelity. An adulterer. Antiphon () – Abstinence from Conjugal Relations Before . down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Ex –11).8 When Moses . This essay examines early Christian “imaginative lit- erature” that falls into the that married couples may refrain from conjugal relations for a time for prayer.
Polygynous systems have the advantage that they can promise, as did the Mormons, a home and family for every woman. In some cases, there is a large age discrepancy as much as a generation between a man and his youngest wife, compounding the power differential between the two.
Tensions not only exist between genders, but also within genders; senior and junior men compete for wives, and senior and junior wives in the same household may experience radically different life conditions, and internal hierarchy. Several studies have suggested that the wive's relationship with other women, including co-wives and husband's female kin, are more critical relationships than that with her husband for her productive, reproductive and personal achievement.
Often, however, it is difficult to draw a hard and fast line between the two. Although it does not involve multiple now illegal formal marriages, the domestic and personal arrangements follow old polygynous patterns. The de facto form of polygyny is found in other parts of the world as well including some Mormon sects and Muslim families in the United States.
This is not a lesbian relationship, but a means of legitimately expanding a royal lineage by attaching these wives' children to it. The relationships are considered polygynous, not polyandrous, because the female husband is in fact assuming masculine gendered political roles.
It is allowed in Islam and Confucianism. Judaism and Christianity have mentioned practices involving polygyny in the past, however, outright religious acceptance of such practices was not addressed until its rejection in later passages. They do explicitly prohibit polygyny today. PolyandryPolyandry in Tibetand Polyandry in India Polyandry is notably more rare than polygyny, though less rare than the figure commonly cited in the Ethnographic Atlas which listed only those polyandrous societies found in the Himalayan Mountains.
More recent studies have found 53 societies outside the 28 found in the Himalayans which practice polyandry. It is associated with partible paternity, the cultural belief that a child can have more than one father.
If every brother married separately and had children, family land would be split into unsustainable small plots. In Europe, this was prevented through the social practice of impartible inheritance the dis-inheriting of most siblings, some of whom went on to become celibate monks and priests. Of the societies reported by the American anthropologist George Murdock inonly the Kaingang of Brazil had any group marriages at all.
Child marriage A child marriage is a marriage where one or both spouses are under the age of Child marriage was common throughout history, even up until the s in the United States, where in CE, in the state of Delawarethe age of consent for marriage was 7 years old. Twelve years later, inJohn filed for divorce. Today, child marriages are widespread in parts of the world; being most common in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africawith more than half of the girls in some countries in those regions being married before In developed countries child marriage is outlawed or restricted.
Girls who marry before 18 are at greater risk of becoming victims of domestic violencethan those who marry later, especially when they are married to a much older man. Same-sex marriage and History of same-sex unions As noted above, several kinds of same-sex, non-sexual marriages exist in some lineage-based societies. This section relates to same-sex sexual unions.
Some cultures include third gender two-spirit or transgender individuals, such as the berdache of the Zuni in New Mexico. We'whaone of the most revered Zuni elders an Ihamana, spiritual leader served as an emissary of the Zuni to Washington, where he met President Grover Cleveland. We'wha had a husband who was generally recognized as such.
The Codex Theodosianus C. Examples include the Celtic practice of handfasting and fixed-term marriages in the Muslim community. The Islamic prophet Muhammad sanctioned a temporary marriage — sigheh in Iran and muta'a in Iraq — which can provide a legitimizing cover for sex workers. The matrilineal Mosuo of China practice what they call "walking marriage". Cohabitation and Common-law marriage In some jurisdictions cohabitationin certain circumstances, may constitute a common-law marriagean unregistered partnershipor otherwise provide the unmarried partners with various rights and responsibilities; and in some countries the laws recognize cohabitation in lieu of institutional marriage for taxation and social security benefits.
This is the case, for example, in Australia. However, in this context, some nations reserve the right to define the relationship as marital, or otherwise to regulate the relation, even if the relation has not been registered with the state or a religious institution.
In some cases couples living together do not wish to be recognized as married. This may occur because pension or alimony rights are adversely affected; because of taxation considerations; because of immigration issues, or for other reasons. Such marriages have also been increasingly common in Beijing. Guo Jianmei, director of the center for women's studies at Beijing University, told a Newsday correspondent, "Walking marriages reflect sweeping changes in Chinese society.
Marriage, sexuality, and holiness: aspects of marital ethics in the Corpus Paulinum
There is variation in the degree to which partner selection is an individual decision by the partners or a collective decision by the partners' kin groups, and there is variation in the rules regulating which partners are valid choices.
Social status Main article: Hypergamy Some people want to marry a person with higher or lower status than them. Others want to marry people who have similar status. In many societies women marry men who are of higher social status. At the least, they provide a more familiar context than dating services or Internet matches. It is our opinion that gender issues will continue to constitute core problems within the legal institution of marriage.
The old quid pro quo, whereby women offered men sexual, reproductive, and housekeeping services in return for financial support and social protection, is no longer viable for most Americans. In its place, a new, more egalitarian model has come kicking and screaming into the world. Women are willing or obliged to earn income for their families and expect men to participate in housekeeping and child care.
Many men expect women to contribute to the family income, and while some are learning to play more significant roles in the household, others still cling to an outdated vision of the archetypal, self-sacrificing, allnourishing wife.
So far, the balance is not equal in either case. Women do not, on average, earn as much as men about 74 percent of what men earnand men do not participate equally in domestic duties. A plethora of books on this subject, ranging from the conservative author Danielle Crittenden's What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us, which enjoins women to get married young and promptly have babies, to Susan Faludi's groundbreaking Stiffed, which sympathetically examines the sense of betrayal experienced by working-class males, attest to the fractious situation between the sexes.
It will probably take another generation or two before these problems are sorted out, and by then new ones will undoubtedly have arisen. The only certainty—and of this we are sure—is that couples will continue to form and reform throughout the next millennium.
Partners will continue to say to each other some version of Matthew Arnold's poetic pledge: Life-expectancy increases have also led to a dramatic increase in grandmothers raising grandchildren, but the absolute number of such households remains relatively small.
Women at First Birth: The Future of Marriage. Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman. The Betrayal of the American Man. What Is Marriage For? Strong Mothers, Weak Wives: University of California Press. Grandparenting in a Changing World. Growing Apart, Coming Together. National Center for Education Statistics. How Love between Equals Really Works. The American Family in an Age of Uncertainty. Syracuse University Policy Brief, no. Center for Policy Research. Bureau of the Census. Department of Labor Statistics.
Employment and Earnings January. Marriage, Families, and Children: How and Why Love Lasts. Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family. A History of the Wife. After all, God did not have a wife. Unlike his Greek counterpart, Zeus, the Hebrew God was sufficient unto himself.
Why did Adam need a companion? He might have reigned over the plants and animals in splendid isolation—a loner, an existential hero, God's duplicate on earth. But no, God said it was not good for man to be alone. It was better to live with a mate. I have always liked this part of the creation story. It suggests that Adam and Eve were initially united for the sheer sake of companionship.
It does not privilege sexuality or the creation of children. It even gives the conjugal relationship priority over all other forms of human attachment, as stated in these memorable words: Other religions and civilizations tend to be less enthusiastic. In most Asian countries, for example, the family or clan is still the privileged unit.
Until very recently, a Japanese or Chinese son owed more to his parents than to his wife. And it is certainly not meant to suggest that males and females have shared equal rights in Jewish and Christian marriages. The biblical story of the creation of Eve from Adam's rib and the subsequent catastrophe attributed primarily to Eve reflect age-old gender biases.
Whether we look east or west, to biblical Israel or imperial China, patriarchy has been the rule. As God tells Eve after she persuaded Adam to eat from the tree of good and evil: As a late-twentieth-century Western woman, I shudder at the thought of life with a biblical husband.
I would have been his property, his chattel, a grade above his livestock. Doesn't the Tenth Commandment order a man not to covet his neighbor's wife or his neighbor's ox, practically in the same breath? And because polygamy existed among the ancient Jews, I might have been one of several cowives.
Under certain conditions, most notably if his wife were barren or insane, he was also entitled to take one or more concubines wives of lesser social and legal statuscaptive wives, and slave-wives, all of whom required upkeep.
This probably meant that only the affluent could afford more than one wife and that the ordinary biblical Hebrew practiced monogamy. Before marriage, I would have been able to circulate with relative freedom. Like Rebekah tending the sheep, I would have gone by myself into the fields or to the well.
Given the more normal course of events, my parents would have found a husband for me, to whom I would have become engaged very young and married soon after puberty.
As the daughter of a wealthy father had I been so luckyI would have been provided with a substantial chiluhim, or dowry. The dowry might have consisted of silver, gold, or material goods to be used in the future household, such as furnishings, servants, livestock, and even land.
The specific sum of the dowry, as well as the sum from the husband's side that would be settled on me in case of divorce or his death, would have been written down in the marriage contract, or ketubah.
There the marriage had to be consummated in order to make it valid. The bloody sheet that we slept on during the first night would have been displayed to the community as a sign of my defloration. This practice remained in certain Near Eastern Jewish communities into the twentieth century. But if my husband found that I was no longer a virgin, he could have killed me according to the words of the Torah: Assuming that this was not my lot, I would have settled into my husband's household as an obedient wife, at least in public.
Obedience was so fundamental to the biblical idea of a wife that it remained in Jewish and Christian wedding vows until the late twentieth century. And above all, I would have been consumed by the need to produce a son.
For only as the mother of a son, would I have had some clout in the family. And even then, if my husband had wanted to get rid of me, he had only to write out a bill of divorce, hand it to me in the presence of two witnesses, and send me away. What was shameful in those days? Adultery and even the suspicion of adultery, immodesty, disregard for the ritual law, insults addressed to one's husband or his father, refusal to have sex with one's husband, refusal to follow him to another domicile, and such chronic illnesses as epilepsy.
Except in one peculiar case. If a woman were widowed and childless, her dead husband's brother was expected to marry her, whether he was already married or not. But if the dead husband's brother refused to marry her or to have sex with her after their enforced marriage, the wife was permitted to go to the elders at the town gate and lay her claim against him in a formal ceremony known as chalitza. There, in front of the whole populace, she was allowed to humiliate him for not fulfilling his obligations: The overriding Hebrew concern with progeny, especially in the case of a husband who had died without children, allowed for this one rare display of female revenge.
The brother who had submitted to the stigmatizing ceremony of chalitza was henceforth absolved from his obligation to his brother's widow, and she became free to wed another. It is true that this wifely scenario is based upon prescriptive texts, which were probably modified in everyday life. We do find many indications in the Bible that suggest behaviors different from the prescribed norm. For example, despite the great pressure on wives to produce children, a husband might continue to love his barren wife and even to favor her over a first or second wife who had given him a son.
This was the case of Jacob and Rachel, and that of Elkanah, who preferred his childless wife, Hannah, to his other wife, Peninnah, the mother of his children. Once, finding Hannah weeping over her childless state, Elkanah tried to soothe her by saying: Why are you so miserable?
Am I not more to you than ten sons? Even with all the societal honor heaped upon a mother and the humiliation incurred by a childless wife, there was then, as now, no way to legislate individual inclination.
Married couples were held in high esteem among the ancient Hebrews, as evidenced by the many stories about them. This contrasts with the New Testament, in which couples do not play significant roles. In time, Jews and Christians alike looked to the older Hebrew examples for positive and negative conjugal models. Hers was a careful balancing act of wifely strength and submission.
As a good Israelite spouse, she was obliged to follow even the most morally questionable of her husband's commands.
Twice at his behest she passed herself off as his sister, rather than his wife, so that he could gain favor first with the Egyptian pharaoh, then with the king Abimelech. Though this entailed sleeping with a foreign monarch, Sarah followed her husband's orders; in the end, this strategy proved beneficial, since they came away from each incident with increased riches.
For centuries, biblical exegetes have tried to justify Abraham's actions, though, of late, some have seen this strategy as an unethical, self-serving ploy. The domestic models held up for men were more ambiguous.
For Abraham, Moses, Kings David and Solomon, and all the other married Hebrew heroes, the role of husband was always second to the role of religious leader.
What was good for the preservation of the Israelite people took precedence over everything else. Thus Sarah not only slept with two foreign monarchs in the interest of furthering her husband's lot, but she also encouraged him to take her Egyptian servant, Hagar, as a concubine so as to produce an heir. Later, when Sarah felt humiliated by Hagar's pregnancy, Abraham found himself in the awkward situation of having to decide between the two women.
As a good Israelite husband, he decided in favor of the first wife and sent Hagar into exile. But God Himself intervened, sending the servant back to her former mistress and assuring Hagar that she would bear a son to Abraham and become the ancestor of a great people. Thus Abraham once again had two wives in residence and a firstborn son, named Ishmael.
Centuries later he would be claimed by Muslims as the forefather of the Arab people. In their old age, Abraham and Sarah miraculously produced a son of their own, Isaac, who would ultimately beget the chieftains of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Abraham, the father of the Hebrew people, is the quintessential patriarch. Through his wit, wile, and unswerving loyalty to God, he overshadows all the other players in the first act of Jewish history. Even when God asks him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, he is willing to take that step.
I cannot believe Sarah would have agreed, had he consulted her. But fortunately, the command to sacrifice Isaac was only a test of Abraham's faith and did not have to be enacted. The story of Abraham and Sarah, like many of the stories in the Hebrew Bible, cannot be proven historically.
They wander as nomads to villages and cities, moving with their kinsmen, animals, servants, slaves, and goods; they set up their tent among peoples who cannot be counted on for kindness; they show hospitality to strangers in the form of curds and milk and freshly made loaves of bread; they exchange opinions, complaints, laughter.
However mythical its origins, theirs is a believable union that gives meaning to the idea of a lifelong partnership. For narratives concerning younger couples, the marriages of Sarah and Abraham's son, Isaac, to Rebekah and that of their grandson, Jacob, to Rachel and Leah are replete with elements of love, longing, and jealousy. In the case of Rebekah, a servant is sent to the land of Abraham's birth to contract a marriage for Isaac, without the bride or groom ever seeing one another. Note that the servant makes the marriage agreement not with Rebekah herself, but with Rebekah's brother Laban.
Still, Rebekah has some say in the matter. After Laban has given his acquiescence, he says: This is one of the few indications that a nubile woman in the ancient world may have been able to refuse a prospective groom.
The actual meeting of Rebekah and Isaac does not take place until she had journeyed with his servant back to Canaan. The story ends with a cameo picture of Isaac's favorable reaction to his bride.
The last sentence is particularly moving, for Isaac not only loves the wife who had been chosen for him but finds an emotional replacement for his mother. We can imagine Freud nodding in agreement. The later story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah's son, Jacob, to Rachel has many more complications, though it parallels the earlier story in several ways.
When the time comes for Jacob to marry, Rebekah sends him rather than a servant back to her brother Laban in the land of her birth. Laban receives his nephew Jacob hospitably but not without making him work for his keep.
After a month, they reach an agreement on the wages Jacob will receive if he remains in Laban's service. The wages are in effect a brideprice for Rachel. As the story is told: The name of the elder was Leah and the name of the younger Rachel. Jacob contracts to serve seven years for Rachel. In the eloquent words of the biblical narrator: But when the time comes for Jacob to reap the fruits of his labors, he is cruelly deceived by his uncle. In the dark of night, he is given Leah rather than Rachel and beds the wrong woman.
In the morning, seeing that it was Leah, Jacob said to Laban: Was it not for Rachel that I served you? All in all, Jacob spent twenty years serving his crafty uncle Laban, acquiring two wives and their slave girls and quite a number of children.
Since sons represented the ultimate good in biblical households, the wives competed with each other in producing male offspring.
First Leah, the least loved, was compensated by the birth of three sons, and Rachel, who remained barren, became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob: Placing the baby on her knees after its birth was the gesture that indicated adoption, a practice that allowed a childless wife to maintain her position as the head of the household. Then Rachel claimed that she had won out over her sister. But Leah, too, had a slave girl, and she, too, was drawn into the birthing contest.
The competition between wives was intensified by the use of mandrakes, plants thought to have magical aphrodisiac and fertility-promoting properties. With the help of these plants, Leah continued to produce more sons and a daughter, and Rachel, finally, gave birth to a son. Jacob was now the father of a miniature tribe.
This story reveals the fierce rivalries between wives living in a society that honored married women primarily as the mothers of sons. It also suggests the ordeals a polygamous husband went through in trying to fulfill his conjugal obligations. If her master-husband denied her any of these rights, she could leave him. Otherwise, she would be freed in her seventh year, as the Hebrew law stipulated for all slaves.
The Hebrew Bible has a rich cast of characters with many marital scenes. One of my favorites is the terse interchange between Job and his wife, after Job had been laid low by God. Having lost all his sons and daughters, his servants and animals, then afflicted with boils from head to toe, Job sat down among the ashes and accepted the will of God.
But not his wife, as is evident from the following verses. Then said his wife unto him. Curse God, and die. Job, on the other hand, resists despair—at least initially. Their interchange draws from an antique Mediterranean tradition in which women were often seen as foolish: Like the Greek queen Clytemnestra, who never stopped blaming Agamemnon for the sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia, Job's wife had no compunctions about cursing the God who had taken away her children.
Whatever the prescriptions about wifely obedience, wives obviously opposed their husbands in the privacy of their homes and even opposed the supreme patriarch—God Himself. Men are supposed to be more steadfast. Though Job experiences grave psychological anguish and questions God's justice, he never succumbs to blasphemy.
At this point the narrator does not deign to mention Job's wife. If the Hebrew Bible has an overriding prejudice in favor of the male half of the couple—think only of Adam and Eve, Samson and Delilah, Job and Job's wife—a few notable exceptions come easily to mind.
A more conventional picture of the ideal female is found in the final section of Proverbs. It is clearly written from the male point of view, beginning misogynistically with the notion that a good woman is hard to find and rising to an encomium of the wife unique in all the Bible. Who can find a virtuous woman? The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her … She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens….
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor … Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Such is the dutiful, hardworking, charitable woman who brings honor to her husband and children. Any man in any age might dream of such a wife.
And what of the male counterpart to this image? The Hebrew husband had obligations more pressing than domestic duties. His first loyalty was to the Hebrew God and to the continuity of his people, as her first loyalty was to her husband. This model of the couple, with domestic responsibilities borne solely by the wife and religious responsibilities borne solely by the man, endured among Jews into the late twentieth century.
Only recently has this model begun to change. Some Jewish women have been ordained as rabbis, and some Jewish men change their babies' diapers. Still, this is by no means common practice, especially among ultraorthodox Jews, who cling to the idea of the traditional patriarchal couple and resist upstart models that defy three millennia of Jewish history. Married couples are notably absent from the Gospels. Aside from the miraculous story of Mary and Joseph, briefly told in Matthew and Luke, there is no New Testament couple of any significance.
How we behave on earth, as individuals responsible for our actions, will determine whether we inherit the Kingdom of Heaven or whether we shall spend eternity in Gehenna, the Hebrew equivalent of Hell. In any event, in the afterlife, there is no marriage, as Jesus makes explicit. This is implied in the story of the visit of Jesus's family—his siblings and mother—to the synagogue where he was teaching.
When they asked him to meet them outside the temple, Jesus answered: His words point to a broad vision of human family beyond the clan mentality of his Mediterranean contemporaries. Another of Jesus's sayings pushes this line of thought to the extreme by envisioning the terrible family conflicts that would ensue from antagonistic religious loyalties: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. It is noteworthy that husbands and wives do not appear on Jesus's list of family members to be riven apart. Jesus is quoted as answering: Jesus as bridegroom is a metaphor that was taken up by subsequent Christian thinkers and effectively used in countless sermons and ceremonies until our own time.
For centuries, Catholic nuns have taken their final vows as the bride of Christ, in a ritual reminiscent of the marriage ceremony down to the veil and the wedding ring. What did Jesus himself think about marriage between an ordinary wife and an ordinary husband? His thoughts on marriage were expressed in the synoptic Gospels around the subject of divorce, a practice he explicitly condemned.
Citing the creation story when God made both male and female and they became one flesh, Jesus declared: The first human couple was treated as the norm for all subsequent marriages. It is important to remember that the ancient Hebrew law proscribing adultery applied exclusively to women, requiring them to limit their sexual activity to only one man.
There was no such requirement for married men, who were allowed to have sex with unattached women, such as widows, concubines, servants, and slaves, as well as their wives. A convicted adulteress could be put to death by stoning, along with her illicit sexual partner. His crime was to have invaded another man's space. Jesus challenged this tradition by equating divorce and remarriage—which had been legal and religious rights for men—with adultery, thus putting men on a par with women.
Whoever wanted to be a Christian and married, regardless of one's sex, would have to be permanently monogamous. Jesus also challenged the excessive punishment meted out to the adulteress.
His response has become proverbial: Jesus's emphasis upon compassion rather than revenge and upon the equality of all men and women in sin, opened a new chapter in religious history. Nonetheless, Christian society continued to treat adulterers harshly for centuries to come. For example, both parties to adultery were subject to impalement in fourteenth-century Germany according to the laws of Saxony and to execution in Puritan New England, though public whipping was the usual form of punishment So far, all the couples we have considered have been heterosexual.
Given the biblical view of sexuality as a procreative function, this should come as no surprise. In the Hebrew Bible, homosexuality was expressly forbidden. That is, the prohibition is directed exclusively toward male homosexuality. There is no similar prohibition against female homosexuality in the Hebrew Bible. A number of explanations have been offered for this distinction. Or perhaps female homosexuality was disregarded because the male writers of the Bible were interested only in the behavior of other males and ignored or trivialized lesbian sexual activity Brooten So abhorrent was male homosexuality to the authors of the Bible that it inspired one of the most vengeful acts attributed to God—the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The story reads as follows. Lot, the nephew of Abraham, was living in the Canaanite city of Sodom. When two messengers arrived at the gate of the city at nightfall, he offered them hospitality. Lot, a good host, refused to consent to this proposed gang rape. He even offered the Sodomites his two virgin daughters instead, which says a great deal about the relative worth of a man's daughter as opposed to that of a male guest.
But the men of Sodom would not be pacified. Lot, his wife, and two daughters managed to get away, though the ill-fated wife who looked behind her was turned into a pillar of salt. As in the story of the Flood, God wiped out an entire population because of its sins—in this case, the specific sins of homosexuality and lack of hospitality—and spared only one family. Why homosexual acts were so reviled by the biblical Hebrews has been the subject of endless debate. One answer has to do with the ancient focus on procreation: Any sexual act that did not contribute to progeny—for example, masturbation, coitus interuptus, and bestiality—was vehemently condemned.
Another interpretation, advanced by Harvard preacher Peter J. Other inhabitants of the ancient Mediterranean world, most notably the Greeks but also the Romans, tolerated same-sex couples Boswellbut Judaism was fiercely antihomosexual. As for Christianity, Jesus said nothing on the subject of homosexuality—and this in contrast to numerous condemnations of adultery. Saint Paul, however, explicitly condemns homosexuality in three places, and he specifically mentions both female and male homosexuals.
In I Corinthians 6: It was not until the late Middle Ages that the Christianized Western world became increasingly vocal in expressing its horror of homosexuality Boswell When I think about ancient Judaism and early Christianity, I am struck by certain basic differences in their conceptions of marriage—differences that have persisted in some form to this very day. Judaism taught that marriage was connected to the mitzvah of procreation—a divine commandment and a blessing.
Because marriage was seen as the only sanctioned way Jews could fulfill their obligation to reproduce, men and women were obliged to marry. Early Christianity, on the other hand, developed a different hierarchy of values. Following the models of Jesus and Saint Paul, it valued celibacy above marriage. Forming an earthly couple was seen as interfering with the primary business of forming a union with the Lord. If, for the Jew, the only way to obey God's commandment was to marry and produce offspring, for the Pauline Christian, the best way to fulfill God's commandment was to abstain from sex altogether.
Marriage was only second best, as explicitly stated in another famous passage in which Paul refers to his own exemplary single status: This position became increasingly entrenched within the Catholic church and was related to the rise of monasticism, which, by the sixth century, offered an alternative to marriage for both men and women.
No such option was available to Jews or Muslims. At the same time, Jewish spouses would have felt compelled to copulate to fulfill the biblical commandment to procreate.
Although the dominant position of the Church from the fourth century onward promoted asceticism and coated physical intimacy with the taint of sin, there were always some theologians who praised marriage. They pointed to the words of Jesus when he defended it as a God-given, indissoluble bond and to the wedding at Cana, where he miraculously provided wine for the wedding guests Mark