A reader of the portal has asked this question:
When can we say that a family was founded: after the civil ceremony or after the religious one, or after both ceremonies were performed?
The marriage ceremony
It is the sacred ceremony of entering the covenant of marriage before God, who is the author of marriage. In this respect I suggest you to read the article Why shall the wedding be officiated in the church? (5 reasons)
The civil ceremony
The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova says:
The family is the natural and fundamental element of the society and it has the right to be protected by the society and the state. (Art.48-1)
The family is the fundamental element and it must be protected by the state. The civil ceremony is the official registration of the marriage to the state. The Lord Jesus teaches us to be subjected to the state as long as it does not come in conflict with God’s will written in the Holy Scriptures. The Apostle Paul wrote:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. (Romans 13:1)(NASB)
In all states at all times, the family was the basic unit of the society and, more or less, it was protected by the state. In the beginning, when Christians were persecuted and were not recognized in the Roman Empire, they had to officiate both the religiuous marriage in the church and the civil one.Then, in the Middle Ages, in most states, the marriage ceremony was automatically regarded as the civil marriage, too.Since the church was separated from the state, it came back to both the marriage ceremony in the church and the civil ceremony. Typically, many churches ask firstly to be officiated the civil ceremony and then the marriage ceremony is officiated in the church. It is good to perform both of them on the same day, if it is possible. A family will be considered founded when both the wedding ceremony in church and the civil ceremony were performed.
Concubinage is not a civil marriage but adultery
There is one more important thing to be mentioned here. Some people call concubinage as civil marriage. Once I was traveling by train and I met a man, whom I asked about his family and he told me that he was in civil marriage with a woman. Understanding what he called marriage, I asked: “Are you saying that you performed only the civil ceremony and you are not married in a church?”.He replied: “No, we are nor registered at any registry office nor married in the church.” Then I told him directly that he lives in adultery with that woman and I urged him to leave this sin, to register the marriage at the registry office and to marry in a church.
Translated by Felicia Djugostran