Introduction: This chapter is written based on my interview with Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Okafor and the research I carried out on the topic as shown below: see Fr Cyracus responses below:
Marriage is simply the union of a man and a woman (I restrict this definition to a man and a woman because of the current trend that relegates the meaning of marriage to mean the union of people of the same sex).
Fundamentally, both from historical and Biblical data, marriage is a union between a man and a woman. And this union, should also, for the Christian, have a sacramental perspective. This sacramental perspective means that it is an imitation of the union between Christ and the Church, because Christ and the Church have this intimate union where Christ is the head of the Church, and the Church is if you like, the bride of Christ.
Marriage is a covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the entire lifetime, and which is ordered, by its nature, to the good of the spouses, and the procreation and education of children. It is simply the union between a man and a woman that replicates the union between Christ and the Church.
Who are those that are eligible for marriage?
Eligibility to marry may be dependent on country-specific legislation with regards to the age of reason. In some countries, it might be as little as age sixteen, while in others, it gets up to age eighteen. This may simply be called biological eligibility.
It is expected that at the point of biological eligibility, the individual is up to the age of reason, and his or her body is biologically fit for such commitment, as well as the expected physical rigours. Biological eligibility emphasizes the physiological maturation of the body and the development of the vital physical organs in the body that may be needed for procreative activity in the marriage contract.
There is also the sociological eligibility, which is shown by the consent or desire of two people, who feel they are now ready to commit themselves to each other; who feel they are now ready to enter this union, and who feel they are now ready to give back love to each other.
So there is the biological eligibility; which has to do with the physical structure of the person, then the sociological eligibility which is the aspect that has to do with the give and take of love.
These are the major criteria that qualify one for marriage, and I believe that both are very important for marriage, because a person who is biologically or sociologically unfit, cannot effectively handle the responsibilities presented in a marriage.
Please watch out for my next episode on what is marriage, as I continue to share the knowledge I gained during my interview with Fr. CY with you guys. Bye for now.