This will appear in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville, Louisiana, USA

Last week I had the distinct pleasure to stand beside my son as he entered into the holy bond of marriage. As I stood there a surge of emotion came over me as I watched my son and his bride take their vows. This prompted me to ask myself if this emotion was due to happiness over the event or was there a deeper origin to these deep feelings of happiness much like what is felt at a sporting event when we hear the National Anthem or watching flags flying over a cemetery on a warm July day. I had participated in civil ceremonies where a justice of the piece performed the ceremony and witnessed formal religious services and the two definitely brought different emotions.
The world contains many different religions and sects; however similarities in marriage and the bond between a man and a woman do exist.
Christians regard marriage as a sacrament and a sacred institution often referred to as a covenant. From the early days of the Christian Church marriage has been a major part of the religion. The foundation of the Western tradition of Christian marriages had its roots with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul.
Islam applauds marriage and polygamy is allowed. Both the bride and her guardian must agree to the wedding and if either disapprove, the marriage will not take place. The husband can have up to four wives but it a requirement that each wife must be treated equally with both time and wealth. The husband is obligated to provide food, clothing and shelter while the wife’s commitment is to have children and raise them.
In Judaism, the laws of the Torah is the basis for marriage. This requires a contract between the man and woman where the bride dedicates herself to be the sole woman of the groom. A Jewish marriage is expected to fulfill the religious commitment to have children. A main part of a Jewish marriage focuses on the relationship between the husband and wife. The marriage is understood to mean that the husband and wife are merging into a single soul. This is why a man is considered “incomplete” if he is not married, as his soul is only one part of a larger whole that remains to be unified.
The Hindu religion identifies marriage as a sacred duty and this bond between man and woman has both social and religious obligations. This bond of marriage is viewed as an obligation. There are various types of marriages recognized by the Hindus.
The Sikh ceremony has the bride and groom walking around the Sikh holy book four times and signifies the union of two souls as one.
Buddhism takes a different approach. They view marriage not as a sacrament but as a secular affair where the bride and groom are obligated to follow civil laws.
The roots of marriage are older than recorded history. In ancient times the wife was held in high regard and of high value and it was expected that the wife was required to be protected and taken care of. Early nomadic traditions had a woman own and maintain her own tent where she had complete independence from the husband. This survived into early Christian times. As time went on ancient Greece became the cradle of democracy and marriage changed to being simply an agreement between man and woman without formal ceremony. As Greece fell Rome became the dominant power in the European world and formal marriage ceremonies were put into place. Rome identified two marriage agreements. In one the wife gives up inheritance of her past family and receives the inheritance of her new family. The other agreement allows the wife to maintain her original inheritance and forgo the inheritance of her new family. Very early Christian marriages ceremonies were thought of as private and formal services were not held. This began to change after the 3rd century AD. By the 12th Century the woman had to take the last name of the husband. Up until the 16th century the church recorded all marriages but following the reformation the rules for marriage transitioned to the state and he state recorded marriage as is in place today in the United States and other countries.
The history of marriage still does not explain why the emotions at a marriage ceremony. Many of our current religions base marriage on a bond of the bride and groom both physically, emotionally and with a greater being. The thought of a new beginning for a man and woman is emotional within itself. Still none of this fully explains why during a marriage ceremony women can be seen wiping their eyes and men gently blowing their noses. I would like to think that it is that two souls have become one and some primeval requirement placed in man’s psychy at the beginning of time has been met.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Lake D’Arbonne, I will be speaking at the September Chamber of Commerce Meeting. Subject of the talk will be the politics behind a great lake.

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