The Solemnization of Christian Marriage
The marriage rites and accompanying official legislation related to marriage defined the nature and purpose of Christian marriage for Methodists. Yet, because of Methodism's gradual abandonment of its countercultural stance in favor of accommodating certain views and practices of American society, rites and legislation became significantly adjusted between the late eighteenth and the late twentieth century. During that time, restrictions against marriage with unbelievers or without parental consent were reformulated. Changing perceptions of marriage, the family, gender roles, and divorce were translated into the texts of rite and legislation. Wedding customs that blurred the churchly and the civil were sometimes embraced, but also challenged the Methodists to consider what makes a Christian wedding or a Christian marriage.
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