Given the recent discussion in this post about marriage and the responsibilities of setting it up, I think a post which covers some scripture on the topic would be appropriate. Without further ado:
House and wealth are inherited from parents,
but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
24 Do you have daughters? Be concerned for their chastity,
and do not show yourself too indulgent with them.
25 Give a daughter in marriage, and you complete a great task;
but give her to a sensible man.
[I should note that the verse before these, 7:23, has a different reading in the Hebrew text which states something along the lines of this:
“Do you have sons? Choose wives for them while they are young.”
A sensible daughter obtains her husband,
but one who acts shamefully brings grief to her father.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; 4 that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, 5 not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
The footnote reads: Or .
These are just a few quotes from scripture. I believe there are a few others to be found as well. I mention these because there is a lot of misunderstanding about marriage right now.
It is not merely a man’s responsibility to find his wife and get married. But all the same he does need to know how to take a wife for himself.
Nor is it entirely up to a woman either. Yet she who is sensible or wise knows how to obtain a husband of her own as well.
Further, it is a parents duty to help their children find spouses as well. I quoted from Sirach before, and here are a few parts of St. John Chrysostom’s 9th homily on First Timothy:
Youth is wild, and requires many governors, teachers, directors, attendants, and tutors; and after all these, it is a happiness if it be restrained. For as a horse not broken in, or a wild beast untamed, such is youth. But if from the beginning, from the earliest age, we fix it in good rules, much pains will not be required afterwards; for good habits formed will be to them as a law. Let us not suffer them to do anything which is agreeable, but injurious; nor let us indulge them, as forsooth but children. Especially let us train them in chastity, for there is the very bane of youth. For this many struggles, much attention will be necessary. Let us take wives for them early, so that their brides may receive their bodies pure and unpolluted, so their loves will be more ardent. He that is chaste before marriage, much more will he be chaste after it; and he that practiced fornication before, will practice it after marriage.
All bread, it is said,
is sweet to the fornicator. Sirach 23:17 Garlands are wont to be worn on the heads of bridegrooms, as a symbol of victory, betokening that they approach the marriage bed unconquered by pleasure. But if captivated by pleasure he has given himself up to harlots, why does he wear the garland, since he has been subdued?
Mothers, be specially careful to regulate your daughters well; for the management of them is easy. Be watchful over them, that they may be keepers at home. Above all, instruct them to be pious, modest, despisers of wealth, indifferent to ornament. In this way dispose of them in marriage. For if you form them in this way, you will save not only them, but the husband who is destined to marry them, and not the husband only, but the children, not the children only, but the grandchildren. For the root being made good, good branches will shoot forth, and still become better, and for all these you will receive a reward. Let us do all things therefore, as benefiting not only one soul, but many through that one. For they ought to go from their father’s house to marriage, as combatants from the school of exercise, furnished with all necessary knowledge, and to be as leaven able to transform the whole lump to its own virtue.
The point I want to make is this:
Marriage is something that everyone has a responsibility in helping set up- parents, son, and daughter. Our atomized and individualist age wants to try and push this job away to someone, anyone else. But the truth is that everyone has a part to play. Everyone needs to be proactive.
Young men need to actively seek out marriageable young women and they need to know how to woo them.
Young women also need to actively seek out marriageable young men and they need to know how to properly indicate their interest.
Parents need to help their children find potential spouse candidates. One man or woman by himself will have difficulty in this task. It takes a concerted effort.