the legal-habitus of marriage


the family of the groom and the family of the bride are in conflict over the wedding arrangements. the conflict appears to be about the cost of the wedding — about how much each side is prepared to match the other to put on a good show. putting on a good show is important to the habitus of marriage within their culture.

the religious response is to attempt to placate both sides, reminding the parties of the unity of god-as-love, that this love resides above conflict, and above money, and the purpose of a wedding is to celebrate that love. so a wedding should be a celebration, but should be simple, to ensure that remembrance is the wedding blessing.


the conflict wasn’t over money. it was about a sense of the uncanny, in the minds of the groom’s family, something strange about the bride, about her family. money was just the excuse.

a private detective is hired, who makes enquiries around the city. it emerges that the bride isn’t who she presented herself to be: she was married previously, to a dangerous criminal. he is serving 10 years in prison. the bride lied about her past, and her family attempted to cover it up, because she is seeking to form a new life for herself.

but she didn’t inform the groom of this past. can they live happily when such important things were kept secret at this late juncture? and will the former husband present a (physical) threat?

there is no religious response to this scenario.


there was no criminal ex-husband: the detective was mistaken, his informants confused the bride with her double. she’s innocent of keeping secrets, she’s been truthful, never been in a serious relationship.

but in a way, she doesn’t exist, only her double exists, along with the criminal ex-husband, sitting in his cell.

and there wasn’t love between the couple, it was a case of mistaken identity that their parents should be meeting together to discuss marriage. 

the religious response has nothing to say about this.



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