Time: 92 minutes total

This panel on Marriage and Divorce was part of a series of programs to enhance religious literacy and understanding across faiths, and featured Rabbi Ariana Silverman (Grosse Pointe Jewish Council), Deacon Kurt Godfryd (Roman Catholic – Archdiocese of Detroit), Gigi Sulka (Muslim Unity Center) and Polly Mallory (Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints). The topic was covered briefly by each panelist sharing their faith teachings on what marriage is or should be, descriptions of the processes leading to a wedding and the wedding itself. Additionally, most panelists also presented the religious stance on divorce as well as how that is achieved within that faith. For the Jewish and Muslim faiths, it was pointed out that – especially regarding the celebrations of a marriage – there is a distinct difference between the religious and the cultural aspects.

A commonality of all the faiths presented, is that marriage is one of each faith’s most holy sacraments or covenants – perhaps the most important or holy. The other common thread is that marriage is hoped for and desired for everyone in that faith because – ideally — it not only provides a source of love, tranquility and happiness, but also should deepen the persons’ relationship with God. It should help them become a better person and should be a coming together before God, their families and friends in a sacred and deeply held commitment or covenant not only to love one another, but to live and grow together in their faith.

All faiths represented here include a number of components of the preparation for and ceremony of marriage: an extended time for the prospective bride and groom to learn about one another, about what they expect from one another in marriage, and what they perceive marriage to mean within the teachings of their faith. In some faiths, this exploration of these questions is done within the circle of family and friends, and in others, more formally through pre-marital meetings or sessions with a member of the clergy. In all religious traditions, there is a contract or vow made by one person to the other, stating what they promise to do or be in that marriage. The panelists also shared those specifics – some unique to that faith, others shared in common – of the weddings or ceremonies of marriage and the celebrations following those ceremonies.

Divorce is recognized in the Muslim, Jewish and Church of LDS faiths as something that is not desired or wished for, but may be necessary under some circumstances. In each of those faiths, the religious divorce (recognized as separate from a civil divorce) needs to be formalized by the authority of faith leaders to which the person seeking divorce makes petition, prior to that person being permitted to marry again.

Please click on the panelist’s name below to watch their presentation on Marriage and Divorce.

 Rabbi Ariana Silverman: Judiasm

Polly Mallory: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Gigi Salka: Islam

Deacon Kurt Godfryd: Roman Catholic

Question and Answer Session