Marriage is a religious ceremony that unites two people who love one another in a life-long bond. Only participants who truly love one another will be blessed by the Matchmaker, although arranged marriages have been adapted and justified by the human and fae cultures (not necessarily with the goddess's approval).
The ceremony is a relatively brief one, requiring only five people total: a priest or priestess of the Matchmaker must lead the two participants in their unity, and each participant must bring one witness who is willing to approve and share the news of the marriage with the community. The ceremony is traditionally performed at sunrise, indicating the beginning of a new period. During the ceremony, a verbal contract is made, to which the participants must vow their obedience. These vows can be either those written by the goddess, or written by the participants so long as they are approved by the overseeing priest or priestess beforehand. As the vows are spoken, the priest wraps a ribbon about the hands of the participants, signifying the union they share. This ribbon must be kept safe for the duration of the marriage, as the goddess perceives neglect of the ribbon to be neglect of the union, and damage to it to be damage to the marriage.
The Vows Edit
Vows spoken during the ceremony must address, at minimum, three aspects. First, the vows must include an agreement that the partners will respect one another. The goddess requires this promise regardless of what other choices the participants will make. The second requirement is that the participants must outline the expectations of loyalty and fidelity. For example, will extramarital partners be acceptable or not, and under what circumstances? The third requirement of the vows is to address the potential for children, whether they are expected or desire, and how their upbringing will be handled by the participants upon such an occurrence.
The Matchmaker's vows are as follows: I swear to protect you and honor you as my spouse, to respect you within and outside the house. I will be loyal to you always and forever, and I will rise our children to be kind and clever. (Work in progress don't mind the cheese)
Generally speaking, divorce is uncommon, although the goddess would never require participants to remain in a marriage if it is not for them. Divorce can be done only on the day of the marriage exactly one year after it occurs, and is done under the oversight of the same priest or priestess who married the couple (if this representative of the goddess is unavailable for whatever reason, his or her apprentice or approved representative may take the place). The vows must be reversed (often, this is done by speaking the opposite of what was promised originally) while the ribbon of the marriage is burned. Once the last embers die out, the ashes are collected and stored in a jar, to be taken to the temple cellar. This concludes the divorce, which officially severs the relationship between the participants.
Married Life Edit
The Matchmaker sees participants of a marriage as equal partners of the relationship. How duties are divided is entirely up to the partners, for the Matchmaker does not dictate the details of married life. Rather, she has expectations for the behavior of the partners to one another.
The first expectation is that the partners follow their vows. The Matchmaker sees these vows as binding ties just as powerful as the ribbon which is to represent their union.
The Matchmaker does not tolerate violence of any kind in a marriage. Although she understands that conflict is a natural part of any relationship (and expects it to occur), she expects conflicts to be resolved without verbal, emotional, or physical violence. For partners to strike one another (except for pleasure) or to cause one another harm in any way or form (intentionally speaking, and not for pleasure) is unacceptable to the Matchmaker. Abusers are the top sinners for the Matchmaker.
Childbirth and Parenting Edit
Because so many people get married for that very sake.