"No government official is inaugurated unless he or she promises, in the presence of the citizenry, to be faithful to the constitution. Why, then, should not the promise of lifelong faithfulness, which we as husband and wife should give each other, require public declaration in the presence of family, friends, acquaintances, and especially the church?(267)"
I knew a guy in college that felt he and his girlfriend were spiritually married, though they never had a public ceremony. You know, the "we took vows before God and don't need the state to tell us we're married." Maybe you don't. His situation was one of those nagging thoughts that came up when I would think about marriage. Nagging enough to get my attention, but not pertinent enough to require immediate research. After reading this chapter in Douma on the 7th commandment, I realize how ridiculous that idea is. We're not in a deserted island/end of the world scenario. Making a union public for the sake of accountability is a high calling - then to take vows before that audience and God Himself? Beautiful and obligatory.