Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God, one that should not be taken for granted. It is the right atmosphere to engage in sexual relations and to build a family life. Getting married in a church, in front of God, is very important. A marriage is a public declaration of love and commitment. This declaration is made in front of friends and family in a church ceremony. The history of marriage Marriage vows, in the form “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part”, have been recited at UK church weddings since 1552. But before the wedding service was written into the Book of Common Prayer, marriages were much more informal: couples could simply promise themselves to one another at any time or place and the spoken word was as good as the written contract. In this audio clip, three academics – Janet Soskice, Reader in Modern Theology and Philosophical Theology, Cambridge University; Frederik Pedersen, Lecturer in History, Aberdeen University; and Christina Hardyment, social historian and journalist – discuss the history of and the role of state and church in marriage.