Social Studies

Conditions for marriage

A marriage may be entered into in a church, mosque or civil ceremony.

A civil ceremony is usually conducted by a judge at a District Court. Couples can also be married by a belief community that is entitled to perform wedding ceremonies.

Church weddings may be conducted by a clergyman or a priest or minister of a registered religious community. If the wedding is to take place in a religious community, this community must be registered and licensed to perform wedding ceremonies. Persons wanting to get married can contact a person authorised to perform wedding ceremonies (civil or church) at the location where they want to get married.

Conditions for marriage:

Before a marriage can be entered into, the conditions for marriage must be proven. This means it must be checked that those who are going to get married fulfil the conditions stipulated in the Marriage Act. It is the National Registry (the tax office) that checks whether the conditions for marriage have been met. The conditions include:

  • Age requirement. A person who wants to get married must be at least 18 years old. If anyone under 18 years of age wants to get married, they must have the consent of the person or persons who have parental responsibility for them and of the County Governor. The County Governor may only give such consent when there are strong grounds for a marriage. The County Governor may not give consent if the person wanting to get married is under 16 years of age. Anyone who marries someone under 16 years of age or is guilty of aiding and abetting in this may be punished by imprisonment for up to four years.
  • Voluntariness. A marriage must be voluntary on the part of both parties. According to the General Penal Code, anyone who forces someone to get married may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to six years. Aiding and abetting in this is punishable in the same way.
  • Not closely related. The parties who are getting married must not be closely related to each other. This means they must not be siblings or relatives in a direct ascending or descending line (i.e. parents and children).
  • Not already married. A person may not get married if he or she is already married or in a registered partnership. A person who gets married despite the fact that he or she is already married may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to four years. If the other spouse did not know about this fact, a prison sentence of up to six years may be imposed. Aiding and abetting is punished in the same way. Married persons who reside in Norway may be punished according to this provision if they enter into a new marriage abroad.
  • Anyone getting married must be legally entitled to be in the country. It is up to the person getting married to document that he/she is legally entitled to be in his or her country.
  • If any previous marriage or registered partnership has ended through divorce or death, the administration and division of the previous matrimonial property must have been started on or completed.
  • If either of the parties has been divorced in a foreign country, this divorce must usually be approved by the County Governor. This takes place pursuant to the Act relating to the recognition of foreign divorces and separations.
  • A person who is resident abroad must bring with him/her a certificate of no impediment to marriage in order to get married in Norway. This certificate states that, according to the laws of the country where the person resides, there is no impediment to him/her getting married in Norway.

If the National Registry (tax office) finds that the conditions for marriage have been met, the tax office issues a certificate of no impediment to marriage. The official who is to perform the wedding ceremony must have this before the wedding can take place. A certificate of no impediment to marriage from the National Registry is valid for four months from its date of issuance.

Valid marriage

Marriage is entered into by the persons who are getting married coming before an official who is to perform the wedding ceremony. While both are present, they must declare that they want to get married to each other. Thereafter, the official who is to perform the wedding ceremony will declare them to be a married couple.

If this wedding procedure is not followed, the marriage is not regarded as having been entered into and is invalid. This means that marriages entered into by proxy or by telephone are not recognised as being valid. A marriage will also be invalid if the official performing the ceremony was not authorised to do so or there was no valid certificate of no impediment to marriage from the National Registry.

Marriage entered into abroad

It is possible to be married by a foreign authority in accordance with the country in question’s laws and regulations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has information on foreign weddings on its country pages. Many countries require a certificate of no impediment to marriage issued by the National Registry. Persons who get married abroad must notify the Tax Administration and submit a marriage certificate or proof that he or she has entered into a marriage. A marriage entered into abroad under foreign law is recognised provided it was validly entered into in the country where the wedding took place. A marriage entered into abroad will not, however, be recognised if it will obviously offend the country’s legal order. If there is any doubt about whether a marriage exists, a court action may be brought to prove the validity of the marriage. A marriage entered into abroad will not be recognised if:

  • one of the parties is a minor, i.e. under 18 years of age, when they get married,
  • the marriage has been entered into without both parties being present at the wedding (a telephone marriage or proxy marriage) or,
  • one of the parties is already married.

Other conditions to be considered include:


Economic security





Parental consent

Blood group


God designed marriage to fulfill six important and vital functions. When we understand them, we will be better able to honor marriage.

  1. Companionship

Companionship – In Genesis 2:18 God said “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper”. True companionship grows out of a oneness of spirit. This occurs in marriage when both the husband and wife can say, “My spouse is my best friend.” “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

  1. Enjoyment

The principle behind enjoyment is self-control. “Marriage is honorable [precious] in all, and the bed [should be kept] undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). Also, marriage is for the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, because marriage encourages couples to have responsible behaviour which helps them to live a healthy sexual life and prevents them from contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

  1. Completeness

God designed Eve to complete that which was lacking in Adam’s life. “And Adam said, … She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Genesis 2:23). Responsibility is a major thing, and marriage demands responsible behaviour and faithfulness.

  1. Fruitfulness

Procreation – This means to conceive, birth and train children in the way God wants. God’s first command in Scripture is this: “… Be fruitful [bear fruit], and multiply [increase], and replenish [fill] the earth …” (Genesis 1:28).

The very nature and character of God is to multiply life, whereas the nature and character of Satan is to multiply death.

  1. Protection

A husband is to protect his wife by laying down his life for her. (See Ephesians 5:25.) A wife is to protect the interests of her home. (See Titus 2:4–5.) Parents are to protect their children to raise up a Godly seed.

  1. Typify Christ and the Church

Marriage is to be a human object lesson of the divine relationship between Christ and believers. (See Ephesians 5:31–33.)


List FOUR conditions of marriage?

List and explain FOUR functions of marriage?

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