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What do Lutherans believe about marriage?

Marriage is a sacred union between two people that is recognized across various cultures. As a Christian denomination, Lutherans believe that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman before God. This covenant is founded on mutual love, respect, and trust, and is created to last for a lifetime. In this blog post, we will explore what Lutherans believe about marriage, its significance, and how it is viewed in the church.

Marriage as a Vocation

Lutherans believe that marriage is a vocation, or calling, from God. This means that in marriage, both partners are called to serve each other and honor God in their relationship. The Lutheran Confessions describe marriage as “a divine institution, which finds its foundation in Scripture, and has three purposes- companionship, procreation and mutual help and support.” This means that marriage is not just about love and companionship, but also about building a family and supporting one another through life’s challenges.

The Significance of Marriage

Lutherans view marriage as a sacrament. A sacrament is a means through which God’s grace is conveyed to humanity. In marriage, God’s grace is conveyed by the couple’s love for each other and their commitment to honoring God’s plans for their union. Marriage is also a witness to the world of God’s love and covenant with His people. Just as God is faithful to His promises, so too should a couple be faithful to each other in their commitment to their union.

Marriage and Family

Lutherans believe that marriage is the foundation of the family. All children are a gift from God and are to be raised in the faith. Through their marriage, a couple is called to provide a nurturing environment for their children where they can grow in the knowledge and love of God. Parents are to teach their children about God’s Word and to live according to His will. Marriage, therefore, serves as a vehicle for passing on the faith to future generations.

Marriage Counseling and Support

Marriage is a beautiful covenant between two people, but it is not without its challenges. Lutherans understand that marriage requires work and support to maintain the union. As such, the church offers counseling and support for couples, both before and after they are married. Counseling helps couples understand the significance of marriage, the challenges that they may face, and how to navigate them. This support helps couples strengthen their relationship and grow in their faith.

Marriage and the Church

Lutherans believe that marriage is a sacred vow made before God. This vow is recognized by the church, and as such, weddings are typically held in church sanctuaries. The church provides a sacred space for the couple to enter into this covenant with God’s blessing. The church also offers ongoing support throughout the couple’s marriage, providing guidance and counseling as needed.

Divorce and Remarriage

While Lutherans view marriage as a lifelong covenant, they also acknowledge that divorce happens. In cases of infidelity, abandonment, or other situations where continuing the marriage is not possible, the church recognizes that divorce may be necessary. However, divorce is considered a last resort and should only be considered after all attempts to reconcile have been made. The church also recognizes that, in some cases, remarriage can be reconciled and recognized by the church.


In conclusion, Lutherans believe that marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman before God. This covenant is founded on mutual love and respect and is created to last for a lifetime. Marriage is viewed as a vocation, a sacrament, a witness to the world of God’s love, and the foundation of family. It requires work and support to maintain the union, which is offered by the church. While divorce is recognized as a last resort, the church also acknowledges that it may be necessary in certain situations. Through it all, marriage is viewed as a beautiful gift from God, worthy of our love, respect, and honor.


Can Lutherans have multiple wives?

The question of whether Lutherans can have multiple wives is a complicated one because Lutheranism, like many other Christian denominations, does not condone or encourage polygamy. The Lutheran Church teaches that marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman, and that this union is intended to be lifelong. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, particularly in areas like Africa where polygamy is a common practice.

In Liberia, for example, the Lutheran Church permits men who have multiple wives to retain their wives if they married them before being received into the Church. However, the Church does not allow polygamists who have become Christians to marry more wives after they have received the sacrament of Holy Baptism. This is because the Church views marriage as a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the Church, and this relationship is meant to be a monogamous one.

It is worth noting that the Lutheran Church’s stance on polygamy is not unique. Most Christian denominations, including Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, do not accept the practice of polygamy. While there are some historic instances of polygamy within Christianity, these are generally viewed as exceptions rather than norms.

While the Lutheran Church in Liberia does make an exception for men who had multiple wives before becoming Christians, it is clear that Lutherans (and most Christians) do not condone or promote the practice of polygamy. Instead, the Church teaches that marriage is a sacred covenant between one man and one woman, and that this union is meant to be lifelong.

Do Lutherans believe in living together before marriage?

Lutherans, like many other Christian denominations, believe in traditional marriage as defined by the Bible. Thus, they do not support couples living together before marriage as it goes against biblical teachings and values. According to Lutherans, premarital sex is a sin and living together is a form of sexual immorality.

Lutherans follow the teachings of Martin Luther, who emphasized the importance of faith, forgiveness, and salvation through Christ. Lutherans believe that God created sex for marriage and that it is a gift from God that should be cherished and honored in the confines of marriage. Sex outside of marriage is deemed as a sin and a violation of God’s commandments.

Living together before marriage reflects a lack of commitment to a lifelong union with one person and is therefore an affront to the sanctity of marriage. Lutherans believe that marriage is a bond made in the presence of God and should be an unbreakable commitment. Therefore, it is important to cultivate and maintain a healthy and committed relationship before entering into marriage.

Lutherans do not support living together before marriage, as it goes against their values and biblical teachings. They believe that sex should be saved for marriage, and marriage should be a lifelong commitment in the eyes of God. Instead, they encourage young couples to develop a committed and healthy relationship, that includes mutual love and respect, communication, and the readiness to make a lifelong commitment.

Do Lutherans believe in divorce?

The Lutheran Church has a strong stance against divorce and discourages it except in very specific circumstances. Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church, believed that marriage was ordained by God and should last a lifetime, citing both the ordinance of creation and the teachings of Christ.

However, in modern times, the Lutheran Church has recognized that there are certain situations where divorce may be necessary, such as in cases of abuse, infidelity, or abandonment. Even in these circumstances, however, the Church believes that divorce should be a last resort and couples should try to work through their issues and reconcile if possible.

Lutheran theology also emphasizes forgiveness and redemption, and the Church encourages couples to seek counseling and intervention to help heal their relationships. Additionally, the Lutheran Church also recognizes that divorce can have a significant impact on children and families, and offers support services to help them cope and recover from this difficult experience.

While the Lutheran Church does not condone divorce, it recognizes that it may be necessary in certain circumstances and encourages couples to seek help and support to work through their issues and heal their relationships if possible.

Do Lutherans have to marry other Lutherans?

There is no official stance or policy on interdenominational marriages within the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. While it is not necessary for Lutherans to marry other Lutherans, the church understands that interdenominational marriages can present unique challenges and complexities. Thus, pastors are entrusted with counseling couples on issues related to their faith and how it may affect their marriage. They may advise them on how to navigate instances where there may be differences in interpretations or practices between different denominations.

That being said, many Lutherans do choose to marry within their denomination. This can be due to a desire to share common beliefs and values, as well as a sense of community and tradition. In some cases, individuals may feel a stronger connection to their faith and wish to ensure that it plays a significant role in their relationship. However, this is a personal decision, and Lutherans are free to choose whomever they wish to marry, regardless of their faith affiliation.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod supports and values the institution of marriage and encourages couples to approach such decisions with prayer, reflection, and guidance from trusted spiritual advisors. Whether one chooses to marry within their denomination or to an individual of another faith, the church provides resources to help support and strengthen relationships and facilitate meaningful spiritual growth for both partners.

Do Lutherans prohibit alcohol?

Lutherans, like many other Protestant denominations, do not have a strict prohibition against alcohol consumption. However, they do emphasize the importance of moderation and responsible behavior when it comes to drinking. Lutherans believe that alcohol in small amounts can be acceptable and even beneficial for social gatherings and celebrations. They also recognize that excessive drinking can lead to harmful consequences for both individuals and society as a whole.

The Lutheran viewpoint on alcohol can vary depending on cultural and regional traditions. For example, Scandinavian Lutherans tend to have a stricter stance on alcohol consumption due to their history with temperance movements. On the other hand, German and Bavarian Lutherans may have a more relaxed attitude towards drinking beer and wine as part of their cultural heritage.

In general, Lutherans discourage excessive drinking and drunkenness as it goes against Biblical principles and a responsible Christian lifestyle. Lutherans often cite passages in the Bible, such as Proverbs 20:1 which says, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise” (NIV), to caution against the dangers of overindulging in alcohol. Additionally, Lutherans believe in taking care of one’s body as it is considered to be a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

While Lutherans do not have an official prohibition against alcohol, they do encourage their members to make wise choices when it comes to drinking. They also emphasize the importance of supporting those who may struggle with alcoholism or addiction, showing compassion and understanding while offering resources and support for recovery.

What are the two types of Lutherans?

Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity that originated from the teachings of Martin Luther in the 16th century. Today, there are several different Lutheran denominations throughout the world, but generally speaking, Lutheran churches can be divided into two main groups: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS).

The ELCA is the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States, with around 3.5 million members. It was formed in 1988 by the merger of three smaller Lutheran denominations: the American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church in America, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. The ELCA is known for its progressive stances on social issues, including the ordination of women and LGBTQ+ individuals, and its commitment to social justice and peacemaking.

On the other hand, the LCMS is a more conservative Lutheran denomination, with around 2 million members in the United States. It was originally formed in 1847 as the German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States, and its members are known for their strict adherence to Lutheran doctrine and tradition. The LCMS does not ordain women or LGBTQ+ individuals, and is generally more conservative on social issues.

In addition to these two major Lutheran denominations in the United States, there are also a number of smaller Lutheran bodies, including the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. These other Lutheran churches often have more specific theological differences or regional affiliations.

While there are several different types of Lutherans, the ELCA and LCMS are the two largest and most well-known denominations in the United States. Despite their different theologies and beliefs, both groups share a commitment to the core principles of Lutheran theology and worship, and they continue to play an important role in shaping the religious landscape of America.

Do Lutherans cross themselves?

The sign of the cross is a religious gesture where a person traces a symbolic cross over their body or in the air in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This gesture is a common tradition in many branches of Christianity, but not all.

Lutherans, who are a branch of Protestant Christianity, have a long and complex history on the use of the sign of the cross. Martin Luther himself, the founder of the Lutheran tradition, did not oppose the use of the sign of the cross but believed that its use should not be forced upon people or made into a superstitious practice.

Despite Luther’s beliefs, some Lutheran denominations still practice the sign of the cross as a gesture of reverence. However, there is no official requirement for Lutherans to cross themselves during worship or prayer, and the practice varies from congregation to congregation and even from individual to individual.

The Lutheran Book of Worship, a widely used liturgical text, includes a rubric that allows for the sign of the cross to be made at various points during the service, but this is left to the discretion of the worship leader and congregation.

It is also worth noting that the sign of the cross is ecumenical, meaning that it is used by many different branches of Christianity, including the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholics, and Episcopalians. The use of the sign of the cross by Lutherans is just one example of how this practice has evolved and adapted throughout the centuries to different Christian traditions.

While Lutherans do not have an official requirement to cross themselves during worship or prayer, the sign of the cross remains a personal practice for some Lutherans as a symbol of their Christian faith. The use of this gesture varies from congregation to congregation and individual to individual within the Lutheran tradition.

Are Lutheran ministers celibate?

In Lutheranism, the topic of celibacy among clergy is not a requirement for being a minister. Unlike the Catholic Church, which mandates that its priests remain celibate, Lutheranism and other Nonconformist Protestant denominations, such as Anglicanism, encourage or even allow clerical marriage.

The idea of clerical celibacy arises from the belief that celibacy is holy and that ministers should abstain from physical relationships to devote themselves fully to God’s work. However, Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran denomination, rejected this notion. According to Luther, marriage was an honorable institution created by God, and anyone, including clergy, could choose to marry if they wished.

Lutheranism holds that there is no spiritual superiority in being celibate, and married ministers are just as capable as celibate ones in carrying out their duties. Most Lutheran ministers today marry and have families, with the belief that they will better understand and relate to their congregations.

Lutheran ministers are not celibate and are free to marry if they so choose. This is in line with the Lutheran belief that marriage is a holy institution created by God and that there is no spiritual advantage to being celibate.