Can nuns get married? (Why can’t nuns marry? Can nuns date?)

As a theologian, I am always doing research to help me understand the different Christian traditions well. Recently, I have been more intrigued to learn about the nuns and how they conduct themselves across the different Christian denominations. I visited the Orthodox, Catholic, and even protestant churches like the Anglican Church to interact with various nuns and learn more about the vows that govern them. Recently, a member of one of my online Christian forums wanted to know if the nuns got married. Since I am well informed about the vows the nuns make across different Christian denominations, I was in a better position to explain to the members the position of the nuns regarding marriage. So, can nuns get married?

No, once you take the vow to be a nun, you cannot get married. One of the vows that nuns across most Christian sects take is the chastity vow. This vow bars nuns from having romantic relationships of any kind or engaging in any sexual behavior.

So, join me as I widely discuss whether nuns get married. I will look at if a catholic nun can have a romantic relationship, whether one can become a nun after a divorce, and if protestant and Orthodox nuns can marry. So, keep reading to learn about this and more.

Why do nuns not get married?

Nuns do not get married because of the celibacy vow they make while dedicating their lives to serve God. This is in accordance with 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 where Apostle Paul notes that the unmarried have more concern towards the affairs of the Lord. This is because they have no wife or husband to be devoted to. Thus, they devote themselves to the Lord.

Therefore, when joining the nun community, one is making a vow to devote their life to God and serve diligently in his ministry. Nuns are supposed to abstain from any form of sexual engagement and thus are not allowed to marry after making this vow.

Can a Catholic nun have a romantic relationship?

Why can’t nuns marry?
Can a Catholic nun have a romantic relationship? Image source: Pixabay

No, Catholic nuns take chastity vows which bar them from getting married or engaging in romantic relationships or sexual behavior. This vow is based on Mathew 16:24, where Jesus notes that whoever wants to serve him as his disciple must pay the price of denying themselves. This vow allows nuns to give all their love and devotion to God, not to be destructed or confused with worldly things when serving God.

According to the Catholic Church, when a nun takes this vow, it is a declaration that sex or romantic relations are not part of her new life. This means she has given herself fully and wholly to the service of God. By abiding by this vow, the church believes that nuns can now be free to serve anywhere in the world. This is because having children and a husband can make it somehow challenging.

Can you become a nun if you are divorced?

Yes, in the current world, a divorcee or a widow who wishes to serve the Lord by becoming a nun can live this wish. Most people equate the “nun position” as only set apart for unmarried people. This has changed over the years as most denominations have come up with training sessions they take widows or divorcees through before they can take a vow to become a nun. However, a common criterion that most churches hold onto before one is admitted to becoming a nun is that she has to have no children, or if she has any, they should be old enough not to be dependent on her.

Can Orthodox nuns marry?

No, orthodox nuns are not allowed to marry. However, the church allows those who have been divorced or are widows to become nuns. As an orthodox nun, you undergo training and take monastic vows, which are supposed to guide you during your service in the church. The monastic vows revolve around obedience, poverty, and chastity. The chastity vow prohibits Orthodox nuns from engaging in sexual acts or participating in procreation. By agreeing to be a nun, one agrees to dedicate their life fully to the service of God and not be distracted by anything, including marriage. However, it is key to note that the Orthodox Church allows married men to become priests but cannot serve as Bishops.

Can Protestant nuns marry?

Can nuns get married? 
Can Protestant nuns marry? Image source: Pixabay

Though most nuns across various denominations take chastity vows which prohibit them from having any romantic relationship or engaging in sexual acts, some protestant churches allow nuns to marry. Protestant churches, as seen through history, are not on the extreme side when it comes to their clergy marrying. For example, Bishops and priests in many protestant churches are allowed to have marriage partners, while the Catholic Church bars Bishops and Priests from getting marriage.

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