The Sacrament of Marriage

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

Matthew 19:6

Dressed in their bridal clothes, surrounded by their friends and family, the bride and groom step forward and exchange their vows. In words like these, they declare their intention: “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” At this moment, the two become one. With the exchange of their free consent in the context of the liturgy, the bond of matrimony is sealed. And if both the husband and wife are baptized Christians, their marriage is more than natural, it’s supernatural. It is a sacrament. Christ himself is now present in a special way, providing their union with the strength to follow him, to rise after falling, to forgive each other, to bear each other’s burdens and “to love one another with supernatural, tender and fruitful love” (CCC #1642). These divine gifts are enlivened by the cooperation of the spouses, who are called to imitate the self-giving love of Jesus. St. Paul’s famous analogy from Ephesians compares the love of a husband and wife to the sacrificial love of Christ for his Church (cf. Eph 5 :25ff.). In this exalted vision, marriage is more than a political contract; it is an interpersonal covenant of mutual service, fidelity and unity that is meant to last a lifetime.

“When I think of our great, beautiful love, I can do nothing but thank the Lord. It’s true that love is the most beautiful gift that God has given to us.”

St. Gianna Molla’s letter to her husband