“When a couple seeks to be married in the Catholic Church, they are availing themselves of a precious gift. The community of the Church recognizes that they are responding in faith to an invitation and a call from God. As Christians, the gift of this love of God is a sacrament.
“The Catholic Church believes that the marriage of Christians is a sacrament and is based on the very serious relationship of covenant. The decision to make a life-long commitment requires sufficient reflection, discussion and responsible preparation. Therefore, the celebration of this sacrament is preceded by a period of preparation. You are entering a period of discernment to marry. The Church and the priests are also discerning along with you. This discernment period has a threefold nature: Personal and Relational, Communal, and Liturgical.
“Personal and Relational: As the bride and groom you are the ministers and celebrants of the Sacrament of Marriage. On the part of the Church and the State the priest is the legal and proper witness. Therefore, it is important to meet with the priest prior to your wedding in order for all parties to become familiar with each other. This relationship also reflects the Church’s concern for you as husband and wife and as important members of the Body of Christ.
“Communal: Marriage by its very nature is a public celebration. Though the term “my wedding” is natural to the common vocabulary, from the Church’s point of view the sacrament of marriage is much fuller. Marriage reflects a relationship that extends beyond the couple and includes Christ and his Church, both in heaven and earth.
“Liturgical: Liturgy gathers the Church at prayer and expresses who we are in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit through ritual. The Sacrament of Marriage is part of the Church’s liturgy that celebrates an authentic human love that “is caught up into a divine love and is directed and enriched by the redemptive power of Christ” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 48). This sacrament also consecrates the couple to the duties and dignity of the married state that lead to a personal holiness and mutual sanctification. Therefore, the Rite of Marriage is a rich prayer which captures the beliefs and long standing customs of the Catholic Church.”
The above was taken from here. Yeah, most of this post is taken from another source, but that is because I want all my thoughts to be perfect and that is just not going to be. I wanted you guys to get as accurate a picture as I can give you on this sacrament from an official source. My brain is fried, refuses to work, whatever; so that I can’t seem to write my own thoughts down… but, of course I’ll try.
If you care to delve further, this is a link to the Vatican website, talking about marriage, as it is in God’s Plan.
In my own words…
For me, having God as the third person in this marriage has been a strict necessity for the success of it. Remember we can be more than ourselves and with God, anything is possible. God brings our faith into the home. That sounds funny. Maybe I should say that existing in a sacramental marriage has allowed us to experience God and our faith outside of church, every single day. With God as a partner, our marriage exists on a higher plane than if we were to just live together, or be married without God as a part of it.
This marriage is a covenant we have made with each other and with God, too. It is not just about “raising children Catholic”. Definitely not true for us because, although we have a child, I did not think that I could have them and so, definitely my projected child’s religion was nowhere in the picture. This was/is surely about how we feel about each other, but more than that. Sex is not high up there on the priority list…. Though, it DOES get plenty of press!
God brings the spiritual into our life together. We are definitely NOT soul mates, but my husband and I are on the same page spiritually. We can be as different as night and day on earthly concerns, but spiritually, we are “one flesh”. The sacrament of marriage allows us as a couple to join together, to get as close as we can to The Creator, gaining access to the power of creation. We can create life, through our love for each other and God. I totally believe that our little Gabriel was conceived not only through our love for each other, but also though our desire to pass on our spiritual legacy… in other words, we believe that we have something of value, spiritually, to pass on to our little boy; and it manifested our son.
A little bit of background information here: I was previously married for 8 years, never used birth control, never conceived, lots of sex. Why? Because God was not present in that marriage; and I believe He wanted better for me/us. At the beginning of my relationship with my husband, I prepared him well for the fact (I thought) that I was barren. He said, “We’ll see.” He accepted me and we took on an attitude of “if it happens, it happens”. God found us worthy and gave us a perfect baby. If you want to read Gabriel’s Story, you can find it here. I had intended it to be private, but messed up on how I should do the settings to keep it private, as you and everyone else can see, it’s public. By the time I realized it, it was really public, so I kept it there.
We definitely have our ups and downs; but we respect each other. We have to, we know each other’s secrets!… Ah…couldn’t resist. Seriously, we have a trust for each other that will carry us through, but we know that we have to work at it every day…. Especially holidays! For more on that, please see Post Thanksgiving. Just knowing that we will put forth the effort required to resolve our issues is enough in itself sometimes. It’s not always perfect because we have been known to definitely drive each other crazy. For that I recommend “Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus”. Great read for a couple…. that is, of course, if you like to share reading projects. I found it very helpful after my first marriage to understand more about our behavior in the failed attempt… too late for that one, but very interesting.