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Marriage and Family Life

“God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.’”

Genesis 1:27-28

According to the Church's teachings, marriage is a Sacrament and a truly human and social institution.  In marriage, a man and a woman consecrate themselves to each other in front of God. As they receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, they become ministers of grace to one another and together they engage in the mission of the Church.

When a man and woman come together in marriage, it is more than their choice; it is a calling from God to live a lifelong, intimate, sacramental relationship of love. In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis writes: "Marriage is a vocation, in as much as it is a response to a specific call to experience conjugal love as an imperfect sign of the love between Christ and the Church. Consequently, the decision to marry and to have a family ought to be the fruit of a process of vocational discernment" (no. 72).

This vocation challenges couples to live a sacrificial life for each other and their children. The love shown between the Christian husband and wife is a sign of the radical love shown by Christ whilst on earth. This same sacrificial and radical love is what God calls the two people into.

“Christ is the source of this grace... to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb: 

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father?... 'How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.'”

- CCC 1642

Once we discern that God is calling us to marriage, then it is important to pray for the right person to get married to. Spending time with the Blessed Sacrament, getting advice from other faithful married couples, asking others to pray for you, praying to your guardian angel and the novena to St. Joseph are some of the ways that help to discern. Taking the time to associate the other person, praying together and discerning if both are right for each other before committing in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony are some ways that enhances the love between the two, if God is calling them to be together.

Mark and Sue

They speak about:

  • How they discerned the call to a married life with each other,

  • Their experience in bringing up children in Christ's way,

  • The ways in which they are serving God and his Church now.

CONTACT

 
Family Ministry of the Archdiocese of Birmingham

 

Family Ministry covers a number of areas:

  • Supporting and promoting all areas of family life (through the seasons of life from conception through to natural death), 

  • Offering pastoral support to parishes and schools (clergy and laity) involved in the work of affirming marriage, family life and the parish family,

  • Providing information and resources in all family matters,

  • Promoting the Church's understanding and teaching on the vocation to marriage,

  • Supporting couples in the preparation for marriage, marriage enrichment and in times of difficulty as well as recognising the need for pastoral support for divorced and separated,

  • Promoting and providing training in family catechesis to assist parents, as well as catechists, to pass on the faith.

Lianne Pap is the Marriage and Family Life Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

​M: 07814 736564​

E: lianne.pap@rcaob.org.uk

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Resources

  • Christian Courtship In An Oversexed World by Rev. T.G. Morrow is a book with a conversation like a magazine column. The author (became a priest whilst writing this book) draws insight from his own dating experience and his patrol experience as a chaplain to single groups. The book also covers the following:

  • How to choose Mr./ Mrs Right,

  • Four meanings of love,

  • How to have a warm, chaste courtship,

  • How to restore the dignity of a woman,

  • Goodness of affection,

  • How to overcome common communication difficulties,

  • How to get beyond past sins, 

  • What a truly Christian marriage looks like.

Buy here.

  • The book Three To Get Married by Fulton A. Sheen highlights the Church's understanding of vocation to marriage while emphasising that Jesus is at the centre of every loving and successful marriage. Bishop Sheen provides challenges and solutions to common marital crises and presents real-life stories of people who have been transformed through marriage. Suitable for engaged and married couples. Buy here.

Useful Links 

  • For couples who are engaged and preparing for their wedding, this site provides formal preparation to marriage in the light of the Church: https://engaged-encounter.org.uk