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.
Useful Links & Support
Alliance of Catholic Marriage Organisations
The Alliance is an initiative forged by a number of Catholic marriage organisations united in their commitment to offer clearer, more joined-up pathways of support for couples. They want to help you!
From marriage preparation to relationship advice, counselling to crisis support, the Alliance recognises that commitment is best achieved through the deepening of othe relationships in the couples they serve.
Click the image to find out about the support they can offer you.
Who makes up the Alliance?
Catholic Marriage Care: For relationship counselling, marriage preparation, crisis support and relationship education resources, please visit: https://www.marriagecare.org.uk
Marriage Encounter: Weekend retreats where couples rediscover their original dream, and deepen and enrich their relationship: www.wwme.org.uk
Engaged Encounter: For couples who are engaged and preparing for their wedding, this site provides formal preparation to marriage in the light of Church teaching: https://engaged-encounter.org.uk
Retrouvaille: A programme of hope, helping couples heal and renew their marriages, learning to live, love and trust again: www.retrouvaille.org.uk
- Teams of Our Lady (Equipes Notre Dame): Marriage enrichment through grouping couples together for fellowship and spiritual reflection: www.teamsgb.org.uk
- Two In One Flesh: Online and physical resources, based on scripture, to support couples in their relationship with one another and with God: www.twoinoneflesh.org.uk
Other useful links...
A step-by-step guide to planning a Catholic wedding: http://www.catholicweddinghelp.com
Paul Northam is the Diocesan Advisor for Evangelisation, Discipleship and Marriage & Family Life. Paul can offer advice to help you:
Promote a Catholic vision of marriage and family life,
Find useful materials to affirm marriage, family life and the parish family,
Develop school or parish based work with families;
Assist those involved in marriage preparation,
Provide formation in family catechesis to assist parents as well as catechists,
Pray as a family or married couple.
T: 0121 321 5148