Married life is a beautiful vocation, a visible witness of the love between Christ and His Church, and is also meant also to mirror the love and communion of the Holy Trinity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.”
Paul says in Ephesians 5:21-33:
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33 however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
It is in this married state of life that, united in the sacramental bond of holy matrimony, the relationship between husband and wife mirrors the relationship that exists between Christ and the Church. This is a very demanding calling as it is one that other people will see and witness, and thus it is very easy to give a bad portrayal of Christ and the Church. This is something that married couples must take great care to protect and be aware of. For it is in loving the Lord that they will be best love their spouse, and in doing so, married couples will best reflect the mystery of love between Christ and the Church.
St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney said in one of his sermons that:
Husbands and wives should live peacefully in their union of marriage; they should be mutually edifying to each other, pray for one another, bear patiently with one another’s faults, encourage virtue in one another by good example, and follow the holy and sacred rules of their state, remembering that they are the children of the saints and that, consequently, they ought not to behave like pagans, who have not the happiness of knowing the one true God.
Many people often are led to marriage as the “default vocation.” We encourage you to be cautious about this and take some time to discern all of the vocations and find the one which God is calling you to. Talk to holy married couples that you might know to see what the married life is really all about, and about their experience. If you are dating just for fun, we challenge you to change your game and take a different approach. Get to know someone you are interested in just as a friend. Spend time in prayer with them. If you feel that God may be calling you to pursue discerning marriage with this person, enter into a holy, Christian courtship. Don’t stop discerning with them and praying about whether or not God is calling you to the sacrament of matrimony. Seek out the advice of your spiritual director if you have one. Talk to family and friends who you trust to see what they say about your relationship – is it benefiting you and making you come alive? Are you growing in holiness with your significant other? Be confident that God will lead you to the right person and the right vocation. Trust in the Lord and ask for Him to guide you. He will lead you.
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