Marriage differs from a legal contract in that it is an open-ended contract, “for better, for worse.”
In marriage you make an unconditional promise, not knowing where the promise will lead, what the promise will entail. The unconditional promise is the essence of Christian marriage.
Who can make such a promise? Only those people who were crazy enough to make another unconditional promise– to commit themselves to Jesus Christ in faith, again not knowing what faith will demand or where faith will lead. For in their relationship with each other, they are likewise daring to trust in the power of Christ’s love shared in and through the Christian community.
What is Christian Marriage? • The Church’s understanding of marriage, after reflection on God’s word, can be summed up in this way:
Marriage, as a Christian sacrament, is a lifelong and faithful union of a man and a woman mutually committed to sharing their life and love together. Modeled after and strengthened by God’s own love for his people, it’s an intimate partnership in which each person gives the other freedom to grow and which is directed toward bearing fruit.
Mutual growth demands a delicate balance between assertiveness and surrender.
Family • They are partners in an essential common task. In reaching out to others they can create a beautiful oasis and do the job which family does best: establishing a place of belonging, relatedness, stability and love in an unstable, lonely world.
Marriage is an open-ended commitment. • No one knows where faithfulness to another, freedom for self-development and commitment to the outside world will lead. The one certainty is that both partners will change as time passes. If they accept challenges in all three areas, they may have arguments, they may grow tired and sometimes overwhelmed, but they will never be bored with marriage or with each other.
They will know that the grace of the sacrament, which is the presence of Christ himself, will remain with them and lead their faithful love to greater and greater fullness
This power point presentation is a series of quotes from the article, “The Sacrament of Marriage,” by Mary and James Kenny from Catholic Update, January 2001