Made for a Reason Retreat Day One – Marriage: Made by God
Day One – Marriage: Made by God
Breaking Open the Theme
Despite many variations throughout cultures, societies, and religions, marriage has always been regarded as a sacred bond that expresses a deep, committed form of mutual love. Marriage is not, however, purely a human institution: “the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws … God himself is the author of marriage” (GS, 48).
How is God the author of marriage?
First, “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them ” (Gen. 1:27). Since man and woman are created in the image of God, who is Love, man and woman carry an innate calling to love. Marriage responds to a fundamental desire and need to give and receive love.
Second, as male and female, God created man and woman with a physical complementarity that is uniquely able to collaborate in His work of creation. The very nature of man and woman is prepared for the possibility of marriage and the welcoming of new life.
Third, Holy Scripture affirms that it is good for a man and woman to belong to one another and form a bond of communion: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) …. ” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body (Gen. 2:24). In the New Testament, Jesus invokes God’s original plan for mankind as an unbreakable union of two lives by recalling the plan of the Creator in the beginning: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mt. 19:6).
In the divine plan, marriage is the exclusive, indissoluble communion of life and love entered by one man and one woman. Between two baptized Christians, this covenant is a sacrament.
As Catholics, an understanding of God’s plan for marriage and family is an essential part of living the call to holiness. Catholic spouses are blessed with the certainty that the sacrament of marriage provides the graces necessary to become sanctified as husband and wife, father and mother. This grace endows the marriage covenant with strength and fortifies it in moments of difficulty. It also carries over into the domestic church, the home, where the family grows and becomes a witness to God’s love for others.
God’s plan for marriage is not restricted to Catholics, however. As explained above, it is rooted in the nature and identity of man and woman created in God’s image. The dignity of marriage with its specific purpose and characteristics is a good to uphold and defend to the benefit of all people.
To Think About
(Choose one or more of the following questions to reflect on by yourself and/or with your spouse)
- What makes marriage distinctive compared to other relationships? Why are love and commitment in marriage unique? What does it mean to say that God created marriage in the very same moment that he created the human person?
- As a couple, how are we complementary in our needs, desires, and attributes? How does God endow us with different gifts, as man and woman, that contribute to the marriage?
- How can we, as a couple, bear witness to the beauty and wisdom of God’s design for marriage?
Prayer of Married Couples
Almighty and eternal God,
You blessed the union of husband and wife
so that we might reflect
the union of Christ with His Church:
look with kindness on us.
Renew our marriage covenant.
Increase your love in us,
and strengthen our bond of peace
so that, [with our children],
we may always rejoice in the gift of your blessing.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.