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Marraige Initiative

God's Plan for Marriage

02/01/2008 - One of the joys of being a pastor is sharing the journey of faith with couples preparing for marriage. Unfortunately, many couples who approach the Church come seeking only assistance with a wedding when what we offer is preparation for a lifetime of marriage. As Christians, we believe that God created men and women in his own image, that he gave every man and woman the gift of life and that we are called by our God to respond to him by living lives of love and service that reflect God's love. As Christian people we have a model in the life of Christ, who dedicated himself to a life of service. We are called by God to give ourselves in lives of service to others and most people do this by commitment to a union with a spouse. Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another and that the unity of one man and one woman who commit themselves to an unbreakable union is a response to God's call for a man and woman to become one flesh.

In his preaching Jesus taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning, "what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder" (Matthew 19:6). St. Paul affirmed this teaching and encouraged husbands to love their wives and to give themselves in love to their wives as Christ gave himself in love to the Church (Ephesians 5:25).

It is not commonly understood that marriage is a response to God's call and a commitment to a life of service . The secular culture promotes an attitude about sexual relationships that is very different than Church teaching. Sometimes when a couple approaches me and asks me to celebrate their wedding with them they are shocked when rather than just agreeing to what they have planned, I invite them to consider entering into a period of reflection on why they feel they are being called by God to enter into marriage. We commonly ask couples, if they are living together, to separate so they can enter into a period of discernment on how God is calling them. The Catholic Diocese in Wyoming requires all couples who are seeking to have their marriages blessed in the Church to prepare themselves through a process that requires completion of a pre-marital inventory, discussions with a priest and/or mentoring couple, completion of a series of classes that focus on the skills necessary to fulfill marital obligations, and an education in the Theology of the Body with special emphasis on how Natural Family Planning can be used to discern God's will.

It has been a real blessing to me to work with other Pastors and lay Church leaders from various Christian communities in Natrona County as we have sought ways to reaffirm the dignity of marriage and to promote the sanctity of human life and conjugal unity. For several months now we have met on a regular basis to discuss our concerns about the "state of marriage" and to promote and sponsor programs that highlight our belief that the union of one man and one woman united for life with a commitment to sharing their love is really the basis of all civilization. I pray that our message is being heard in the community.

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