25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. ” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

 MARRIAGE IN THE CHURCH

Dear Friends,


As you know, you are about to enter into a union which is truly beautiful and holy.  Therefore, it requires of those who enter into it a complete and unreserved giving of self.  But Christ our Lord added to the holiness of marriage an even deeper meaning and a higher beauty.  He referred to the love of marriage to describe his own love for the church, that is, for the people of God whom he redeemed by His own blood.  And so He gave to Christians a new vision of what married life ought to be, a life of self-sacrificing love like His own.

 

This union, then, is a most serious one.  Because marriage will bind you together for life, in a relationship so close and so intimate, your whole future will be profoundly influenced.  That future, with its hopes and disappointments, its successes and its failures, its pleasures and its pains, its joys and its sorrows, is hidden from your eyes.  You know that these elements are mingled in every life and are to be expected in your own.  And so, not knowing what is before you, you take each other for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death.

 

Truly then these words are most serious.  It is a beautiful tribute to your undoubted faith in each other that recognizing their full import, you are nevertheless so willing and ready to pronounce them.  It is most fitting that you rest the security of your wedded life upon the great principle of self-sacrifice.  And whatever sacrifices you may hereafter be required to make to preserve this common life, always make them generously.

 

Sacrifice is usually difficult and irksome.  Only love can make it easy and perfect love can make it a joy.  We are willing to give in proportion as we love.  And when love is perfect the sacrifice is complete.  God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son and Christ so loved us that He gave himself for our salvation.  “Greater love than this, no one has that one lay down his life for his friends. ”  No greater blessing can come to your married life than pure conjugal love, loyal and true to the end.   May, then this love with which you join your hands and hearts today, never fail, but grow deeper and stronger as the years go on.