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Marriage and family life

A Love That Overflows

“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

— Matthew 19:4-6

Together in love

There is nothing in the world like knowing that you are loved. True love is more than a feeling. It is a reflection of God’s life and grace within us. Real love seeks what is best for the other. It is selfless and sacred. Love is our vocation — the way of life to which each of us is called. “In the beginning,” God created man and woman to share in His love. Married couples join in and witness to God’s love through the way they live so that their family and friends, co-workers, neighbors and those they serve may see God’s love in action.

The vocation of marriage

In the vocation of marriage, a man and a woman commit themselves to one another, “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.” This union is, by its very nature, permanent, faithful and open to children. As Catholics, we understand marriage to be a sacrament — an instrument and sign of God’s grace. When a man and a woman enter into this covenant of marriage, they receive a sacrament where “authentic married love is caught up into divine love” (Gaudium et Spes, 48). They receive the sacramental grace to “help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children” (Lumen Gentium, 11).

Understanding the purpose of marriage

When God loves, it is total and complete. He empties Himself out in total self-giving. In marriage, God invites a man and woman to love like He loves. It is the very nature of this kind of love to overflow, to be life-giving. Children are the natural outcome of this generous outpouring of selfless love.

“There is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and woman in marriage. After the Holy Eucharist, it has a power beyond anything that we can imagine.”
— Cardinal Raymond Burke

How do you know if God is calling you to marriage?

God has a plan for your life and your happiness, and you’ll never really be happy if you aren’t following His call. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you discern what God is calling you to in this life.

Questions to ask yourself

1

Do you feel called to discern your vocation at this time in your life?

2

Do you have a regular prayer life?

3

Are you open to following God’s will for you?

4

 Do you have a desire to love God and another person with your whole heart, mind and spirit?

5

Do you feel called to live your life in relationship with another in a deep and lasting way?

6

In prayerful reflection, do you feel called to be married and to nurture a Catholic family with your spouse?

7

Do you desire children?

“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God.”

— Venerable Fulton Sheen

What is the process for preparing for marriage in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati?

Prior to reserving the reception venue, the bride and groom should contact their priest or deacon shortly after their engagement to immediately begin their preparation for marriage. The Church’s marriage preparation requirements are meant not to be difficult or burdensome but to give couples the resources for a lifelong joy-filled marriage.

1

As soon as possible after your engagement,  contact your parish and set up a meeting with a priest or deacon.  He will walk you through the following steps to assist you in preparing for a life-long and joy-filled marriage.

2

Complete one of the following marriage preparation inventories and participate in follow up:

3

Choose your own married mentor couple based on the Witness to Love model.

4

Complete at least one of the following formational programs (check with your parish for their requirements before registering):

  • Genesis (2021 Pre-Cana)
  • Parish Based Program

5

Complete a course in Natural Family Planning through one of the following NFP providers:

6

Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation

7

Pray as a couple daily

8

Participate in on-going events for married couples at your parishes or neighboring parishes.  Engage in marriage enrichment practices.

What’s Next?

Any person who is contemplating his or her vocation or discerning a call to marriage and family life may contact:

Adriana Vasquez

Managing Director, Marriage & Family Evangelization

Wayne Topp

Director for Young Adult Evangelization & Discipleship

An excellent website with articles, blogs, book recommendations, tips for dating, engagement, marriage and more is foryourmarriage.org