Wedding

CHRISTIAN WEDDING

IF COUPLES ARE FROM THE SAME FAITH OR COMMUNITY

Appreciate you for finding a spouse from our own Catholic faith and community. It helps for:
1. Compatibility in married life
2. To keep the Catholic faith and traditions of the community or liturgical rite to future generations.

It is instructed in the Bible
Marriage of Isaac And Rebekah: “Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, "Please place your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac." (Genesis 24:2-4).

Before the entry of Israelites to Canaan, Moses advised: "Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. "For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.” (Deuteronomy 7:3-4).

A DIVINE INSTITUTION

- God instituted marriage with the creation of Eve.

- Bridal procession, where the father of the bride brings her to the groom, reminds us of God who brought Eve to Adam.

- Adam and Eve did not meet each other or marry themselves. God blessed their marriage.

- Adam received Eve stating, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” (Genesis 2:23). In fact, Eve was taken from him. Though they became physically two, they were one in spirit and moved as a team in their success and failure.

- The child needs the care of father and mother for a balanced and healthy rearing. That was why Mary received Joseph to bring up Jesus. Both worked as a team in the Holy Family facing challenges and taking care of Infant Jesus.

- A single person alone cannot give birth to a child.  

- Marriage is also one of the characteristics not found among vegetative or animal life. Human life, especially in childhood and old age, is vulnerable and need assistance. Marriage and family care are part of God’s design.

A DIVINE PLAN

When we analyze the famous painting of the creation of Adam at the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, we notice that God is holding a woman and a child. The woman is looking at Adam and the child to the earth. The spiritual interpretation is that Eve was in the mind of God when He created Adam. God also had the incarnation of Jesus in His divine plan for salvation, just in case of any human failure. So also, even before the creation of this groom and bride, God had their wedding in mind.

THE DIVINITY OF MARRIAGE

The sacredness and seriousness of marriage relationship is illustrated in the Biblical analogy of God’s relationship with his chosen people both in the Old and New Testament.

The Old Testament presents the relationship between God and Israel like husband and wife. The intention of the divine covenant with Israel was for the salvation of all the nations. “I will also make You a light of the nations, so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6). The husband and wife work together for the spiritual and material wellbeing of their children that God entrusts them.

In the New Testament, church is the bride of Jesus who made a new covenant with her at the last supper. Their spiritual wedding and banquet will take place at the second coming of Christ. St. Paul advises: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” (Ephesians 5:25-33).

MARRIAGE AS A COVENANT

- Civil marriage is more like a contract bound by civil law and can be dissolved by legal divorce. The Christian marriage involves a covenant or perpetual vow that cannot be dissolved.

- Civil marriage is between two people. Christian marriage is a covenant between bride and groom touching the gospel representing Jesus Christ. So, three are involved. That is the difference between Christian marriage and non-Christian marriage.

- Couples in secular marriage relies on human promise and abilities. Christian marriage relies on divine grace.

- Contract is conditional can be broken if the conditions are not met; whereas covenant is an unconditional commitment. Changes in life and life situations cannot dilute the marital commitment. Wedding pledge specifies: “to live in love and fidelity and with oneness of mind, in joy and sorrow, in wealth and want, in health and sickness, from this day, till the hour of our death.” (Syro-Malabar wedding pledge).

- Contract is signed for the benefit of oneself. Covenant is an offer of oneself to the other for the mutual wellbeing. If the contract pledge is “I accept you for me” the covenant vow will be “I give myself to you.”

- God do not tolerate idolatry. God compared it to adultery. Both are serious offenses in front of God.

FROM THE STORY OF ADAM AND EVE

- Adam was single only for a while. Then God made a partner for him from his rib which shows that they are basically one.

- Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs that was close to his heart. The wife should remain close to her husband in love.

- The creation of Eve was to provide a suitable companion and a helper for Adam. “The LORD God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suited to him.’” (Genesis 2:18).

- God created humans male and female for procreation. “God said to them: Be fertile and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28).

- Eve had heard the commandment of The LORD only from Adam: “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.” (Genesis 2:16-17). When Eve violated this, Adam volunteered to die with her to keep up their unity.

FROM THE LIFE OF RUTH

Ruth’s vow has been used in some wedding ceremonies. When Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth said goodbye to her to go back to her native place of Bethlehem, Ruth said: “Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God. Where you die I will die, and there be buried. May the LORD do thus to me, and more, if even death separates me from you!” (Ruth 1: 16-17). Ruth joined Naomi and later became the grandmother of King David.

FROM THE WEDDING AT CANA

- The Biblical sense of wine is joy. When there was shortage of wine at the wedding feast of Cana, the joy was lost. Sometimes, the unexpected loss of joy can happen in family life that the family cannot fix itself.

- Blessed Mother of Jesus intervened without anyone seeking her assistance. She knew that only her son could help at the critical moment.

- Presence and intervention of both Jesus and his mother were needed to resolve the issue. If we have Jesus and his mother with us, they will help us in our family issues.

- The miracle would not have happened if Jesus or his mother was absent at the wedding feast.

MARRIAGE AS A SACRAMENT

- The sacredness of marriage is highlighted by considering it as one of the seven sacraments.

- “The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us.” (CCC 1131).

- "The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament." (CCC 1601).

- Bride and groom are the celebrants of the marriage.

BRAIN, HEART AND LUNGS

Brain, heart and lungs are most important organs of our human body. If one of them stops functioning, the whole body dies within minutes. Husband (brain), wife (heart) and lungs (grace of God) should work in unison to keep up a healthy family. Brain communicates with the whole body collecting data, processing it, making decisions, and giving commands. Heart is seat of love and sends blood of love all over the body and purifies the blood. Brain and heart are always at work in union with lungs. Brain and heart are not to fight one another on their prominence but are to complement each other.

UNION OF MARRIAGE

Conjoined twins is an example of two persons living together by adjusting themselves for happy living. Though the groom and bride are separate personalities, they are joined from now on until their death.

STREAMS JOINING AS A RIVER

Marriage is like two streams joining to form as a river. Wedding is their meeting point. Once joined they cannot be separated. They flow together until they separate by death to join the ocean of eternal life. For a Christian couple, three streams are involved. The third stream is the Grace of Jesus Christ who leads them to the eternal dwelling place with his Father.

MARRIAGE AS A TEAMWORK

- A team works together without competition among themselves. So, shall the couples work as a team.

- A team has unity of mind and a common goal. The couples form as one mind for a successful family for the wellbeing of themselves and their children.

- A team will have a captain and all work in unison with the captain. The husband shall be the captain who make decisions in consultation with wife and children.

- The success or failure of a team member is that of the team. So shall be the ups and downs of a family member to the family.

- St. Luke wrote on the early Christian community: “All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32). A Christian family shall have the same spirit of this early Christian community.

FOR A SUCCESSFUL MARRIED LIFE

- Openness in communication is essential for the spouse.

- Spouse should be the foremost friend in life.

- Willingness to forgive and ignore the weakness of the spouse.

- Have a positive approach to adjust the conflicting personalities. Incompatibility of spouses would be found out later in the married life.

- Respect the individuality and diversity of the family members.

- Give importance to the inner beauty (behavior) than the external beauty (appearance).

- Initiative to serve the spouse than demand to be served by the other. Remember, Jesus came to serve and not to be served.

- Desire to give to the life-partner rather than to receive from the spouse.

- Sexual fidelity.

- Willingness to sacrifice personal interests for the spouse, especially bad habits or addictions.

- Reconcile conflicts without delay.

- Wounds or breaking of bones take time to heal, need patience, and in some cases need outside help. Follow the same in case of crisis in married life rather than breaking up.

- The joy of family life is not just in wealth, health, or good living conditions. The most important is love which encompasses everything needed in the family life. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

- Agape love will make the family successful. There are four levels of love:

(1) Eros (air-ohs) which is romantic and is expressed in the Song of Solomon.

(2) Storge (stor-jay) which is family love. Examples are Noah and his family, Jacob and his sons, Mary and Martha.

(3) Philia which is brotherly love. That is love of fellow humans and those in need.

(4) Agape which is divine or Christian love. It is unconditional and sacrificial. It includes love of enemies and those who persecute us as Jesus taught his disciples to follow. An example is the forgiveness extended by Joseph in Egypt when his brothers who sold him to merchants appeared before him. Practice of agape love by family members will solve all issues in the family.