Sacraments are always signs of God’s presence with us, God’s abiding love for us. The sacrament of Matrimony is the couple’s vocation—their call to holiness, in which they bring each other to know and understand God more fully.
The sign of the sacrament of Matrimony is the couple—the beauty of how they love one another speaks, not only to bride and the groom (husband and wife), but to the whole world of God’s great love. This sacrament begins on the wedding day with their consent and vows, but doesn’t end there. Married couples continue to live out their sacrament by saying, “I do” to each other each day of their married life together.
The love of our marriage partner can be a visible sign of God’s great love for all people. In marriage we want our partner to know:
Can you see how these things mirror the way our God loves all people? This covenant relationship—loving no matter what—is the way God loves and calls couples to love in marriage. What a special gift it is for married couples to be a sign of God’s love and presence in the world by their loving each other!
Of course, living out this sacrament is not always easy. A good marriage doesn’t just happen; the couple needs to work to make it happen. Sometimes it takes a decision to love, especially when we don’t feel like it. It may mean putting our partner’s needs above our own. Both sacrifice and support are important elements of a good marriage. We can look to Jesus for the model of true love, which is all about self-giving, reaching out and forgiveness. When we marry, we think we know what love is, but through the course of our life together, we come to learn more deeply what love entails, as we strive to live out our sacrament together. Whenever we witness true loving, we can get a taste of God’s love in a very real and tangible way; we can “touch” God. As married couples, we can be that “sign” of God’s love for our partner, for our family, and for anyone whose life we touch.
The video below about Marriage (Matrimony) has been prepared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to give a clear explanation of the theology and ritual of the sacrament.