“…and the two shall become one flesh.”
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.” Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” man’s equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. Since God created them man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves us.
“Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” The Lord himself shows that this unbreakable union of spouses was the plan of the Creator “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” In his preaching, Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning: permission given by Moses to divorce one’s wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined that “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Marriage is a herioc vocation; the Church has great compassion on those who find themselves in difficult marriages or have experienced divorce and/or have received a declaration of marriage nullity.
Indeed, God himself is the author of marriage. The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures. 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. Faithful Christ, the Church teaches that marital intercourse must be open to life (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1607-1617; Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:3-9; Ephesians 5:21-33))
For further information on the sacrament of Matrimony and how to help ensure a strong and lasting marriage and family life, please consider visiting For Your Marriage, an outreach offered by the USCCB.
Marriage Preparation Program at Queens
The process for marriage preparation at Queens is in accordance with the directives of the Diocese of Lansing, and is designed to prepare couples for a faith-filled, fruitful, life-long marriage.
The process begins with an initial meeting with the priest. This meeting is followed by working through the following requirements:1. FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study) is a self-diagnostic instrument designed to help couples learn more about themselves and their unique relationship. The initial assessment is completed online and then couples meet with the priest or FOCCUS Facilitator Couple to review the results.2. WE CARE communications skills seminar is a 2 day seminar sponsored by Catholic Charities of Jackson. The seminar teaches couples positive communication and conflict management skills for counteracting and limiting negative patterns of behaviour within marriage.3. www.CatholicMarriagePrep.com is an in-depth online course designed to help couples understand our rich Catholic teachings with an emphasis on the Sacrament of Marriage itself.4. Natural Family Planning (NFP) courses teach couples a highly-effective scientific method of family planning, which is in full accord with the plan of God for fruitful married life.
Optional elements in the process may include Engaged Encounter or Remarriage Seminar, depending on individual circumstances. As the wedding day approaches (generally a month before the wedding) the couple meets with the priest to review the preparation process, and plan specific elements of the liturgy and wedding celebration. Contact Fr. Tim for more information.
What social science says about couples living together outside of marriage:
- On average, marriage preceded by cohabitation is 46% more likely to end in divorce.
- The risk is greatest for “serial” cohabitors who have had multiple relationships.
- There are no positive effects from cohabiting.
- Cohabitation puts children at risk. After five years, one-half of cohabiting couples will have broken up, compared to 15% of married parents.
To understand the reality behind cohabitiation, please read more here.