There are different understandings of marriage, different kinds of marriages, different ways and means of getting married. There is however a marked commonality among all known and all types of honest-to-goodness marriages – no matter where, when and how it is entered into on proviso only that it is honestly, sincerely opted and seriously lived. It is a most pleasant way of starting it through the celebration of the wedding. But it is a very demanding and trying life as couples live their progressive spousal (bride and groom), conjugal (living-in-common), and parental life (mother and father). In short, it is the most difficult, truly exacting and really trying way of living – even if only but considering the unity and permanency it demands and imposes plus the consequent lasting obligations it affirms.
Truth to tell, among other impeding factors, marriage is definitely and particularly not meant for individuals – rich or poor, famous or unknown, powerless or powerful – saddled by any of the following personal liabilities: a. Those suffering from any given downright mental malady. B. Those afflicted with a serious judgment flaw. C. Those afflicted with an innate incapacity to fulfill essential marriage obligations. In other words, considering precisely the objective gravity of the nature and finalities of marriage, very much more is required to elicit valid matrimonial consent.
Contrary to common belief and usual impression, the celibate opted by Clerics, Religious Men and Women in the Catholic Church – as well as men and women of other religious beliefs with the same mandatory observance of singlehood – is relatively much easier, less demanding and less difficult way of living. They are on their own when they are healthy or sick. They are likewise basically alone not only when they are still alive but also when they eventually die.
But marriage – truth to tell – is a state of life that is not meant for everybody whereas not everybody is meant for marriage. It is the most common state of life, yes. It is fun and joy to celebrate it, yes. It is also the source of standing happiness and lasting contentment when a couple live up to their marriage vows- which are something very much more than pronouncing them whereas living them is what really makes marriage. So it is that “Marriage in Church” – in addition to its being a SACRAMENT – is:
1. A CONTRACT: It is a singular, bilateral agreement without neither “if” nor “but” and thus subject only to but a “Yes!” or “No!” as provided by both Natural Law and consequent Positive Law.
2. An INSTITUTION: It is a concordance that is not subject to time limit as it is a “Take it” or “Leave it” consensus that lasts for a lifetime of the parties therein until one of them leaves for the beyond.
3. A COVENANT: It is along the intent and spirit of a “Blood Compact” that imposes fidelity to a solemn and noble agreement such a party therein who violates it, is considered a downright traitor.