That “Love is the queen of virtues” is most commonly felt, experienced, and lived in the man-woman relationship. It begins with a meeting or encounter between. This is followed by acquaintance, in terms of mutual personal knowledge. This is succeeded by courtship or a profession of love. This, in turn, develops into an engagement or exclusivity of amorous relationship. This is ultimately crowned by marriage whereby the man and the woman give, commit, entrust one to the other.
Marriage is thus defined, explained, and affirmed: Marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their whole life which by its very nature is ordained for the well-being of the spouses and the procreation and upbringing of children. (Cf. Canon 1055 par. 1 CIC)
In a Catholic marriage, the standard symbolic articles, used to signify the singular nature, the attributions and finalities of the covenant of love, are the following – after the exchange of matrimonial consent:
Ring: The man and the woman give a ring to one another as a symbol of their respective self-giving to one another.
Arrhae: The man then gives the arrhae/tokens to the woman as a symbol of his commitment to support her, and the woman accepts the commitment.
Veil: The veil is thereafter placed on the man and the woman as a symbol that together they will sleep in one bed, eat from one table, live under one roof.
Cord: The cord is subsequently placed on the man and the woman as a symbol of their carrying together the burdens of married life.
Candles: Two candles are finally lighted in order to symbolize that the marriage of the man and the woman has formally begun – with the message that when either or both of them are consumed, thus ends the marriage.
So it is that marriage is the most delightful as well as the most difficult, the really satisfying and likewise trying, the definitely joyful and also demanding way of life. So it is that marriage is anything but only seek to pleasure, simply to have happiness and contentment. And so it is that those incapacitated for marriage intents and purposes should not even think of getting married. So it is too that those who do not believe, do not think, do not accept the truth that marriage is a Covenant between a man and a woman for a lifetime, are the last persons who should but entertain getting married. This is sad but true.