During the first session of marriage preparation, I ask the couple a simple question: Why are you getting married? They typically look at each other for a while and then respond, “We’re in love” or “We’re compatible.” Sadly, I almost never hear, “I believe with all my heart that God has put this person in my life to help me get to heaven” or “I truly believe with all my soul that my fiancée will help me become more of the person who God created and calls me to be.”
When a man and a woman enter into a marriage covenant, they promise unending love and devotion to each other, regardless of their circumstances, for the rest of their lives until death. In this exchange of life and love, they share all that they are and all that they will become. The spouses-to-be promise to nurture and support each other so that they will always grow deeper in their love for God and each other. When they give themselves to each other totally and completely as husband and wife, their union bears witness to God’s plan for marriage: a sacramental covenant of loving and life-giving communion.
Here are three key ways to maintain covenant intimacy in marriage:
- Pray together.
- Use Natural Family Planning, not contraception.
- Pay attention to the little things.
This will not be easy: the world is filled with temptations and distractions. Married couples should draw strength from the fact that from their wedding day forward, they will have God’s grace to help them through the most difficult times and the toughest challenges, for with God all things are possible! The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes this idea beautifully:
“Christ is the source of this grace. […] Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ, and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1642).