John Morales, host of Morning Air, and his wife Cindy recently celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary. They were married by Fr. Rocky at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago, and it remains of the happiest and most important days of the Morales’s lives.
John took that opportunity to talk to his audience about the importance of getting married in the Church. So many couples today either get married at a location that can serve as both a venue for the ceremony as well as the reception, while others decide not to get married at all and just live together.
Catholic family speaker and evangelist Damon Owens joined the show to speak on these issues and their importance to the sanctity and longevity of marriage. Owens began by saying that a lot of people considering marriage have this idea that they want to spend their life with someone else because they have a good time together, they laugh a lot, and they have great chemistry. But there’s so much more to marriage than that. Participation in this sacrament is a vow to give yourself entirely to God through one another.
John referenced the book by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen called Three to Get Married, pointing to the idea that it’s hardly a marriage if God is not present and at the center of your union. “What do we understand marriage to be in God’s plan?” asked Damon. “And will God’s plan, proclaimed by the Church, fulfill the deepest desires of my heart? Or am I just checking a box off?” Or are we following through on marriage because people are pressuring us to?
All of those things that warp the sanctity of marriage — sex outside of wedlock, cohabitating, and raising children outside of marriage — are things that were originally good within the context of a holy union. And it was there from the beginning! “It’s what St. John Paul II called the ‘primordial sacrament.’ Before the entrance of sin, it was marriage that was the place, it was the sign, of the invisible mystery of God that our first parents, Adam and Eve, carried.”
Damon continued, saying that Baptism is what allows us to participate in marriage as a holy sacrament and unfortunately, people today see that as a restriction: If they’re Catholic, they “have to” get married in a church and they “have to do” Pre-Cana, and they “have to” commit to raising their children in the faith. Getting married as a Catholic isn’t restrictive. It’s the key to unlocking marriage’s full potential. You get to be married before God and know that it is full, holy, and real. You get to prepare yourselves through Pre-Cana and know that you are walking this path together, united and educated. You get to raise your children in the faith, equipping them with the tools to succeed and become strong, holy people.
John asked Damon about some theological reasons a couple should not live together before getting married. Damon referred back to the point that from the very beginning, we know what marriage is: a union ordained by God between man and woman whose goal is to get each other to heaven. When we know the true form and depart from it, we pervert the purpose of marriage and the way we live it. Instead of standing before an altar and entering into this new reality as one together, a couple is attempting to create its own reality. There is still love and a relationship there. “It’s not that it’s bad. It’s not what you want.” It’s an incomplete good established on shaky ground.
Listener John called in to express his agreement with Damon, saying that starting your marriage off by turning your back on God would be like starting it by turning your back on your grandparents or parents. If you did that, would you be surprised if they didn’t leave you anything in their will or help you with your family? God is not so vindictive, but if we keep Him out of our marriage without repentance, we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t find happiness or salvation. It only takes one grave sin to keep us out of heaven.
Marriage can be like a pilot flying a plane, said John. You can be an ace pilot for as many years as you want, but the second you stop doing pre-flight checks and monitoring the instruments on your plane, you are guaranteed to crash. God is our compass. He is our guide, our wings, and our engines. Why would you ever stop relying on Him?
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