Marriage and Wedding Facts, Counseling and Advice
Marriage is the divinely ordained union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24). It has been practiced as such in most cultures across geography and time. Marriage is a life-long commitment, and typically this involves a public ceremony (a wedding) in which vows are exchanged by the parties and before God. Approximately half of all traditional marriages in America end in a so-called divorce.
For Christians, marriage has traditionally been seen as a union that takes its distinctive character from being founded, unlike other friendships, on bodily unity of the kind that sometimes generates new life. As such, marriage is the one and only form of companionship from which all other forms spring: it is the single irreducible core of society.
The unity between a man and a woman in marriage is an expression of the relationship that God desires to have with his creation. The first marriage occurred nearly 6,000 years ago in the Garden of Eden, in the area of the world that we now know as the Middle East. The first couple was Adam and Eve.
Divorce and Remarriage
Divorce and remarriage is never in the will of God. A valid marriage can never be dissolved by any human power or for any cause whatever except death.
It is important to remember Malachi 2:16: "I hate divorce, says the LORD God of Israel." According to the Bible, marriage is a lifetime commitment. "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matthew 19:6).
Matthew 19:9: "And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery."
Except it be: In the case of fornication, that is, of adultery, the wife may be put away. i.e., separation (not divorce): but even then the husband cannot marry another as long as the wife is living.
This means that a person who has "divorced" a lawful marriage and "remarried" commits adultery or fornication since this person's first marriage is still valid before God, so long as the spouse is alive; and it means that a person who has "married" a so-called divorced person commits adultery or fornication since their marriage is invalid since the divorced person's first marriage is still valid before God, so long as the spouse is alive.
Pope Leo XIII, Dum Multa (# 2), Dec. 24, 1902: "It follows then that the marriage of Christians when fully accomplished… cannot be dissolved for any reason other than the death of either spouse, according to the holy words: 'What God has joined, let no man put asunder.'"
See also: The Annulment Fiasco
Biblical Marriage Advice
1 Corinthians 7:1-16: "Now concerning the thing whereof you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. But for fear of fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render the debt to his wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband. And in like manner the husband also hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud not one another, except, perhaps, by consent, for a time, that you may give yourselves to prayer; and return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency. But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment. For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I. But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt. But to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, that the wife depart not from her husband. And if she depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And let not the husband put away his wife. For to the rest I speak, not the Lord. If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she consent to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And if any woman hath a husband that believeth not, and he consent to dwell with her, let her not put away her husband. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband: otherwise your children should be unclean; but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever depart, let him depart. For a brother or sister is not under servitude in such cases. But God hath called us in peace. For how knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband ? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?"
Tobias 6:16-17, 22; 8:9: "Then the angel Raphael said to him [Tobias]: Hear me, and I will shew thee who they are, over whom the devil can prevail. For they who in such manner receive matrimony, as to shut out God from themselves, and from their mind, and to give themselves to their lust, as the horse and mule, which have not understanding, over them the devil hath power. …And when the third night is past, thou shalt take the virgin with the fear of the Lord, moved rather for love of children than for lust, that in the seed of Abraham thou mayest obtain a blessing in children… [Tobias said] And now, Lord, thou knowest, that not for fleshly lust do I take my sister to wife, but only for the love of posterity, in which thy name may be blessed for ever and ever."
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: That you should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the passion of lust, like the Gentiles that know not God."
Contraception is Contrary to Marriage
It is not a complicated matter to understand that using Contraception or Natural Family Planning to avoid pregnancy is wrong. It is written on man's heart that such activity is wrong.
Genesis 30:1-2 "And Rachel seeing herself without children, envied her sister, and said to her husband: 'Give me children, otherwise I shall die.' And Jacob being angry with her, answered: 'Am I as God, who hath deprived thee of the fruit of thy womb?'"
We all know that God is the One who opens the womb, the One who killeth and maketh alive.
Genesis 30:22 "The Lord also remembering Rachel, heard her, and opened her womb."
1 Kings 2:6 "The Lord killeth and maketh alive, he bringeth down to hell, and bringeth back again."
So why would a woman who desires to fulfill the will of God make a systematic effort to avoid God sending her a new life? What excuse could such a person possibly make for going out of her way to calculate how to have marital relations without getting pregnant with the child God was going to send? Why would a woman (or a man) who believes that God opens the womb try to avoid His opening of the womb by a meticulous and organized effort, involving charts, cycles and thermometers? The answer is that those who engage in such behavior as NFP, or Contraception, turn from God (which is the essence of sin) and refuse to be open to His will.
When a married couple goes out of its way to avoid children by deliberately avoiding the fertile times and restricting the marriage act exclusively to infertile times, they are committing a sin against the natural law (a mortal sin) – they are sinning against the God whom they know sends life. NFP is therefore a sin against the natural law, since God is the author of life, and NFP and Contraception thwarts His designs. Can one imagine what Jacob would have said to Rachel if she had discovered a new way to avoid "the Lord opening her womb?" He would probably have rebuked her as an infidel.
The Holy Bible and the Early Church Fathers (Early Christians) also condemns contraception and the contraceptive intent as contrary to God and nature.
Genesis 38:9-10: "[Onan,] when he went in to his brother's wife, he spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born… And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing."
St. Jerome, Against Jovinian 1:19, A.D. 393: "But I wonder why he [the heretic Jovinianus] set Judah and Tamar before us for an example, unless perchance even harlots give him pleasure; or Onan, who was slain because he grudged his brother's seed. Does he imagine that we approve of any sexual intercourse except for the procreation of children?"
St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew 28:5, A.D. 391: "The having of children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome. Many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have mutilated nature, not only killing the newborn, but even acting to prevent their beginning to live."
St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 24, A.D. 391: "Why do you sow where the field is eager to destroy the fruit, where there are medicines of sterility, where there is murder before birth? You do not even let a harlot remain only a harlot, but you make her a murderess as well. …Indeed, it is something worse than murder, and I do not know what to call it; for she does not kill what is formed but prevents its formation. What then? Do you condemn the gift of God and fight with his laws? …Yet such turpitude . . . the matter still seems indifferent to many men—even to many men having wives. In this indifference of the married men there is greater evil filth; for then poisons are prepared, not against the womb of a prostitute, but against your injured wife. Against her are these innumerable tricks."
Caesarius of Arles, Sermons 1:12, A.D. 522: "Who is he who cannot warn that no woman may take a potion so that she is unable to conceive or condemns in herself the nature which God willed to be fecund? As often as she could have conceived or given birth, of that many homicides she will be held guilty, and, unless she undergoes suitable penance, she will be damned by eternal death in hell. If a woman does not wish to have children, let her enter into a religious agreement with her husband; for chastity is the sole sterility of a Christian woman."
St. Augustine, The Morals of the Manichees, 18:65, A.D. 388: "This proves that you [Manicheans] approve of having a wife, not for the procreation of children, but for the gratification of passion. In marriage, as the marriage law declares, the man and woman come together for the procreation of children. Therefore, whoever makes the procreation of children a greater sin than copulation, forbids marriage and makes the woman not a wife but a mistress, who for some gifts presented to her is joined to the man to gratify his passion."
A mother of many children, who was about to be a mother once more, came to Ars (the place where St. John Vianney resided) to seek courage from him. She said to him, "Oh, I am so advanced in years Father!" St. John Vianney responded: "Be comforted my child, if you only knew the women who will go to Hell because they did not bring into the world the children they should have given to it!"
1 Timothy 2:15- "Yet she shall be saved through child-bearing; if she continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety."
Scriptures teaches that a woman shall be saved through child-bearing (if she is Christian and in the state of grace). But NFP and Contraception advocates would have us believe that a woman is saved through child-avoiding. Moreover, just as a woman who fulfills the will of God and maintains the state of grace in the state of Matrimony is saved by her childbearing, so too are countless women going to be damned for not bearing the children that God wanted them to have.
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His justice and all things will be added unto you." (Mt. 6:33)
Oral and Anal Stimulation is Intrinsically Evil
St. Barnabas, Letter of Barnabas, section 10:8, 74 A.D.: "Moreover, he [Moses] has rightly detested the weasel [Lev. 11:29]. For he means, 'Thou shalt not be like to those whom we hear of as committing wickedness with the mouth with the body through uncleanness [oral sex]; nor shalt thou be joined to those impure women who commit iniquity with the mouth with the body through uncleanness.'"
St. Augustine, The Good of Marriage, section 11-12, 401 A.D.: "For necessary sexual intercourse for begetting [children] is alone worthy of marriage. But that which goes beyond this necessity no longer follows reason but lust. . . . they [must] not turn away from them the mercy of God . . . by changing the natural use into that which is against nature, which is more damnable when it is done in the case of husband or wife. Of so great power is the ordinance of the Creator, and the order of creation, that . . . when the man shall wish to use a body part of the wife not allowed for this purpose, the wife is more shameful, if she suffer it to take place in her own case, than if in the case of another woman."
Very simply, the mouth and the anus have a purpose. Nature tells us that God made the mouth for the intake of food and drink, and God made the anus for the excretion of feces. Moreover, nature tells us that if we begin to use the mouth and the anus in improper ways, then bodily infection, disease, and death may be the result.
The mouth and the anus were not made to stimulate the genital organs. Nothing could be more evident than this fact. Catholic Tradition and the Natural Law clearly teach us that oral and anal stimulation are sinful, lustful acts and deviant sexual behavior. Those who promote such perversions or believe them to be not sinful are guilty of the mortal sin of heresy for denying the Natural Law and, as such, are outside the Catholic Church.
St. Augustine, The Good of Marriage, section 11-12, 401 A.D.: "But that which goes beyond this necessity no longer follows reason but lust. . . . they [must] not turn away from them the mercy of God . . . by changing the natural use into that which is against nature, which is more damnable when it is done in the case of husband or wife."
All acts that are not inherent in the marital act itself, that is, masturbation and anal and oral sex etc., are condemned by the Church as mortally sinful and totally inexcusable.
Various Errors on Moral Subjects, Condemned in a decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679: "THE ACT OF MARRIAGE EXERCISED FOR PLEASURE ONLY IS ENTIRELY FREE OF ALL FAULT AND VENIAL DEFECT." (Denz. 1159) -Condemned by Pope Innocent XI.
If even normal sexual relations between husband and wife for the sake of pleasure is condemned by the Church of God, how much more then must not the despicable and sick deeds of masturbation, anal or oral sex be condemned?
Various Errors on Moral Matters #40, September 24, 1665 and March 18, 1666: "It is a probable opinion which states that a kiss is only venial when performed for the sake of the carnal and sensible delight which arises from the kiss, if danger of further consent and pollution is excluded." -Condemned by Pope Alexander VII. (Denz. 1140)
If even kisses for venereal pleasure is condemned by the Church of God, how much more then must not the despicable and sick deeds of masturbation, anal or oral sex be condemned?
Finally, consider the words of Sacred Scripture on marriage and sexuality:
Hebrews 13:4 "May marriage be honorable in every way, and may the marriage bed be immaculate. For God will judge fornicators and adulterers."
Ephesians 5:12 "For the things that are done by them in secret are shameful, even to mention."