I have this little book called Light to my Path. And since this is a season of weddings, engagements, and proposals, I believe it's timely to post these basic truths that every Catholic should know. :)
Marriage is a sacred thing. No two persons should get married "just to try." Before a man and a woman decide to get married, they should know each other well, each other's family background, values, religion, principles in life, tastes, ideals, etc. Hence, they pass a period called courtship.
How old? When the persons are mature enough to give themselves in love, when they are physically and psychologically ready, when more or less they are financially in a position to raise a family.
How long? Preferably not as long as five years and not as short as one hour. Short courtship makes one "marry in haste, repent in leisure." Long courtship calls for much time, money, frustration, and exercise of continence.
Qualities. Look for a partner who is good, of upright character, responsible, God-fearing, kind, loving, etc. Most of all, choose him or her who loves you. Money, honor, beauty, power, will all pass away. Instead, the love of the Lord and the love of each other will teach you fidelity and commitment which in turn will bear happiness. Pray for God to help you in your choice. Consult your parents and your confessor. Do not think of yourself to be self-sufficient. Secrecy might bring you to difficult situations.
Personal Note: I strongly suggest that you make your non-negotiable list. Check out mine here: http://aizagarnica.tumblr.com/post/653524185/non-negotiables
Here are some courtship tips as well:
For the brothers:
For the sisters:
When both parties feel that they sufficiently know each other, when they are financially ready, when they have consulted their parents and have gotten their permission, the courtship gives place to engagement.
Engagement is a choice and a promise to marry each other. At this, loyalty is already demanded. No man should be engaged to two women at the same time and no woman to two men.
When engagement takes place, a definite time for marriage should be decided. It should not extend for a long time because it exposes the partners to over-familiarity and the danger of going into premarital relationship. Respect each other during the period of courtship and engagement. Possessing is not loving. Keep yourselves pure till the day when you will have to give yourselves to each other.
Remember: An impure man will most probably be an unfaithful husband, and an immodest woman, an adulterous wife. Keep your love beautiful.
It is very significant that at the beginning of Jesus' public life, He attended a wedding feast with His Mother and disciples. It was precisely there that He worked His first miracle. By that act, Jesus showed something: He wanted to sanctify the family and make marriage a font of graces.
|Wedding At Cana (Source: Catholic Phoenix)|
St. Paul says this about marriage: "Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; because a husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the Church, being Himself Savior of the body... Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, cleansing her in the bath of water by means of the Word." (Ephesians 5:22-26)
The Sacrament of Matrimony gives the couple the graces to be holy and to bring up children as good Christians.
Catholics should get married in the presence of a priest and two witnesses. Marriageable age for either male or female (under Philippine law) is eighteen years and above. The contracting parties should make arrangements with the parish priest of the bride, and present their baptismal and confirmation certificates not more than three months before the ceremony so as to give time for the publication of banns.
The publication of banns is necessary to make sure that there are no impediments to the lawfulness of the marriage. Annulling impediments which make marriage invalid are: coercion, being underage, an existing marriage, blood relationship, close affinity, holy orders, solemn vows, spiritual affinity (godfather to godchild), legal impediments, etc.
The Church can grant dispensation from impediments which are not against the law of God. It can also annul a marriage. Annulment simply means that the Church, after serious investigation, declares that "there was no marriage." That it was invalid right at the start because of an existing annulling impediment which was unknown to the priest. But no power on earth can dissolve a valid marriage. "What God has put together let no man put asunder" (Mark 10:9).
Love demands fidelity. Adultery and divorce are the curse of a family. They cause untold sufferings, especially to the children. Sometimes it needs only a little self-sacrifice to save a marriage.
Read again, think again. Are you on the right track?
Evaluate your current relationship. Are you ready to take it to the next level?
Have the loveliest year ahead! ♥