Marriage. A Divine Institution

Through the book of Genesis we learn that God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, as a married couple. Marriage then was created by God. Since the beginning we have come to appreciate and understand this natural human institutions has its divine origin in the Blessed Trinity. The pinnacle moment happens when Jesus Christ raises and restores marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament. Since the beginning we can see a continuity of what God designed and intended for the Sacrament of Marriage. The following content will help you learn more about the Sacrament of Marriage as revealed in Sacred Scripture and explained through Sacred Tradition.

Sacred Scripture

Old Testament

Genesis 1: 28- 2:25 – “God is the author of marriage.”

Genesis 1: 26-31 – “Male and Female he created them.”

Genesis 2:18-24 – “The two become one flesh.”

Genesis 24:48-67 – “In his love for Rebekah, Isaac found solace after the death of his mother.”

New Testament

Matt 5:27-32- “Christ teaches about lust, adultery, and divorce”

Matt 19:6f. – “Christ reinforces the Father’s original intention for Marriage”

Mark 10:1-31- “Jesus teaches again on divorce and follows with the meaning of selfless love.”

Luke 18:18-23- “Christ instructs that the minimum is not sufficient. The lover has never done enough.”

Old Testament

  • Genesis 1: 28- 2:25 – God is the author of marriage.
  • Genesis 1: 26-31 – Male and Female he created them.
  • Genesis 2:18-24 – The two become one flesh.
  • Genesis 24:48-67 – In his love for Rebekah, Isaac found solace after the death of his mother.
  • Exodus 20: 5; 34:14 – In His love for Israel the Lord refers to Himself as jealous for our love.
  • Isaiah 54:1-17 – Amidst affliction and loss the Lord’s love is constant and will triumph for His beloved.
  • Isaiah 62: 1-7 – God will rejoice for Zion like a groom for his bride.
  • Tobit 7:6-14 –  Raguel throws a celebration at the betrothal of his daughter Sarah to Tobiah.
  • Tobit 8: 4-8 –  On their wedding night Tobiah and Sarah pray and ask the Lord’s blessing on their life.
  • Proverbs 31: 10-31 – The virtuous wife, who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • Song of Songs- This entire book of Sacred Scripture is a treatise on spousal love.
  • Sirach 26: 1-4, 13-16- The beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.
  • Jeremiah 31: 31-34 The Lord promises a new covenant with the houses of Israel and Judah.
  • Jeremiah 2:2-31 – Jeremiah reminds Israel not to lose her youthful, spirited love for God.
  • Jeremiah 3:19-24 – Even the most egregious sin should be forgiven between spouses.
  • Ezekiel 16: 1-63 – A renewed covenant will happen in a joyful exuberant manner.
  • Malachi 2:13-17 – The Lord voices his hatred of divorce and love for lasting marriage.

New Testament

  • Matt 5:27-32- Christ teaches about lust, adultery, and divorce
  • Matt 19:6f. – Christ reinforces the Father’s original intention for Marriage
  • Mark 10:1-31- Jesus teaches again on divorce and follows with the meaning of selfless love.
  • Luke 18:18-23- Christ instructs that the minimum is not sufficient. The lover has never done enough.
  • John 2:1-11 –  Christ elevate marriage to the dignity of a sacrament by his presence at Cana
  • 1 Corinthians 7: 1-39 – St. Paul advises husband and wife on their obligations to one another
  • Ephesians 5: 22-33 – St. Paul’s lesson on the meaning of sacrificial love between husband and wife.
  • Colossians 3:18-21 – St. Paul’s on the structure and interplay of members of the family.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 – St. Paul give reasons for refraining from impurity.
  • Rev 19:7-9 – The announcement of the wedding day of the Lamb.
  • Rev 21:2- The new Jerusalem is like an adorned bride.

Sacred Tradition

Now that the Scripture counsels marriage, and allows no release from the union, is expressly contained in the law¸ ”You shall not put away your wife, except for the cause of fornication” (Matthew 5:32, 19:9); and it regards as fornication, the marriage of those separated while the other is alive…’He that takes a woman that has been put away,’ it is said, ‘commits adultery; and if one puts away his wife, he makes her an adulteress’ (Mark 10:11), that is, compels her to commit adultery. And not only is he who puts her away guilty of this but he who takes her, by giving to the woman the opportunity of sinning; for did he not take her, she would return to her husband.

Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be satisfied with their husbands in flesh and spirit. In the same way tell my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives as the Lord does the Church. If anyone is able to persevere in chastity to the honor of the flesh of the Lord, let him do so in all humility. If he is boastful about it, he is lost; if he should marry, the union should be made with the consent of the bishop, so that the marriage may be according to the Lord and not merely out of lust. Let all be done to the glory of God. 

“ For there is nothing which so welds our life together as the love of man and wife. For this many will lay aside even their arms, for this they will give up life itself. “

– St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Ephesians.

For, if they say that marriages should be dissolved for the sake of religion, be it known that, though human law has conceded this, yet divine law has forbidden it. For the Truth in person says, ‘What God has joined together let not man put asunder’ (Matthew 19:6). He also says, ‘It is not lawful for a man to put away his wife except for the cause of fornication’ (Matthew 19:9). Who then may contradict this heavenly legislator? 

Therefore the good of marriage throughout all nations and all men stands in the occasion of begetting, and faith of chastity: but, so far as pertains unto the People of God, also in the sanctity of the Sacrament, by reason of which it is unlawful for one who leaves her husband, even when she has been put away, to be married to another, so long as her husband lives, no not even for the sake of bearing children: and, whereas this is the lone cause, wherefore it takes place, follows not, is the marriage bond loosed, save by the death of the husband or wife. In like manner as if there take place an ordination of clergy in order to form a congregation of people, although the congregation of people follow not, yet there remains in the ordained persons the Sacrament of Ordination; and if, for any fault, any be removed from his office, he will not be without the Sacrament of the Lord once for all set upon