Sunday, 14 August 2016




Let me first list the five essential things I strongly believe you need to know about marriage. I don’t want to insult your intelligence, I believe you already know a lot about marriage and you have encountered many marriage questions, so this is just an added knowledge. In this post I will be enunciating these issues:

  • ·         What Exactly Is Marriage?
  • ·         Why Marry?
  • ·         Sexual Pleasure In Marriage
  • ·         What Is A Valid Marriage
  • ·         The Sacrament Of Matrimony

It’s a long list though but don’t worry I won’t bore you with unnecessary details. I know you are a very busy type, so I will just make it simple and direct to the point. You don’t even have any need of a dictionary or encyclopaedia. It will be like “twinkle, twinkle, little star…”

There is a rapid increase in the statistics of youths who desires to enter into marriage, especially in Africa. That’s a very healthy culture for it portrays a great sign of our human proclivity to love and procreation. I am a passionate lover of marriage. But there are some marriages you see and feel like “what a hell!” Very sad that the number of divorces each year is seriously increasing exponentially. Our generation is experiencing the greatest number of divorces in the entire history of mankind. The USA statistics on marriage shows that 50% of marriages end in divorce. What could be the cause of this?

One reason I think people divorce is lack of adequate knowledge of the whole concept of marriage. The prophet Hosea prophecies that people suffer because of want of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). Marriage is a solemn affair and I believe anyone who wishes to seal the nuptial knot should know and have a profound understanding of this sacred institution.

This post is meant to highlight the few things we might have been taking for granted about marriage. Actually, the reason for this post is not solely meant to minimize divorce through vivid exposition of what it is, rather it is also to facilitate love among married couples and to give our youths, who desire to enter this union, the hunger and piquancy needed for marriage. How I wish the youths will see the fulfilment in married life and be willing to enter. But those who are in this marital union will tell you that it is never an easy thing. I have listened to many of them share their experiences and I think, a good number of them, especially the older ones, will tell you that it is no child’s play. So before you jump into a sea, watch out for the big bad shark.


“So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of man this one was taken.” Genesis 1:21-23.

Marriage, by simple definition, is a recognised union of man and woman by which they become husband and wife. This indicates that marriage is strictly between two matured persons who understand clearly what they are entering into. There is a consent from both parties coupled with genuine intention and adequate knowledge. By this, all marriage should be intentional and not based on ignorance.  

It was in the beginning of creation that God instituted marriage and every law that governs it. This was manifest during the creation of Adam and Eve. The introductory quote from the book of Genesis already gives us an inkling to this. There is what we regard in marriage as conjugal love. Conjugal love is most manifest in beauty when it truly portrays its supreme origin – God. By this conjugal love, married couple manifest in a most awesome way, the design of that divine love, which is the creator’s very intention for mankind.

                          WHY MARRY?

Marriage is not just an empty venture or a purposeless enterprise. God instituted marriage for a cause. What are the reasons then? I will give two major reasons;

  • ·         For The Purpose Of Procreation And
  • ·         For Complementarity Between Husband And Wife

For The Purpose Of Procreation: God desires that man should multiply and bear fruit on earth. He commissioned man in the Garden of Eden to participate in this breath-taking work of creation. He told Adam and Eve to increase and multiply (Genesis 1:28). It is not just to bring forth children. There is a responsibility attached to it, that is, to raise them up. Going further, the apostle Paul in his epistle to Saint Timothy writes “I will therefore that the younger should marry, bear children, be mistresses of families”. (I Timothy 5:14).

Okay, let us use our common sense to understand this reason. Mere common sense will tell any sane person that the very difference in the physical and mental state of man and woman portrays a vivid purpose for marriage, which is bringing up children. When we look at the man, his physical appearance is stronger to cater, provide and protect the family while the woman has a very tender body, more emotional and caring. This is what the woman needs in order to adequately care for the family. Even the softness of a woman’s body provides solace and succour for the children (and even the husband).

For Complementarity between Husband and Wife: How could that be the reason for marriage, there could have been any other ways to bring complementarity among people? The reason why marriage is for mutual love and help (complementarity), is clearly expressed in the scripture; “And the Lord God said, it is not good for a man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself…” this is the reason from the scripture. Now let’s apply common sense. It is clearly evident that a man and a woman are incomplete without each other. They both find their completion, both spiritual and physical, in marriage. Women are very understanding and encouraging, which is an inspiration every man needs to keep his hand on the plough. Still, a man is protective, loving, and gives direction, which every woman needs in the face of the troubles of raising children and keeping a home.

But are there no other reason aside? One may ask, what about sexual pleasure in marriage?


Yes sexual pleasure is a very essential thing in the life of husband and wife. In fact, the real purpose of sexual pleasure is to attract husband and wife to have children thereby fostering the divine purpose of procreation. Just try to imagine what it will look like if there is no pleasure in sex. It will be like every other hectic job married couple had to pass through. But the maker of marriage saw the need to add pleasure to labour.

Permit me to say this: because of the pleasure in sex, many unmarried people now engage in it thereby going contrary to the initial intention of sex. Listen to Saint Paul;

“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.” (I Corinthians 7:8-9).

I believe the above quote has taken care of the question of sex before marriage. Sex is exclusively meant for married couples, there is no exemption or consideration for those outside marital union. Too harsh! But that is the gospel truth.

We also see that in the beginning God created only one wife for Adam. This was the model God placed for an ideal marriage. Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a wife, and so “wherefore a man shall leave a father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). But this union, like every other union, has a duration. Husband and wife are to be together “until death do us part”. This is exactly what they promise each other in marriage.  But aside that, the Bible also emphasises that in I Corinthians 7:39. After the death of one’s partner he/she is at liberty to marry whom she will; only in the lord. It is very important that husband and wife should stay together in their lifetime. This is necessary for the training of the children. The training of the children should not be left to the care of just one partner, it is a collective work of the father and the mother. Nevertheless, divine law also requires husband and wife to stay together even without children. But there are times, special cases, when separation are allowed, yet that does not nullify the bond of marriage. The bond of marriage can only be broken by death. When we talk about marriage, we mean the valid ones. I will go further to explain what validity of marriage entails.

A valid marriage is a union that is recognised by God and can only be broken by death. No one has the authority to break a valid marriage, not even the state. That is why Christ affirms, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder” (Make 10:9). There are also criteria for a marriage to be valid else it will simply be called an invalid marriage – which is a union not recognised by God which cannot even be called a marriage. For a marriage to be valid, it must pass these criteria;

  •  It must be between one man and one woman
  •  They must be of age, approximately 14 years for the wife and 16 years for the husband.
  •  They must be free to marriage. They must not be related to each other, like uncle marrying his niece.
  • They must be capable of having sexual intercourse.
  • Right intention to live together till death of one of them.
  • Genuine intention of raising a family
  • They must be wedded in the presence of a priest and two witnesses unless an indulgence is given by the Bishop (this is exclusively for Catholics).

Marriages that fulfil these criteria, are regarded as valid marriages. They experience great joy and happiness in their union because it is cemented in love and mutual benefit. The greatest source of happiness in marriage is always children. History and experience has shown that families with children rarely break-up. If husband and wife follow the plans of God in their marriage, they will experience great joy ad blessing from the lord. That is why the wise man of the book of Ecclesiastes says that the number of years of the husband of a good wife is double and the home of a virtuous woman shall be cheerful all the time (Ecclesiastes 26:1-4)


Many Christian are inclined to asking this sort of question; “why do I need to enter the sacrament of matrimony since I have already been married in the traditional way, that is, my bride prize has been paid, or in the court?” It is true that the church recognizes the traditional and court marriage of husband and wife but she does not consider them as sacrament. There is need for the sacramental marriage. The Catechism tells us “matrimony is the sacrament which sanctifies the contract of Christian marriage, and gives a special grace to those who receive it worthily.” As a binding contract, marriage has existed among all nations, and since it has God as its author, it is a holy sate.

Marriage has not always been a sacrament. Even though it is considered sacred, it was never a sacrament prior to the advent of Christ. It was raised to the dignity of a sacrament by Christ Jesus himself. By the way, a sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace, instituted by Christ which bestows graces in our souls. Now what do the sacrament of matrimony confer on those who receive it? Or is it just one of those empty rituals of some cultures? I will list just three things the sacrament does for a couple.

  •  The sacrament binds them in a manner that is unbreakable until death

  •  Like every sacraments, it confers sanctifying grace in their souls

  • When fulfilled all the proper requirements, it gives them plenary indulgence (i.e. remission of sins and punishments due to sins).

  •  It is also a guide and helper in their marital struggles and responsibility

MarriageHowever, this sacrament is reserved only for baptized Catholics who have reached the requirements of a marital union. The couples, who are about to receive this sacrament should be free from every mortal sin; else it will be considered a mortal sin of sacrilege to receive this sacrament unworthily; though, it is valid. Also, the church encourages that it is fitting that couples should be wedded at Mass. The church has a special Mass for wedding which is called Nuptial Mass. Where this is not feasible, they can wed without having the celebration of Mass but must meet the basic requirements for a valid Catholic marriage, that is, they must be wedded in the presence of a catholic priest and two witnesses.  

 As I said earlier, this is just an added knowledge to what you already know about marriage. For further clarifications and comments please make use of the comment box, I will love to hear what you have to say about this and your own convictions about marriage. There is love in sharing, don’t hoard it to yourself, share this information to your loved ones and friends, use the share buttons.          
                    God bless you and your marriage, Amen.