Marriage is a (com)union of LIFE and LOVE, designed by God, which is:
– Full and Intimate
– Freely given
– Faithfully lived
– For the good of spouses
– For children
While the state recognises and performs marriage (civil marriage), a marriage in the Catholic Church is also a sacrament. It is both a symbol and a participation in God’s free, total, faithful and life-giving love for humanity and his ‘bride’, the Church. This means that husbands and wives can call on the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage to help them love each other as God loves them. Marriage in the Catholic tradition is also a covenant – a sacred vow which, like God’s promise of love to us, can never be broken.
A couple who wish to be married in the Catholic Church need to approach their parish priest who will advise them about a program of discernment and marriage preparation, and help them to prepare the marriage ceremony. Couples are usually asked to give at least six months’ notice to the officiating priest or deacon.
Sometimes people who have not been to Church for a while can be apprehensive about approaching the Church for a wedding. Since marriage can be a time of rediscovering one's faith and making a new start, you should not hesitate to discuss your situation with the priest.
To learn more about marriage in the Catholic Church:
Marriage in the Catholic Church: Frequently Asked Questions, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.