According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Marriage is a pretty amazing sacrament.
The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. (CCC 1601)
Here are eleven ways to include the Catholic faith throughout the time of marriage preparation and the wedding itself.
1. Don’t forget the other sacraments
While the sacrament of marriage is important, don’t forget to include the other sacraments during your preparation. Visit Eucharistic adoration together as a couple, go to confession together and attend Mass together as well. Not only will you open yourself up to sacramental graces, but you’ll urge each other to find beauty in God and His Church.
2. Pick a patron saint for your relationship
The mystical body of Christ is an incredible treasure of the Catholic Church. As a couple, intercede to a saint who you select as the Patron Saint for your relationship. Some ideas are St. Louis and Zelie Martin (as a married couple who attained sainthood together!), St. Maria Goretti (patron saint of purity), or a saint of the modern era, such as St. Pope John Paul II.
3. Pray Together
Praying together on the day of your wedding is beautiful – but don’t forget to include prayer in your relationship either! You could say a novena together, a daily rosary or even a prayer that you write together.
4. Don’t forget it takes three to get married.
Fulton Sheen wrote in his book Three to Get Married, “Here is the answer to the riddle of love. Love implies relation. If lived in isolation, it becomes selfishness; if absorbed in collectivity, it loses its personality and therefore, the right to love. The ultimate reason why it takes three to make love is that God is Love, and His Love is Triune. All earthly love worthy of the name is the echo of “This Tremendous Lover.”
Marriage is a covenant between three people: The groom, the bride and God Himself.
5. Include the Catholic faith in the wedding ceremony
You can include a rosary in the bridal bouquet – or the medal of the patron saint of your relationship!
6. Create a Marian Marriage
You can include the Mother of God into your relationship and the wedding itself. In the month leading up to your wedding, consecrate yourself to Mary. During the wedding ceremony, you can take time after receiving the Eucharist to place a bouquet of roses at the feet of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
7. Learn from the wisdom of other Catholic married couples and counselors.
The knowledge that other married couples and counselors have to offer is valuable. In the rushing around of planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget to think about the bigger picture. Sit down with a couple who has been married for fifty years and ask them the lessons they have learned throughout their time together. Sign up for pre-marital counseling together through your local church.
8. Read Ephesians 5 together
“Wives be subordinate to your husbands….” Perhaps the most avoided wedding reading, Ephesians 5 speaks about the relationship of a husband and wife in relation to the union between Christ and His bride, the Church. Take some time before your wedding to read through this passage together. If you’re hesitant to delve into it, check out Bishop Robert Barron’s thoughts on different parts of the scripture passage.
9. Make God the first guest on your guest list
There are beautiful graces that come with a Catholic Nuptial Mass. During your wedding planning, don’t forget to contact your local parish and look into the process of organizing the Mass. Pledging your lives together for better and for worse is a big (beautiful) deal – make sure that God is the first guest on your guest list.
10. Focus on the marriage, not the wedding.
It can be easy to get caught up in the wedding planning – finding the right dress, making sure all the guests have RSVP’d, remembering all the little details. But don’t forget that while vowing to love each other for better and for worse, richer and for poorer, you’re also vowing to love each other ’til death do us part. Which means loving each other despite laundry piles and dirty dishes, hospital visits and birthday parties. It means loving each other in the every day – don’t lose sight of the beauty of the ordinary during the planning of your big day.
11. Study up on marriage
There are so many great resources to learn about the sacrament of marriage. We’ve mentioned Three to Get Married. Other books that are recommended during the marriage preparation are Love and Responsibility, Sex Au Naturel, and Holy Sex!
Pope John Paul II once said, “Life with Christ is a Wonderful Adventure!” Marriage is an incredible vocation !