Freedom to Marry



My fiance and I are preparing for marriage in September and I have been reading the section of the catechism on marriage. I got to this section about the meaning of “to be free” and am a little confused and can’t find a clear explanation:

*1625 The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means:

  • not being under constraint;
  • not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law. *

I understand the “not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law” basically means not impotent (able to consummate the marriage) and not currently bound under a previous marriage or religious vows.

I cannot find a good explanation of the “not being under constraint”. Does this just basically mean that you want to marry your future spouse and no one is holding a gun to your head? I am just confused if this implies no anxiety or fear at all? Some days we are super excited and can’t wait to marry each other and there are days we have some anxiety or fear about the magnitude of the sacrament. (We are both have had struggles in the past with diagnosed anxiety/panic disorder and get anxious about many other things as well). Just not sure what is normal to experience before a wedding as neither of us have been married before.

We love each other very much and of course have no intentions of ever divorcing, plan on being open to life, raising our family according to the teachings of the church and no one is making us marry as both families approve of the marriage so I assume that we are in the clear here?



These issues and concerns are best brought up with the priest.


I look it up in the catechism, on the right side of the text it refered me to paragraph 1734 which pretty much says it much be voluntary.


You have to remember that a Catechism is a teaching tool, not law. The idea behind the constraint bit is as you had described - you need to have the freedom to be able to choose your spouse; at the very least, to have the freedom to reject one chosen for you.

Anxiety can limit one’s freedom, but it is not the type of constraint the Catechism is talking about. The constraint being discussed is related to one’s ability to give consent. For example, both parties must fully understand what they are undertaking by entering into the marital bond.

These are questions that the priest asks during what is called the “marriage investigation”.

Don’t worry about it - what you are both experiencing is normal, anxiety diagnosis or not.:thumbsup:


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