Graces in marriage


I seem to have a hole in my understanding about the graces we receive in married life. I understand we receive initial graces at our wedding, but how do we get those continual graces which make it possible for us to live together happily, get through the rough spots, and “save each other’s souls” and so on? I guess I am asking for the practical answer, not the theological one. I receive graces when I receive the Eucharist, for example—practically speaking, I receive the Body of Christ in faith. There is something concrete there that I can actually DO (as opposed to my “faith alone” upbringing where you have to hope that your faith was sincere enough). What is the concrete, practical way of getting those graces in married life? Yesterday in his homily Fr. talked about love and prayer and kindness but did not necessarily talk about actual graces and I never got a chance to talk to him afterward. I feel like there is something missing in my understanding here. Any comments will be appreciated.
God bless.:slight_smile:


From my understanding, the chief grace given within the Sacrament of Marriage is selfless love to each other. The two main channels this grace is given (within the marriage) are through the unitive love side (the marital embrace as giving to each other selflessly) and the pro-creative love (the children wrought from the marital embrace). By cooperating willingly with God (pro-creatively and selflessly unto each-other), one acts within the graces God gives within the Sacrament. This is why “ordered” sex is viewed as a truly holy act, because it’s sacramental in the sense that it’s a channel to continually and reliably receive the graces associated with the Sacrament of Marriage.

That’s been my understanding.


I should’ve done some looking before I first replied. The grace of the sacrament of marriage is the grace-infused relationship that enables a couple to give themselves to each other; to face each other’s disappointments and forget them, to get through the day-to-day of their relationship, etc. However, ordered sex would perhaps be an outward sign of the sanctifying grace of the sacrament. I’m nearly certain there are actual graces given within the holy act (from my catechism classes), but I’m having a hard time finding that information. So, interestingly, the sacrament of marriage is perhaps similar to baptism, confirmation, & holy orders in that the sacramental grace is given upon the sacrament once and then sticks (until death). And from thereon, each is to act within the grace God has given in their marriage to help each other grow closer to God.


I guess this is at the heart of my question, really. It seems to me that if the grace was just part of the package in the wedding ceremony, why all the divorce even in sacramental marriages? Why all the obviously unhappy marriages? It just seems like there should be a concrete way to call upon those graces when the need arises so it’s not just hoping. There has to be an answer here… I guess I’ll read more of what Fr. Hardon has to say. :slight_smile: He seems to agree with you:

The Church has summarized the graces of the sacrament of Marriage in two terms: “procreative love” and “unitive love.”

By the grace of unitive love, married spouses are given supernatural light and strength to remain united and grow in their mutual charity all the days of their lives. But they also receive the grace to share their very being with others, who are not yet conceived or born. Their love is, therefore, also procreative, going outside themselves to the children that God wants to send them. After the children are brought into the world, the sacrament further enables father and mother to provide for the bodily and spiritual needs of their offspring.

from here


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