What is/was God's intent for marriage?


This is spawning from another thread that I started, dealing with why longterm relationships are ending. Just curious as to if there is Catholic doctrine on this topic…and what are your thoughts, and knowledge of why God created marriage?

And…is marriage designed to ‘benefit’ the spouses, in any way? I sometimes feel like my husband and I are on the same page, and some days–totally way off base. I sometimes feel like marriage is fun and romantic, and other days it’s hard work. Other people, older than me…married for many more years than me, will often say…’‘well, marriage is hard work.’’ Why is it hard? Do we make it harder than it has to be? I love my husband, grateful to be married, most days it’s great–but there are days when it feels harder than it should be.:o

Look forward to your replies.


Personally, I think the point of marriage is to help us develop the ability to give of our selves in a sacrificial way that is reflective of God’s sacrificial love for us. Having children really increases our ability to achieve this perfect kind of a love.

Oddly, it is when I realized that staying married to my husband and allowing him to treat me in such a horrendous way year after year, was actually very harmful to him, spiritually speaking, that I really realized I had to leave. That was what needed to be done for both of us.

I think all too often people approach marriage as being something that is supposed to be fullfilling and make them feel good. Ultimately true love is about so much more than feeling good.


I think that Dulcissima is correct in what she wrote about God’s intent for marriage.

Also, I’ve seen many movies in which a person goes looking for their soulmate, that one and only person who will complete them and make them forever happy. The problem is that there is not one person created for just for another person. There might be many people with personalities that would mix well with yours and who could become very dear to you if you married them.

My brother was told by family members that he would be crazy if he didn’t marry his current wife. She was educated, intelligent and seemed sweet. My brother’s own father informed him that he would be crazy if he let her get away. My brother told me that he wasn’t ready for marriage but he was afraid that if he didn’t marry her like she wanted then he would loose someone who might have been meant for him(I hate that phrase)

So, now they are living in different houses to keep from killing one another. She is violent to him, he is sarcastic towards her. They have both had numerous affairs.:frowning:


My first thought of marriage is how I, as a husband, am called to get my wife to heaven. That is my main goal in my marriage with my wife. I am here to do my best to get her to heaven and vice versa.

There are many other benefits as well as responsibilites that come with this as well. We, as Catholics, are called to know God, to love God and to serve God in this world so that we can be with Him in the next.

To know God, we must have a relationship with Him. Same goes for our spouse, we must have that bond, that relationship, that closeness, that oneness. How do we gain that? We spend time with that person. We come closer to God by praying to Him, spending time with Him. Same goes for our marriage, we spend time with our spouse, we nurture that relationship. We care for it and we give all that we have to it.

To love God means that we give all that we have to Him and for Him. We follow Him and His teachings. For our spouse, we are to love them with all that we have and all that we are each and everyday. Loving them, them alone, forsaking all others for this one person. If it is God’s will the marriage is blessed with children and you again are called to get those blessings back to our Father in heaven and to love them as the Father loves His Son. To love them as Christ loves us, sacrficing for them. The same can be said for our spouse, love your spouse as Christ loved the Church.

We are to serve God, to do His will each day. To be a mirror image of Him to others, showing others Christ in this world. Giving witness to other of Christ and His desire to be in their life. We each have our own special way of doing that. The same goes for our spouse. We have our own special way of showing our love to our spouse and how to serve them. By serving them, I do nto mean waiting on them hand and foot, I refer to this in the context of giving them more than you could ever want for yourself.


My understanding of the purpose of marrige is to get each other to heaven. As dulcissima said, marriage is a way for us to learn sacrificial love. And certainly raising a family is part of that also.

Looking on a marriage as a way of fulfilling ourselves–making us happy, popular, envied, or similar goals–is setting ourselves up for disappointment. No one person, other than God, can fulfill all of our needs. And certainly a living person should never be a puppet to our will.

But if we bend our efforts towards helping the other person grow in sanctity, if we sacrifice our wants for their needs, we ourselves grow in sanctity. Of course, I am talking about ordinary marriages here–not one marred by abuse or addiction of some kind.

This is why marriage prep is so important for Catholic couples. We really need to be a shining beacon for others, but we can’t be if the Catholic divorce rate is just as high as everyone elses.


It’s a pity to hear about your brother.

But, let’s look at how God made the first marriage:

Gen 2:

The LORD God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him."
So the LORD God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man,
the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

I may just be a romantic, but I do believe that God’s intent with marriage is for us is two fold. And, it’s basically the same set of guidelines as for sex.

  1. To have a partner that completes us, who we can share everything with. (Unitive)
  2. To “be fruitful and multiply” (Pro-creative) - This only happened after their fall into sin though, before that Marriage was mean to be purely unitive. For a person not to be alone.

I can’t think that God would institute a sacrament that would principally be based on suffering (That is what sacrifice basically entails.) Of course suffering comes with marriage, as it does with every aspect of life…but to see how god thought when he made Eve tells me that it’s purpose is primarily Unitive.


I’m not sure what I think about this statement. Of course marriage is supposed to be fulfilling and make people feel good. It is about more than that, but there seems to be a general tone on this thread that feeling joy and happiness is not what marriage is about. I think it is what marriage is about, or at the very least is inseperable from the other things that marraige is also about.

That said, I am not in favor of ending marriages that are not particularly joyful, but mostly because I think that they can usually be worked out.


In stride with what PM is stating here…(and I will adress the rest later, too–such thoughtful replies thank you) …I wonder why God would want two people to stay together, (because He despises divorce) who absolutely are miserable together? And we see it every day, don’t we? It doesn’t take addictive behaviors, or infidelity to create a major rift between two people…although, I think that marriages are often ending because of the old ‘grass is greener elsewhere’ syndrome.

So, you have the annulment process, where the RCC understands that men and women might have made the wrong decisions, and therefore the marriage is invalid. But, suppose two people feel they made the right decision to be married, I think my sister and others I know thought they were going to be married forever…and then, they divorce because they simply ‘couldn’t live with that person anymore.’ What then? How does God view that?

Like you say PM–would God want us to just suffer through a marriage until death do us part? I’m not in such a marriage, but there are days…when I just don’t understand my husband’s mind, and he doesn’t understand mine…but it’s the willingness to try to understand, that perhaps brings us closer together.


I didn’t say that marrige was all about suffering or even primarily about suffering. I am confused as to how you read that into my statement.:confused:

But no, I don’t believe that one special person was created just for everyone. If this was true then cultures that allowed arranged marriages-such as the ancient Jews-would have been filled with very unhappy people.

I think that people make themselve miserable looking for that one special person who will make them complete. Instead you should find someone with a compatable personality who you view as a friend as well as a possible spouse.


:o I thought a bit of the same…

Let’s say for example, a wife is belitted by her husband. He is controlling. He is demanding. No violence, no threats, no drugs, no infidelity…but just makes her feel bad about herself. Is it wrong for such a woman to leave him, if he won’t change? I have seen many threads on here to this avail, to one degree or another, and often times the response is to pray about (yes we should pray about it I’m not dismissing that) but is that what God wants for us? To be treated in such a way that is demeaning to even the concept of marriage? I like being married. I love my husband…but, if he were to be verbally abusive to me, I’m not sure how long our marriage would last. I think we have weathered some storms…and were once separated…but the separation was good for us, as it drew us closer. We truly missed one another.

I know we wouldn’t be together though, if we a)hadn’t thought God brought us together–for us, that was BIG and b) if we couldn’t mend our differences. I also knew I had growing up to do, as well.

I think that marriage should be fulfilling on many levels…a marriage of three though–you, your spouse, and God. I think maybe that’s the problem with failing marriages to a degree, is that God is left out of the equation. :shrug:


My apologies Deb! :blush:

I guess this is a perfect example of what Whatevergirl is saying about a guys brain! :smiley:

I took what you were saying and I took the logic one step further and got to the conclusion myself.

You said that marriage is to develop the ability to give ourselves in a sacrificial way to make us better people.

I looked at that from my personal experience. I’m leading a very sacrificial marriage life right now. It’s not easy.

I then took it one step further and thought that suffering cannot be why God made marriage. His intent for marriage, when seen through Gen 2, was to bring people closer together, to bind them and unify them.
Not for one of the pair to be a servant to the other, or a doormat or anything.

I’m not thinking of my marriage as a whole like that, but especially the last three years, since my wife became sick, has been a great trial for me in a whole lot of different ways. Let’s not go into that :smiley:

Sorry if I put words in your mouth…err…fingers :wink:



I don’t know about the problems in every marriage. I do think that many people are responsible for making their own selves miserable. In some instances-not all- you have to choose to look at your situation with different eyes.

An example from my own life: my hubby is not the most housework able person in the world. He really could walk through a mountain of trash without seeing the filth.

He had a week off from work so I wanted some help around the house. This was hard to get without nagging him, something that I hate to do.

Of course I started to get angry but after much prayer, I was moved to look at this from a different angle.

My hubby is a man who works and goes to school full time. He is about to retire from the military but he wants to make certain that he can support his family well. So, he spends his free time studying. He is doing that for us, not because he loves spending time at school.

Despite the fact that he must be physically exhausted, he still reads to our daughter every night and spends time with the other children.

WHen I need our only car, he makes certain that it is first filled with gas so that I don’t have to worry.

If I never cleaned the house, he wouldn’t care anyway. He is just happy to see me.:rolleyes: My sister-in-law had a husband who would berate her for not doing things like cleaning the walls!

So, instead of getting mad and resentful and thus making myself miserable, I change my view and look at his many wonderful qualities.


That is all right. I make great big jumps in logic after reading other people’s post myself, so I understand.:stuck_out_tongue:

My prayers are with you.:slight_smile:


I am not sure how this will “sound” or look…lol…but, when I read about PM’s marriage (I have read your threads) I often think of my mom and dad’s marriage. My mom was ill for years…YEARS. And, my dad and her didn’t share a bed after a while, I think because my mother had trouble sleeping. In that marriage, and I hate to say this, it really seemed like my dad did everything for me, my sister…my mom…and got very little out of the marriage itself. I applaud my dad (my parents are no longer alive) for being so valiant (and he was a devout Catholic) in taking care of my mom…but, in looking back (I didn’t notice this as much as a kid) I remember him being very lonely. The vows though, through sickness and in health…they are there for a reason? I think my dad just didn’t believe in divorce, but I can’t help but wonder if he felt jipped. (There, I said it) It just doesn’t seem fair that some marriages don’t have to bear any crosses, and others seem to take on so many.:frowning:


I don’t have any answers for you except that maybe your dad got to bypass purgatory, that and I am sending you a big cyber hug.:hug3:


Aw! I hadn’t thought of that:doh2: Thanks and back at ya!:console:



Why is this eek-face here? Because I have been sleeping in a different bed/couch for a little while now due to my wife’s sickness. It makes her having trouble sleeping, and…not to give all causes and symptoms away, I’m sleeping somewhere else.

I didn’t want to mention it in the other thread, because the resons are totally different…but it seems like our dad and I are kinda in the same boat.

It’s a pitty that my wife and I are in our early 30’s…I pray that she will get better…
All I know is that I am terribly lonely these days…some days worse than others, yesterday and today especially.

But, like you said, it was for better or for worse, and I love her and I stand by my vows.

Thanks for the insight Whatevergirl, that makes me feel a bit better too! :slight_smile:


Joy and fulfillment can be the result of marriage, but they are not the purpose. I think if both spouses do learn to be selfless in their love, to be considerate of each other and to look out for the needs of the other, how could there not be joy and fulfillment, even with the hardships that life tends to bring? If people don’t keep the purpose of marriage in mind though, and aren’t concerned with their spouse’s well being and aren’t considerate of their feelings, well there will be a lot of misery.

I just see a difference between a purpose and a result. If you make fulfillment and joy your purpose, then chances are you are going to get off-track.


Maybe you should ask my dad for prayers…I’m sure he is a saint by now;) Kidding. My mom’s illness was basically a depressive illness, that doctors and the medical world as a whole, didn’t know much about. Since the advent of prozac, etc…perhaps, these days, she would have functioned better, but she slept a lot…and at times, would fly off the handle at my dad, for no apparent reason. As a mom, she had her good and bad days…I was with a nanny a lot of the time, so sometimes, I look back, and think I lost those years with my mom, due to her illness. Then, my dad became ill (cancer) and my mom took care of him…(with the help of a live in nurse) …and she seemed to ‘snap out’ of the depression she was in. I hate to say it like that, but my sister remember this too…as though now she had to step up and take care of things because my dad couldn’t do it any longer…she then was able to? And she was ‘fine’ my sister said when she was prego with me…so, it’s an interesting childhood that I had. I pray pray pray your wife gets better. My sister said that her symptoms (our mom’s) started in her late 20’s…

I know it must be hard…I guess what I wonder is…why is this happening to you? Why did that happen to my dad? Is it to help build our characters? Was my dad meant to serve as a good example for me? For what God wants a husband to be? My dad really loved my mom…but, so much of his role was her caretaker, not as a husband. I guess we don’t think much of that if it were to happen later in life, but earlier in life, it can raise questions for someone in your shoes. I pray for your wife, too…I think that deep down, she must struggle with not being able to be perhaps as active and so forth, as she would if she wasn’t sick. May I ask what she has?


Thank you. I know that she is struggling with that.

We don’t know yet, actually. We are doing test after test after test and seeing doctors, and specialists and all that, and no one has found an answer yet.

That makes it more difficlut too, we react to the symptoms, but we have no idea what it is yet.
Tests included iron levels, blood sugar, heart, hormones, thyroid, and a myriad of others, but nothing.
And yet, she is bedridden almost all the time now.
The tests had to be stopped since she is pregnant, so we’ll go back when the new little one is born.

I don’t know.

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