Why isn't marriage for eternity?


I’ve always been under the impression that the covenants and promises that God has made to us are good for eternity; we’ll still be aware of and thankful for them even after the end of the world.

I also have the understanding that marriage is a sacrament, but it is also a covenant between husband, wife, and God. This was enforced again and again during our engaged retreat and marriage prep. and this is how we have gone into our marriage. Covenants with God are not broken by Him and are not to be broken by us.

Now I have learned that the Church says that once we die our marriage is no longer. Is this an official Church teaching? Which document is it in? What is the reason for this teaching? Are we obligated to agree with it?


Dear Lance,

The very marriage formula itself states, “until death”. It doesn’t say, “for eternity”. That being said, marriage-both as covenant and sacrament–is not meant to be broken by death. Our ultimate union with God in heaven is the fulfillment of all the sacraments. They exist to help us reach that union. This certainly holds for covenants as well.

The sacrament of Marriage prepares the couple for the ultimate marriage of Christ and His Church which is His bride. In this marriage all of us are united in the Communion of Saints. No one who has been faithful is left out. All are one in Him. Because the sacrament of their union is fulfilled at this point, husbands and wives are more aware of there union than they ever were on earth!

For more on this I suggest that you read, “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West. You can order it through our website catalogue or by phone: 888 291 8000.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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