In marriage, a man and a woman form an intimate communion of life and love.  Marriage’s two purposes are:  to further the good of the couple, and to foster the procreation and education of offspring.  It was founded by God, who established it with its own special laws, including fidelity and permanence.

          Marriage is a sacrament because it is a sign of the union of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:31-32).  It gives spouses the grace to love each other as Christ loves the Church.  Characteristic of that love is that it is a covenant, with features similar to the great covenants made between God andIsrael.  The covenant is made by consent of the two parties, who exchange vows at their wedding, “I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband/wife.  I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” 

          Spouses who have divorced are encouraged to apply for an annulment, and they must do so before entering into another marriage.  An annulment is a judgment by Church authorities that a union of two people was not a valid marriage from its very beginnings.  Perhaps one or both of the parties didn’t have the capacity to live their vows, or perhaps they didn’t have the intention to do so.

          Couples planning to marry should schedule a visit with the pastor of the church where they are members.  They should meet with him at least 8 months prior to the wedding.  The pastor will inform the couple of the marriage preparation process, which includes retreats and discussions.  If either party has had a previous marriage, they should meet with the pastor immediately to see if an annulment is needed.