Marriage

T20 - The Marriage Feast Chagall

In the writings and marriage services of the Church over the ages we see a common understanding from Scripture of what are the primary purposes of marriage: (i) the procreation of children to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord; (ii) the hallowing or making holy the union between a man and a woman; and (iii) the mutual society, help and comfort that the one ought to have of the other both in prosperity and adversity. (from the service of Holy Matrimony in the Book of Common Prayer.)

Marriage is described as a sacrament – an outward sign of an inward spiritual grace.  In a marriage – a couple will vow faithful, Christ-like love to one another.  They will be in the world seeking to be an image of the marriage of Christ and the Church.  The uniting of their bodies and hearts and wills on earth is to be an earthly reflection of, and an evangelical witness to, this great promise of God to us in Christ.  A couple are a microcosm of what God is doing in creation through Christ.  This is the mystery of marriage, this is why it is “sacramental” – the couple become an outward sign through which God gives grace inwardly both to the couple to fulfill their vows and to those to whom they bear witness.

And yet, marriage will only be a reflection of this heavenly plan to the extent that the love between the couple is like God’s love.  The character of a Christian marriage is that its love is patterned on the love shown to us most clearly by Jesus Christ.  It is characterized by:

  • unending faithfulness – not just in the big things but in the daily building up of one another in love;
  • humble serving love – Christ came not to be served but to serve – remember the washing of the feet of his disciples (John 13);
  • the love shown us on the Cross – love is about forgiveness and about self sacrifice in a way that leads to the mutual flourishing of love.

Couples desiring to be married at Church of the Ascension are strongly encouraged to take a Marriage Preparation Course to assist them as they prepare to engage in the vocation of Christian marriage.  Specifically, this occurs through instruction about the nature and meaning of Christian marriage, as well as practical teaching whose purpose is to provide a solid foundation for a lifelong relationship of mutual love and support.

To be married in the Anglican Church, at least one of the partners must be a Christian, baptized with water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It does not matter in which Christian denomination you were baptized.  If you or your partner are not baptized, but now wish to receive God’s grace and become part of God’s family, please ask.  If one of you has been divorced, remarriage in the church is possible, but you will need to discuss your circumstances with the priest.

If you desire to be married at Church of the Ascension, please contact our chaplain who would be most pleased to speak with you.