Should You Get Married in the Church? 7 Couples Share Their Experience
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With so many options nowadays, the humble church building can be the last place that is considered for a wedding. We asked 7 couples why they chose to get married in a Catholic Church. These answers, ranging from the comprehensive to the short-and-sweet, are honest, down to earth and beautiful. They can help us unpack the reasons why a Catholic Church should still be a first choice!
Silvana and Francisco (Married for 6 years):
“For all men and women called to it, marriage is a natural right regarding our faith. Our nature is both physical and spiritual. Catholic marriage, besides its other two purposes, elevates this natural right to the realm of God and gives us a remedy regarding our sinful nature. This grace gives us the strength to overcome the difficulties of marital life and it also gives an order to our desires. It is the deepest union between a man and a woman. I choose the Sacrament of Marriage for a number of reasons:
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1. Only God could be both witness and the greatest seal, to the love I felt for my husband. Marrying in the Church was a real sign of commitment for life.
2. We wanted our children to watch, through pictures or through our wedding video, the way we loved each other and in the same way how they were wanted. And how we commit to take care of them.
3.We wanted to make it public!
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4. We knew we would need help to overcome the difficulties in our life together, and that strength comes only from God.
5. We wanted to consecrate our marriage to Mary and this allowed us to.”
Janet and Stephen (married for 44 years):
“We recognized that it was God who made two into one, so it needed to be before Him and our church community. Also, we knew we were taking solemn vows which needed a solemn place. It was a Catholic church because Stephen was Catholic (and I wasn’t at the time) but I recognized the authority of his faith over mine. Because our faith was important to us, we would not have considered marrying anywhere else.”
Faith and Charles (married a year and 2 months):
“We wanted to have our wedding at a church because we wanted to fulfill all the requirements for a Catholic wedding. As a second plus, the church we used has been the place of marriage and baptism for several generations on my dad’s side of the family!”
Mary and Ed (a young couple engaged to be married):
“As practicing Catholics, it wouldn’t have occurred to us to get married anywhere but a Catholic church. It’s part of the heritage we are blessed with as Catholics. In fact, it doesn’t seem like a choice but a grateful acceptance of a wonderful gift! It’s awe-inspiring that Mass will be offered for us and our marriage and we can join in the sacrifice of the Mass by offering our marriage to God. It’s not just like inviting God to our wedding – it’s going to His House to be married! It’s wonderful that we will be married in the presence of God and Our Lady and the whole of heaven. It makes our wedding day sacred and holy as well as romantic and special. We also know that we can witness to how much our faith means to us on this special day, because it really is the foundation of our love.”
Nikki and Andy (married for 12 years) :
“We didn’t really consider it an option not to have a nuptial Mass. Since we belonged to the same parish, it was really special for us to be able to be married in the church we grew up in.”
Corinne and Sam (a young couple engaged to be married):
“Part of why Sam and I are getting married in the Church and within a Mass is because we believe that the Eucharist is the ultimate sacramental sign of Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. It will be deeply fulfilling to become unified as a couple and make the promise to love each other with that same sacrificial Christ-like love in that context. Also, we know how desperately we’re going to need the grace that Sacramental marriage offers in order to love each other with the lifelong and self giving love that marriage will demand of us. It’s reassuring to have the promise of grace and the prayers of the Church as strength to live out this vocation together.”
Gloria and Ronald (Married for 35 years. Story narrated by their daughter)
“This year will be the 9th anniversary since Gloria and Ronald’s marriage was convalidated by the Church. Gloria married Ronald when she was 27 and he was 36. She fell in love with him and they were united in a civil union. Both Catholic, Ronald wasn’t always as strong in his faith as she was, but you could say Gloria was the instrument God used in their early years of marriage to help guide Ronald closer to Christ. For years Gloria lived out her faith in the best way possible. She taught her two children to love Christ and His bride the Church but something was missing… she wasn’t in full communion with the Church. She understood the reasons why. She never questioned Church teaching because she knew deep in her heart that this was the Bride of Christ and the one Church Jesus had founded. She lived out spiritual communion but felt she was living her faith looking from the outside in. By God’s grace and lots of prayers, Ronald experienced God’s love and mercy realizing how much he, too, needed to draw close to Christ in the Eucharist. That’s when he started the process of praying and investigating if there was a way to convalidate his marriage with Gloria through the Church. Finally, Ronald says, “there’s something about being united to He who IS love that is unexplainable. This union with Christ teaches you to truly love those around you.”
If you’re interested in the theological reasons why Catholics must be married in a Catholic Church, our friends at Busted Halo have an excellent article explaining why, which you can read here.
If you’re engaged and looking for additional spiritual resources, don’t miss our Engaged Couples Spiritual Checklist.