Responsible for marriage
Fr Ireneusz Skubis
When I was wondering how to explain our Readers the problem of man’s readiness to enter into marriage I reached the conclusion that I should first of all remind them that marriage was a very important agreement between man and woman since this contract embraced their common life till their deaths. Marriage should be connected with full community. It is commonly said that it is a community of bed and table. They are simply to spend their lives together. But marriage is above all a sacrament. Those who get married bring their whole inner baggage into their common life. Using pictures one can say that each of them comes to their common house with a big suitcase in which there are such matters as characters, lifestyles, habits, virtues – all that man needs spiritually and humanly to live with another person. It is a marriage community. These people open their suitcases and use their contents in their common life. If these suitcases are full of good things: good characters, physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual predispositions the other person uses them and thus both parties – man and woman – living in a marriage make their lives better, develop their personalities and the personalities of their children, forming a wonderful family. This suitcase becomes a very important element to live in marriage and to have a good marriage. If it sometimes occurs that the suitcase is empty, that they lack many necessary things, such a marriage lacks more and more elements and can be unsuccessful.
Therefore, the ‘properties’ of spouses’ personalities and their good wills testify whether they are prepared for marriage or not, whether at the moment of entering into marriage they have cheated or made abuses. Ecclesiastical courts consider several such cases, the so-called marriage obstacles in case of marriage annulments. These obstacles are often made visible when couples have their banns, i.e. public announcements of a forthcoming marriage, and are very essential for the validity of marriage. That’s why Benedict XVI pays special attention to good preparation for marriage of people who express their desires to receive this sacrament. It seems that one should investigate this problem anew since the number of broken marriages is increasing and in many cases it can be avoided when preparation for marriage was better and if we pay attention to maturity before entering into marriage. It also seems that many people inter into marriage because of some special situation, for example, pregnancy. Then it often happens that parents (family) urge young people to get married and make them take a hasty decision. Sometimes such cases lead to a marriage collapse in a short time. There are also many causes that make people unable to marry. They can be persistent causes, of psychological nature, connected with character; causes flowing from abuses, e.g., alcoholism and things like that. They all can make the marriage invalid.
Preparations for marriage should be responsible and conducted well so that those who want to enter into marriage know that they are preparing for a very important act in their lives – not only sacramental act but a truly human one since it expresses great responsibility for one’s life and the spouse’s life and responsibility for the family they are to create together.