Sacred Scripture begins with the creation and union of man and woman and ends with “the wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7, 9). Scripture often refers to marriage, its origin and purpose, the meaning God gave to it, and its renewal in the covenant made by Jesus with his Church.
God created man and woman out of love and commanded them to imitate his love in their relations with each other. Man and woman were created for each other. “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him…The two of them become one body” (Gn 2:18; 24). Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in marriage both are united in an unbreakable bond.
But fidelity to God’s plan for the unity and indissolubility of marriage developed gradually among the people of ancient Israel under God’s providential guidance. The patriarchs and kings practiced polygamy, and Moses permitted divorce. Jesus later cited this case as a toleration of human hardness of heart and taught God’s plan for marriage from the beginning (cf. Mt 19:8). It was the prophets of ancient Israel who prepared for Jesus’ renewal of God’s plan for marriage in their insistence that the permanent and exclusive fidelity of marriage illustrates the unending fidelity of God to his covenant with Israel and his will that Israel be faithful to him alone (cf., e.g., Hos 3 and Ez 16:59-63).
The books of Ruth and Tobit witness the ideals of marriage. They describe the fidelity and tenderness that should exist between the spouses. The Song of Solomon pictures a human love that mirrors God’s love, which “many waters cannot quench” (cf. Sg 8:6-7).
There are attempts by some in contemporary society to change the definition or understanding of what exactly constitutes marriage. Efforts to gain approval for and acceptance of same-sex unions as marriages are examples. While the Church clearly teaches that discrimination against any group of people is wrong, efforts to make cohabitation, domestic partnerships, same-sex unions, and polygamous unions equal to marriage are misguided and also wrong. The Church and her members need to continue to be a strong and clear voice in protecting an understanding of marriage, which is rooted in natural law and revealed in God’s law.