To enter into marriage, one needs to understand and accept the indissolubility of marriage. No one should enter into marriage with the idea that if it does not work there is always the option of a divorce. The scripture text of today does not provide any escape clauses. Some may remember Mt 19:9 ‘Now I say this to you: anyone who divorces his wife — I am not speaking of fornication — and marries another, is guilty of adultery.’ The term ‘fornication’ is a loose translation of the word ‘porneia’. The exception is for the case of an illicit union, for example, where a father marries his daughter.
In today’s gospel, the standard is set to which many think is an ideal. It is the law that was reinforced by Jesus himself. A marriage without the understanding that it is meant for life brings with it great amount of anxieties for the couple entering into this sort of union. Marriage is a total giving of oneself. A marriage entered into thinking that it can be terminated at will, is a marriage less than a total self-giving.
Marriage is not the next step of a courtship that has lasted for several years. Marriage is not the natural progression a subsequence of dating but a deliberate decision after considering all the knowledge that one has of the other. Courtship with a real desire to know the other party will produce a fruitful and lasting marriage. Some people see marriage a ticking off a checklist before they can consider themselves as making it in life. Marriage is a serious commitment with serious consequences.
Questions for Reflection
Do I know what I have to look for during courtship?
Am I truthful to myself and to my partner during the courtship?
The commitment made in marriage becomes stronger when there is a desire to know the other at a deeper level everyday. Is this my orientation in marriage?