The importance of marriage to the message of Jesus is underscored by the fact that he performed his first miracle at a wedding. John shows that Jesus is the true Bridegroom, and that God is fulfilling his promise to come as a divine Bridegroom to Israel. This promise of “messianic nuptials” comes with increasing intensity in the writings of the prophets, certain Psalms, and other writings. In Hosea and elsewhere, the messianic blessings of the New Covenant are accompanied or symbolised by “new wine.”In the New Covenant, Christ reaffirms the original nature of marriage and transforms it. He elevates the original sign of God’s love for humanity to a sacrament of grace. Jesus gave his own life for the life of the Church. He married her, indissolubly and forever. This is what makes matrimony a New Covenant sacrament.
The husband and wife are the ministers of the sacrament, though a priest or deacon ordinarily “witnesses” the event for validity. While freely given vows ratify a marriage covenant, this sacrament becomes indissoluble—permanent until death—when the two become one, that is, through sexual intercourse.To help couples image the nuptial union of Christ and the Church, married couples receive an increase in sanctifying grace specially given to those who enter this sacrament. In addition to a closer relationship with our spouse, we are joined more closely to Christ.
“The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” (CCC 1601)
“God unites husband and wife so closely in Himself, that it should be easier to sunder soul from body than husband from wife.”
Saint Francis de Sales