Early Christian Writer on Marriage
True Christian marriage is unfortunately becoming more and more of an abstract vow in this day and age. Perversion of marriage has become socially acceptable on TV, in our schools, and in our everyday life. Social media has become a soapbox for untraditional marriage advocates to state their propaganda to anyone who will listen (and even those who don’t listen.)
As Christians, it is important to know why we believe what we believe. We are all called, through our baptism, to evangelize in this world, who is starving for truth, goodness, and beauty.
Here is what Tertullian, a prolific early Christian author from Carthage (155-240AD), had to say regarding marriage.
Whence are we to find (words) enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; (which) angels carry back the news of (to heaven), (which) the Father holds for ratified? For even on earth children do not rightly and lawfully wed without their fathers’ consent. What kind of yoke is that of two believers, (partakers) of one hope, one desire,9 one discipline, one and the same service? Both (are) brethren, both fellow servants, no difference of spirit or of flesh; nay, (they are) truly “two in one flesh.” Where the flesh is one, one is the spirit too. Together they pray, together prostrate themselves, together perform their fasts; mutually teaching, mutually exhorting,11 mutually sustaining. Equally (are they) both (found) in the Church of God; equally at the banquet of God; equally in straits, in persecutions, in refreshments. Neither hides (ought) from the other; neither shuns the other; neither is troublesome to the other. The sick is visited, the indigent relieved, with freedom. Alms (are given) without (danger of ensuing) torment; sacrifices (attended) without scruple; daily diligence (discharged) without impediment: (there is) no stealthy signing, no trembling greeting, no mute benediction. Between the two echo psalms and hymns; and they mutually challenge each other which shall better chant to their Lord. Such things when Christ sees and hears, He joys. To these He sends His own peace. Where two (are), there withal (is) He Himself.14 Where He (is), there the Evil One is not.
These are the things which that utterance of the apostle has, beneath its brevity, left to be understood by us. These things, if need shall be, suggest to your own mind. By these turn yourself away from the examples of some. To marry otherwise is, to believers, not “lawful;” is not “expedient.”
These are strong words – words both married and unmarried Christians should meditate on no doubt.
Helpful resources for the Catholic Church teaching on Marriage:
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