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568

Part Three

2363

The spouses’ union achieves the twofold end of marriage:

the good of the spouses themselves and the transmission of life.

These two meanings or values of marriage cannot be separated

without altering the couple’s spiritual life and compromising the

goods of marriage and the future of the family.

The conjugal love of man and woman thus stands under

the twofold obligation of fidelity and fecundity.

Conjugal fidelity

2364

The married couple forms “the intimate partnership of life

and love established by the Creator and governed by his laws; it is

rooted in the conjugal covenant, that is, in their irrevocable per­

sonal consent.”

147

Both give themselves definitively and totally to

one another. They are no longer two; from now on they form one

flesh. The covenant they freely contracted imposes on the spouses

the obligation to preserve it as unique and indissoluble.

148

“What

therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”

149

2365

Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one’s given word.

God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and

woman to enter into Christ’s fidelity for his Church. Through

conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the

world.

St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should

say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love

you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is

nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you

in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated

in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all

things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me

than to be of a different mind than you.

150

147

GS

48 § 1.

148 Cf. CIC, can. 1056.

149

Mk

10:9; cf.

Mt

19:1-12;

1 Cor

7:10-11.

150 St. John Chrysostom,

Hom. in Eph.

20, 8: PG 62, 146-147.

1646-1648

1603

1615

1640