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.
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
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.
therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
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
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.
48 § 1.
148 Cf. CIC, can. 1056.
150 St. John Chrysostom,
Hom. in Eph.
20, 8: PG 62, 146-147.