An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"That connection…to be authentic, it has to be the whole person…"

Note: Over the next few weeks, we’ll be reading through the Viewer’s Guide for the video “Made for Each Other.” In the video, married couple Josh and Carrie reflect on the meaning of sexual difference. Each section of the Viewer’s Guide takes a quote from either Josh or Carrie and fleshes it out. The goal of the Viewer’s Guide is to help you, the reader, become more confident in promoting and defending the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In the second section, we’ll take a closer look at sexual difference and complementarity.

First section: the meaning of marriage, the role of reason and faith


“That connection…to be authentic, it has to be the whole person…Men and women are made for each other emotionally, sexually, psychologically.”

Carrie is talking about the “connection” or communion that is marriage. Marriage necessarily involves the whole person. That’s what the vows are about—a free and total promise of fidelity, permanence, and openness to life made to the other, in good times and bad, through thick and thin. Such vows can only be exchanged between a man and a woman. In other words, sexual difference is essential to marriage.

Sexual difference concerns the whole person, as Carrie points out. Only through this difference can a man and a woman give themselves fully and love each other as spouses. Only a man and a woman can commit to the other in such a way as to be married, to be husband and wife. This isn’t unjust discrimination; it’s distinction, a matter of simply respecting reality. The promise of marriage speaks a language. Part of the essential grammar of this language is sexual difference. Without it, marriage can’t be spoken of. [i]

Carrie later remarks, “Our sexual difference doesn’t compete; it complements.” Men and women are equal but they are also different. Difference here is not bad; it is a great and necessary good.

 

“It’s constructive” as Josh says. It’s the avenue for life-giving love; a fundamental reference point for all human relationships. Sexual difference is what enables a man and a woman to form a unique bond for life. A husband gives to his wife what only a husband can give. Likewise, a wife gives to her husband what only a wife can give.

Next: sexual difference as the avenue towards true union and life; marriage is a unique commitment


[i] This is also why sex outside of marriage doesn’t make any sense. Sex itself speaks a language of total commitment and gift—faithful and indissoluble love. That’s the language of marriage. Sex outside of marriage always says something that is untrue. It’s pretending. Real love depends on truth, and truth depends on love (see Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in Veritate [Washington, DC: USCCB, 2009], nos. 1-9).

2 Responses to “"That connection…to be authentic, it has to be the whole person…"”

  1. Ellen Chmiel says:

    God made mammals,birds, sea life. Animals don’t have free will; they have instincts. Why did God make so many of them same-sex? Albatrosses have been extensively studied and 1/3 of one colony is female-female,w/ both raising one chick. Side activity involved a male of course. Birds took turns raising a chick alternately so each had their own egg used alternate years. Only one egg a year is laid. Why did God make them gay? A huge number of animals have same-sex liaisons. Therefore same-sex pairs ARE NATURAL. They make great parents. The gay men next door affected neither our long marriage or that of our children. All gays come from heterosexual unions and I support gay marriage.

  2. Ellen Chmiel says:

    My long explanation is above. No need for me to comment further.

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