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.
Section 3 will look at how sexual difference is the avenue towards true union and life, and why marriage is a *unique* commitment.
“Making love and having children…that depends on our difference.”
This is a key line. Let’s pause to take in what Josh is saying…
Life-giving love—the two-in-one-flesh communion of persons—depends on sexual difference. In simple terms, sex and babies depend on the difference between man and woman. The ability to make love assumes that the right context is already in place, that the vows have been exchanged, bringing about husband and wife. “Making love” [i] is about self-giving. The husband gives his “body-person” (his whole self) to his wife; the wife gives her “body-person” to her husband. The spouses give themselves and receive each other in and through their difference.
As Josh says, “every natural process of the body” can be done naturally by oneself—“everything but making love and having children,” which depends upon a different body-person. Sexual difference is the avenue towards real, “body-personal” union, a union that is also open to life.
Love and commitment are important in marriage, as they are important in many relationships among family and friends. But marriage involves a unique love and commitment. As counter-cultural as this may sound, marriage depends on the capacity to form a true union of persons through the body, that is, through sex. Such a true union is by its nature ordered towards life and is meant to remain always open to life. Why is this counter-cultural? Sex has so frequently been emptied of its real meaning and significance. It has become de-personalized, accepted as a casual or recreational occurrence. Sex’s personal meaning and responsibilities are many times ignored, but this disregard bears harmful and tragic consequences, whether manifest in contraception, attachment and broken relationships, STDs, the tragedy of abortion, depression, and the list could go on. This is not God’s plan for sex. Sex has been made for marriage, and only a woman and a man are able to form through marriage an intimate union of love and life, a union that deservingly holds unique status and responsibilities in society.
[i] “Making love” is a colloquial phrase used to capture in simple language the uniqueness of the marital embrace or the conjugal act. Of course, since God is love (see 1 Jn 4:8, 16), all love is a gift from God. The love between husband and wife is only possible because God has “first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).