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 first section, we’ll look at the basic meaning of marriage and the role of reason and faith.
“We were made for each other, as a man and a woman.”
Carrie states something that is very basic. Man and woman are made for each other in a way that is absolutely unique. We see this through their sexual difference, even if we just look to the human body as male or female. God’s plan for men and women is a great one.
Marriage is the lifelong, exclusive union of one man and one woman. It is more than a legal category. Marriage is a communion of persons, a communion of love between husband and wife meant to be the source of the family and society. God’s vision and plan for marriage is not idealistic. That’s why Jesus referred his interlocutors back to the beginning (see Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-8). [i]
We are meant for union and communion, to be in relation with others. [ii] In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” God’s solution to man’s isolation is not to create another identical man. God’s creation of the animals does not satisfy the longing Adam feels for communion. God creates woman from the body of the man and gives man and woman to each other. Then God says, “For this reason, a man shall leave his mother and father and cling to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Mt 19:5; cf. Gn 2:24). This is the first marriage.
Even our friends and neighbors who do not accept the truth of the Bible can see the point here. The two becoming one flesh refers to the physical act of sexual intercourse, as well as to the spiritual communion between the man and the woman. People from every religion, or no religion at all, can confirm the power and uniqueness of a man and a woman “becoming one flesh” with each other in marriage.
In other words, the truth of marriage between one man and one woman can be known by human reason through the natural moral law (the law according to the nature of the person, not just biological or physical laws), always with the help of God’s grace. The truth of marriage is not only a concern of the Church or religion—it’s truth for everyone. As Catholics, we also understand that faith sheds light on marriage. Christ raised marriage between the baptized to be a sacramental image of his love for the Church. Faith and reason don’t conflict here. In fact, they never do. [iii]
Next: more about sexual difference and complementarity