Marriage: More than a Fairy Tale, It’s a Vocation

I recently finished John Clark’s book “Betrayed Without a Kiss,” and I heartily encourage you to read it as well. Right from the beginning, Clark challenges the way we view marriage, not just theoretically, but our own marriages, by pointing us back to the Garden of Eden.

While much has been said about Adam and Eve, it’s surprising how little we focus on their marriage. Their union, Clark notes, witnessed unbelievable hardship. They lost Eden, and their unique friendship with God. Sin and death entered the world, their children killed each other. Their list of agony is endless. But where in the Bible do we ever see Adam and Eve considering divorce? It’s simply not there.

“Perhaps they never forgot how happy marriage could be,” Clark suggests.

From Luther to Henry VIII to pornography and contempt between the sexes, there has been a brutal attack of the indissolubility of marriage and the Sacrament as a whole. Yes, marriage is a Sacrament, and we need to treat it with reverence.

While pre-Cana classes are a requirement for marriage, Clark points out, pre-Cana truly starts well before the first diocesan class. It begins in the crib.

"By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory" (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1997, 2nd ed., para. 1652).

A fact we hear little about these days is that the primary end of marriage is the rearing of children. And Catholic couples, as primary educators, have a moral obligation to teach their children to pursue God. We are on this earth to become saints, and our vocation, which comes from the Latin word “vocare,” meaning “to summon,” is the unique mission God has given to us.

It is our personal invitation to serve Him in this world; the Sacrament of Marriage, imbued with graces, is oriented toward bringing forth children and raising them to know, love, and serve God.

This means that through the steadfast love of mother and father, committed to living out their vocation, they will begin teaching their children about the goodness of marriage from the moment a child is born. Their children will bear witness to their love and their desire to honor God.

But when we forget that marriage is a Sacrament centered on Christ, we invite the serpent into our marriages and into our households – the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve.

As Mother Teresa said, “Whatever you do for your family, your children, your husband, your wife, you do for God.”

All we do, good and bad, within our marriages is a reflection of how we treat Christ. The more we love our spouse, the more we love Christ. Let us restore the goodness of marriage by remembering it is more than a fairy tale or a legal document; it’s our vocation, a Sacrament, and worthy of utmost respect and dignity.

By Ann Burns, a wife and mother, and founder of The Feminine Project,


Mass Livestream