The first letter to the Corinthians provides a favourite reading used in many wedding liturgies. It’s easy to take St. Paul’s writing as a beautiful definition of love, because, as the Apostle so clearly articulates, “Love is patient and kind.” And, clearly the attributes of love codified by Paul, if understood and applied in a relationship between a man and a woman, will serve as the foundation for a loving marriage.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church expands on the definition of Love (CCC 733), defining love as not just a what, but a what coupled with a whom, when it says, “’God is Love’ and his love is his first gift, containing all others.”
It is undeniable that marriage was created as an act of love by God; for as we are told in Genesis, God knew it was not good for man to be alone so he created woman of him, and for him. But in addition to instituting marriage as His act of love for His beloved human creatures, holy matrimony might also be viewed as a venue for us to learn and practice loving just as God loves.
The goal of the married couple should be to love each other as God loves us. Love for our spouse, as St. John proclaims (1 John 4:17-18) allows us to show that love is perfected in us, giving us confidence gaining eternal life with God – who is love.
In this sense, marriage is the dress rehearsal for heaven!