The Catholic sacrament of Holy Matrimony is a life-long union between one man and one woman. It must follow a period of preparation, and you must have a full understanding of its nature and responsibilities.
The secular notion of marriage as simply a state registered contract that can be quickly made and quickly dissolved is very different from what the Catholic Church believes and teaches about the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. Each of these seven sacraments is a sacred action performed by Christ Himself. In these seven sacraments God gives us His own true presence, His life and His love. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony is God’s blessing, not only on your wedding day, but for every day of your married life together.
The Catholic Church teaches that there are two purposes to marriage: the unitive and the procreative. Husband and wife are united in a lifelong bond of love, fidelity, and mutual support. In an imperfect world, you will need God’s help to be faithful to your marriage vows. Only with His help will it be possible for you to live together in faithful love, until death.
God’s will is that your marriage should be lovingly fruitful. Married couples co-operate with the Creator by bringing children into the world, caring for them, and raising them in the Catholic faith. This is a primary reason for getting married; to become parents together, to raise a family together. All artificial and unnatural means of birth prevention impede God’s plan for creation. It is important that both of you clearly understand this teaching and its implications, and it should be fully discussed with your priest.
For Catholics, the most important thing in their lives should always be their Catholic faith. In special cases, the Church can give permission for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic Christian, or a member of another religion, or none. When such permission is granted, the Catholic partner must promise two things, within the unity of their marriage: firstly, that they themselves will do all they can to preserve and strengthen their own Catholic faith; and secondly, that all their children will be baptised and brought up as practising Catholics.
Please speak to one of the priests if you would like to discuss marriage in the Catholic Church, leaving enough time for organisation and for the course of spiritual instruction you will be given.