Catholics, both Latin and Eastern and Orthodox have a massive advantage over most other Christians in that marriage is a Sacrament. Not only do we have all the graces God gives in that but the other Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist through Mass or Divine Liturgy gives even more grace.
This is not a magic potion to make marriage “happily ever after” however. The graces God gives in the Sacraments are tools we can use or discard. If we choose to use, gratefully, that which we are given it will certainly make marriage easier, but there will still be challenges, hard work and bad times to get through.
So let’s start with the Catechism:
1601 The matrimonial Covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole life, is by it’s nature ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a Sacrament.”
So what do we see?
First marriage is a Covenant not a contract. A Covenant can only be given freely and we see that the man and woman bestow the Covenant and therefore the Sacrament upon each other.
Second marriage is for the good of the spouses and the ultimate good of any person is making it to heaven, so spouses are to mutually assist one another on that journey.
And third; marriage ordered through nature and natural law to having and educating children.
Both spouses are supposed to love and educate the children. That means mum and dad need to be there. To be there, the couple many very well have to struggle through some horrendously difficult times and suffer because of the responsibilities and commitments that come with marriage and family life.
Believe me, whether you intend to or not, all parents DO educate their children, either for good or ill. In order to educate our children for good, we need to love them by doing love even if that means saying “No” rather a lot (to them and to ourselves).
All the research, even that which comes from secular sources, show that children need a mother and a father, both girls and boys. It shows that children who grow up without a parent because one parent has died, find life harder, but children who grow up without a parent because of divorce or abandonment, do far worse, educationally, socially, emotionally and mentally over all. The exceptions in no way disprove the research.
As adults we are to protect the rights and needs of the children we are given. We are to sacrifice things we want for what they need. It might mean small sacrifices such as giving up those toxic TV programmes that we’ve been having on in front of the children.; taking the TV, games console(s) and computer out of the their bedroom and guarding their dignity and innocence.
But there’s a lot more…