The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the power of a sacrament. (CCC 1601)

Here are eight ways to include the Catholic faith throughout the time of marriage preparation and the wedding itself.

1. Don’t forget the other sacraments 

While the sacrament of marriage is crucial, don’t discard the other sacraments during your preparation.  Visit Eucharistic adoration together as a couple, go to confession together and attend Mass together as well.  Not only will you open yourself up to sacramental graces, but you’ll encourage each other to find beauty in God and His Church.

2. Pick a patron saint for your relationship 

The mystical body of Christ is a wonderful treasure of the Catholic Church.  As a couple, pray to a saint who you choose as the Patron Saint for your relationship.  Some ideas are St. Louis and Zelie Martin (as a married couple who attained sainthood together!), St. Maria Goretti (patron saint of purity), or a saint of the modern era, such as St. Pope John Paul II.

3. Pray Together 

Praying together on the day of your wedding is amazing – but don’t forget to include prayer in your relationship either! You could say a novena together, a daily rosary or even a prayer that you write together.

4. Don’t forget it takes three to get married. 

Fulton Sheen wrote in his book Three to Get Married, “Here is the answer to the riddle of love.  Love means relation.  If lived in isolation, it becomes selfishness; if absorbed in together, it loses its personality and therefore, the right to love.  The ultimate reason why it takes three to make love is that God is Love, and His Love is Triune. All earthly love worthy of the name is the echo of “This Wonderful Lover.”

Marriage is a covenant between three people: The groom, the bride and God Himself.

5. Learn from the wisdom of other Catholic married couples and counselors.

The knowledge that other married couples and counselors have to offer is treasured.  In the rushing around of planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget to cogitate about the bigger picture. Discuss with a couple who has been married for fifty years and inquire from them the lessons they have understood throughout their time together.  Sign up for pre-marital counseling together through your local church.

6.  Study Ephesians 5 together 

“Wives be submissive to your husbands….” Actually the most avoided wedding reading, Ephesians 5 speaks about the relationship of a husband and wife in line with the union between Christ and His bride, the Church.  Take some time before your wedding to study through this passage together.  If you’re hesitant to go into it, check out Bishop Robert Barron’s thoughts on different parts of the scripture passage.

7. Make God the first guest on your guest list 

There are beautiful graces that come with a Catholic Nuptial Mass.  During your wedding planning, remember to contact your local parish and look into the process of organizing the Mass. Pledging your lives together for better and for worse is a big (beautiful) deal – ensure that God is the first guest on your guest list.

8. Focus on the marriage, not the wedding. 

It is common to get caught up in the wedding planning  – finding the right dress, making sure all the guests have RSVP’d, recalling all the little details.  But don’t forget that while vowing to love each other for better and for worse, richer and for poorer, you’re also vowing to love each other ’til death do us part.  Which means loving each other despite laundry piles and dirty dishes, hospital visits, and birthday parties.  It means loving each other every day – don’t lose sight of the beauty of the ordinary during the planning of your big day.

Pope John Paul II once expressed, “Life with Christ is a Wonderful Adventure!” Marriage is an incredible vocation!

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