Church Life

On Sanctifying Marriage

The purpose of marriage is sanctification. The domestic household is a Church temple. Just as the Most-holy Theotokos was raised in a Church temple, so are all the children that the Lord grants to a married couple raised in the Church temple of the family. As a means to sanctification, marriage has many unique strengths that many religious writers and saints have already outlined elsewhere at length. A less well-known point is that a family rich in children is likely to connected to its wider family that will also be rich in children. This greater household becomes a means of shelter for all of its members. Whoever does not marry for some reason, nor seeks the monastic life, may find shelter in his greater, extended, Christian family. This in natural and good. For example, he may contribute to the well-being of his family, assisting in labour, child-rearing, and prayer. Perhaps a childless marriage can be sanctifying? I do not know. I am only a monk. I am not talking about satisfaction here, I am talking about sanctification. In the same way, perhaps a childless, married couple disconnected from wider family might be sanctifying? Again, I don’t know. On the other hand, perhaps a married couple despises each other? I have seen it many times. Sin can be found anywhere. It seems to me that families that lack sanctification are in a pointless, doomed situation. If it is by their own choice to forego the sanctifying strengths of having children, of being connected to wider family, then it seems that they are choosing to descend into eventual boredom, hatred, and resentment towards each other. I have seen it happen often. But if it is by the providence of our Lord that a married couple is living without the sanctifying strengths of an abundant and fruitful marriage that is not embedded in a viable, extended family, but crucially they give glory to the Lord for their situation, then even a marriage such as theirs might still be for their sanctification?