The Catholic Church understands marriage to be an enduring and exclusive partnership for the mutual giving and receiving of love and the procreation and education of children. Marriage is much more than a legal contract; it is a sacred bond in which a man and a woman totally commit themselves to the good of each other for their entire lives. A sacramental bond can be dissolved only by the death of one of the spouses.
In the Catholic Church, a marriage is considered valid when:
- It is celebrated in a ceremony which is legally acceptable in the eyes of the Church
- Both parties are free to marry each other
- Each party intends from the beginning of the marriage to accept God’s plan for married life as taught by the Church
- Each party has the physical and the psychological ability to live out the consent initially given at the wedding
The Church presumes that every marriage is valid until the opposite is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.