Why love will not sustain your marriage.

Love, as it turns out, will not sustain your marriage. It isn’t even supposed to. In fact, just the opposite is true. Marriage is supposed to sustain your love.

This is one of several of lessons I learned in a brilliant little book called Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love, by Dietrich von Hildebrand. It is short (77 pages) but important.

I wrote about it for yesterday’s post on the Catholic Match Institute blog.

Marriage, I wrote, “is an environment provided to us in which we can maintain (and when necessary, fight for) the love that brought us together.” Then I elaborated:

The book puts it like this: “marriage braces spouses to fight to save the precious gift of their love. It gives them the glorious confidence that with God’s help, they will overcome the difficulties and emerge victorious.”

The book does not imply that you should get married because marriage will save your relationship (please do not do that; it won’t). The point, instead, is that your current love for each other is not what will make your marriage last.

The fact that you love each other today is not what results in a holy, lifelong union. No—it is your promise to love each other in the future…

Here is a handful of my favorite quotes from the book (click here to order your own copy). Below them, you’ll find a link to my post at Catholic Match, where I’ll share the rest of the lessons I learned from the book.

“Marriage gives love the structure, the shelteredness, the climate in which alone it can grow.” -Alice von Hildebrand, in the book’s intro, page xi

“Marriage alone can save love between man and woman and place it above the contingencies of daily flux and moods.” -Alice von Hildbrand, in the book’s intro, page xii

“How greatly is conjugal love increased and deepened when we recognize in the beloved a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, belonging to Christ as we ourselves belong to him. What respect and chastity must permeate conjugal love which is aware of this mystery!” -page 45

“…it lies in the nature of conjugal love to be bold, heroic, not to shrink back from taking a risk.” -page 60

“We must never forget that we do not live in Paradise, but that as a consequence of the Fall of man, we live in a world which is permeated by a deeply tragic element, where happiness is necessarily wrapped up with tribulation.” -page 62

Click here to read my Catholic Match post about the lessons I learned from Marriage: The Mystery of Faithful Love.

New to my work? Click here for an introduction to my book, Chastity Is For Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I love that part about marriage making love rise above the “daily flux.” First, “flux” is a great word. Second, as I learned from a wise deacon who did a lot of marriage prep: On the day of your wedding, you said you take her, and we in the community make you keep taking her every day after that!

  • Elijah fan

    Very wonderful concept.