The Catholic tradition has historically underlined two key ‘goods’ of Marriage: first, the fulfilment and happiness of both partners in their mutual love for one another; second, the good of raising children.
The sacramental bond established when two people marry conforms the union of husband and wife to the union of Christ the bridegroom with his bride the Church. The normal characteristics of natural conjugal love are in this way healed and elevated into an expression of the Kingdom on Earth. On this basis, Pope St John Paul II declared in his post-synodal exhortation Familiaris Consortio that Marriage is the “natural setting in which the human person is introduced into the great family of the Church”. We must, therefore, assume that the married state normally includes a call to co-operate in God’s creative act through the procreation of children, and a call to raise those children in a “school of love” such that the child is able to mature both naturally and spiritually and so realise the fullness of God’s plan for their lives.