Consent to the Cross

by | Apr 19, 2023 | Church, Liturgy, Marriage, Marriage Prep

Exchanging Consent Over a Crucifix

During our engagement, Joshua and I learned about an incredible wedding devotion: exchanging your marriage consent over a crucifix.

Catholic nuptials are beautiful for many reasons, but one is that the couple can elect to incorporate personal devotions into their wedding Mass. Whether it’s a Marian Consecration, a blessing with a lasso, or another tradition, we get to make our wedding Mass our own as a couple under the guidance of our Church.

For Joshua and me, exchanging our marriage consent over a crucifix represented something very special. As Catholics we understand that Christ is the bridegroom, and the Church is His bride. He died on the cross to sacrifice for her, selflessly and completely. His “marriage bed” was His cross. And so, we also ought to sacrifice in such a way that our marriage beds become our “crosses.”

 

Sacrifice Within Marriage

When anyone says “marriage bed” we can be sure they are referring to the act of marital intimacy. This act is God’s greatest gift and pleasure to mankind. It gives us perfect unity and procreation, and hardly sounds like a cross of sacrifice. But we are called to more than the pleasure.

We are called to give of ourselves to our spouse—to seek the good of our spouse, not the pleasure of ourselves. We are called to chastity and goodness, not erotic exchanges. God calls us to exemplify the beauty of His design for our bodies, not to reveal the distortion of sin. He asks us to be open to life and all its struggles, not to try to control our fertility.

Exchanging our consent over our crucifix, which now hangs above our bed, represented our understanding and commitment to sacrifice in our marriage. In our two years together so far, we have been called to more and different struggles than we imaged we would be. But through it all we’ve remembered the words of our marriage consent: for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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