the relationship of marriage

. . . the relationship of marriage ought to be highly reverenced and honored among Christians. It is a relationship which was instituted in Paradise, in the time of man's innocency, and is a chosen figure of the mystical union between Christ and His Church. It is a relationship which nothing but death ought to terminate. It is a relationship which is sure to have the greatest influence on those whom it brings together, for happiness, or for misery, for good, or for evil. Such a relationship ought never to be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly; but soberly, discreetly, and with due consideration. It is only too true, that thoughtlessly entering into marriage is one of the most fertile causes of unhappiness, and too often, it may be feared, of sin.

—J.C. Ryle, 'Expository Thoughts on Matthew’

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