What significance does the sexual encounter have within marriage?
According to God’s will, husband and wife should encounter each other in bodily union so as to be united ever more deeply with one another in love and to allow children to proceed from their love. In Christianity, the body, pleasure, and erotic joy enjoy a high status: “Christianity … believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in Heaven and is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty and our energy. Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion: and nearly all the greatest love poetry in the world has been produced by Christians. If anyone says that sex, in itself, is bad, Christianity contradicts him at once” (C. S. Lewis). Pleasure, of course, is not an end in itself. When the pleasure of a couple becomes self-enclosed and is not open to the new life that could result from it, it no longer corresponds to the nature of love.
What is the significance of the child in a marriage?
A child is a creature and a gift of God, which comes to earth through the love of his parents. True love does not desire a couple to be self-contained. Love opens up in the child. A child that has been conceived and born is not something “made”, nor is he the sum of his paternal and maternal genes. He is a completely new and unique creature of God, equipped with his own soul. The child therefore does not belong to the parents and is not their property.