“What? is marriage a theater? It is a mystery and a type of a mighty thing; and even if thou reverence not it, reverence that whose type it is.'This mystery,' saith he, 'is great, but I speak in regard of Christ and of the Church.' (Eph. v. 32-41); It is a type of the Church, and of Christ…They come, about to be made one body.
See again a mystery of love! If the two become not one, so long as they continue two, they make not many, but when they are come into oneness, they then make many. What do we learn from this? That great is the power of union. The wise counsel of God at the beginning divided the one into two; and being desirous of showing that even after division it remaineth still one, He suffered not that the one should be of itself enough for procreation. For he is not one who is not yet [united] but the half of one; and it is evident from this, that he begetteth no offspring, as was the case also beforetime. Seest thou the mystery of marriage? He made of one, one; and again, having made these two, one, He so maketh one, so that now also man is produced of one. For man and wife are not two men, but one Man…Moreover, from the very fashioning of her body, one may see that they are one, for she was made from his side, and they are, as it were, two halves….
And how become they one flesh? As if thou shouldest take away the purest part of gold, and mingle it with other gold; so in truth here also the woman as it were receiving the richest part fused by pleasure, nourisheth it and cherisheth it, and withal contributing her own share, restoreth it back a Man. And the child is a sort of bridge, so that the three become one flesh, the child connecting, on either side, each to other.
For like as two cities, which a river divides throughout, become one, if a bridge connect them on both sides, so is it in this case; and yet more, when the very bridge in this case is formed of the substance of each. As the body and the head are one body; for they are divided by the neck; but not divided more than connected, for it, lying between them brings together each with the other…What then? when there is no child, will they not be two? Nay, for their coming together hath this effect, it diffuses and commingles the bodies of both. And as one who hath cast ointment into oil, hath made the whole one; so in truth is it also here.
I know that many are ashamed at what is said, and the cause of this is what I spoke of, your own lasciviousness, and unchasteness. The fact of marriages being thus performed, thus depraved, hath gained the thing an ill name: for ‘marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled.’ (Heb. xiii. 4) Why art thou ashamed of the honorable, why blushest thou at the undefiled? This is for heretics, this is for such as introduce harlots thither. For this cause I am desirous of having it thoroughly purified, so as to bring it back again to its proper nobleness, so as to stop the mouths of the heretics.
The gift of God is insulted, the root of our generation; for about that root there is much dung and filth. This then let us cleanse away by our discourse. Endure then a little while, for he that holdeth filth must endure the stench. I wish to show you that ye ought not to be ashamed at these things, but at those which ye do; but thou, passing by all shame at those, art ashamed at these; surely then thou condemnest God who hath thus decreed….Shall I tell how marriage is also a mystery of the Church? As Christ came into the Church, and she was made of him, and he united with her in a spiritual intercourse, ‘for,’ saith one, ‘I have espoused you to one husband, a pure virgin.’ (2 Cor. xi. 2.) And that we are of Him, he saith, of His members, ‘and of His flesh.’ Thinking then on all these things, let us not cast shame upon so great a mystery.
Marriage is a type of the presence of Christ….If thou drive away all these things [Satanic reverie at the wedding feast], even Christ will come to such a marriage, and Christ being present, the choir of Angels is present also. If thou wilt, He will even now work miracles as He did then; He will make even now the water, wine (John ii.); and what is much more wonderful, He will convert this unstable and dissolving pleasure, this cold desire, and change it into the spiritual. This is to make of water, wine.”
--St John Chrysostom, Homily 12 on Colossians