Marriage is the divinely instituted physical union of a man and a woman, authorized by legal covenant, whereby a new child, a new person may be brought into mortality and given life.
Love is an emotion held within the breast, that is expressed "pure and chaste from afar"1 while marriage is "a status, an office" 2
Enactment without the covenant is a "taking" for one's selfish pleasure. A single person is not complete, not whole. So we join with the opposite gender. But instead
of coming from two halves to a whole, we have only come from two halves to two thirds. What makes the other third and the completion of the whole? It is God or His Holy Spirit that was intended to be part of that union and which makes it whole.
That occurs when a man and a woman, join by covenant in marriage.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer born in 1906, defined it. His statue is one of 10 christian martyrs at the Great
West Door of the renowned Westminster Abbey in London. He was imprisoned and executed for his vocal criticism of the Nazi regime and its treatment of the Jews and others. As a prolific writer, one of his many letters smugled out of prison by sympathetic guards
was this classic to a niece before her wedding.
“Marriage is more than your love for each other. … In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in
marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom. In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage
you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind. Your love is your own private possession, but marriage is more than something personal—it is a status, an office. Just as is the crown, not merely the will to rule, that
makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and man. … So love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God”.2
1. The Impossible Dream,
Joe Darion, lyrics.
2. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison, ed. Eberhard Bethge (1953), 42–43, as quoted by Elder D. Todd Christofferson in General
Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, April 2015