The Four Bonds of Conjugal Union – Christ in the Home


A very beautiful article from Christ in the Home by Father Raoul Plus, S.J., 1951


THE four bonds of conjugal union are the bond of consciences, the bond of intellects, the bond of souls, and the bond of hearts.

The bond of consciences:

This means that husband and wife must have the same norms for judging between right and wrong. Is it not only too clear that if they do not have an identical point of view in their appreciation of God’s law, a fundamental disunity will be introduced into the very foundation of their unity?

If one, for example, holds to the principle of free love while the other advocates the principle of unity in marriage, can there be complete communion? Or if one is determined to abide by the demands of the moral law in the difficult duty of procreation while the other has no intention of abstaining from the latest practices of birth control or from onanism, will there not be constant struggle in their home, and that in regard to their most intimate relations? If both are not in agreement on the question of their children’s education, one will insist on secular education, the other on Catholic education, and again conflict will ensue.

The bond of intellect:

This bond is not so essential as the first–it is in the realm not of strict requirement, but of the desirable. There is much to be gained from shared reading experiences, from a mutual exchange of artistic impressions and psychological observations.

For this, it is not necessary that the wife share her husband’s work. It is enough if she is able to be interested in his profession. Nor is it necessary that they have the same tastes, the same outlook; a certain diversity in mentality, on the contrary, is desirable on condition that there are possibilities for mutual exchange of ideas which will lead to mutual enrichment.

That evidently supposes great simplicity in both husband and wife, a loving liberty in their communication of ideas, a very humble recognition of any superior quality in each other, an entire good faith which makes each one willing to yield to the ideas of the other when they are better.

The bond of souls:

It is not sufficient to enjoy an exchange of ideas in profane matters only. It is very desirable that there be harmony of action in the domain of the spiritual, the supernatural. . .prayer together. . .meditation in common . . . reception of Holy Communion together.

Father Doncoeur and several others go so far as to advise making the examination of conscience together with mutual admonition and mutual resolves. This would surely call for extreme delicacy and could not be so generally recommended as the suggestions given previously. But how beautiful it is when husband and wife are as an open book to each other!

Is it good to tell each other the graces received from God, the aspirations of the soul to become holy, to become a saint?

Yes, certainly, on condition that all be done with simplicity, with mutual spontaneity, with nothing of constraint, exaggeration or artificiality. Why should one hide perpetually from one’s life companion the best of oneself? Some individuals remain much too reticent and it is a hindrance to great depths of intimacy.

The bond of hearts:

How many in marriage love each other selfishly, show themselves demanding, moody, eager to receive, but never generous in giving. There is so much selfishness in certain families even when they are very closely united.

The remedy is to supernaturalize the affections; to pass as quickly as possible from passionate love to virtuous love and to make conjugal love a permanent exercise of the theological virtue of charity.




“If your large family brings ridicule from neighbors and even strangers, remember that you have a lasting treasure worth suffering for, and that the Lord called blessed those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake.” – Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook



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