A true marriage is a natural concord and agreement of souls, a harmony in which discord is not even imagined; it is a mingling so perfect that only one seems to exist; all other considerations are lost; the present seems to be eternal. In this supreme moment there is no shadow – or the shadow is as luminous as light. And when two beings thus love, thus unite, this is the true marriage of soul and soul.
That which is said before the altar, or minister, or magistrate, or in the presence of witnesses, is only the outward evidence of that which has already happened within; it simply testifies to a union that has already taken place – to the uniting of two mornings of hope to reach the night together. The idea of contract is lost. Duty and obligation are instantly changed into desire and joy, and two lives, like uniting streams, flow on as one.
No matter whether we call it a contract, or a sacrament, or both, marriage remains precisely the same. And no matter whether this contract is entered into in the presence of magistrate or priest, it is exactly the same. Nothing can add to the sacredness of this marriage, to the obligation and duty of each to each.