One of the latter saint’s important formulations was De bono coniugali (Of the Good of Marriage), which addressed the viewpoints of the Manicheans, who believed that the material world was corrupt and debased. From their perspective, rejecting the sins of the flesh and materialism were necessary to free spirits trapped within the corporeal form. Counterpoising this was pagan Rome, where marriage existed to create households of dynastic importance and could be dissolved.
St. Augustine presented a third view in which men and women could achieve enduring friendship and love, which would be cemented through the lasting bonds of matrimony. He presented three “bona,” or goods that were inherent in such a marriage. These were fidelity, permanence, and procreation and the education of offspring. In St. Augustine’s view, the upbringing of children was central to this and had its basis in mutual giving between husband and wife.
When it came to the long term nature of marriage, St. Augustine famously presented his vision of an indissoluble “bonum sacramenti”: “Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement ‘until further notice’.”