The validity of a marriage contract, in civil terms, is based on observance of state law. A decree of civil divorce ends civil recognition of the union. In short, civil authorities have come to understand that marriage can be cancelled. A divorce declares that the contract has been terminated as of a certain date. The Church regards marriage as a sacred covenant. The fidelity and permanence of marriage is a symbol of the fidelity and permanence of God's love for all people. The freely given consent of a man and a woman establishes a marriage covenant. This consent is an act of the whole human person and it involves psychological, physical, and spiritual dynamics. A wedding always has the potential to establish a true marriage covenant, but unfortunately not all do.