Skip to comments.Some Good Common Sense on Marriage, Sexuality, and the Family
Posted on 05/16/2014 2:17:04 AM PDT by markomalley
The need to pray for the upcoming Synod on Marriage and Family could not be greater. Sadly, so much oxygen has been spent on discussions about divorce, remarriage, and Holy Communion that little attention has been directed to defining functional marriage and upholding it for the Christian faithful. Granted we must deal with the wounded, but if all our time and energy is spent on pathology and none on good spiritual health, we lose our way and forget what a good and healthy family is.
Some good and thoughtful articles have recently been published on Crisis Magazine Online. And while to some extent they still address the pathology of modern marriage and family issues, they do a pretty good job of pointing the way back to a proper vision of Holy Matrimony. Here are a few excerpts from an article by Jared Staudt along with my commentary. Excerpts from the article are in bold italic and my comments are in plain red text. The full article is available here: A call to Heroism .
Unfortunately, I think we see marriage far too often in terms of personal self-fulfillment. Isnt this even part of the logic of gay marriage? People need to be a marital relationship or a sexual relationship to be fulfilled.
This is well said and we have made similar comments on this blog before. Too many people today see marriage primarily in terms of what is best for the adults involved rather than the children or the common good. Too many think marriage is about two adults being happy. And as for children, they are basically a way of accessorizing your marriage. They are an add-on if this serves the pleasure and happiness of the adults in the marriage. Otherwise, they contracept, or more horrifyingly, abort. Of course if marriage is just about two adults being happy, then enter the gay community who are more than willing to ask the question, Then what about us?
And then of course if sex is necessary for fulfillment and we accept that premise at the cultural level, then how dare the Church limit what anyone needs to be happy and fulfilled? Everyone has a right to be happy, and thus the Church and those who seek to limit sexual expression in any way are guilty of infringing on the right of others to be happy and fulfilled.
Now never mind that many who have all the sex they want are still unhappy and unfulfilled; never mind that the whole premise of the argument is a lie, or at best a severe half-truthnever mind all that. Our culture has bought the lie and bitterly lashes out at any who seek to call it to responsibility and to frame sexual fulfillment within marriage and make it about having children. Never mind all that. No matter how high the body count goes through abortion and children raised in incomplete (even bizarre) settings, no matter how high the STD rate goes, the world will never consider its approach unwise or in any way problematic. No, it is we, the people who seek to limit sexual expression and thus to limit happiness who are wrong and even immoral based on the premise that marriage and sexual expression are essential for happiness and fulfillment.
If we simply accept an adulterous relationship as normative (in divorce and remarriage), arent we caving in to a position that would quickly recognize these other unions [i.e. homosexual, cohabiting, polygamous etc.] as valid? Other couples in a non-marital committed relationship will also seek the standing that [Cardinal] Kasper wants to provide, instead of accepting the Churchs teaching on abstinence. The problem is a misunderstanding of self-fulfillment. It does not come from following our passions, but by ordering them in virtue. Exactly. For all the indulgence of passion in these modern times, our happiness is not greaterit is lessened. We do no one any favors by caving in to modern illusions. The Church needs to be the adult in the room and continue to point to the source of true fulfillmentthe truth.
Kasper recognizes this in the published form of his controversial lecture to the Consistory of Cardinals, The Gospel of the Family: The love between man and woman does not simply revolve around itself; it transcends and objectifies itself in children, who proceed from their love (ch. 1) [Amen! Marriage is about children, not just the happiness of adults]. And further: Their love is not a form of sentimentality revolving around itself. I Couldnt have said it better. True love and happiness are outward in their focus, not inward, selfish, and egotistical. One could only wish that the good Cardinal would stay on these points.
Here he seems to recognize what is at stakemarriage as a sacrifice to move beyond oneself. Kasper also rightly recognizes that We are in this crisis. The gospel of marriage and the family is no longer intelligible to many. [All the more reason we must keep teaching untiringly on this matter!] For many it does not appear to be a livable option in their situation (ch. 3). [All the more reason for us and the Synod to hold up examples of couples who DO find and live this ideal. And there are many!] Returning to Kaspers interview, he proposes a solution: Therefore you have to emphasize and to strengthen prematrimonial catechesis. We fundamentally need to reeducate Catholics and society on the nature of marriage!
Well OK, but that is not going to be enough. We have been trying that for years to little effect. We have to do that, yes, but even more. We have to teach not only couples preparing for marriage, but all couples, all Catholics, and the whole culture. It is a massive undertaking, but so was going unto all the nations and baptizing them as Jesus commanded. We have to widen the focus to everyone. The family (not the individual) is the basic unit of society. Every family must be reached with the undiluted truth and glorious vision of Gods plans for marriage and family. It may seem overwhelming, but with the Lord we can and will do it.
If we are going to follow Kasper on these points he gets right, we need to recognize that we cannot simply give in to our secular cultures acceptance of non-marital relationships. If we accept the average or ordinary situation of people today we will be giving into secularism and at best mediocrity. [Exactly!] Rather, we need to challenge people all the more to take a stand, to live differently, to follow Christ boldly in the modern world. This will entail accepting suffering and sacrifices. Following Christ radically and even heroically is the only way to respond to the universal call to holiness! [Amen]
Keep praying that the Synod on the family will not miss an opportunity to speak the truth in love to a world so increasingly lost and confused on marriage, sexuality, and the family. Pray that we will be a light in darkness and will not make foolish compromises that diminish that light.
Heres a marriage motet that Palestrina wrote for his own Wedding. The text is from the Song of Songs and says, Surge, amica mea, columba mea, formosa mea, et veni (Arise my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one and come):
(video at link)
Msgr Pope ping
I often ponder that if women spent as much time and effort on their MARRIAGE as they did on their WEDDING there would probably be more successful marriages.
IMO very often marriages fail because our culture inundates women with Oprahized pop-psychology messages that they have some “right” to be happy which is not being realized.
You might be right.
It's a MOST sad commentary that so many of those female STUPIDS are so influenced by Oprah. They SHOULD be influenced by their faith and their parents, if they were good parents, not by that over-sized BAG OF WIND.
Women have spent time on their weddings throughout history
In the western world divorce rates increased from low single digits to at least 50%
Half of all marriages break up since the 1950s where this was never a problem in thousands of years
You guys want to say that’s because women plan their weddings?
divorce rates were never 50%, that is a myth
I don’t want to debate this, so that’s why I won’t answer any response
If you think the divorce rate is not at least 50% in this country, you must not be involved with society
If the Church made it clear that your vocation, whether religious or married, is supposed to be purgatorial, people would be better prepared, less surprised.
Currently, it seems as if the message is, “You will have sex whenever you want to. This will make you perfectly happy.”
No. I will REPEAT what I wrote and HOPE you can understand what I am trying to say.
If women put as much effort into their MARRIAGES as they do into their WEDDINGS, it's my BELIEF that there wouldn't be so many divorces.
Can you understand what I am saying? Women don't SEEM to put as much effort into their marriage as they do into their wedding.
Operative words: SEEM and BELIEVE
Got it now?
P.S. I am female.
What should women be putting into their marriages that they are not, since the divorce rate got so high?
Lol. Obviously you have never been the "father of the bride" and seen what is involved in the weddings that some women plan.
They should put the TREMENDOUS effort, understanding, patience, talent, forethought and JOY into their marriages that they put into their weddings.
I remember mine. My sister made my wedding dress, the head dress and the maid and matron of honor dresses. I had the reception in my mother's home. Since my father had passed, my mother's brother gave me away.
It was a wonderful wedding. The marriage was even more wonderful. It DID require more effort!! Well worth it. He was a wonderful man and I miss him still.
Got 5 sisters. One had hers at a midtown hotel Probably, in 1991, $50,000
Five kids all off to good schools Hosted us for a week, paid our flight. Nice family
Another had hers similarly $75 a plate for 300. Remarried after 5 years now married for 12 yrs
Another at a fab place on the bay. Wedding drama that repels me to gone w the Wind for the trauma memory married 32 yrs Guy has MS, child is autistic
Another wed in downtown manhattan as well. Huge production 24 yrs they’re married and demand that people spend time with them at their beach house every summer
The aunts Ll have wonderful stories and photo albums of their weddings, bringing family and communities together to recognize the dignity of this generous new family. All married, 3 couples left, for 60 or so years.
Most photos reveal 12 silk clad bridesmaids each, whose entire day is for nothing than that bride. Period. And 12 fine young silly boys in morning suits many of whom we kids have met in the decades since, and who’ve attended our family funerals
These are old Westchester, NY families. Reminiscent of Father of the Bride, Spencer Tracy.
Got my mother’s monogrammed silver with which I welcome my dinner guests and enjoy a yearly Christmas fest she didn’t buy that many wonderful family friends of her parents fulfilled their community duty on being invited to the fabulous dinner and provided the youngsters with legacy items , like the mirror that hangs in the front hall which has a black and gold frame that my grandmother received at her drama princess wedding in1926 from her parents’ friends. Brand new. It’ll be an antique in twelve yrs.
These actually symbolize that I (and my siblings) came from a family that the community respected. As do all similar items lend history and credibility to other couples and families
Another sister spent in the low single digit thousands I’m sure. It was our favorite wedding based on how much we talk about it but not because it was budget. We’re not that money minded. Only because of how everything clicked
Her husband lives in the woods after 3 combat tours. She’s raising children alone
Various cousins and friends have had myriad wedding styles, none of which point to the princess bride as less successful in marriage than the backyard bar eques proud stingy nor lovely fatherless budget bride
But the question that you have not answered is, what exactly are the women who have big drama weddings not doing that accounts for a 50% divorce rate?
They are NOT spending the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME, EFFORT, LOVE, EMOTION and CARE on their MARRIAGES as they did on their weddings. When they spend the EXACT same amount of effort, love, caring and affection on their MARRIAGE, there wouldn't be the appalling U.S. divorce rate.
BOTTOM LINE: SHE wanted the fancy-schmancy wedding and had NOT A CLUE what a MARRIAGE entailed.
What they SHOULD HAVE DONE and what every couple SHOULD do is get MARRIAGE COUNSELING before the wedding so they know what they are looking at.
We did. We had a nice LONG chat with our priest. It was all good stuff. Of course, my husband was 34 and I was 29 when we married, so we had our heads on a LOT straighter than many couples. It was the first and only marriage for BOTH of us.
If you DON'T "get it" this time, don't bother to ask me any more questions. You question HAS BEEN answered and you know it...so MOVE ON.
“They are NOT spending the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME, EFFORT, LOVE, EMOTION and CARE on their MARRIAGES as they did on their weddings. When they spend the EXACT same amount of effort, love, caring and affection on their MARRIAGE, there wouldn’t be the appalling U.S. divorce rate.”
That’s quite an accusation. Of course it’s baseless.
How about a woman who spends no time and effort at all on her wedding.
What is the guarantee that she is going to spend much more time and effort on her marriage?
You would have to answer the original question which was, women have been doing this through history. What about it in the past 50 years contributes to the high divorce rate?
This is very silly
Shaunti and Jeff point out the 50 percent figure came from projections of what researchers thought the divorce rate would become as they watched the divorce numbers rising in the 1970s and early 1980s when states around the nation were passing no-fault divorce laws.
"But the divorce rate has been dropping," Feldhahn said. "We've never hit those numbers. We've never gotten close."
And it's even lower among churchgoers, where a couple's chance of divorcing is more likely in the single digits or teens.
If the divorce rate among your associates is way below 50% you are not involved in society.
Statistical numbers are there, esp in this case, to be played with.
If you look at family, extended family, work associates and neighborhood then friends, people you grew up with and don’t find a high rate of divorce, you are not associating in society
So...but don’t waste time with skewed research.
In any public school, ask any kid you know, a niece, a child, grandchild, neighbor, in any given public middle school, the divorce rate is 80%.
Those seeking a better life, who have money, are struggling divorcees or intact families. They invest in private school.
The divorce rate in ours is 15%. That’s in a non parochial authentic Catholic school in the most conservative large state.
No. The divorce rate in this country is very high, You are wasting my time.