Chick Lit and Movies and their impact on those of us who might like to date

Background -- I rarely go to "chick flick" movies but in my life I've seen my fair share. I got burned out on them for awhile, but once in awhile I'll go see one if it's not racy (which is sometimes hard to tell from the previews). If it is, and I'm uncomfortable, I'll look away till the racy scene is over, or joke about it: "TMI! I don't need to see this!" to a friend, etc.:eek:

As for books, I've been reading since I was 3-1/2 and I'll read lots of different genres, fiction and non-fiction, etc., for a lot of different reasons. Having an interest in fashion and cake decorating, sometimes I look at wedding magazines even though I wouldn't myself want an elaborate wedding if the opportunity arose.

It was thus that my eye was drawn to the Bride Quartet series by Nora Roberts, an author whom I'd normally not give the time of day to. I know that "Chick Lit" usually has sexual content, but flipping through these I guess I didn't catch it at first glance. So I start reading the first one. Got it at the library, by the way. And I can tell when a sex scene is about to occur so I flip the pages past it and hope I haven't missed anything important to the plot (I doubt it:rolleyes:).

Now right away I can tell the values are secular regarding sex -- fornication is totally cool, the norm, recreational sex is fine as a substitute for love, though if you are fortunate enough to find someone with whom you can have really wonderful sex with, it can be an indication that you're "in love" and might get married. And typical of this genre whether books or movies, there's indeed the happily ever after wedding at the end.

Here's the point of all the above rambling:

It makes me not only annoyed that there is such an acceptance of that as the "norm," such an expectation that that's how male-female dating, courtship, and marriages occur, but it also makes me confused! :ouch:

How do people with traditional values (provided they can hang on to them in the face of such cultural pressures) ever find each other? How, with the courtship process so tainted, can we ever find a way out of this tangled mess? Can we believe someone is committed to purity in dating even if they claim to be? Not to pick on men, but are there any gentlemen left who will respect those of us who consider ourselves ladies?:confused:

What's the difference between cohabitation and marriage, how do you draw a distinction? Is it all just about a woman wanting to look like a princess for a day?:shrug: :banghead:

I remember when I was an 8-year-old girl, in my cousin's wedding. Now, granted, I can't know what went on in her courtship, but I remember going to visit her and her husband in their first apartment, which they moved to after their marriage. I look back on that, I will always look back on that, as the way things should be. :heart:

Methinks if I want to read any more romantic wedding books I will have to look for ones that are specifically Christian.

It's just something that has always bugged me, and I look forward to comments and shared experiences about the way media has affected the courtship experience and what if any defenses we can have against it.

I think the biggest damage society does to marriage is putting the expectation of a spouse providing fulfillment to a persons life rather than being a vocation. So men and women a like go out searching for that perfect someone who will take away their loneliness and help them through their troubles and pain. Yearning for such things is natural, but it is not something a significant other is really meant to, or capable of providing. What these peoples hearts are really yearning for is to be with their Father in heaven, but they don't really recognize it, so they look to the love of others to take God's place, and unlike when people do such things with money or power, society praises the idea of seeking fulfillment from romance. Ironically the exaltation of relationships seems to be destroying them in our country. Here divorce is a common occurrence simple because people aren't happy/fulfilled by their significant other anymore, I bet if more people viewed their marriage as a vocation sent by God the divorce level would be way down since the focus goes away from being fulfilled to fulfilling your calling and loving completely. What more support do we need for this than the fact that arranged marriages, even in countries where divorce is legal, tend to have a 90%+ success rate while almost half of them fail here.

[quote="PatrickSebast, post:2, topic:210931"]
So men and women a like go out searching for that perfect someone who will take away their loneliness and help them through their troubles and pain. Yearning for such things is natural, but it is not something a significant other is really meant to, or capable of providing. What these peoples hearts are really yearning for is to be with their Father in heaven, but they don't really recognize it, so they look to the love of others to take God's place, and unlike when people do such things with money or power, society praises the idea of seeking fulfillment from romance.

[/quote]

Such things tend to have a deeply emotional longing and asking God to fulfill that longing is in of itself a disaster waiting to happen (perhaps even more disastrous than looking for that fulfillment in a spouse). God is not meant to be an emotional crutch. Heck, you're more likely to make an atheist out of someone seeking a romantic relationship with God than someone who seeks romance with another human being.

[quote="PatrickSebast, post:2, topic:210931"]
Ironically the exaltation of relationships seems to be destroying them in our country. Here divorce is a common occurrence simple because people aren't happy/fulfilled by their significant other anymore, I bet if more people viewed their marriage as a vocation sent by God the divorce level would be way down since the focus goes away from being fulfilled to fulfilling your calling and loving completely. What more support do we need for this than the fact that arranged marriages, even in countries where divorce is legal, tend to have a 90%+ success rate while almost half of them fail here.

[/quote]

You do also know that in those countries, people who divorce are often ostracized or even killed right? Are you also aware that "successful" may only mean they don't break it off and are not necessarily happy marriages? I mean a grand majority of those countries you speak of are from the Middle East for pete's sake and it's not like they're the most women-friendly countries in the world.

Here's a more balanced view. Instead of going on the ye old arranged marriage bandwagon, why not just simply advocate faithfulness, fidelity, and commitment? You know what they say remember? "In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad..." The way I see it, the secular crowd promote fidelity only in "good times" (which are fleeting) while the forced marriage crowd promote fidelity only in "bad times" (which, in contrast, are long grinds till death).

I think you will be disappointed if you try reading many of the Christian romances.

The ones I've read are totally unrealistic about sexuality in a Christian courtship. Many of them are totally unrealistic about sexuality within a Christian marriage! (Can you say Fred and Wilma Flintstone? But at least they had a baby, so they must have been having sex in those twin stone beds!)

Yes, I believe that sex outside of a man-woman marriage is wrong, a grave sin, against all Christian teachings both Catholic and Protestant. My husband and I dated for six years, and we were virgins when we got married, so I know it is possible to be in love, courting, and still not have sexual intercourse. That's realistic.

What's unrealistic is for a couple to not even kiss before their wedding night. Yes, some couples make this choice, for some unfathomable reason. I think it's an unnecessary sacrifice. IMO, kissing between a man and woman who love each other and plan to be married is a GOOD thing, a wholesome and wondrous thing that helps them to love each other even more.

IMO, most couples in love and courting do much more than just kiss, even if they stop short of actual intercourse. THAT'S reality, and to be honest, I don't see anything especially wrong with that unless it becomes a couple's entire focus and prevents them from living a rich, full life of service to the Lord and their fellow humans during their courtship.

That's my view of what Christian courtship is all about. There will be sexual arousal, and that is a good thing, not a bad thing. The couple commits sin only when they "make out" to the point of orgasm, or of course, when they have intercourse. Kissing and embracing are not sin.

I think that Christian media totally deny real-life Christian courtship and instead, present Christian couples as asexual "angels" who do not even sully their pure relationship by feeling the least bit of sexual arousal for each other. This is utter fantasy.

And I agree with the OP that many secular media also deny real-life Christian courtship by assuming that every couple will hop into bed within a few dates. This is simply not true, although statistics tell us that most Christian couples (90% of Catholics, 80% of Protestants) have had sex before they get married.

Whether or not media is contributing to these sorry statistics is an interesting question. I think not. I think that Christians have been having sex outside of marriage for centuries, and only recently have we been so public about it. But that's JMO.

The problem is with novels and movies is that if an author writes a novel (or screenplay) with Christian protagonists who love each other and experience sexual arousal before marriage, the novel won't find a publisher among the Christian houses. If the author receives any note back at all, the screener will say that the novel is "titillating.", Catholics are especially afraid of literature like this because masturbation is considered a mortal sin, and this kind of writing leads many Christians to commit "secret sin."

But if the author submits that same novel or screenplay to a secular house, it will be rejected because it's too religious. If the story is any good, the author might be told to re-submit the novel after re-writing to get rid of all the references to religion.

I think that the "fantasy" couples in current Christian romances do NOT help Christians to remain pure. I think that these fantasy couples are unrealistic and do not prepare a couple for the strong feelings of sexual arousal that draw them to each other.

I would like to see Christian publishing houses accept "real" novels and stories, about "real" couples, who feel strong arousal when they are together and struggle to remain sexually pure before their wedding, but who do not give in and commit sin by engaging in intercourse. Most Christian couples would identify with these realistic protagonists. I think that these protagonists and their stories would help courting Christian couples to remain continent until the wedding and NOT have intercourse or engage in petting that leads to orgasm.

Yes, sexually-charged plotlines in "real" Christian novels might be sexually arousing to a reader who might fall into the sin of masturbation. But that is no reason for Christian literature to pretend that sexual arousal doesn't happen between chaste couples.

There are many of us who cannot read "gory" works or watch gory movies because our stomachs get upset. There are many of us who cannot read "horror" novels or see horror movies because we have nightmares. It seems to me that a reader who knows that certain novels stimulate him/her to the point where they commit the sin of masturbation, these readers should avoid such novels. I see no reason for censorship of sexually-explicit scenes in Christian novels.

I was hardly saying you should have a romantic relationship with God, I was saying you should depend on God for fulfillment and not look to others, even a husband or wife for that. It isn’t that their is no value to romance, romance is simply secondary to God and should be done in a way that is honoring to God. Even St. Paul states that a married man’s mind is on his wife while a single mans is on the Lord, and he doesn’t view that as bad, but the catch is that your mind should be on your spouse because the Lord has asked that of you through your vocation, not just because your spouse has asked that of you. Otherwise when your spouse is not meeting their end of the bargain it becomes easy to justify dropping your end as well, if the goal is to fulfill your vocation for the Lord’s sake and your relationship becomes part of your worship and witness to God then it has a much firmer foundation. I did not mean to say that you should look to God to fulfill your sexual (sexual meaning those things that are characteristic of a marital relationship, not just a fulfillment of lust) needs, but that God fulfills many of the needs people look for a spouse to fulfill.

You do also know that in those countries, people who divorce are often ostracized or even killed right? Are you also aware that “successful” may only mean they don’t break it off and are not necessarily happy marriages? I mean a grand majority of those countries you speak of are from the Middle East for pete’s sake and it’s not like they’re the most women-friendly countries in the world.

Here’s a more balanced view. Instead of going on the ye old arranged marriage bandwagon, why not just simply advocate faithfulness, fidelity, and commitment? You know what they say remember? “In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad…” The way I see it, the secular crowd promote fidelity only in “good times” (which are fleeting) while the forced marriage crowd promote fidelity only in “bad times” (which, in contrast, are long grinds till death).

Their are arranged marriages even in the US (one of my professors at college had one)and they are more successful here as well. I am not jumping on that bandwagon though and certainly don’t want to knock dating and courtship off. I was simply stating they are more successful, and that is most likely because of the mindset.

These things being…?

Could you please cite the actual stats and their source? The ones I found spoke mostly of Middle Eastern countries (where a majority of people still practice arranged marriage). And again, just because the wife and husband stick together does not make it a “successful” marriage. Sticking together despite how miserable most of the time it makes either parties out of fear of getting ostracized or honor killed is just as bad as rampant divorce.

[quote="Cat, post:4, topic:210931"]
I think you will be disappointed if you try reading many of the Christian romances.

The ones I've read are totally unrealistic about sexuality in a Christian courtship. Many of them are totally unrealistic about sexuality within a Christian marriage! . . .

Yes, I believe that sex outside of a man-woman marriage is wrong, a grave sin, against all Christian teachings both Catholic and Protestant. My husband and I dated for six years, and we were virgins when we got married, so I know it is possible to be in love, courting, and still not have sexual intercourse. That's realistic.

What's unrealistic is for a couple to not even kiss before their wedding night. . . . IMO, kissing between a man and woman who love each other and plan to be married is a GOOD thing, a wholesome and wondrous thing that helps them to love each other even more.

IMO, most couples in love and courting do much more than just kiss, even if they stop short of actual intercourse. THAT'S reality, and to be honest, I don't see anything especially wrong with that unless it becomes a couple's entire focus and prevents them from living a rich, full life of service to the Lord and their fellow humans during their courtship.

That's my view of what Christian courtship is all about. There will be sexual arousal, and that is a good thing, not a bad thing. The couple commits sin only when they "make out" to the point of orgasm, or of course, when they have intercourse. Kissing and embracing are not sin.

I think that Christian media totally deny real-life Christian courtship and instead, present Christian couples as asexual "angels" who do not even sully their pure relationship by feeling the least bit of sexual arousal for each other. This is utter fantasy.

And I agree with the OP that many secular media also deny real-life Christian courtship by assuming that every couple will hop into bed within a few dates. This is simply not true, although statistics tell us that most Christian couples (90% of Catholics, 80% of Protestants) have had sex before they get married.

The problem is with novels and movies is that if an author writes a novel (or screenplay) with Christian protagonists who love each other and experience sexual arousal before marriage, the novel won't find a publisher among the Christian houses.. . . the screener will say that the novel is "titillating.", Catholics are especially afraid of literature like this because masturbation is considered a mortal sin, and this kind of writing leads many Christians to commit "secret sin."

I would like to see Christian publishing houses accept "real" novels and stories, about "real" couples, who feel strong arousal when they are together and struggle to remain sexually pure before their wedding, but who do not give in and commit sin by engaging in intercourse. Most Christian couples would identify with these realistic protagonists. I think that these protagonists and their stories would help courting Christian couples to remain continent until the wedding and NOT have intercourse or engage in petting that leads to orgasm.

Yes, sexually-charged plotlines in "real" Christian novels might be sexually arousing to a reader who might fall into the sin of masturbation. But that is no reason for Christian literature to pretend that sexual arousal doesn't happen between chaste couples.

.

[/quote]

This states most of the issues in the dilemma -- yes, perhaps the Christian publishers' books don't address the issue of sex realistically (although in my opinion there's still no need for explicitness to the degree you see in much secular romantic fiction). Too Much Information.

A story about a courting couple allowing their love to grow and lead to marriage (or to a breakup, if that's the plotline) while striving to maintain purity, while it might not be marketable in today's media, would provide excellent dramatic tension.

Before I go further, though, I must disagree that heavy kissing, necking, and petting is OK in a Christian courtship as long as it stops short of intercourse or orgasm. Inciting lust is ultimately going to be damaging to love. (Lust being defined as the cultivation of sexual arousal/engagement in sexual activity outside of their proper context.) I get it that God made sexual attraction for a reason, but people who aren't yet married still need to respect the boundaries.

Nothing personal, but I had to say it. And having said it, will leave it there. Other threads that present Church teaching and people's experiences regarding that are plentiful on this forum, so no need to reinvent the wheel and get off topic.

If I were reading these chick-lit books to get "turned on," I would be like a guy reading pornography, and I'd need to go to Confession -- whether or not I did anything physical about my feelings. Like I said, I skip over those scenes and focus on the story -- with a discerning mind about all of it -- not just the sex, but the materialistic values, the language, etc.

Back to my original -]rant/-] point -- and it's broader than even literature or movies, it is the culture, it's that practically inescapable expectation that lust and fornication are part and parcel of the path to dating and marriage, and that finding a "dating scene" where one can retain one's innocence and allow real love to grow without all that lust baggage is so ridiculously off the charts in this society. That makes me mad.:mad: I don't want to have to fight off all the lustful guys to find a decent one to go out with.

Back to literature and movies, though, it would be nice if they could tone it down so a person could enjoy a good story. Is it that impossible to have realism in entertainment without the fornication factor?

:banghead: There has to be a better way . . .

The first defense is to turn it off. All you need is a newspaper or the radio. The second defense is to find a Catholic radio station in your area or on the internet. Get the Catholic side of the story. We need it.

Let’s have a look at dating and courtship.

Parents were once teenagers. They get the raging hormones. They understand that their kids have virtually no previous experience in dealing with them. They get that.

Here is how the problem began, and the means by which it accelerated.

1960 The FDA approves The Pill.

1967 Since most people in the United States live in rural areas, it takes this long for The Pill to enter significant use.

1968 Pope Paul VI has Humanae Vitae published. The Pope, and those who advised him, celibate or not, understand human sexuality. He warns Catholics and all men of good will. Do not use artificial birth control, it will lead to increased promiscuity. For married people, it will tempt you to value the love of your life less.

At this time, dating was still chaperoned. That’s right, an adult or two would go to dances to supervise the kids.

You did not date until your parents decided you were old enough. Dating could lead to Going Steady. Going Steady could lead to Courtship. At this stage, you’ve met her parents and she’s met yours. Then, if both are still agreeable, engagement.

The guy goes to the father. The father sits him down and asks him all of the practical questions, like: “So, how are you going to take care of my daughter?” This was done to weed out the lazy, the violent and those with other problems. No Dad wants his daughter marrying a lazy, physically abusive drunk.

After the couple discusses a house, transportation, finances and children, then, and only then, does everything continue. The father tells his daughter, up to and including the day of the wedding, “If you’re not sure, you can still change your mind. I’ll back you up if you decide to do so.”

Then they sent in the Hippies.

con’t

“Free love!” Sex with anybody.

“Don’t trust anybody over 30!” Dad, mom, priests, nuns, they don’t know anything.

“Smoke dope!” Use illegal drugs. Oh yeah, that’ll just straighten everything out.

I had a Hippie friend who told me, “I don’t need no piece of paper to live with my old lady.” Translation: I found a woman who I will cohabitate with and have sex with. Marriage? Who needs it?

This friend of mine was raised like I was but apparently entered Hippie Boot Camp one day. When he came back, he had regulation long hair, he had the dialect down, smoked the required amount of weed, and just followed the book.

1969 Hollywood gives us Bob & Carol, Ted & Alice, a movie about wife swapping.

1970s A few judges, some lawyers and organized crime decide to bring the filth to our neighborhoods. They put the kind of sexuality they like in our area so we can wallow in the same mud they do. Of course, they have to “legalize” everything first, which makes it “OK.” Not a Christian idea by the way.

Topless Bars.
Adult Bookstores selling images of prostitutes.
Strip Clubs.
Swinger magazines filled with ads from people looking for casual sex.

1973 It’s OK to kill your baby in the womb. I was there in 1972 when women appeared on TV. “Please, please have compassion on those poor young women who are dying in back alley abortions. Please!” We were told it would only be used in case of emergency, like rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. And then they threw this in: “Abortion is the most difficult decision a woman will ever have to make and is between her and her god.” Needless to say, God dropped out of the picture really fast.

1980s No-Fault Divorce! Isn’t it great? It’s nobody’s fault anymore. I remember opening the paper and seeing a lot of ads like this: “No kids? $75 and you’re out. Call 800-DIVORCE.”

Porn on cable. And movies where the guy goes to the bar, tells his buddies he got divorced, but his buddies aren’t sad. Oh no. They tell him he’ll find someone “better.”

Christians protested all of this. But we were called “sexually repressed.” The people behind this said they had the First Amendment right to open a hundred strip clubs and they had the money and lawyers to defend themselves from religious nuts and people who believed in censorship. Censorship was the equivalent of a secular mortal sin.

We did not go from Ozzie & Harriet to Sue Ellen on Dallas drinking liquor and driving overnight. The poison was dripped into our veins slowly over a 40 year period.

It gradually got a little worse and a little worse. Soon, movies went from love and romance to boy meets girl, hop into the sack and declare each other a couple. Only to find out later that one or the other was the biggest jerk on the planet.

In the late 1970s, women became the new victim class. Victims of the eternal enemy - Men. “Sisters! Throw off the chains of your oppression!” Women burned their bras (it turns out, it was men who designed women’s undergarments). They demanded power over “male chauvenist pigs.” However, groups like the National Organization for Women were not solution oriented. The goal was to put men and women into two warring camps. That’s why you would see colleges offering courses in Women’s Studies and Women’s Literature as if there was no actual species relationship between men and women.

The Media caught up with all of this dysfunctionality. Which is why you have shows that are just variations on One Central Theme: The Dysfunctionals. Human beings who divorce, fornicate, commit adultery and do other things with cheerful abandon. After all, isn’t this how people are? God forbid.

Or that sick, twisted doctor show where the young doctor picks up a guy at the bar for anonymous sex. After they’re done, she insists on not getting his name. Who cares about AIDS when you can have ‘just sex’? And that’s what ‘relationships’ have turned into - just sex.

One in five people are walking around with an STD today. This is better? Global 24/7 porn on the internet? The world was made safe for perverts.


Relationships today? I open doors for women, I respect women and I’m not going to change. There are nice people out there. In fact, there are people in their late teens who’ve abandoned the shoot first, ask questions later attitude.

You can go to Church functions and gatherings. If you want to get married, there’s at least one Catholic group out there you can join. Pray for a relationship. God will help.

God bless,
Ed

well put edwest2:thumbsup:

Ok… So, IF I was single, I would be PROACTIVE… I would go to my church, and talk to the priest, and ask to be allowed to coordinate a Single Adults Group. Then you invite the single adults from all the surrounding churches.

You could coordinate events:Bible study nights, Pot Lucks. Movie Nights, Book clubs, Coffee Hour, Why not a Christian Version of Speed dating…just so you could meet lots of people??? Hiking trips, Community Service events… you get the picture.

How to determine if a person is committed to purity: They ACT this way. They don’t suddenly fall in love and throw caution to the wind.

THERE ARE gentlemen out there! They may be in the same position as you… HOW DO THEY FIND YOU???

Not that you shouldn’t value the purity in another, but consider perhaps that some have made mistakes, and might not be a virgin.

Getting lost in a book is fun. But we know it’s not reality. It’s kind of like the beauty magazines… I like the make up tips. But let’s face… every single one of those girls and women are air brushed to perfection… Just try to keep that in mind.

Best…

I like to read fiction...sometimes light entertaining fiction.

Years ago, I would read "historical" romances. They would be "historical" in the sense that they needed to put in some history between the love scenes. So I don't read them anymore.

I recently read, 2 Nicholas Sparks books. They were a good summer read, the couples both married, there is some intimacy, but not perverse in any way.

The titles were, "The Notebook"

And the "Wedding" which is the sequel. The author, I understand is Catholic...the characters are not...but it doesn't matter. I liked both books.

I don’t know. It’s hard to find anyone with traditional values these days. I’m kind of outgoing too which may frighten the traditional guys away. When I do find a guy that seems to have values he’s a commitment phobic or I guess doesn’t like me enough to commit to even just dating me. I tend to be the type of person who goes into a relationship and worries about it later and attracts guys that are scared of being in a relationship…maybe it’s an opposites attract thing? I’ve pretty much given up. I can tell you that joining in more church functions and social groups may help but it’s not guarantee. Same with activity clubs or social groups. Really I think the people with any values sit at home or keep to themselves because the world has been so secular they choose not to mingle in it. It’s only a theory though. I have values and I mingle so clearly there are some people with morality out there it’s just hard to find them. :shrug:

An example of what edwest2 was talking about is the show HUNG on HBO. Basically a glorifcation of male prostitution and fulfilling people’s “personal,” “me first,” bottom-line, common denominator “needs.”

Some may be offended here, but SEX AND THE CITY was in that same wavelength. Particularly Kim Cattrall’s character, Samantha. It is perfectly natural for woman to be just as promiscous as a man, right??? And the rest of the Women were also self-absorbed and “me first.”

Oh, well…:shrug:

Update – I’m now on the 3rd book out of 4 in this series. I understand the 4th is due out soon or out already. I have enjoyed the plot and characters, skipped over the “steamy” scenes. I don’t know if I’ll read any more romance books after this series ever, since they really aren’t one of my usual genres anyhow.

For me, series books have always been fun. In this case, I was originally drawn to the Bride Quartet on account of the setting (the florist shop, photography studio, and wedding cake bakery on a big estate where weddings are held). These appealed to me because I have worked as a florist, recently took cake decorating classes, and dabble in photography. There is predictability about romance much like reading murder mysteries has a certain predictability.

Ms. Nora Roberts writes for an audience that no doubt enjoys or isn’t bothered by books with worldly sexual and materialistic values and occasional profanity. Women who probably also enjoy magazines such as Cosmo or Glamour, with the Helen Gurley Brown “Nice Girls Do” mentality.

Cat made some very good points in her post, about the publishing markets for romantic fiction, Christian vs. secular. I also write, and since I consider myself a “think outside the box” type, maybe someday just for my own satisfaction if it means that much to me, I could try writing my own romantic story/series without the elements I dislike. I could share it online for those interested and not even worry about making money.

With this series, my entire vent was set off because, having already gotten interested in the storyline, I became annoyed at the same ol’ same ol’ endorsement of extramarital sex, which led to my rant :mad:about the difficulty (if not impossibility) of finding a dating scene where the people and their motives are pure. And that could include people who have made mistakes, as long as they acknowledge them and are choosing a better path. I’m not even in any big hurry to date – I simply wish that if I did things were not as sleazy as they seem to be if the portrayals are accurate – and are they really that bad?:confused: That’s a question in itself.

[quote="PatrickSebast, post:2, topic:210931"]
I think the biggest damage society does to marriage is putting the expectation of a spouse providing fulfillment to a persons life rather than being a vocation. So men and women a like go out searching for that perfect someone who will take away their loneliness and help them through their troubles and pain. Yearning for such things is natural, but it is not something a significant other is really meant to, or capable of providing. What these peoples hearts are really yearning for is to be with their Father in heaven, but they don't really recognize it, so they look to the love of others to take God's place, and unlike when people do such things with money or power, society praises the idea of seeking fulfillment from romance. Ironically the exaltation of relationships seems to be destroying them in our country. Here divorce is a common occurrence simple because people aren't happy/fulfilled by their significant other anymore, I bet if more people viewed their marriage as a vocation sent by God the divorce level would be way down since the focus goes away from being fulfilled to fulfilling your calling and loving completely. What more support do we need for this than the fact that arranged marriages, even in countries where divorce is legal, tend to have a 90%+ success rate while almost half of them fail here.

[/quote]

I totally agree with this

[quote="Monica4316, post:16, topic:210931"]
I totally agree with this

[/quote]

I think we have to remember that the consequences, especially to the woman, of a failed marriage/divorce in countries where marriages are arranged is devastating and sometimes deadly.

However, in the U.S., those who have been divorced keep their jobs, friends, and social standing, as well as their place in their church (although in many Protestant denoms, divorced men are not allowed to be pastors).

So there is strong motivation in other countries to keep the marriage intact, even if the marriage is unfulfilling and abusive.

In other words, the social institution of "arranged marriages" is not necessarily what keeps marriages intact. There's more to it.

Well in India it is completely legal to get a divorce, the cultural issues are simply what keep them intact. In Japan about 30% of marriages are arranged and they are still less likely to end in divorce, but again there are family and cultural issues involved. Thing is I wasn’t celebrating arranged marriage in my post anyway, I was saying that the way the marriages are viewed by the partakers is simply more effective. It isn’t that I think it is impossible for “love marriages” to be just as effective, but that the culture around such marriages views them badly.

There aren’t many studies on the issue so I can’t issue to much in the way of empirical data, but in* Importance of Marital Characteristics and Marital Satisfaction: A Comparison of Asian Indians in Arranged Marriages and Americans in Marriages of Choice* a scholarly journal a report was done on arranged marriages in India and US compared to normal US marriages. The standard US marriages were comparable in satisfaction to Indian marriages and arranged US marriages ranked higher than the other two marriages in every category. I can’t post the article here since it is copyrighted and I only have access to it through my university, but if you have access to journal articles it is worth a look. Anyway like I said the point wasn’t to promote arranged marriages but to note the benefits of a different culture and viewpoint and what we might stand to learn from it.

[quote="PatrickSebast, post:18, topic:210931"]
Well in India it is completely legal to get a divorce, the cultural issues are simply what keep them intact. In Japan about 30% of marriages are arranged and they are still less likely to end in divorce, but again there are family and cultural issues involved. Thing is I wasn't celebrating arranged marriage in my post anyway, I was saying that the way the marriages are viewed by the partakers is simply more effective. It isn't that I think it is impossible for "love marriages" to be just as effective, but that the culture around such marriages views them badly.

There aren't many studies on the issue so I can't issue to much in the way of empirical data, but in* Importance of Marital Characteristics and Marital Satisfaction: A Comparison of Asian Indians in Arranged Marriages and Americans in Marriages of Choice* a scholarly journal a report was done on arranged marriages in India and US compared to normal US marriages. The standard US marriages were comparable in satisfaction to Indian marriages and arranged US marriages ranked higher than the other two marriages in every category. I can't post the article here since it is copyrighted and I only have access to it through my university, but if you have access to journal articles it is worth a look. Anyway like I said the point wasn't to promote arranged marriages but to note the benefits of a different culture and viewpoint and what we might stand to learn from it.

[/quote]

Certainly I think we can and should learn from other cultures. But it's very hard to fight our own cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

It's even harder when everything in our society supports easy divorce instead of helping couples to work things out in the early stages of marital problems.

I personally think that romances are not contributing to divorce, unless I'm missing a genre. The romances I have read all follow a formula of a couple working out terrible obstacles, getting married, and living happily ever after. I personally think this is good for women to read! I've always felt that romance novels don't contribute to marital problems, but rather, help women to perceive and desire their husbands as romantic partners rather than just roommates.

A good romantic novel can "wake a woman up" and help her to break out of her rut, stop slogging along and surviving daily life, and instead, start creating an atmosphere in her mind, home, and marriage that encourages romantic and sexual encounters between her and her husband. It's sure a lot cheaper and easier than marriage counselling and worth a try in a marriage where a woman feels like life in the bedroom has become nothing but sleep!

That’s true of me. But sometimes I feel like I’m being too much of a fraidy cat.:frowning:

edwest2, pretty accurate assessment of “how we got here” – but what can we DO to change it? Is change possible?:shrug:

I remember at one point when I was more actively “seeking a potential husband” I thought about arranged marriages and wondered if that’d be easier in a way. What I think now is, wonder if as a middle ground there could be family/community/parish/etc. based matchmaking services. Internet ones I’m leery of except I might try Ave Maria Singles someday.

It was always hard for me to meet people growing up because I was the only child of parents who didn’t socialize much. So besides missing opportunities to meet people through older siblings maybe, or children of parents’ friends, I also missed out on social skills. And I was naive and unprepared to cope with the sexual expectations.:eek:

I actually believed for a long time that there were lots more people like me who wanted to stay pure – and this was in the 70s and 80s and to the present day – I **still **have trouble believing I’m in such a tiny minority..:bighanky:

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