Is the only requirement for a calling to marriage to "burn"?


#1

Salvete, omnes.

In one of his epistles, the Apostle Paul says that it is better to marry than to burn.

So, then, is “burning” (having an intense, unquenchable sexual desire for a person) the only or at least the key requirement for marriage? If this doesn’t exist, then is the Christian naturally called to celibacy?

Let us say that one has a romantic attraction to another and wishes to spend his/her life with them, because he/she loves the other deeply. Yet, the sexual desire might not be extremely intensely passionate toward them, even though the romantic aspect of passion is, as well as the caring for the other person and the desire to spend life with them. Could the person feeling these things still be called to marriage with that person, especially if the other person has feelings for him/her? Is a lustful, intense sexual passion a requirement before one is to be said to be called to marriage with that person or is it OK to have something less than this?

What about those with lower sex drives who may even so be attracted to another person in other ways and wish to live their lives with them and to raise a family? Might they still be called to marriage?

Is Paul’s statement that it is better to marry than to burn applicable to every Christian? Is a burning desire for the other person sexually a requirment for being called to marriage? what if a person, only after marriage, is truly “awakened” to such desire as is apparently sometimes the case?

Gratias.


#2

So, then, is “burning” (having an intense, unquenchable sexual desire for a person) the only or at least the key requirement for marriage? If this doesn’t exist, then is the Christian naturally called to celibacy?

NO. You definitely don’t need to have an overwhelming burning barely contained sexual desire in order to get married. If that was your ONLY reason for getting married, most people would tell you not to because you would be doing your spouse a great disservice and are not ready for marriage.

Being sexually attracted to a spouse is one of the indicators that it will be a good match. If sexual attraction is completely lacking, that is also a problem.

Let us say that one has a romantic attraction to another and wishes to spend his/her life with them, because he/she loves the other deeply. Yet, the sexual desire might not be extremely intensely passionate toward them, even though the romantic aspect of passion is, as well as the caring for the other person and the desire to spend life with them. Could the person feeling these things still be called to marriage with that person, especially if the other person has feelings for him/her?

Yes, this sounds like a good basis for marriage. Being “called” to marriage means that you have met a person, who you want to spend the rest of your life with and who you have discerned is a good fit for you and of good character. There is no rocket science-level mathematical equations to determine if you have a calling :slight_smile:

Is a lustful, intense sexual passion a requirement before one is to be said to be called to marriage with that person or is it OK to have something less than this?

Lust is objectively mortally sinful and so a marriage based on lust is quite possibly doomed and never ever a good idea. However you may be misusing the word lust. Lust = seeing the other person as an object you can use to satiate your sexual desires. It is NOT sexual attraction / passion.

What about those with lower sex drives who may even so be attracted to another person in other ways and wish to live their lives with them and to raise a family? Might they still be called to marriage?

Yes of course.


#3

Thanks for the reply. I am still curious about future replies as well, of course! :slight_smile:

I guess what I would say is that the person is not at all opposed to sexual relations with the other person; they are just not “driven” in an extreme (“burning”) way toward them. The sex drive may, as I said, be even a bit low generally (not necessarily in relation to the particular person). However, the person would surely not have any problem with having sexual relations with the other person and may even quite like it once it happens (after marriage). Still, all other romantic feelings are surely there including the desire for other physical interactions. There is indeed no abhorrence, just no strong drive to engage in the sexual act with the person.

Also, there is no desire to enter religious life or to be celibate for spiritual reasons, yet, again, there is also no strong, driving desire for sexual intercourse even with the person to whom the person is otherwise romantically attracted.

The other peson is attractive in many other ways, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical and, again, there is certainly no repulsion to intercourse. Still, there is no real strong drive toward sexual intercourse.

And, let us say that this person has been this way generally with people. They have been attracted to others of the opposite sex, but just not in a strong sexual way.


#4

Also, if “burning” is not a requirement, why does Paul say that it is better to marry than to burn?


#5

My thoughts on what St.Paul was saying here, not knowing if the culture was promiscuous or not but assuming it was. Basically St.Paul gave them a burn, look if you can`t control yourselves get married rather than sin.
Holding himself up as a example, not in a look at ME kind of way,St.Paul gave show of what a mind with a single purpose could accomplish for the Kingdom


#6

Set up logically,

B ------> M (if “burn” then marriage)

it does not follow that

~ B -------> ~ M (no burn then no marriage)

That is the denial of the antecedent, an error.

In Pauline terms, if both are feeling the burn, then get married, but that is not the only sign to that vocation. Very few are called to celibacy.

ICXC NIKA


#7

:thumbsup:

Very logical! :slight_smile:

Also, to the OP: remember that in the Catholic faith, Matrimony is a Sacrament. That means that it is a vocation, every bit as serious as the priesthood or consecrated virginity. Though Our Lord and Saint Paul clearly consider the latter states of higher value - something that the Church Fathers have written about extensively (St. Jerome, Ambrose and Gregory of Nyssa come to mind right off the bat), this does not mean that Holy Matrimony is “wrong”. If one is unable to dedicate oneself to such a higher state (“to burn”), then it is best to marry.


#8

In that passage (1 Corinthians 7, the whole chapter), Paul says a lot of things about marriage. Also he often makes a distinction between what he says (that is, his opinions) and what the Lord says.

In verse 8, we read “Now to the unmarried and to widows I say…”, which suggests it is his opinion.

Compare that to verse 10, which begins differently, “To the married, however, I give this instruction (not I, but the Lord),” which identifies it as a God-given law or commandment.

In verse 7, Paul recognizes that each person should follow his/her own calling: “Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am, but each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.” One possible answer to the question of your thread title is that the only requirement for a calling is to be called by God.

Verse 16 suggests what may be the highest purpose of marriage: “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband; or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” In other words, through marriage, the husband and wife can cooperate in God’s salvation plan. Through marriage my wife may save me, and I may save my wife. This happens not by our own power, of course, but God’s. “There are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” (1 Corinthians 12:6)


#9

Clearly the epistle is about remaining unmarried if possible. All sexual desire is unquenchable, but some are able to resist the temptation where others fail often. Consider that even married, the spouse may not grant the gift of conjugal relations, and living in close proximity may make it more difficult to control. Nowadays people act with authority over their own bodies, rather than being submissive.

1 Cor 7
4 A wife does not have authority over her own body, but rather her husband, and similarly a husband does not have authority over his own body, but rather his wife.

7 Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am, but each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
8 Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do,

25 Now in regard to virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.
26 So this is what I think best because of the present distress: that it is a good thing for a person to remain as he is.


#10

I have always understood that passage to mean that better to marry than burn in hell for sexual sins… ie sex outside marriage.


#11

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