AS long as she’s fond of taxidermy, and religious art.
You write men off for something they can’t possibly control (their parents marriage)?
Wow, how charitable of you.
My thoughts as well. Although it is important to consider a potential spouse’s family. I could never marry into a family where my kids are never going to be good enough because they are children of a son.
Thanks, PM ans Xan!
Not sure what God has in store for me. It is possible that Our Lady has placed her full divine prerogative on me as far as my station in life goes. Time will tell.
I meant that when you are still totally besotted with someone you want to marry, you will be willing to make heroic sacrifices. You will desire to go out of your way, if it pleases him or her. When that willingness is as concrete as being willing to become contented in a place you would never in a million years choose to suit your own tastes, that is a good sign. It is a good sign when you do not want to keep score, but want to give without looking for an equal return. That does not mean that you can’t have a happy marriage if you would rather endure the afflictions of Job than to be surrounded by ugly paint!
I had an uncle who said, “The way our marriage works is that she makes all the minor decisions, and I decide all the major stuff. We’re lucky, though, because so far nothing major has come up!” He was joking, but the truth is that he didn’t throw any weight around on how to arrange their home. He married someone with financial judgement he thought was responsible and taste that he thought was tolerable (or perhaps even better than his), and then let her have her way on pretty much everything. She, for her part, did care about what he liked, and didn’t run wild indulging herself but tried to arrange things to please him. That works out rather well.
In a careless moment, I once told my future husband, “I wouldn’t mind being poor and having a dozen children with you!”
I wouldn’t say the same thing now (because I have a much better picture of what that might mean than I used to and what our personal limitations are), but the sentiment was noble, if ill-informed and ill-advised.
When you’re picking someone, you should be prudent about the promises you make, but you should count it as a good sign that you want to give him the moon and put it on your tab. That natural desire to please put less work on the supernatural grace–I mean the grace to sacrifice when only fidelity argues for it, because the natural inclination is so weak. Only less, though. Marriage requires some supernatural grace, some biting your tongue when you deserved to lay into them, some doing work that they ought to have done by rights. Mercy and forgiveness are required, but true natural affection and a shared sense of humor are Mercy’s natural handmaids!
We essentially bypassed one important thing. Divine Providence. Although I’m only speaking from an outsider’s perspective, it seems that surely God’s Providence is at work when two people feel called to marry. I was always of the belief that God calls us to marry someone specifically, but maybe that question digresses too much from the original topic. There is, indeed, something not quite rational about two people coming together in marriage. God’s Providence is a mysterious business.
I have no doubt that God might design people to fit better together than others, but the church does not teach “soulmates”. It is a dangerous path to be out looking for the “ONE” that God calls you to marry… because you can always 2nd guess it…waiting for something better. Marriage must be a free choice without reservation.
People can try rationalize divorce – “oops, I must have picked wrong, this isn’t the person God called me to”.
There is a blog out there that recently wrote about this: something like “the person I married became “the one””
We must not leave out that God can also be used to keep a spouse from seeking help and getting away from an abusive marriage.
The thing is, there are some people that are so easy to be around that literally hundreds of millions of people could be happy marrying them, while there are others that literally nobody will be happy married to. And somewhere in the middle, for the average person, there will be quite a number of people one could be happy being married to. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a widow or a widower to have TWO happy marriages.
It isn’t one per customer.
OK, that makes sense. But there is room for prayerful discernment, though, obviously. Right?
It is the supernatural extension of an entirely natural impulse. You can read the love poetry of the pagans, and it is full of promises of exclusive fidelity and a willingness to give all for the sake of the beloved. The supernatural part comes in making up the difference between the impulse implanted in the heart and the reality of actually doing it from our fallen state.
As I used to like to say: We are nothing without God, but what of it? We were never made to be without God in the first place.
We must not fall into the secular myth that there is some life outside of God that we might choose as a route to realizing our full human potential. That is a pipe dream, an expression of stupid pride. Marriage is a state in life geared entirely to forming us according to the likeness of God we were created to be. It was God’s plan from the very beginning to make us in a complimentary way that would be a living image of the Body of Christ, of Christ and His Beloved Church. This wasn’t “improvised” after the fact, but foreseen as part of God’s glorious, powerful and all-encompassing redemption from our fall. (God does have the advantage, after all, that all times are as the present to Him. There is no time hidden from God’s knowledge.)
I don’t remember who first said it, but “It is Heaven all the way to Heaven and Hell all the way to Hell.” Those who give their lives in obedience to love are inherently more capable of marriage and more disposed to receiving all the goods of marriage fruitfully and joyfully than those who will not put aside their pride or self-centeredness even for the one person who has captured their imagination and affection as no one else has or ever will. So yes, some are “primed” to be a good spouse, and some are so immature, mentally ill, or enslaved to self-will that they are incapable of a valid attempt. Yes, some are incapable by no fault of their own, but their lack of fault does not make marriage a realistic possibility for them. It takes two to make a valid marriage, let alone a very good one.
Learn to recognize the capacities necessary for a valid marriage. Those are non-negotiable. Let no romantic notion of “love conquers all” induce you to drag yourself and the person you say you love through an invalid attempt at marriage, as if it were “uncharitable” to refuse to marry them. Admit no objections to this rule, and no exceptions!! Just Don’t Do It!
I think this is the reason that many arranged marriages are quite happy, because they involve such people who are “so easy to be around” that hundreds of millions of people would find them to be good spouses. I don’t believe in the “one per customer” concept either, and think that the idea of a “soul mate” or “God chose this person to be my spouse” often results in people entering very unhealthy, or even abusive relationships. Indeed, the “God chose my spouse” idea seems to be used by some as a reason they feel obligated to stay in an abusive marriage, that it is God’s will that they be abused.
Although I’ll also note that I do NOT subscribe to the “grass is greener” mentality some conservative posters here have about arranged marriages as opposed to love marriages. Indeed, I’ve been a little surprised that no one has made any comments yet about how romantic love doesn’t actually exist, is merely lust and/or infatuation that will always fade, and should be completely irrelevant in choosing a marriage partner.
I actually know a number of people who had arranged marriages, and believe me, they’re not all sunshine and roses, either. I recall one comment by someone who stated they worked with many people of Indian descent who had arranged marriages and “they seem to be the happiest marriages I’ve seen”. Well, of course they seem that way on the surface. Most people who hail from such cultures would never dream of airing their dirty laundry in public. But I’ve seen a woman crying bitterly because of an arranged marriage, even though the husband actually was a college acquaintance, not a total stranger, and I’ve known women who have escaped such marriages.
Also, I think it’s also telling that most cultures that have traditions of arranged marriage also have traditions of polygamy (Islamic countries, South Asia), concubinage (China, Japan, Korea, and I’m sure other East Asian countries), and/or just winking at affairs (European countries, at least when it came to the nobility). Yes, such marriages are less likely to end in divorce, but IMHO I’d rather be divorced than be a martyr in a marriage with a philandering and/or abusive spouse.
I think another problem with the idea of God as celestial matchmaker, is that some people have an idea that a good spouse is a reward from God for being a good Christian, and assume that this supposedly God-ordained marriage with one’s soul-mate, does not actually require any work to maintain as a healthy relationship. So of course, we’ll live happily ever after, even if I stay out with the guys/gals until 3AM every weekend, or if I still pay more attention to my mother’s opinions than my spouse, etc.
Hence some of the horror stories about people who are sweet, romantic, and caring before marriage, but selfish, uncaring, and sometimes even abusive post marriage. Now, some of those stories are due to actual abusive, narcissistic people who are deliberately putting on a show to hook their victims into marriage. But I think sometimes, people aren’t being deliberately malicious or abusive, they just start taking their spouses for granted. Or, if people have an overly idealistic view of either the spouse or the institution of marriage itself, they may become quickly disillusioned once the “honeymoon phase” is over. They may conclude that the spouse isn’t really the “soulmate” God had in mind for them.
But in the successful arranged marriages, I think the spouses realize that work needs to be done to develop and maintain the marriage, because they don’t go in with unrealistic blinders about the other person. In the less successful ones, however, people can still get very upset at their spouses for being a “bad wife” or “bad husband”, if they see the spouse as not measuring up to their version of the ideal spouse.
I think that my list at 20 was very different than what it would be now. A couple remain the same - commitment to marriage in every way, the desire to have children and similar parenting ideals, and similar life goals. Our focus was FAMILY and not primarily professional or monetary. Sorry, those do not sustain a strong marriage. I was blessed to marry a man who shares and supports my faith, that was not at the top of my list and I now realize that not having that would have created so many problems.
I have grown children now and it is frustrating to see what this generation considers to be important. Fortunately, my son married a woman who is a very good long-term match.