Marriage without attraction?

As for love being an act of will or an emotion, I want a separate post for this. Love is in an act of will, but I oppose the discounting of feelings. Feelings are not something to be disregarded as a human weakness or something to be ashamed of. I do not agree that Our Lord didn’t have or follow feelings, as much as He never did anything against His reason. He has a heart.

I believe there is more to love than just choosing to act in some way. Love is not in a series of acts. It involves an attitude. It is very hard to separate that attitude from feelings.

As for marriage without attraction, I would think marital relations would be a sad thing in it, rather than a joyful one they should be. Marriage may be a cross to bear, but it is not designed to make us unhappy, to make us act against our nature, to compel ourselves to some half-hearted acts.

I am currently in a marriage without attraction. It didn’t start out that way but over the last few years (been married 21 y) things have happened, things have been revealed, and things have been said that have completely eliminated any physical/emotional attraction I had for my husband.

That being said, I do love my husband. After 21 years and 4 kids it would be hard not to care for him as another human being. I may never desire him again but that doesn’t negate the fact that we have a shared past and a shared responsibility to our family. My love is tinged with a bit of saddness for what could have been but also an acceptance of God’s will.

I would not have chosen this type of marriage. Unfortunately we have no common interests because our initial attraction was that immature impulse we often call love. I would recommend that rather than looking for the “spark” that you look for common interests with someone who’s company you enjoy. That basis can lead to the development of true love over time but without a real regard for each other you have no foundation.

I am grateful for my kids and for the chance to be home with them. I am thankful for the life of plenty I enjoy. I sometimes wish for a close relationship with my husband but trust God to give that to me if it is His will. God has given me numerous other people who meet my need for companionship and, believe it or not, it is possible to live without a physical relationship. God has kept me from temptation and I have been utterly faithful to my husband.

I pray that you will have a blessed life whether it is married or single. If you look to God your desire for a mate will not be such a distraction.

+JMJ+

Just my take on dating and relating.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’m basically in a similar situation.

I believe it is wrong to fall in Love before tying the Knot. You should Love your spouse as a brother or sister but madly in Love is a big no-no. Why because anyone who has fallen in Love knows it is terribly blind. The marriage is being built on a mirage. When blind love fades we are hit with reality and marriages fail. When we enter marriage we are making a covenant with God and our spouse to be there till the end. Don’t you want to know if the person on the other side of the table is even know what that really means?

Seriously consider courting as apposed to dating. Don’t look for the “click”. Look to see if that person sitting opposite of you is devoted to God as number one and is willing to show you that devotion. They have to earn it not by you showing they are a great catch but by the fruits of there labors. If they are showing themselves to be this great man or woman but fails to go church or feed the poor… or any number of good works, you have to ask yourself is “are they really putting God first or themselves”.

Really take the time to get to know someone before even considering courting. You are giving them everything most importantly your heart. Shouldn’t you know who you are giving your heart to is committed to cherishing that Love forever?

Your first night together is when Love should start freely flowing. The first act of “Making Love” is truly making Love between two people who with all there minds, bodies, and souls are committed to an everlasting relationship (True Love).

Why do we toy with this powerful thing called Love by giving our hearts away before anyone has made any commitment to honor it?

Side note: Someone really needs to add more words to the English language for the definition of Love. Because there are all kinds. Mad (crazy, blind) Love = chemical Love; True Love = is always being there for the other person (why do you think it dissolves when we die).

When we are single we should centering our lives on God. God knows when we are ready he will then send the right person to come along.

Just some thoughts,

God’s humble servant,
John A. H.

Just an added thought:
Something I heard the other day but have not been able to verify it is “The Catholic church does not vow us to Love our spouse”

While I respect your opinion John -brother/sister love will not cut when difficulties come. Life can be tough, the fact that my hubby and I were “madly in love” when we married is a big part of the reason we’ve made it through those tough times. That “fire” is what kept us trying, kept our marriage “alive”. I’ve been married 17 years and though there were difficulties over the years I’m still madly in love with my husband, even more so.

That’s great! Yes, God gave us that Mad Love for a reason.

But what I’m trying to say is we should treat that mad love as we treat sex; wait until you are married to give it all. When and if mad Love wares (sp) off you will still have the brotherly/sisterly (Christian) love to get it back. If we were perfect we could always have the great mad love for each other, that doesn’t see our weaknesses or our faults. But none of us is perfect we are prone to sin. We can all hate each other from time to time; Christian love is always looking beyond all that. Mad Love is great it enables us to so much more than we can possibly imagine but it is not exactly permanent.

As good Christians we should all have that Christian Love for everyone as a biginning.

God’s humble servant
John A.H.

I agree with that. My parents were “madly in love” when they married and that’s what’s carried them through the years. 20 + years and three kids later, they’re still going strong.

Also, the advice of completely ignoring emotions when making decisions nearly destroyed me over the years. No, you shouldn’t let them completely govern your life, but your head and heart should rule together when making decisions. I spent my life trying to go by my head and not my heart, forgetting that my heart is what lead me to the Faith to begin with. Yes, I studied it and knew intellectually that it was true, but it was falling head over heels in love with Jesus that got me to enter His Church, more so than any book I’ve ever read pertaining to the Faith.

When I marry, I want someone who’s close to God and a good man. I also want someone I’m head over heels with. You can be wildly in love with someone without falling into mortal sin. Honestly, what’s wrong with passion, when used properly? Why else is the Song of Songs in the Bible? No, it won’t always be there, but that’s what gets you to commit your life to someone and those are the moments you remember in the long run.

My favorite band of all time is U2. Whenever I’m tempted to be numb, I listen to their song “A Man and a Woman”, particularly this verse:

“But you can’t be numb for love,
The only pain is to feel nothing at all!
How can I hurt when I’m holding you?”

Honestly, even the great saints, celibate or not, experienced passion in some way. That’s why we have the Ecstasy of St. Teresa! Or the Song of Songs! It has its place! That’s why God gave it to us!

I don’t understand why you would want to marry someone you aren’t attracted to.

Kathy

Perhaps emphasis on things more important than attraction? However, I want to marry someone I’m attracted to. I’m hoping for something strong and of the kind I haven’t known yet. I’ve seen much in this regard, but nothing which would have been full and complete. Many (well, maybe not that many, but you get the point) girls and women have been close, but none right there. I imagine the one I’ll marry as being right there. I can’t even begin to fathom what it will look like, but this shouldn’t really concern me. I’ll know when it happens, but if doesn’t happen, well, maybe God will have had different plans for me. However, I wouldn’t like to marry without attraction. I could marry an old friend, for sure, but not someone for whom I didn’t particularly care at the moment, or someone to whom I wouldn’t be physically attracted at all (I don’t mean just the attraction caused by the body, but rather attraction… you know, of “that” kind). However, I understand people sometimes have different priorities… don’t know, looking for a mother for orphaned children? If they can make it work and it makes them happy, it’s not my place to comment on it really.

4 months is not a very long time after a break-up

my suggestion sounds facetious but is in fact serious, read Jane Austen’s novels, or see the adaptations on Masterpiece on PBS, but the books do a better job of conveying various attitudes on marriage, including the Charlotte Lucas method of marrying any decent guy that offers a safe home.

I was thinking the same thing! You can get Pride and Prejudice from Netflix and you can download the book in audio for free online.

Of course you need attraction; I never said you didn’t or that Mad Love was wrong. People (in general) are so picky nowadays they rarely see what is right in front of them.

I’m with the original poster, we are too picky, women say there are too few good men out there and I say you are not happy with the ones that are there. Once we close our minds because they are not perfect we fail to see them anymore. Please stand if you are a great catch or for that matter perfect.

Again, a good man/woman should be judged by their fruits, not your ideal of what your dream man or woman is. Let that go and your eyes will be opened. You should be falling in Love with their soul, not their bodies or mind. I guarantee those (body and mind) will change but a good man’s or woman’s soul will only get better if they are centered on GOD!

You are not choosing a spouse for yourself; you are doing it on behalf of your children and the community.

Marriage is all about community. It is about raising children for the community, to work as husband and wife in the community, and to be God’s personification of Love in the community. Total commitment no matter what happens.

Give good men the chance and you will see them step-up to the plate when it comes to confidence and leading. Why because once a good man commits himself to a woman he has just sacrificed all for the sake of Love. Thus he will complete what the Lord has spoken “the least will be the greatest”, for to sacrifice everything for a woman, a man must first become the least.

Good men are on their knees, woman have to except there offering. It is all about where he is doing it.

God’s humble servant,
John A.H.

P.S. Beware of confident men, I known too many who are able to “click” with any woman for the sake of his “fun”. Become his friend first and you will see the fruits of his labors.

John, “mad” has negative connotations, so “mad love” is able to suggest some kind of unhealthy obsession and that would be wrong. If not as a moral fault, it would still be disordered. By this I don’t mean to say that too much is too much. I just want to say that an unhealthy obsession which skews our perception of reality is different from the love which “bears all” and “conquers all”.

I’m not sure I can agree with you. Marriage is a social thing and it does touch upon the community, but marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. It’s a community of all life, aimed towards each other’s salvation in the ultimate sense and also procurement and bringing up of the offspring. If you read Can. 1055 §1, it says:

The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring, has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament between the baptized.

Then Can. 1056 states:

Can. 1056 The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility, which in Christian marriage obtain a special firmness by reason of the sacrament.

And lastly Can. 1057 §2:

§2. Matrimonial consent is an act of the will by which a man and a woman mutually give and accept each other through an irrevocable covenant in order to establish marriage.

The summary of all above is that marriage is a covenant of a man and a woman which is geared towards their good and bringing up the offspring, and which is concluded by their consent in which they give themselves totally to each other. This definition doesn’t contain in-laws or the local society. In this light, I cannot agree with what you say without making some reservations.

My whole point about being apart of the community is this,

As individuals we are apart of the community, as a married couples we are still part of the community. We are symbolic of that God’s Love for us His church, His community. The community will see us as what? Individuals off in there own selfish world (I hope not) but sorry it’s our marriage. They will see us as man and wife building the community. We will always be apart of the community. A marriage is the domestic church.

So when a marriage suffers and community sees it, they do nothing? As Jesus said if one part of the body suffers so to does the rest.

So if I’m apart of a community and my wife is not, then I will be bringing her into this (my, local) community.

Mad Love, Crazy Love, Chemical Love, emotional Love; it is all the same thing. But what holds marriages together is God’s Love, Christian Love.

To get married for myself sounds a little selfish to me.

Let’s put it another way, does a priest become priest because he thinks it is a sure way of getting into Heaven (selfish view) or is so he can serve the community and the Lord. What makes marriage any different? Are we getting married to live in our own little world or are we committed to contributed to growing the community and serving the Lord.

For those that think that priest’s job is so much more difficult than a married couple’s you have to dig a little deeper. In truth there is little difference in how much we should sacrifice. He sacrificed everything for us. How could we not do the same in return; no matter what our vocation.

Yes my wife will always come second (after God), then children and then the community. But the community will always have it’s place.

God’s Humble Servant,
John A.H.

You are suffering indescribable pain. I know, I had this very pain. I almost lost my life to the despair. I had a plan too. I called my ex after 4 years and his new wife answered the phone. It was a Sunday morning and I was expecting to leave a message (he was supposedly Catholic). I cannot begin to explain how I felt. My heart ruptured. I was in tears and sobbing as I entered the church. My spiritual father saw me and I told him what had happened. The reaction was “Oh, I thought it was something serious.” They didn’t say this, but this was the expression. They did not understand. I was torn inside. My “Bicky” (pet name) had married someone else.

We had had sex too. After I lost my virginity I just acted like that was no longer off the table.

She’s not Christian. She cannot know the depth of true love and therefore cannot return yours (if in fact you really felt that for her). The point of chastity is to help with that discernment. It’s possible, but for someone like you, would probably mean a short engagement.

I’m dating a man I love very dearly now. A Catholic, like me (Orthodox). I’ve never felt so valued as a human being. No longer do I feel like a blow up doll. Now I feel precious. I’m going through a bit of heartache as he decides if he should become a priest. I picture myself like Abraham, putting the lives of all my children on the rock to never be born if God wants my husband. It’s wrenching and I cry regularly about it. :crying:

Mary gave up her family to God, so am I. Perhaps I will not marry and have the children I crave. I’m crying just thinking about it.

We’re both suffering right now and I wish I could take you for a coffee and give you a huge hug. :coffeeread: The only thing is that caffeine would make my mammogram of Friday hurt like the dickens and you’re several time-zones away. Suffice to say, I’m there for you, as are all those on the forum and in your church.

I pray that we both will find the beautiful, sacramental relationship we desire. God Bless!:console:

Correct.

So when a marriage suffers and community sees it, they do nothing? As Jesus said if one part of the body suffers so to does the rest.

Correct.

So if I’m apart of a community and my wife is not, then I will be bringing her into this (my, local) community.

Correct.

Mad Love, Crazy Love, Chemical Love, emotional Love; it is all the same thing. But what holds marriages together is God’s Love, Christian Love.

Almost correct - emotions are not your enemy. A merely emotional sentimental attachment would be unhealthy, sure, but let’s disparage emotions here. They are there for a reason, even if they might be misguided, in some cases very easily.

To get married for myself sounds a little selfish to me.

What culture are you from? In some cultures where arranged marriages have been the norm until recently or even now, the notion might be strong and people may see marriage as a social thing and a union of families before the union of persons. In those communities, it would be easy to conceive the idea that choosing a wife or husband on one’s own is selfish. However, I do not agree with that view.

Certainly, marrying for the sake of sex with the person we’re marrying would be for the wrong reasons, even sinful as per what St Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa. However, choosing a companion for ourselves rather than someone whom family or neighbours would like more, that’s not selfish or sinful in my view.

Of course, I will agree with you that perhaps bringing into our community someone whom we find attractive but whose behaviour is destructive, which know and accept as such, that could in some way wrong the community. However, a man leaves his mother and father and joins together with his wife so that they are one body and this should be the primary focus, rather than finding a wife that will please the family and neighbours, I believe.

Let’s put it another way, does a priest become priest because he thinks it is a sure way of getting into Heaven (selfish view) or is so he can serve the community and the Lord. What makes marriage any different? Are we getting married to live in our own little world or are we committed to contributed to growing the community and serving the Lord.

The priest works for the salvation of all. Spouses have the primary focus on the salvation of each other. This duty is foremost, duties towards the community come later. A priest doesn’t have such a focus - he primarily cares for his own parish or whatever assignment he has, but within that there are no hand-picked persons.

For those that think that priest’s job is so much more difficult than a married couple’s you have to dig a little deeper. In truth there is little difference in how much we should sacrifice. He sacrificed everything for us. How could we not do the same in return; no matter what our vocation.

The priest has his relationship with the Church. The spouses with each other, not the Church as a whole in the same manner as the priest. The difference is substantial.

Yes my wife will always come second (after God), then children and then the community. But the community will always have it’s place.

The same with me, but I still find your statements somewhat difficult to agree with. You’ve made me notice that perhaps obligations towards the community should be more of a factor in choosing a spouse, but all in all, I believe the choice to be between the two people as their right.

Again all those emotional types of Love have there place. My opinion is after they get married or at least engaged.

My comment about priests is not about who they are devoted to but the amount of sacrifice they make. We should all be willing to give 100% whether it is to the church or our spouse.

I’m Hispanic and yes my community indirectly influences who I will marry (if the Lord wants that for me).

I’m deeply devoted to my community and being so devoted I would love nothing better than a wife who would also be devoted to serving the community.

My needs are very little but my one desire is to live a life totally to the service to His people. I don’t think I’m called to Priesthood but strongly called to the Deaconate. So yes I desire to have a very strong devoted marriage committed not just to each other but to the community. Yes, I know it is a tough road but that is what God made me to be so there is someone out there with the same exact feelings and devotion. She could be ugly, she could not very knowledgeable (from the original line of the OP) but if her heart is centered on God and willing to work hard then she belongs at my side. I trust in God for the rest.

In my opinion we should all want (or at least try) to give 100% of ourselves to what ever vocation God chooses for us. But we are too hung up on what is right for ourselves and not what the community needs.

Yes we need very strong marriages and many more priests but if the family is the domestic church then that is where we must restart it.

God’s humble servant
John A.H.

This is the BIG question. The fact is, when we get in bed, we’re married in a certain respect. Without an actual marriage, somebody’s going to get really hurt. Well put!

John, you cannot pretend you aren’t attracted or you don’t care for the girl until you are engaged. The love needs to be becoming of the state in which the people are - married, engaged, before engagement. Certain feelings will always be disordered - possessive, destructive urges always are. Being impressed, delighted, sharing an emotional connection - those I believe are not limited to when already married. Please consider also that engagement is a promise of marriage and a sign of some serious commitment, but it’s not a sacramental state of its own.

My comment about priests is not about who they are devoted to but the amount of sacrifice they make. We should all be willing to give 100% whether it is to the church or our spouse.

You said there was no or little difference. I pointed out an essential difference. If we were to consider only the aspect which is similar and from that point claim there are only similarities and no differences, then our comparison would be flawed.

I’m Hispanic and yes my community indirectly influences who I will marry (if the Lord wants that for me).

I mean no disrespect, but the level of influence of the community in other cultures is different. To you, the customs in my community could look selfish. To me, the level of influence of the community in choosing a spouse in your community, could look somewhat frightening. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I am selfish or that you’re authoritarian. People who follow different customs aren’t necessarily flawed because of that.

I’m deeply devoted to my community and being so devoted I would love nothing better than a wife who would also be devoted to serving the community.

I can say the same. However, when picking a wife, I would be picking a wife for me as a person, not the wife of one of the local lawyers. She would be marrying me, not the carrier of my social duties.

My needs are very little but my one desire is to live a life totally to the service to His people. I don’t think I’m called to Priesthood but strongly called to the Deaconate. So yes I desire to have a very strong devoted marriage committed not just to each other but to the community. Yes, I know it is a tough road but that is what God made me to be so there is someone out there with the same exact feelings and devotion. She could be ugly, she could not very knowledgeable (from the original line of the OP) but if her heart is centered on God and willing to work hard then she belongs at my side. I trust in God for the rest.

In my opinion we should all want (or at least try) to give 100% of ourselves to what ever vocation God chooses for us. But we are too hung up on what is right for ourselves and not what the community needs.

I understand. And certainly marriage is not about what we want. A vocation is always about what God wants. I understand your point of view and I too believe the community is extremely important. I thank you for the reminder how important the community is, but I insist that people who look at personal compatibility are not necessarily being selfish. I think ideally the man and the woman while aiming for the salvation of each other, should also bring out the best in each other also for the community, so yes, in that light, it’s good for us to marry someone whose vocation works well with ours. However, it would be difficult for me to swallow the idea that the community is more important than we are in our choosing a spouse.

As an example. Say we love a foreigner. But our community doesn’t like foreigners and will not accept our future spouse or our children. Or the social “caste” is “wrong” because it is believed we shouldn’t marry someone from a lower or higher caste. I believe in such cases the future spouse is more important than the community’s preferences.

Yes we need very strong marriages and many more priests but if the family is the domestic church then that is where we must restart it.

Of course. We owe to our children the best Christian upbringing we can give them. I believe this does influence our choice of spouse. However, since marriage comes first and then come children, I believe we are choosing our wife first, the mother of our children second.

Basic idea I’m running with

Friends phase (doesn’t matter how long other than you know each other and have worked with each other).

Courtship (formally asking to see if it is God plan to be married, at this point both should be mature enough to know exactly what the means) Basically called to the same ministries, passions, and desires. (Should not fall in Love in this phase). It is where you must be clear headed as much as possible.

Engagement YES we are meant to be together and we can start falling in Love (however I believe it is not necessary)
Marriage (the commitment is there Mind body and soul are one, you can fully give to one another everything. Its time for emotional Love).

This is the kicker - The more devoted you are to God the more those compatibilities don’t matter. He likes steak she like vegetables but it does not matter because one will sacrifice for the other or make a compromise (no questions asked because they have been practicing for that since there acceptance of the Lord).

I like to say if my wife could convince me that it is the churches teaching I will be all for it and she in turn would do the same. We are going to change throughout our lives but we should not be changing for each other but for God and the church.

God is always first. Trust in him and Love and all your fears about compatibility will go away. You both put him first and you can match up with any catholic who ready and I will guarantee it will last till the end.

I always get a kick out of people who say I know who I want as a spouse. They all say the same things. For men strong, confident, and a leader. For women it Beautiful, caring, and Loving.

The major problem with this is we as Catholics have fallen for the romantic side of marriage. We have to remember it is a vocation first; a job that requires lots of work and not walks on the beach at sunset.

We are all at different levels of faith and devotion and it is really rare we will marry for the vocation but that is exactly what we are supposed to be doing. Like I said in the first post the church does not require us to Love our spouse (in the romantic Love we associate with the word Love). We are required to Love them with the Christianly Love but permanently. Permanently is the BIG thing in marriage. That is what shows God’s Love. He said when he left that he will ALWAYS BE WITH US.

In the old old old days, when a woman was given to marriage it was her duty to her God and to her husband to make it work and bare fruit. It is exactly the same for the man in that he gives himself to marriage so it is his responsible for leading it and providing for it.

Why have babies? Is it for your enjoyment/love or is it for Gods? Which one is first?

Truly ask yourself why you are getting married, is it for yourself or is it for GOD.

The vocation comes first for me because that is what God and his church says it should be. Romantic Love will happen naturally if we both believe.

Women say the men are not confident enough it is probably because you are not letting us lead.

You know what I find romantic, it is when a woman allows me to lead her to a abortion clinic and then we kneel there side by side and pray. As a man that is where I want to be.

God’s humble servant
John A.H.

John, I believe love doesn’t submit to plans and tight scheduling. I agree that everything has its proper place and time, but this doesn’t mean restraining human feelings. The way we act on them, that’s another thing.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.