Questions about marriage


#1

Hi folks,

I hope I’m posting this in the right place, especially since it’s my first proper post on the forums. I’m only just starting out on my journey to become a Catholic and because I’m a born worrier, I don’t want to ask my Priest something which might be seen as really obvious or stupid… so I thought I’d pester you lovely people first. :wink:

My boyfriend and I have been discussing marriage ever since he made an impromptu ring out of a Starbucks straw wrapper and proposed in the middle of an airport last year (I of course said yes, but asked for the ring to at least be upgraded to a Haribo jelly one) but since I started thinking about becoming a Catholic, a couple of things have been weighing heavily on my mind.

Firstly, nearly everything I’ve read has said that the main purpose of marriage is to have children but due to a combination of medical issues I had to have a hysterectomy when I was 21. Neither me nor my lovely boyfriend have ever felt the call to be parents (we’re quite looking forward to when our siblings have kids though, so we get to be the cool aunt and uncle) but as far as the Church is concerned, would there be any point in us still getting married? Especially when there’s so much emphasis on accepting children from God and being a good parent in the Nuptial Blessing.

Secondly, does a marriage still count if either party isn’t a virgin? I ask because although I was committed to sex being purely for marriage (otherwise, to me anyway, it just seemed like a day for huge dresses and cake) even before I was called by God, I had the choice of chastity taken away from me when I was 18. Although my boyfriend has been amazingly supportive and says that it only makes him love me more (also, he’s Catholic too so there have been no err… pre-marital shenanigans) I just worry that with that and me not being able to have children, it might make our marriage seem pointless from a spiritual point of view.

I’m just feeling incredibly conflicted because although I know that this is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, I wouldn’t want to make a mockery out of a Sacrament.

Urch, that probably made no sense but if anyone can decipher my blathering and could offer any advice, it would be most gratefully received. Even if it is bad news.

:blessyou:


#2

I’m probably not the best person to answer you because I’m hardly a Catholic theologian, but in my own research into the Catholic Church, I have not come across anything that indicates that being infertile automatically makes marriage invalid. I have definitely not come across anything that indicates lack of physical virginity makes a marriage invalid.

I think you should know that there have been many childless couples in the past who excelled at the role of the “cool aunt and uncle”, and perhaps you two are being called to perform that role. Or perhaps you are being called to become parents through adoption (though I don’t think being open to adoption is required for marriage).

I am wondering, though, that perhaps you are wondering if your boyfriend might eventually regret marrying you, or that your marriage might not receive the supernatural graces that come with a sacramental marriage? Are you wondering whether marrying your boyfriend would be somehow unfair to him because of your infertility and lack of technical virginity?

Also, you indicate that your virginity was “taken away” from you, I assume this means you were a victim of rape. My heart goes out to you, and I think the vast majority of people here would argue that what happened to you had nothing to do with sex, and that a loving marital relationship is NOTHING like what happened to you at age 18. However, I would advise you to seek counseling regarding this issue, if you haven’t already done so. I understand that many victims of sexual assault wind up having issues with sex later on, and that those who keep chaste until marriage often find out after they marry that they haven’t dealt with the past sexual assault as much as they thought they had. This can cause such people to withdraw from sex and therefore disrupt the marriage relationship. That doesn’t mean you aren’t fit to be married, but that this definitely should be addressed before you seriously consider marriage. Since your fiance is already Catholic, I think you would definitely need to go through pre-cana before marriage, and I think you should bring it up with your priest then.

ETA: I loved your story about him first proposing with a Starbucks straw wrapper “ring”, and you asking for an upgrade “at least to a Haribo jelly one”. Sounds like a good match to me! I really hope you work out your issues and approach marriage with joy, not trepidation.


#3

Hey Adelle, the purpose of the sacrament of marriage is to help your spouse get to heaven. You could always prayerfully consider fostering or adoption, if you feel called to it. Congratulations on your relationship and welcome to our beautiful universal church.

P.S. There are MANY great books out there written by faithful Catholics on marriage and sexuality. You should check them out!


#4

Infertility is not an impediment to marriage neither is the lack of virginity. In your case being forced, I hate to even call it lack of virginity because it was against your will. In either circumstance it would not be an impediment.


#5

First of all congratulations on your engagement, and secondly welcome to the boards.
So far as I am aware neither of these things are impediments to a sacramental marriage so don’t worry about them.
As far as children are concerned, yes being open to children is an importnant component. But if you are unable to have children, there are other ways you could be open to them. You could adopt. You could be Godparents. You could volunteer your time for childrens activities at Church etc.
Of course you say that neither of you have felt a particular call to parenthood, God may have other plans for you. Just be open to whatever he calls you to.

Peace
James


#6

Infertility is not an impediment to a valid marriage. You are objectively open to children, you are subjectively unable to have them.

Virginity is not a requiremetn for a valid marriage.

Not at all. Marriage’s primary purpose is procreation and education of children, but not its **only **purpose. As a couple you also work together to help each other get to heaven and you work for the Kingdom through your baptismal call.

You would not be doing so. You would be receiving sacramental grace to live out your vocation together, in whatever path God leads you.


#7

Thank you all for your replies, they’ve really helped to set my mind at rest :hug3:

I was raped when I was 18, it’s not something that I’m too great at talking about as it’s only recently that I started coming to terms with it rather than just burying it at the back of my mind and trying to pretend it wasn’t there. I have finally started going to see a counsellor and I’ve been so inspired by it that I want to become a psychologist. It might be a naive thought but I’d like to believe that the reason I’ve been so through much (honestly, my life story has the makings of a bad country song) is so that I can help other people who find themselves in similar situations. Being able to forgive my attacker is one of the things which first made me think that there must be a higher power because I don’t think I could find the strength to do that on my own. I pray for him now too.

I have been worried that by marrying me, the boy might be missing out on something, which he’s told me is silly and even his grumpy old cat, who I’ve frequently poured my heart out to, has given me a whack on the nose for. I’m a terrible perfectionist and since marriage is something that we’re (hopefully!) only going to do once, I want it to be right for both of us. It’s going to be a few years before we do get married as he’s training to be a social worker and I’ve just started a psychology degree (we both did the silly thing of going to university straight out of school and doing the course that everyone else thought we should do) but since we started talking about decorating our future home on our first date, it’s always seemed to both of us that we were meant to be together.

I should’ve just had more faith that God wouldn’t have let mine and Joost’s paths cross if it wasn’t for a reason but trusting in His plan is one of the things that I’m still having trouble getting my head around but I’ll get there, eventually.

Thank you all again, so so much for your help and advice. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a bit of a cry when I checked the forums this morning and saw how helpful you’d all been (I’m absolutely not tearing up now though, nope, honest :blush:). So truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you and God Bless.

PS: The jelly ring? It lasted 10 minutes before J ate it. :rolleyes:


#8

Just to clear one thing up- the only thing that could make the infertility an impediment would be if you did not disclose it even though you knew - but it sounds like you guys have a wonderful, open relationship with plenty of communication. God bless you and good luck. Adoption is always an option and will help some mother make a choice not to have an abortion - I cannot think of something that is more pro-life if one cannot have children.


#9

Hi there!

I just wanted to pop in to say:

  1. I think that you are still considered a virgin. I'm pretty sure that I've read aroung her before that victims of rape are still eligible to be consecrated virgins

From Consecratedvirgins.org:

For instance, I have always understood that a vic-
tim of incest or rape could be a candidate for the consecration because she was violated against her will.
She can therefore offer to God what she did not knowingly and willingly give up.

  1. Part of your wedding will involve the priest asking you if you will accept children from God. Others have said correctly, that you don't need to be physically able to get pregnant to say "Yes" truthfully. I also do not think the desire to foster or adopt is required. I was thinking more of situations along the lines of: If your nieces or nephews became in need of a home (God forbid they were orphaned, or their parents were somehow unable to care for them) that you and your fiance would be willing, in that type of way, to accept those children standing before you, know what I mean?

I am glad you have found everyones posts helpful, I hope mine will be too.


#10

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