Marriage and the Single Mom: Some Thoughts

I recently learned that one friend of mine is getting divorced after ten years of marriage and another dear friend is hanging onto her second marriage by a slim thread. Both of these women are loving, nurturing individuals and wonderful mothers. Although only one is Catholic, both of them love God and intended to be married for life. And both of them brought a child into the union who was not biologically related to her new husband.

In at least one of these cases, the woman has endured years of selfishness and immaturity, supporting her family herself as her husband found one excuse after another to abdicate his financial responsibilities to his family. And, in at least one of these cases, a child she brought into the union endured physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his stepfather. Before they married, he said all the right things. After the wedding, the truth emerged with alarming clarity.

broken.jpgWhen a single mother chooses a potential marriage partner, one of the most difficult — and most crucial — considerations is not what the guy looks like in a snug pair of jeans, how fat his bank account, or how “romantic” he is. None of these things are nearly as important as this: How will he treat her child?

My sister Kathy, who counsels survivors of domestic violence, has experienced both sides of this. Her abusive first husband taught her the importance of choosing a marriage partner slowly and carefully. Thank God, the second time she got it right: Ken is a loving, gentle, patient man and a hard worker who loves Kathy and her daughter equally … and when they finally married, he pledged himself to them both.

“Marry in haste, repent at leisure,” the old saying goes. Heaven knows how tempting it can be to plunge ahead and make a permanent commitment when the stars are shining in those days of wine and roses. He looks good, smells great, says all the right things … Day and night, you dream of your rosy future with this, your Prince Charming.

But if you have a child, you need to stop. Seriously. Even if you are living at home and can’t wait to get out. Even if you are struggling to make ends meet, financially speaking. Even if you really, truly believe that God has brought the two of you together. My grandmother used to call this “seasoning” a man — seeing him through all four seasons of the year before making a permanent commitment.

The first step, of course, is making sure you are ready for marriage. Have you “unpacked your baggage” and worked through the issues of your past relationships? Are you in a healthy place, capable of making good dating choices? If you’re Catholic and were married in the Church, have you obtained an annulment? I recently read a book entitled Divorced. Catholic. Now What? by Lisa Duffy that provides excellent advice for navigating the aftermath of divorce with your soul intact. I highly recommend it.

Questions to Ask Before You Say “Yes!”

Relax. Take your time. If your friend is indeed “Mr. Right,” he’ll understand your caution. You aren’t thinking just of yourself — you need to decide what is best for your child. Because that’s what mothers do. So … you need to consider carefully, over time and with the help of close friends and family (who can help you maintain objectivity), whether your potential mate is a prince … or a toad. To get you started, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

* Is this man pressuring you for premature physical intimacy, or asking you to compromise your moral values in other areas? (If so, he may not have the self-control or moral fiber to be a good father.)

* Does he have obvious anger, entitlement, or control issues? Is he charming and persuasive one moment, but critical and demeaning the moment you say or do something he doesn’t like? (If so, he may be a potential abuser, even if he never hits you.)

* Does your child seek out this person’s company, or does s/he “disappear” (keeping physically or emotionally distant) the moment your friend shows up? (Children are highly intuitive creatures, and may pick up on signals you overlook.)

* How does this man act around your friends and family? Does he avoid them whenever possible and does he resent the time you spend with them? Or does he try too hard to get them to like him, exaggerating his accomplishments or flaunting his possessions? Or does he seem to “fit” (after he warms up to them a bit)?

* Does he remind you how lucky you are that he picked you, or how difficult it would be for you to find a mate if things don’t work out between the two of you? (This is a RED FLAG! RUN!!!)

* Do you ever feel that the relationship is “imbalanced” — or that you have to give up an important part of yourself to make it work? (Some adjustment is needed in every relationship, but the key is mutual support and respect.)

* If the child’s father is still in the picture, does your friend support your efforts to let your child have a relationship with his father? Or does he resent the man’s existence (and does this portend how he is going to feel about your child down the line)?

* If the child’s father is no longer in the picture, is your friend willing to father your child? Does he express an interest in adopting your child? Have you met his parents, and do they welcome the prospect of becoming your child’s grandparents … And if not, how does your friend feel about this? Does he make excuses for them … Or encourage them to build a relationship with the child?

* Have you talked about your finances, and does he include your child in his long-term financial planning (college fund, wedding fund, retirement planning, etc.)?

* Do you feel you can trust him to make good choices for you and your child, and that his heart is big enough to accommodate you both — even if no other children enter the picture?

If you are not sure about the answer to any of these questions, it’s better to wait until you have an answer than to rush ahead. Take all the time you need. Your child is worth it … and so are you!

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  • Catherine

    Is this really the kind of advice Catholics should give to other Catholics–how to get it right the second time around? I think there’s a lot more to say about how to live with one’s marriage when it falls to pieces. There may well be a divorce separating husband and wife in a temporal sense, but in God’s book, which is the only one that counts, husband and wife are still one flesh. And because this is the way God has designed things, God will provide everything necessary for a marriage to work. If it still fails, God can still work a miracle if the partners will remain faithful to the marriage and to the children though they may be living apart. And if only ONE of the parties will remain faithful to the marriage (i.e., to God), God can work the great miracle of re-union through the fidelity of just one spouse. This is what needs to be discussed on a Catholic web site. Because this is the reality. Because Abraham believed, because Mary believed and because they remained faithful to God (and at a great cost) they received from God everything.
    The kind of talk above is not for people who call themselves believers. If they don’t believe in God and all his promises, then what do believers believe in?
    Marriage was made by God and not by lawyers and not by politicians and not by therapists and marriage counselors. Only God knows how to manage it, and two people need to keep him in the marriage from beginning to end and with everything in between, divorce included. And again, if just one of the spouses will remain a faithful Catholic, faithful to the teaching of the Church and faithful to God and to the vow one made also to God on that solemn day of one’s wedding, God will work prodigious wonders in that marriage and in that family. This is what needs to be said to divorced and separated couples. We are doing them no service in aiding and abetting a second marriage.

  • Catherine

    Furthermore, I would like to point out that giving the kind of advice which is given in the above article is a very grave sin and all the more so in such a public place as this. It misleads many poor people and puts their souls in even greater danger. I realize that it is done with a charitable intention, but the Lord did not mince words about marriage and divorce and neither does the Church, and we should stop being so cavalier about the issue of annullments. Heaven and Hell are for real and so is the judgment of God.

  • Mary Kochan

    Catherine, Heidi has written enough and CE has published enough for it to be abundantly clear that we support the Church’s teaching on marriage. So does that mean that we can have nothing of value to say to mothers who have declarations of nullity or are widowed or were never married? Should we just walk around and pretend they do not exist? I grew up in and was coercively “married” in a cult. The Church recognized the coercive and unjust nature of that situation and gave me a declaration of nullity. The result of that is that my children have a wonderful Catholic step-father.

    If all you had to say to me at the time I became Catholic was what you said above, your advice would have been less than useless.

    The fact is that some of what look like “second” marriages from the earthly perspective are really first marriages.

  • s74748

    I know I was struggling to get out of the house this morning because God wanted me to read this article. I must comment on it. I could write a book on it and also another book on the comments that were made to it.
    Here’s a very short and condensed version of my comments:
    Sadly, I’m one of those persons who went through a very painful divorce (against my wishes). I hoped and prayed that he would come to his senses – how could he leave me and our two wonderful children? After a divorce, then annullment, I remarried – not rightaway but after a few years.
    If there is any advice I would give to any woman who has HAS HAD TO GET a divorce who has children I would say “DO NOT GET REMARRIED”. Be the best parent you can be for your children. Love them. Surround yourself with other families where the father is involved with his children – a man of integrity, a good strong Catholic who they can see as a role model. If you feel strongly that you have to remarry, wait until your children are grown and out of the house.

  • Mary Kochan

    While that may have been the right advice for you, it may deny other’s children the opportunity to be raised by a faithful and loving Catholic man. It might deny some boys the only chance they have to live with and observe a good male role model. It might deny some girls the chance to learn how a real man takes care of a family and what to look for in their own future mates. It might deny other children a chance to get a good education and live in a stable and safe home environment. Sorry, but one size simply does NOT fit all here.

  • http://crwoodworks.com Suzi Lunt

    Wow, how thought provocking. Violence brought my first marriage to an end. No I wasn’t strong in my faith that I had converted to. I was even angry with God. But I couldn’t stay away from the Chruch. I met a wonderful man, and we married in the Chuch (my first husband died after divorce), he adopted my first son. We have two additional children that he agreed to raise Catholic. This past Easter our oldest son was his sponsor as he entered the Church. What a blessing.

    My point is that God is good. He is loving and though divorce is not his choice for us, He still gives us free choice and then He uses our human fraility to build up His kingdom when we are available to Him. He is always faithful and always availble to us. With out His kindness and endless mercy I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have additional children and my husband wouldn’t be Catholic. His mercy, His grace, His love, His kingdom we serve daily. God Bless.

  • Mary Kochan

    Thanks Suzi; you pointed out another denial that I did not mention. It might deny some children their very existence! And what about the single mother’s child/ren denied stepsibling/s?

    Once again: One size does fit all here. However, Heidi’s advice/cautions do fit every woman in the situation of being a mother and choosing a husband — which is not the same as saying that every unmarried woman with children IS in this situation, or should be.

  • http://catholichawk.com PrairieHawk

    I endured two divorces by the time I was 18. Both experiences, and the experience of living with an emotionally abusive stepfather, did permanent damage. Therapy, medication, prayer, the sacraments–all have helped, but like the knife wound Frodo sustained to his shoulder at the hands of the Nazgul, I have wounds that will never fully heal. I wish with all my heart that my mother had not remarried. She could have raised me as a single Mom in the small town where my grandparents and my uncles lived, and I would have had a good childhood. Remarriage for my Mom was a huge mistake. I would advise any divorced woman considering it to think very carefully, but then that’s what the article advises too. I just wanted to share my own personal experience.

  • mallys

    Just a thought, but the questions that are being asked for the child who is being brought into the marriage are in many cases the same questions you should be asking (in advance) for any child that would be born into a marriage. In other words, before you marry someone, you should figure out what kind of father he will be.

  • http://www.christianword.com Heidi Saxton

    For the record, both women I mention at the outset of this article were remarried in their respective churches. The first woman was never married, the second had received an annulment.

    I heartily agree with the idea that some single mothers are (and have children who are) much better off if they remain single (or, as one reader here suggested, wait until the children are grown before remarrying). However, the vast majority of women will not take this route … and so the next best thing is for them to choose wisely, based on qualities that will help them build a marriage that will last.

  • Catherine

    Dear Mrs. Kochan,
    Clearly I am not speaking to individual cases–these remain in the confessional so to speak. Each one of us is working out his or her own redemption in the best way possible.
    But there can be no elasticity on a subject so critcal: everything rests on the family. Where the Church has granted an annullment no one can say anything–but even the Vatican, seeing the many abuses, has started taking measures to reduce drastically the number of annullments granted. The wisdom of the Church’s teaching, and the wisdom of God’s laws can be seen in a survey which was done some years back which revealed that children fared much better (they were more confident and well-balanced)in even violent and abusive homes where they had both mother and father than they did as step-children in a more secure and peaceful family environment. Children come into this world having only one mother and one father. It is not for us to provide better fathers or better mothers for those children. God always knows beforehand the families to whom he sends his children and everything God does has a profound purpose. He makes no mistakes, even though it may mean hell for us. But if we keep trying to fix the family by abandoning a faulty one in order to create a new and better one, we will just make the hell greater. Children need the man who is their father and the woman who is their mother–and only God knows why. If death, divorce or separation should cause the absence of father or mother, then the remaining spouse has an immense obligation to the children of that man or woman to preserve for the children the memory of their lost parent. It is a scandal to little ones the denigration of their father or mother–for whatever reason. And the ultimate denigration for children is to have their father or mother replaced by a stranger.
    This is one of the scandals Jesus was talking about when he pronounced those frightening words about causing scandal. And that’s why the Church has always been intransigent about its view on marriage and divorce. We in America have a very relaxed idea about it all (in fact, I just saw this: we are the country where five percent of the world’s Catholics receive 80% of the world’s annullments) and we keep telling ourselves how good God is. We are perverting our faith this way and also ourselves. It is good to bear in mind often what Jesus said about little children (Matthew 18:1-10). Marriage in the end is to serve them and not us. And once they come into the world our duty is to serve their best interests. “…whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it would be better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
    “This warning is especially fitting regarding the scandal of divorce and remarriage, for innumerable children of professed Christians are the spiritual casualties of this sin.”

  • Mary Kochan

    You are right but incomplete. Where there was no true saramental marriage — and that is precisely what a declaration of nullity means — and subsequently the mother enters a true sacramental marriage with a man who becoomes the stepfather of those children, ALL the graces of the married state are available to them and those graces extend to his (step)fatherhood of those children.

  • Catherine

    Dear Mrs. Saxton,
    I just saw your above reply and this is totally off track!
    “However, the vast majority of women will not take this route … and so the next best thing is for them to choose wisely, based on qualities that will help them build a marriage that will last.”
    No! Is that what the Catholic Church should do? Give up the high road because man typically opts for the low road? Catholic Exchange is a very public place and as long as it uses the word “Catholic” to describe itself then it has a very serious obligation to maintain the highest standard of fidelity to the teaching of the Church. We shall all have to account to God for every word we pronounce and for every word we write. I urge you all to set your vision higher! These women need to be helped in other ways (most especially if they are Catholics), and there are plenty of other ways which will garantee God’s blessing upon them–they who are in such dire need of it! Your well-meaning help will only remove these women further from God’s grace.

  • Catherine

    Dear Mrs. Kochan,
    I only saw just now your last response–and finally the words of St. Paul come to mind. It would have been better had they come to mind a few hours ago; I could have spared myself–and readers–a lot of wordiness. Here they are (1 Corinthians 7):

    “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

    To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

    But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
    Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches . … Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him.”

    And God truly will pour out grace upon grace upon those who abide by this rule, and grace will enter that family and transform it through us who were called.
    Best wishes–

  • plisto

    Catherine, please, get real! Show mercy, so mercy shall be shown to you as well. Who are you to judge? You or I or anyone of us is not God.
    We can pray, and make more sacrifices on behalf of many sins, that offend our God -but love the sinner, hate the sin!

    God bless,
    P

  • Mary Kochan

    Well, your Scriptural reference to Pauline privilege sure doesn’t do much for your argument. Pauline privilege does free the believer to marry, you know — even if she has kids.

  • Mary Kochan

    So, Catherine, the teenager who gets pg at 15, but decides to stay with her parents who help her rear her child to school age while she completes her education is to live forever with her folks. She is to never marry; she is to never have any more children.

    The young pregnant mother whose husband was killed in Iraq is to spend the rest of her life revering the memory of her husband and teaching her child how great he was and she is to never allow another man into her life; she is never to allow her child to have a flesh and blood father, because the memory father that the child never knew is the only one that God wanted that child to have?

    I thank the Lord that I have high regard for you and things you have shared with me for it is those things that are making me hold my tongue at this point. I remind you that our Lord said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath and this is the case for all the law. Thankfully Christ though his Church is more merciful than you are.

  • http://www.christianword.com Heidi Saxton

    Catherine:

    I must also take great exception to your assessment that children fare better, always, with their original father and mother. As an adoptive parent as well as one who has seen the horror of domestic violence within my own family, I can assure you that this is not the case. While as a rule children thrive best when they are raised in the loving embrace of their natural parents, there are MANY cases when this is simply not possible, or not advisable.

    No doubt you have a story behind your remarks, possibly even a sad situation regarding divorce in your own family tree. However, the following quote …

    “The wisdom of the Church’s teaching, and the wisdom of God’s laws can be seen in a survey which was done some years back which revealed that children fared much better (they were more confident and well-balanced)in even violent and abusive homes where they had both mother and father than they did as step-children in a more secure and peaceful family environment.”

    … is ludicrous. Children in violent and abusive homes suffer even more than the parents do, which is why the USCCB wrote on the subject of domestic violence and acknowledged the necessity of protecting children in these situations — that it is no sin to separate from a violent spouse. Here’s the link: http://www.usccb.org/laity/help.shtml

    It seems to me that by holding so rigidly to the “no divorce, no exceptions” posture, when the Church in her pastoral wisdom has provided for the needs of the faithful on a case-by-case basis, you are setting yourself up as a higher moral authority. Ironically, those who are most guilty of this form of spiritual pride are often quick to quote Scripture (as though none of us have ever seen the verses you are quoting before!).

    It’s important to remember that “The Church is not only a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” We must be ready to reach people where they are. All too often, Christians shoot their wounded rather than lead them toward light and healing. This does not reflect the love of Christ, who spared the woman caught in adultery and evangelized the woman at the well. Rather, he met them where they were … and led them to a higher place.

    If you’ll read the article carefully, you’ll realize that it isn’t really about remarriage for divorced mothers. It’s about choosing a good marriage partner, period. It’s not about advocating second marriages, but choosing carefully the FIRST time.

    It is my sincere hope that someone will read it and spare themselves and their children the heartache of a bad marriage.

  • SolaGratia

    I do not know Catherine, but I am getting the impression that perhaps she is one of those holier-than-the-magesterium types who rejects the Church’s teaching on annulments? (You know, the same type who say that NFP is as bad as birth control, & that if people really trusted God, they would accept however many kids He sends them)

  • Mary Kochan

    There is simply not a Church law that disallows a woman to marry solely on the basis of the fact that she is a mother. As long as it is the case that there are women who are mothers who will be getting married validly in the Church, then running an article that speaks to their situation should not cause CE or the author to be accused of advocating sin.

  • noelfitz

    I like lively debates. So I have enjoyed reading the various views expressed.

    I read:
    “In at least one of these cases, the woman has endured years of selfishness and immaturity, supporting her family herself as her husband found one excuse after another to abdicate his financial responsibilities to his family.”.

    1.Thus divorce, not annulment, is the issue.
    2.The tone seems to me to be anti-men.

    God bless,

    NoelFitz.
    _________________________________________________

    In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.
    _________________________________________________

  • Catherine

    Dear Mrs. Kochan,
    Well, first of all I wish to point out that St. Paul doesn’t give a rule for rule’s sake but, illuminated by God, he sees all things through love and his rules are given so as to spare his ‘beloved’ flock from unecessary trials and tribulations. That is, in the same spirit as God gave to Israel the 10 commandments–as a recipe for peace and joy and so as to have from God every material and spiritual blessing–so Paul is giving the recipe which will obtain for any person of good-will God’s blessing and hence assured peace of mind in all things and very much joy in this life. By following St. Paul’s “rules” we really will be able to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, [and]give thanks in all circumstances…”.
    My thoughts go to Bernadette Soubirous (whose difficult family life would make for good meditation here). The Blessed Virgin appeared to this poor girl and announced to her, “I do not promise to make you happy in this life…but in the next”. I think this is the whole point of all our lives here on this earth. We are not here to be sated and assuaged, but to live the way the Lord has indicated (like through St. Paul). And so when St. Paul urges people not to change the state of life in which they were found when the Lord came to them (conversion), it is another way of re-iterating the Lord’s invitation for each one of us to take up his cross, be it the cross of a widow, of a single mom, of a divorced dad, be it the cross of a step-child. Let each take up his cross and embrace it, seeing only the love of God in it. And God will help us. It is through these crosses that we become fully realized–in such a marvellous manner! (my yoke is easy and my burden light!). Let us seek God in the circumstance (what is his law, his will in that circumstance?) and if we will pursue that, then “..all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6) Meaning all things from the material to spiritual and even with regard to our affections. And this is what all the saints teach because they lived it and have the miracles to prove it (Charles Peguy once said, “life holds only one tragedy, ultimately: not to have been a saint).
    Our Lady of Lourdes did not promise happiness to Bernadette, but she died the happiest person in the world. God is funny that way!

  • Mary Kochan

    St. Paul said that widows do not sin if they marry, in fact he recommended marriage to them. He has had nearly 2000 years of people grabbing quotes out of context from his writings, so I will trust the Church to interpret scripture for me ahead of your private interpretation.

    Even though I think you are eliding the points made in previous responses, I understand your motive is good — that people should not stumble over our words and that is a desire we share.

  • Catherine

    Well, it just may be that I am indeed holier than some of those magisterium types–we’ll see when the score cards get tallied up!
    Anyway, I go back to what I said in my first response, we Catholics need to be helping our friends save their marriages–and bending over backwards to do so if necessary. With a lot of love and understanding and forbearance and baby-sitting. And a lot of prayer.
    It is past 3 in the morning here and so I must go. Forgive me if I have been somehow uncharitable. But the stakes are high, because everything (the Church) is built on the family.
    Goodnight to all.

  • Mary Kochan

    Well, since I have been pretty outspoken in saying just that (http://catholicexchange.com/2005/01/06/96103/) I don’t think we deserved your initial accusation.

  • Lucky Mom of 7

    Well, I read the first couple of posts in the “debate” and got bored. :)

    Mary, I’m so happy for you! I’m glad God has blessed you so richly and you found a good stepfather for your children. That’s beautiful.

    Isn’t abstaining from something good for “fear” that it will be abused called Jansenism? I think that may be what Catherine is experiencing–though I didn’t read all her posts. Sola Gratia refers to extreme providentialists (“even NFP is bad…) who suffer the same disillusion. Jansenism is a heresy.

    In my own life, my parents divorced when I was a girl and my dad kept us. My mother moved away. Dad remarried 3 years later to a visciously abusive woman. My childhood is, in many ways, a total loss. I do think it made me a better mother, though I used to really stress myself out making sure I didn’t do to my children what was done to me. I’m still recovering.

    When I was grown, I married an abusive man. He is recovering, I believe. Thanks to therapy and Greg Popcak’s books, I think we’re going to make it. :)

    Yes, choose those potential step-parents carefully.

    Lucky

  • SolaGratia

    Lucky, God bless you! I pray that yours will be a holy success story!!!
    ————————————————————————————

    Catherine,

    Please believe me – I am not a “casual” Catholic. My marriage is suffering right now because my DH doesn’t want anymore kids & I won’t use artificial birth control. I don’t take our faith any more lightly than you do.

    If the article was encouraging women to walk away from unhappy marriages, you would have a point, but since instead, it is addressing women who actually *are* in a position to be thinking of re-marriage — or are not Catholic & don’t view marriage as a sacrament (many of them don’t even get “covenant”) to give their children careful consideration in their remarriage plans, it appears that you are getting yourself worked into a devout frenzy needlessly.

    Maybe you should go back & read it more calmly – it sounds like you are seeing something you expected or maybe projected rather than what is actually there.

    At best, imo, a reminder in the comments that the sacramentality of a marriage needs to be determined by the Church rather than the individual & that we should do what we can to support shaky marriages would be sufficient.
    God’s peace to you!

  • mj0719

    Heidi, thank you for the wonderful article. It is practical, thought-provoking and timely for my own life.

    I was raped almost two years ago and conceived as a result. I spent the many months of my pregnancy discerning God’s will (adoption vs. parenting myself), and ultimately I decided he was calling me to raise my child. I now have a beautiful little girl and couldn’t imagine my life without her. Even though she came to me out of a horrible situation, I know my daughter is the best gift God could ever give me.

    The birth of my daughter has not erased my long-held conviction that I am called to the vocation of marriage. (Catherine: would you have my little girl live her life without a father, or with the rapist involved in her life as her “father”? I certainly hope you would think long and hard before answering “yes” to either.) I am thankful for the reminder this article has given me to be patient and careful in choosing a husband, and a father for my child–perhaps children. As you say, I know it will be well worth the wait to hold out for the one God has in store for us!

  • frau

    mallys says:

    “…the questions that are being asked for the child who is being brought into the marriage are in many cases the same questions you should be asking (in advance) for any child that would be born into a marriage….”

    Very well said and a very good article. The comments generated obviously are heartfelt by all. Marriage in the US has become a many faceted problem. As a priest for 30 years, it is my concerned that most (almost all) young couples seeking marriage have a “kind of” contraceptive mentality in marriage prep. By that I mean they DO NOT think of parenting in their decision to marry. It is something in the future.
    I try to point out that the unitive aspect of marriage has a two fold vocation:
    1. It is the vocation of the married couple to bring one another to Christ.
    2. It is the vocation of the married couple to bring their children to Christ.

    In the second case, one can say that the unitive aspect is at the service of the procreative.

    I agree with Mally that the points in the article could be or should be the consideration for all women preparing for marriage. I would like see a reworded article for that purpose.

    Thanks Heidi.

  • Claire

    Lucky, I’m so happy to hear that you are experiencing healing in your marriage! The last time you brought it up things weren’t looking as optimistic. Praise God!

    mj0719: God bless you for choosing life for your daughter, and for loving her despite the trauma you experienced prior to and during her conception. The “pro-choice” community could learn a lot from you.

    Catherine: true, we are not going to have a life chock-full of happiness until when (please God) we get to Heaven. We are all given crosses which we must embrace. This does not mean subjecting ourselves to unnecessary abuse. Furthermore, your private interpretation of individual scriptures is no substitute for the Catechism which interprets the Bible as a whole under the guidance of the magesterium is in turn guided by the Holy Spirit. If Rome decides that a marriage was not sacramental, then there is no sin involved with divorce and remarriage.

    Heidi, thank you for an excellent article.

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