Single-Minded

Have you heard the latest?  According to a New York Times analysis of census results, for the first time in US history, there are more single than married women.  In the fifties, 35 percent of women were single. Back then, it was not considered a desired state of being.  "Spinster" and "old maid" were the labels.  

In 2000, the number had jumped to 49 percent.  By 2005, it tipped the halfway mark at 51 percent.  Being single no longer has bad connotations.  I'm afraid, perhaps, that "married" is the status under attack these days.

Although Americans like to think they are first, England and Wales claimed single women to be in the majority in 2004.  So what gives?  Where did all the "wedded bliss" go?  Social scientists point to a number of trends: Hollywood stars flaunt their single status as connoting power and independence.  Women live longer and, due to increased financial independence, no longer feel impelled to grab the first available male as their meal ticket.  Then, there's the divorce rate — many women walk away from unhappy unions with either no interest in finding another man or preferring just to live together sans the paperwork.

I'm not a social scientist, but I have a theory on what is behind all this.  It's the failed social experiment born in the seventies, where men and women were supposed to be more like each other.

 Men and women are different.  We all accepted this in the fifties.  Women still wanted men back then, knowing they were different.  But by the seventies, feminism was in full flower. If we could build a different woman — one that was educated, independent and employed — then surely we could build a better man.  To accommodate the women who had taken on qualities previously associated with males, we needed men to take on more feminine qualities. The men needed to fill in the gaps at home by helping with laundry and childcare. The men have not been as enthusiastic about morphing themselves as the women have. Go figure.

I went to college in the seventies and I jumped right on the bandwagon.  My strong-willed personality was a perfect fit for feminism.  Then the kids started coming and my maternal instinct kicked in and I gave in. My strong will did not die, although I've had to smother it a few times — well, actually, a lot. But now, married for twenty-five years with ten kids, I've learned that dying to oneself and living for Christ by serving others is what keeps families together.  It's not always easy.  Sometimes it has felt like our union was held together by mere paper clips.  But, really, it has been prayer that got us through and continues to keep us married.  My husband and I are major head-butters, but we are also prayer warriors.  We stay together and we stay in love for that reason.

There are lots of other women out there that are far better at this than I, but society is not promoting the role of selfless wife and mother for women like it once did. No; instead, the message for the last thirty years has been "I am woman, hear me roar."  Oh, please.  No wonder so many are going it alone these days.  Women have listened to warped messages that tell them that they are better off alone than putting up with men that don't toe the line.

I do expect my husband to help at home (thus the head-butting), but I accept that he will never meet my dream expectations.  Most women have discovered that if they are employed outside the home, they double their workload.  Most men (I know this is not true for all) just don't have the domestic knack.

Boys Will Be Boys

Many of today's single women are waiting for a Prince Charming who cooks, cleans and can figure out the front from the back of the kids' pajamas.  I know this does not account for all single women, but I bet there's enough in this category that it has pushed the numbers over the halfway point for singles.  

In the early sixties, when I grew up, we wanted our girls just the way they came to us. Curls and ruffled slips, patent-leather buckle shoes and lots of pink, pink, pink.  In spite of inclinations to climb trees, catch frogs and  and jump off swings, most girl were still girls. "Unisex" did not exist then because it made no sense to my generation — that is until we grew out of our pink dresses and buckle shoes.  The baby boomers upset the status quo and challenged conventional thinking.  Girls were only pink and frilly because parents put them into feminine strait jackets.  "Dads, if you would roughhouse and toss your daughters around like you do your sons, they'd be a hardier, stronger group," the psycho-gurus claimed.  "And mothers, while you are burning your bras in the sexual revolution, toss in those patent-leather shoes and pink dresses."

Overalls and unisex colors began covering the diaper set as they emerged from the age of Aquarius.  In the later seventies, while a college student, my peers and I agreed: raise your daughters more like your sons and the sexes will be more alike — more equal.  It was the dawning of a new age.  Girls would no longer be treated like the weaker, frillier sex and men would no longer be he-man, Neanderthal types.

Now, let's fast-forward to the twenty-first century. What does your family look like?  Have we broken the stereotypical sex mold?  Just step into a department store and check out the unisex clothing.  There isn't any.  There is a boys' department and a girls' department and there is no mistaking which one you are in.  And, I venture to say, there has never been more lace, ribbons, patent leather or pink in little girl's clothing since the dawn of civilization.

You Can't Fool Mother Nature

So, what happened to our social experiment?  As the mother of eight boys and two girls, I can tell you what happened: the experts of the era were wrong, but Madison Avenue was right, at least in the popular margarine commercial which once correctly stated, "You can't fool mother nature." Sure we've loosened up the sex roles a bit, but not as much as we thought we could.

From the time my little tykes could crawl and hold a plaything, the boys were conquerors, and the girls nurturers. My boys had a nurturing side, but the caveman warrior was there from the start.  When a new baby appeared on the scene, my boys were just as quick to want to push the stroller as the girls.  But in the hands of boys a stroller becomes a race horse or demolition vehicle car.  In the hands of a girl it is a cradle on wheels.  Girls mother their baby dolls and stuffed animals.  They bathe, dress and feed them, and always want to cut their hair.  These sorts of activities never occur to boys.  Dressing a toy would involve work just like dressing themselves; the less you do of it, the better.

Several years ago I was helping out with a kids' activity group.  The moms took turns coaching and refereeing outdoor games such as kick ball.  One afternoon an exhausted mom plopped down into a group of other moms. "Boys are so much easier," the mom lamented.  "The girls have to argue every little detail and debate who is doing what, while the boys just want to play."

"Ha, ha," I laughed.  "But these simple, nonverbal boys, who are easier to coach than girls, grow up and drive their wives crazy because of their unwillingness or inability to communicate." So by observing the natural inclinations of our children we can see that for the most part, boys will be boys and girls will be girls. If you give a girl a truck, she will give her teddy bear rides in it.  If you give a boy a doll, it will never get its clothes changed and it might one day attack all the stuffed animals on the bed — just for fun.  You can teach your son to nurture, but if you put him in with a group of boys, things are going to get loud and wild.

Many in my generation convinced themselves that boys were growing up to be more nurturing and communicative. But men did not become just like us because it was not possible.  They do not always "get it," for the simple reason that they were never little girls.  While we were taking care of the physical needs of our dolls and stuffed animals, those boys did not even notice their toys needed baths.  While we girls talked and discussed how the games should be played, the boys just played: no thoughts, no discussion — nothing.

Before the big "sexual revolution," wives were expected to fulfill the same duties they had practiced since girlhood.  After the revolution, wives expected men to share in a role they had never practiced for as boys.  The women were ready for this "new and improved" man but most the men were not so new and improved. The women changed more than the men did. They earned more degrees, entered new fields and got better-paying jobs.  They were different from their mothers and they wanted men different from their fathers. Unfortunately, men did not get the memo.  They never had their own sexual revolution. They just grew up to be bigger versions of themselves — the boys who never washed or dressed their toys.  The new version of women doesn't want the old version of men.  Thus, they are choosing more and more not to marry them.  Women are leaving men, they are staying single, they are waiting for men that don't exist, and they are just living with men rather than making it legal.

Look, I know everything was not "Ozzie and Harriet" perfect in the fifties.  But is it better today?  I know some would say, "Yes, it's better to be single." These women keep their freedom, sort of.  In the end, they are alone.  Perhaps that is why they roar.

Patti Maguire Armstrong

By

Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. She has appeared on TV and radio stations across the country.  Her latest books, Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and children’s book, Dear God, I Don’t Get It are both available now. To read more, visit Patti’s Catholic News and Inspiration site. Follow her on Facebook at Big Hearted Families and Dear God Books.

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  • Guest

    One must be careful about how stats are spun. The NYT tried to give the “51% unmarried” a positive spin, but a closer examination reveals the Times still doesn’t “get it.”

    (Excellent critique of the NYT’s misreading of the 51% statistic from the Columbia Journalism review. Copy and paste the URL below into your address bar to read the article):
    http://www.cjrdaily.org/behind_the_news/to_nyt_and_cbs_single_women_lo.php

    Another factor left out of most of the commentaries I’ve seen so far is the dramatic rise in unmarried cohabitation among adult men and women, especially since the 1960′s. It is true that efforts have been made to downplay gender differences and shatter the idea of “traditional roles” for men and women. More disturbing is a cultural shift away from lifetime “commitment” in the married state to something more akin to contractual agreements that either party (or so the reasoning goes) may break if things don’t “work out.” The divorce rates in the U.S. bear grim testimony to society’s abandonment of the principle of “til death us do part.” Rather than go through the formality of a marriage many men and women have chosen to just “move in.” Easy availability of contraception has also contributed to the decline of traditional marriage in the U.S.

    Dennis of Raleigh

  • Guest

    The rise in percentage of unmarried females perhaps reflects a growing awareness and,in effect,a new social critique by females of marriage itself in this sense: having now arrived at independence from men in the ( some very healthy ) ways described, women now have a viable choice – risk marriage or “enjoy” the various newly discovered goods of the single life. And for many, the risk of marriage gets trumped by the relative goods single life. And rightly so to some very legitamate extent. And why is it that marriage is considered a risk? Some would answer, short sightedly, that high divorce rates constitite a sufficient empirical risk and deterent. But there is a more profound reason why marriage is looked upon as risky: neither males nor females today understand nor desire the mutual self-donation that is at the core of marriage. And women, in preferring single life, are unwittingly,intuitively, and correctly sensing this sad reality of our time. Until and if genuine marriage – by that I mean the Catholic teaching on marriage with its emphasis on Christocentrism and mutual self-donation -returns as a desideratum, then watch the stats continue to rise!

  • Guest

    I was almost 35 when I finally got married (we’re coming up on our third anniversary). Until I met my husband at the age of 33, I was resigned to being permanently single. And it wasn’t for lack of trying or because of an unrealistic desire for domestic equality. I was more than happy to meet a man who was in favor of traditional gender roles within marriage. Unfortunately, because of the direction our society has taken, it is not easy to meet faithful Catholic men, and I was unwilling to settle for anything less. Imagine my surprise when God blessed me with a wonderful Christian husband! Ironically, I earn more money than my husband, so if we are ever blessed with a child, he will be the one who will be able to cut down his hours to part-time (in order to avoid placing the baby in daycare, which I am very opposed to). It’s not ideal, but that’s the way it turned out for us, and I know he’ll be a wonderful father. But that’s another story; I just wanted to point out that we didn’t set out to reverse roles in that situation, it’s just the way it is. Anyway, I do think it’s sad that marriage has taken a backseat in our society, and I will never understand people who cohabitate, take on a mortgage together, have children, etc without feeling the need to marry. However, based on my experience as a former single woman, I would hate to see labels such as “spinster” and “old maid” become prominent again. I can attes tto the fact that many of these women would like to be married and just have not been blessed with a good husband. They don’t deserve to be degraded for that. It would be better for them to live out a single vocation than to marry someone inappropriate.

  • Guest

    how does this fit in? gen 3:16 “… thou shalt be under thy husband’s power, and he shall have dominion over thee”

  • Guest

    To toss in some feminine perspective from Gens X and Y: many of us have attended college, suffered broken homes, and been raised in the wake of the sexual revolution. Many of us have gotten at least a Bachelors degree–now becoming a standard level of education–and gained thousands of dollars in loan debt with a hard transition into the workforce; so, we talk ourselves into putting off marriage and children for financial reasons, making it an excuse to cohabitate. Many of us grew up in single-parent homes and suffered as our parents engaged in sexual immorality; we were starved for affection early and entered into dating relationships we weren’t ready for, then pulled back, wounded and no longer ready to trust. We have no memory of the turmoil of the 60s, but have been taught that traditional gender roles restrict freedom and demean women; as such, many of us were schooled by Planned Parenthood on condoms, Norplant, and (disgustingly) dental dams. Our two generations are confused.

    But here’s the flip side: many of us are tired of experimental relationships. After all, we’ve been the children to suffer from them. We’re craving the real deal when it comes to God and men. And so, many of us may not have been taught the beauty of faith and marriage in childhood, but there’s much hope that we are beginning to learn now. Even among my family and friends, it seems like scores of people in their early to mid twenties are getting married! Among Catholics, we can also thank the dear John Paul II and his Theology of the Body, since a new generation is beginning to catch on.

    Perhaps now is not a time so much to look back as to look forward, knowing that many in the younger generations are ignorant of what marriage and sexuality were originally meant to be. We cannot take traditional roles for granted anymore; maybe, in the aftermath of the sexual revolution, we can learn Our Lord’s ways so this crisis will not happen again.

  • Guest

    The women I’ve worked closely with in the past 10 yrs. are divorced. I am the only married woman in the office at my new job as well. The main thing that I see from the outside looking in – is about forgiveness. Women file for a divorce alot, because they can not forgive their spouse, for something he did, or for not living up to their expectations. This unforgiveness continues, forever, it seems, even after the divorce. Divorce does not end their negative feelings toward their spouse.

    I have seen many successful marriages that survived major, serious, problems – because somehow, the injured spouse was able to find a way to forgive. And they work on what happened and why it happened. This is a private matter that most people are not even aware happened to them. And what a shame, because they have lived out the words of Christ to forgive one another, if we ourselves, want to be forgiven.

  • Guest

    Shelly,
    Your post is an excellent summary of the state of the Church from the sexual revolution of the 60’s to the present time. We are blessed to have Pope John Paul II’s writings Love and Responsibility,(and also, Humanae Vitae by Pope Paul VI) Theology of the Body and JPII’s call to physicians throughout the world to improve Natural Family Planning.

    Before his death Pope John Paul II knew that we are approaching a New Springtime. We need to study, practice and share the information that the Church provides for our well-being. As the Body of Christ, if we could just find ways to speed-up the process in that area to avoid the hurt and pain that a materialist society offers our young people.

    Peace to all,
    –Vi

  • Guest

    Patti, as good intentioned and as inspiring as you are, I’m afraid my friend you got duped on this NYT article. It’s simply NOT TRUE. The NY TIMES is a paper on a mission to bring down God, marriage, and all that is good? Michael Medved did an entire show on this article, proving how the NYT not only SPUN the data, but used women who were 16 years old, and other misleading data of the census. He used the acutal census numbers WITH ADULTS which TOTALLY flattened the “NYT data.” It’s really pathetic, but do you see how brilliantly the enemy works in this culture war? If you go to Michaelmedved.com, for $5 you can relisten to all of his shows for anyone who wants a good analysis of why it is and was meant to be a misleading article AGAINST MARRIAGE. Gee, what a suprise NY Times! How many folks, even good Catholics, question the census? Lesson learned– beware of ANYTING from the “NY LIES.”

    But the good news, thanks to Patti, we on CE can turn it around towards God’s real truth and hopefully inspire at least a few Catholics out there.

    For starters, I couldn’t agree more with Shelly. As a teacher of the Theology of the Body, I tell you, IF the world, really knew that teaching, it would be the “theological time bomb” that George Weigel predicts it will be, set to go off this century. I wish in two sentences I could make all understand all those misunderstood Bible quotes taken out of context FALSELY thought to mean “women obey you husband” like Eph 5 and even in Gen. Trust me we’ve got it all wrong, all backwards. Marriage is a fortaste of heaven (& really IS heaven if understood as God intended, and celbacy “for the kingdom” is the greatest joy this side of heaven. Marrisge is the “signpost” to heaven, celbacy for the kingdon IS heaven, yes on earth. Do a little research on St. Philip Neri, or visit his chalice in Rome with his teethmarks on it from the ecstacy of his “union with God, the Trinity, his heaven on earth via the Eucharist.”

    I am going to make a bold statement and say EVERY problem we have in America today, from the billions of dollars and broken marriages via pornography to teachers raping their students, to abortion, and the list goes on endlessly, would be non existent if the TOB teaching was understood. JP II, a mystic, knew darn well where this world was heading, which is way there’s no surpise why he taught TOB out of his window for 6 years, every Wed., the ONLY pope in history to ever teach a completley NEW teaching, albeit totally based on scripture (he just went REALLY deep, especially into Genesis and St. Paul).

    Anyone interested might want to go to Christopherwest.com, one of the chosen ones God rose up to bring it to our level. Maybe listen to a few clips on his website, or order a CD or TOB for beginners (awesome book). Also, check his lecture schedule, and maybe you live in an area where you can get a weekend seminar for free (or a nominal fee like $10) if a parish is sponsoring him.

    And yes Patti, it would/could even eliminate the head butting in your marriage, although, as a mother of 10, you could teach all of us a thing or two yourself! The really good news is I have been in Christoper West’s immersion graduate course, which was about 80% religious, i.e, priests, msg’s, seminarians, the sisters of life, deacons, and some laity like myself. I tell you first hand, this first group of the teachers of the TOB are ON FIRE, especially the new JPII priests.

    Marriage may “look” like it’s reaching it’s demise, but stay tuned, and pray pray pray for the true teaching of the Catholic Church, by God’s grace, to reach us all, especially from our new JPII priests. When this hits the pulpits, our Catholic churches will be overflowing with standing room only!

    God Bless

    Rita

  • Guest

    I can remember in high school talking with my friends,”I’m going to be a child psychologist, find a handsome husband who can dance and have 2 children a boy and a girl and live happily ever after.” What I can’t remember is, my parents, especially my mom sharing with me the beauty of motherhood, the importance of faith in a marriage and encouragment to be open to life!!! I believe this is part of our problem today and it is one that is reversable. I now am a married woman with 4 boys (haha), who home schools and practices natural mothering. My friends from high school think I’m an alien!!! Not really, but it just goes to show you how your perspective on life changes when you allow Christ to enter in and what people expected you to be like later in life is completely different from what you actually become. Both myself and my husband have college educations, but he is the breadwinner of the family because that is how we believe it should be and I have no desire whatsoever to return to the working world. Even on the hardest of days at home, I am so grateful for my husband being at work and me being able to stay home with my children.

    I stated that our problem is reversable and it starts with us the women who are living the american dream, stay at home moms that can share the beauty of motherhood and being a good wife with our children, especially our daughters. I try to make a habit of letting my boys know how much it means to me that daddy works so hard and that because of his work we have the things that we have and they appreciate the things that mommy does around the house because my husband makes sure that they respect me and my postion in the family. He leads by example, he does laundry when he sees there is a need and washes dishes and cleans the floors. I don’t even have to ask!!! I realize he is the exception in some cases, but if we teach our children, no matter what sex, to be involved in the everyday household chores and help them to see the need to work together as a family for the good of all, then maybe we can bring things back into balance. It’s about selflessness and working for the good of the whole, isn’t that what Christ taught, “We are the Body of Christ”. It starts in the home!

  • Guest

    My husband is a very hard worker, but for reasons that are much too complicated to get into, he does not make much money.  Getting married at 35, my priority is for us to have as much time together as possible, so I declined when he offered to go back to school at night so he could get a job that pays more.  I agree that ideally it is the woman who should be at home.  But, for us, if we have children that will not be an option.  Our biggest priority is that the children not be in daycare.  I know that they will be in wonderful hands with my husband, and I appreciate that he is willing to take on that role should we ever be blessed with a child.  A lot of men would find it way too boring, and then my only option would be to put my kids in daycare.  My heart is tied to my home and family, and even with out children it is hard for me to go int othe working world every day because I'm just not wired that way.  But, for some reason that's where God wants me, so I try to serve Him there as best as I can.  My husband has also offered to work two jobs so I can stay home, but again, after waiting for him for 35 years, my biggest priority is to be able to see him.  I feel like we don't see enough of each other as it is, without him working 12 hours a day.

  • Guest

    There are many young women who want to marry a gentleman with tradional values and mores, but don't because the "pool" of prospective husbands lack quality.  Even if femminism has warped or changed what women seek in a marriage partner, it also has allowed two generations of men to avoid responsiblity and delay maturity.   We have  men who expect women to pay for dates, they expect women to call them on the phone, they expect the women to ask them out in some cases, and along with this disrespect they want to be a womans friend with benefits.  There are good, mature young men out there, but it is hard for a young woman to find them. Meanwhile, she delays marriage ( I won't say "looking for Mr. Right) until she can find a good man, who is responsible, mature and shares her her vaules, beliefs, and desires in making a good marriage.

  • Guest

    Dear Rita,

    As impassioned and sincere as your words are, some are just plain contrary to the Catholic faith.  For starters, the "true" meaning of Ephesians 5 and Genesis 3 is what Catholics – the Church Fathers, the Medieval Doctors and Saints, and all authoritative, orthodox theologians throughout the 2000 year history of the Chuch – have always said it to be.  That is, a doctrinal truth that cannot change, ref. Blessed Pius IX and St. Pius X in their encyclicals about the evolution or change of dogmas and Modernism, respectively.
    Also, I would not be quite so enthusiastic or sure in saying that John Paul II was the ONLY pope in history to teach a completely NEW teaching.  To say this is borderline heresy, as the Church, at least in Her official magisterium (that is, what is not opinion) cannot teach anything "new", or, outside the "deposit of faith, handed over once for all" by Christ and the Apostles.
    God bless you in your search for truth, but please be careful about using superlatives, denying 2000 years of Church  teaching or claiming Papal novelty for a teaching.
  • Guest

    The premise of this story is not true.  Take a look at Michael Medved's blog of 1/17 on townhall.com.  The liberal media manipulated census figures to "create" the 51%.  The figure includes all "women" 13 years old and older.  The truth is 56% of all women over the age of 20 are married.

  • Guest

    It appears that the author indicates that it is fortunate that women have changed and unfortunate that men have not.  I hope this is not what she was indeed implying.  For on the contrary, the misfortune is that women have decided to change their social status and become independent, career-minded, salary-earning individuals.  This is not in the nature of a woman.  A woman has a maternal heart, designed for the express purpose of raising children in the home.  The problem with men is that they are not being the leaders that they are called to be.  They have allowed women to seek their independence–to the detriment of both sexes.  Men must be loving leaders, and women must be submissive to them.  St. Paul speaks of this, and the tradition of thousands of years and the holy men and women that have sprung from such families attest to this model of family life.  What is required is a deep look at the chaos that has resulted from this reorientation of the role of women in society to understand that this social experiment is an abject failure.  Unless men regain leadership  of the family and women return to full-time motherhood, the succeeding generations will continue in the present course of self-destruction. 

  • Guest

    I completely agree that women's hearts are at home (mine certainl is!).  But women who are not blessed with a marriage vocation have to have some way of earning a living.  Ironically, it was women's insistence on returning to the workforce that has caused men like my husband to earn less money.

  • Guest

    Claire,

    I in no way was implying that you, or anyone else for that matter, were less of a wife or would be less of a mother by working and your husband staying home. My point was that we as women, wives and mothers, need to share with our children, regardless of sex, the joy of our vocations and encourage them to be active in the household duties. If they see the example at home of what family life is truly about, getting each other to heaven, then they will take that into the world and we can change the world one family at a time.  Young women will know how to please their husbands and run a household and young men will know how much it means to their wives when they help out with chores and kids.  

    I do hope God blesses you with many children and that you will enjoy them as much as I enjoy mine.

    God bless!!!Smile

  • Guest

    RE:adjesumpermariam response (below):

     I suggest you check some facts, especially before you label me a heratic, and you  will find that NO pope ever taught the theology of the Body before JPII. For certain, he was the first pope to introduce the philosophy of Phenomenology, which integrates the experiences of our everday lives AS WE EXPERIENCE them.  Augustine had Plato, Aquinas Aristotle, and now JPII, with the light of the Holy Spirit, takes us into Phenomenology. I also didn't even SAY what the true meaning of Eph 5 was!  I only mentioned that many people MISUNERSTAND the true intrepretation of it, which is NOT, BTY, "wives be submissive to your husbands in the LITERAL sense."  How many times have you heard Catholic women critized for taking vows of "submission?"  When understood correctly from the Magesterium, Eph 5 is very very beautiful, especially for women, and has nothing whatsoever to do with men having "control" over their wives, but rather husbands laying down their lives for their wives AS CHRIST LOVES THE CHRUCH.   It's astounding to me that you would attack something I didn't even write! 

    Also, I made no indication of changing doctrinal truths.  What I did say is that the teaching is ALL FROM SCRIPTURE.  Last time I checked, Dei Verbum still gives the interpretation/authority of the word of God to the magesterium of the church.  Do you even understand that the Holy Spirit guides the "living word?"  My goodness, we didn't even have the dogma of the assumption of Blessed Mother Mary until the 1950's.  It's like a room without the light on, and slowly but slowly, and as needed, the Holy Spirit lets more light in, and we see and know more.  THAT is what TOB is, and no member of the magesterium before JPII was ever shown that "lighted part of scripture , at least none that recorded it to the extent that he did."  If I am wrong, I would sincerely like to know, so feel free to show me where and please reference. 

    I wonder why it might be so hard for you to consider that what I wrote is truly truly the truth of the Catholic Church?  Not only is it true, it's a teaching and new light of Christ that could save millions of souls!  I will leave the wondering between you and God; I'm just the messanger.  I only hope you do a little more research and read a little more carefully next time before you lead souls to doubt true chruch teachings.

    God Bless you.

     Rita

    You wrote

    ==========

    Dear Rita,
    As impassioned and sincere as your words are, some are just plain contrary to the Catholic faith.  For starters, the "true" meaning of Ephesians 5 and Genesis 3 is what Catholics – the Church Fathers, the Medieval Doctors and Saints, and all authoritative, orthodox theologians throughout the 2000 year history of the Chuch – have always said it to be.  That is, a doctrinal truth that cannot change, ref. Blessed Pius IX and St. Pius X in their encyclicals about the evolution or change of dogmas and Modernism, respectively.
    Also, I would not be quite so enthusiastic or sure in saying that John Paul II was the ONLY pope in history to teach a completely NEW teaching.  To say this is borderline heresy, as the Church, at least in Her official magisterium (that is, what is not opinion) cannot teach anything "new", or, outside the "deposit of faith, handed over once for all" by Christ and the Apostles.
    God bless you in your search for truth, but please be careful about using superlatives, denying 2000 years of Church  teaching or claiming Papal novelty for a teaching.

  • Guest

    Did not read the full article, seems it accepted the NYT stats without question. Is that what a wise Catholic columnist does? Perhaps a little more scepticism may have been in order.

    Lasted only the first sentence of Scheske's article yesterday as well. Go to his site and read some of his other articles, you'll know what I mean. Are Oprah's values of gay marriage, abortion and certain facets of secularism which were trumpeted here becoming CE's values as well? You guys are based in California right? May need to rethink that donation I was going to posit. Suggest others do the same if it doesn't change. 

    With that said, I really enjoyed many of the comments above. Though the trickster's philosophy is now among us here, I'm very impressed with the heart of most writers. I thought Rita really nailed it, and the person who criticised her is more concerned with law than faith. May God richly bless each and every one of you.  

    Innocent

  • Guest

    I think everyone is missing the point of the article. It's more about how we are raising our children than about whether there are more singles or not. This is after all her specialty (10 kids). 

     

    From what I see, Catholic Exchange writers take what the news is in the secular world and put it in a way that relates to our faith and makes us think. She took an article about a secular statistic on single women and showed how our society has changed so much in the last fifty years in it's understanding of gender roles and how the different sexes are wired. I thought it was a great observation and I think that some people are just trying to be argumentative and read into stuff way to much. If there is no discrepancies with church teaching and no schismatic talk, then why do we have to argue about whether the NYT got some silly statistics correct or not. I just think we need to read these articles for what they are, which is mostly someones opinion about an issue. After all, we are not perfect either!

    Laughing

  • Guest

    On fire for what?  Jesus? Doctrine?  There is never fire if not flamed by the Holy Spirit. I am so curious as to why so many in our church want to be so intellectually correct in their interpretation of God's word or the doctrine of the church?  So what happened to simple and humble faith in God?  Many Catholics don't bother to read these forums for the very fact that most are wanting good news in this world of journalized hopelessness by theologians who love to be heard or should I say need to be heard, regardless of how most Catholics already have a saviour…you know?  Jesus?  We must all remember that hell is full of pride and ego. Careful!!  We will all stand before the Judge himself…and I am whincingInnocentWinkEmbarassed

  • Guest

    By the way this was a well written article that makes you stop and think!!

  • Guest

    mscowartkc,

         Thank you for your kind words.  I, too, hope that I will be blessed with at least one child here on earth (we have one in Heaven that we lost at 4 weeks).  And you're absolutely right, that we do need to share with our children the value of the marriage vocation.  It's something that I myself did not receive at home but praise God have come to value anyway. 

  • Guest

    bmtwaddle, adjesumpermariam- I'm laughing out loud here. Women have had these opportunities in our society for only a few decades, and you seem so very scared of it ! It makes you look like petulant little boys. "Aw, you mean girls get to go too ! I don't wanna play with girls ! " "pout, stomp off ".

    I'm not married- and frankly, men like you make singleness look darn attractive !

     

  • Guest

    Funny, when I read this thread, I had the impression adjesumpermariam and bmtwaddle WERE women.

     

    Perhaps your assumption that they were men sounding like petulant boys belies a certain bias?

  • Guest

    Narwen,

         I agree with you to the extent that I certainly wouldn't want these opportunities taken away from women.  Single women who aren't called to a marriage vocation need a way to support themselves, as do single mothers, widows, etc.  But I do think ideally our society should value stay at home moms more.  I think it's better for children and better for society in general.  As I mentioned before, I am the primary breadwinner in my family, and my husband and I do not find it to be the ideal.  If there were more stay at home moms and not so many moms in the workforce, our economy would be different so that more families could be supported by one income versus two, and people like my husband would earn more money. 

  • Guest

    In reply to adjesumpermariam, I agree that my beliefs make singleness look darn attractive–to both men and women.  We are living in a world that is so radically disoriented that it is hard to see where the truth lies, and even when we see it, it is hard to conform ourselves to it.  There are certain things that must be remembered. 

    First, the whole purpose of our lives is to know, love, and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him in the next.  Life is not about us and our desires.  Popular songs tell us otherwise.  I am a college student at a Catholic college, and I can tell you that I hear constantly "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi in the dorm rooms and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper at all the dances.  Life is now seen–even by Catholics–as something for ourselves, to do with as we please.  Life is a gift from God because He desired to share His beauty and goodness.  Our response must be one of thanksgiving and service to Him. 

    And second, we should look at Joseph and Mary as models of husband and wife respectively.  Mary showed submission–and yes it was submission (albeit loving submission)–to Joseph, and Joseph led the family.  We would think in this modern world that Mary, having been immaculately conceived and never having committed an actual sin, would have been more capable of leading things.  But on the contrary, the angel appeared to Joseph in the dream telling him to take Mary and the child to Egypt.  Joseph, though unworthy (as all men are) was called to be the leader and guardian of Mary, the Mother of God, and her son, who was God.  And Mary, beautiful Mary, remained hidden within the home, cooking, cleaning, sewing, and raising her Child.  What more beautiful calling is there than to bring new souls into the world to share in the goodness of God and be an instrument in their salvation?

    Yes, this model is unattractive.  Men don't want responsibility.  The world is telling men to use her and leave her.  That way men can get what they want without headache or heartache.  And this idea has come to such popularity that it is hard for men to see the value of committing to a single woman for his entire life.  This is a very sad thing.

    And to the women, it is telling them to be independent, to not be vulnerable, to hide their emotions.  It is trying to reshaper their hearts.  Innocence is no longer valued.  The feminine heart is being destroyed, and that is a tragedy.

    The world is full of heartache and loneliness, and much of this is due to the new form that society is taking.  At this rate, we are heading toward a matriarchal society.  Women may be capable of performing many of the same tasks as men, and vice versa.  But women can never be successful leaders just as men can never be successful mothers.  man has created man and woman different–as a result, their roles are different as well.  Read the Bible.  Adam and Eve fell because they were not fulfilling their roles.  We must live according to our nature.  And we must be able to accept our nature, as given to us in God's infinite wisdom. 

    For those women who aren't married–or in a convent–there are positions in society that will enable them to make a living.  Teaching is one example, for it is a job in which the maternal heart can blossom and find satisfaction more fully.

    In the love of Chirst Jesus, bmtwaddle.

    P.S.  By the way, I love girls.  I love talking to them and enjoy their company very much.  Girls bring a spontaneity and freshness to life that men don't.  I can't imagine life without them.Laughing (That was a joke, not sarcasm.)

  • Guest

    As a single Catholic woman in her thirties, I found the last line or so of the article to be mean-spirited and dare I say untrue– in the end, they're alone. Ouch…I always have the good Lord and those he provides me with, and if He doesn't provide me with a husband at this time in my life or ever, I trust in His plan for me. I take a lot of care to offer each day to the Lord and submit to His will and not my own. My will would have me married.

  • Guest

    JM,

         You make a good point.  Not everyone is called to a marriage vocation, and among those who are, not all are able to fulfill this vocation because unfortunately the selection of good Catholic men is not what it used to be.  I myself was single for almost 35 years, and I didn't think that I would ever get married.  Much as I longed for a marriage vocation, I was content being single, knowing that I was serving God in that capacity.  Our relationship with God is the only thing that will ever protect us from ultimately being alone.  When we leave this world, it is only God that goes with us. 

  • Guest

    Whether the percentage is 51 or 41, I don't think the issue is so much whether the majority of women are not married but why is it difficult for those who want to be married in a sacramental marriage to do so. It would be interesting to know if the women in the survey ever received a marriage proposal and turned it down. I grew up as a male in the late 70's-early 80's in a traditional home but I found the greatest pressure came from the rampant materialism that continues to dominate our post-Christian society. Women did indeed get the options to stay single and enjoy a career outside the home, get married and enjoy a career outside the home, or get married and enjoy fulltime motherhood–if she and her husband could afford it. Men's choices remained the same–get a job. With so many intelligent, qualified women entering the workforce for the first time, less intelligent or industrious men found themselves taking lower paying or less rewarding jobs. What woman would want to marry a frustrated man like that? Growing up in front of the television (always beautiful women, always capable men, always solving problems in half an hour) made expectations worse and soon the divorce rate skyrocketed to make commitment in marriage an illusory if not noble goal. I have middle-aged single female friends who yearn to be married now but can't find a man to be happy with and must fight the temptation to be bitter and resentful. I also know middle-aged single men who don't convey a desire to be married and from their actions seem more interested in protecting themselves from failure, whether it is financial or emotional. Until and unless young men and women are taught to recognize and resist materialism at every turn and value the role of the father and the mother and the gift of children, our nation will suffer the fate of those which are extinct because they did not replace themselves with new generations. Choices have consequences and God meant it when He told Moses and the tribes of Israel: "I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God's blessing and God's curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Choose life." (Dt 30:19)

  • Guest

    I am disturbed by some of the comments on this article. St. Paul said wives should be submissive to their husbands, not that all women should be submissive to all men.  That submission of a wife to her husband, who is loving her as Christ loves the Church, is appropriate to the marital relationship but I don’t think it is required for all male-female relationships.  Furthermore, not all women are created “for the express purpose of raising children in the home.” Some women are called to celibacy for the kingdom and serve the Church in many different capacities.  I have never heard that any job is intrinsically unsuited for a woman.  Many women with jobs outside the home do gravitate towards the more “motherly” professions of nursing, teaching, etc, but that is not to say that a woman with a talent for physics is being unwomanly when she gets her doctorate in physics. 

    I also disagree with the proposition that it is a bad thing that women are more independent.  Some women, who are not called to marriage, need to be able to support themselves and ought to do so in a way that develops and utilizes the talents that God has given them.  For other women, who are called to marriage, the potential to be able to provide a secure life for themselves until they find the man God has called them to marry enables them to make a freer gift of themselves in marriage.  The gift of self that is marriage should never be forced.  If a woman marries only because if she doesn’t she will suffer financial insecurity or physical danger, she is no longer participating in a free and mutual gift of self but in a commercial exchange.  This devalues marriage.  The problem with increased freedom, though, is that carries with it an increased responsibility.  Women in today’s society who enjoy freedom to live independently or to marry ought to approach this freedom with a sincere desire to follow God’s will for their lives.  One who rejects a vocation to marry based on an inordinate desire for temporal goods of prosperity or independence does wrong.  But one who sees this new freedom as the freedom to enter into marriage out of generosity to God and true self-giving love for her husband does good.  Surely we cannot argue that a circumstance which makes sin possible is bad, when it also makes virtuous acts possible?

    If I have misunderstood anything the Church teaches here, please correct me, as I do not claim to know better than Jesus and His church. Just a little background, I am a stay at home mom of two kids ages 3 and 1 ½, hoping God blesses us with many more.  I worked full time until my oldest child was 1 and I regret it, so I fully support stay at home moms.

  • Guest

    I read the article, liked it, didn't have time to read the comments, as I've been nurturing my wife and children ;-)

     

    I think that the author is onto a right idea generally, that there is a mismatch between people these days, due to social experimentation, but it is more than just 'women changed, men didn't'.  I found that women largely do not really want overly nurturing types, they want warrior cowboys, because it is in their nature to want warrior cowboys, they are hardwired that way by God.  Meanwhile they have been taught (programmed) to reject the warrior-cowboy spirit as old-fashioned at best.  The hard wiring conflicts with the programming, they can reject any man for being either to manly for their programming or to unmanly for their instinct.

     

    Not that men are any better off.  We think we want a beautiful tomboy, we've been programmed to, but she cannot, say, go skiing with us while she is expecting.  We are hard wired to seek a complementary matching woman who can selflessly watch the kids while we conquer the world, not a tomboy who conquers the world with us. 

     

      So many women don't know what they want, and many men don't either.  Got some serious untangling to do in our society. 

    theoaf

  • Guest

    I found some of the comments showed a misunderstanding of this article.  (I am the author and I'm using my husband's email because I can't get my password to work. I can write but I'm a dummy when it comes to computers.) First off, I  would never in any way try to insult someone because they were single.  I have a single brother and a friend, both in their forties.  They just never found the right person.  I would have stayed single if I had not found the right person.  Or who knows, maybe I would have become a nun.  The point is, however, that this was a commentary on how societal changes and expectations have played out in male/female relationships.  This article was originally written to comment on conflicts in marriages.  I had it in a file and decided to adept it to the fact that more and more women are opting not to marry.  When I write opinon pieces, I always try to say (as I did in this article) that I know my statements don't include everyone.  I was merely stating that the trend of single feminists has resulted in less marriages.  I also am aware that the statistics can be manipulated.  That is way I said it was "reported" because that is an accurate statement.

    This was only a commentary on how expectations for men have changed and why I think it's an uphill battle.  I think men should help out around the house, but I also think we need to be more accepting of gender differences that God gave us.
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