Friday, June 6, 2008

A note to young couples

FRIAR'S CORNER, June 8, 2008:

This is the wedding season, and I've been meeting with couples and there are things that come up regularly that are challenging. What is the challenge? I'm sure you already know it. Most couples approaching the Church today are not church-going people; most are already sexually active; most are already living together; and many already have children. What's worse is that most think this is all good and right and wouldn't have it any other way.

This is truly astounding. I sometimes joke that a few years ago, at least couples would have enough respect to lie to the priest about living together and give us their parents address. Today, they boldly tell us about their living situation, about who's a grump in the morning, about who snores in their sleep, etc. as though we think that is great. In other words, very often, couples aren't even aware that the Church frowns on this.

Give it a try!

Couples often tell us that they live together so they will know if this is the right person for them. "It makes sense to try it out first and see if you like it." They are often shocked when I point out to them statistics showing that couples who live together before marriage are four times more likely to divorce than couples who wait. Why? There are certainly many factors, but one simple question I often ask cohabitating couples is this: how will the day after your wedding be any different than the day before?

This "give it a try" attitude says something about the nature of commitment. What it is really saying is, "I'm not totally committed to you if I find you annoying to live with." What a real commitment says is, "I love you. I want to spend my life with you. And, I'll do whatever it takes to make that work." That doesn't need "a try." It needs work. Bottom line: cohabitation weakens marriages, it doesn't strengthen them.

From celebration to reconciliation.

The reality is that we have distorted even the sacrament of marriage. What should be a celebration of love has become a sacrament of reconciliation. Instead of being the holy union of two people, it becomes a sacrament that reconciles an otherwise sinful situation.

Somehow, I don't think this is what God intended. God has a plan, and our goal should be to cooperate with that plan. That plan is quite simply: be a person of faith, a person of the Church, a person who gathers with the community in worship every week; remain sexually pure until you are married so that the incredible, intimate gift of your sexuality is the most special gift that you can give to your spouse; wait until you have brought the grace and the power of God's sacrament to your relationship before you begin living as though you are married. Not that this is perfect, but people who do this are four times less likely to get a divorce. That's not an opinion, that is a statistical fact.

Maybe God's on to something after all.

My plea today is to all young couples. Consider not the false message that our culture wants to sell you. Recognize it for the lie that it is. Instead, embrace God's way and it will be so good for you. I promise. God promises. It may sound "old fashioned" to some. But, wouldn't you love to find yourself one day in a good, old-fashioned marriage that lasts "until death do us part"?

Love, Fr. Tom

1 comment:

  1. Dear Father Tom: A friend showed me your column in your church bulletin and I was so impressed by your easy manner in presenting Catholic truth. I am hoping you will continue communicating in this fashion and urge you to take up the challenge of the homosexual lifestyle. I dared to do that in the Danbury News-Times last Sunday

    and was raked over the coals! Just Google "same-sex marriage should not be permitted" to read the article and the 200+ nasty comments!

    God bless you and bless your writings and your homilies.