some personal views for Catholic readers
The Millennium Cohort Study data on 15,000 mothers who gave birth during 2000/01 found that, amongst all unmarried couples comprising those who described themselves as either “cohabiting” or “closely involved” at the time of birth, family breakdown is five times more common than amongst married couples. Nearly 3,000 mothers, 20 per cent of the sample, had become lone parents during the first three years of their child's life. However, the risk of breakdown was 6 per cent among married couples and 32 per cent among unmarried couples, comprising 20 per cent of those “cohabiting” and 74 per cent of those “closely involved”. Bristol Community Family Trust report:The conflation of marriage and cohabitation in government statistics - a denial of difference rendered untenable by an analysis of outcome. Published September 2006http://www.bcft.co.uk/Family breakdown in the UK.pdf
"Do not believe that living together before marriage guarantees the future."How true this is. Shack-up relationships are made to be walked away from. The lives of the children of such unions is a house of cards, and when they grow up, they too will shack up. Plus: the vast majority of domestic violence cases I have seen over the years have been shack-ups, hands down.Ladies: living with him will not make him marry you. Neither will getting pregnant by him.
The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony binds two people until Death.There is nothing frail about this sacrament.A couple does not have to be in love with each other for a marriage to be successful.Love for God and a mutual agreement to obey His command to be fruitful is the most necessary ingredient to qualify for this sacrament.These modernist children have been mis-catechized into thinking marriage is for those that can 'afford' it. And for those that are absolutely certain they 'love each other' God is put on the back burner.But to live in sin together is always affordable. And a couple does not really have to love each other, procreate, or love God to do so.A woman should be so lost in God, that a man has to seek Him, in order to find her."I love you, therefore let me take you into mortal sin" is the mantra of the modern Catholic.Here is an example of a Roman Catholic Marriage Ceremony, as it should be:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0YQdLuMwHYWhen the Holy Father meets traditionally catechized Roman Catholic children, he will get much different remarks about the sacraments.He will find Truth in the traditional children.We need to insure our women are properly respected and honored; our society depends on this.To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.”-- Archbishop Fulton J. SheenPray for the Holy Father.*
"Beginning from the initial attraction and 'feeling well' with the other, educate yourselves to 'love well,' to 'want the good' of the other. Love lives from gratuitousness, self-sacrifice, forgiveness and respect for the other."What a fabulous papal affirmation of the grace and beauty of "true love". I believe true love between us mortals is God-given. I believe in the sanctity of marriage and the vows to remain true and to cherish. I agree with SMCTOD that there is nothing frail about this sacrament.Some Catholic marriages cannot, sadly, bear children; but this doesn't make them unfruitful. A marriage blessed in true love will always strengthen and evoke faith in others. I have friends who are living together in case they're mistaken; to avoid divorce "later on". In most cases, the relationship never gets to "later on": this is taken as a sign they were right to cohabit. I've been called old-fashioned so often now: it's never felt like the put-down it's clearly intended to be. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard couples say they don't need a piece of paper; that they have children, mortgages, shared accounts. It's heartening to hear the Pope praise the power and purity of romantic and physical love within marriage. It's seemed to me in the past that the church has sometimes portrayed marriage as a respectable option for those without a vocation, not as a vocation in itself. I firmly believe that God does join together. When I was little, I may have romanticised the very real sacrifices my Mum and Dad made to be together, but over the years their marriage gave my faith in God and man certainty and structure."True love promises infinity": for me, probably the most memorable line in that text. Why is it that the majority of marriages currently fail within ten years, and the average cohabiting union in even less? One of my dearest female friends is now internet dating because she tells me she can't sit around waiting for Mr Right; presumably she's hoping to strike lucky with Mr Nearly-But-Not-Quite. I'm not meaning to be disrespectful to anyone who's embarked on internet or speed dating, or who has found their life-partner via those routes. But I can't see the endearment in stock self-endorsements such as "Good Salary, Own Home", "Solvent", "No baggage". I look for the way of God in my friends and I would hope for nothing less in a partner. The progeny of the situations cited by Georgem and Anita are growing up around us in Brighton, London, everywhere. Cohabiting becomes the norm; marriage has no life-expectancy. Multiple "step" or "half" siblings and parents often paint extended families with no substance or stability.My completely lovely internet dating girlfriend tells me she can't understand why I'm still single when I was always the one who wanted to fall in love and get married: I think she's nailed the reason right there.Thanks for the post Fr Ray!
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