Yesterday I spoke about marriage and the growing concern about it that is occurring in all those organizations and agencies which share with the Catholic Church our view of the sacredness and importance of marriage. It is vitally important that parents do what they can to prepare their children for a good marriage.
It is also very important that married people, or those who have been married, share with our young people their experiences, so that the good experiences can be copied by the young and the bad ones can be avoided.
Then, the focus turns to the young people themselves. One of the foremost thoughts that should occupy young people in their dating and courting periods must always be: Is this man or woman with whom I am going out the sort of person I want to spend the rest of my life with, and the sort of person I want to be the father or mother of my children? Never mind how cute she is or how I get butterflies in my stomach when he’s around me. Rather, ask yourself: is he or she kind, thoughtful, patient, considerate, just, honest, sexually pure? What about his or her philosophy of money in comparison with mine? (One of the principal sources of disagreement in marriage is money and how to use it.) What about his or her relationship with his or her parents? Is he or she emotionally mature enough to leave father and mother and cling to me, as God requires in the marriage scenario? Have we spoken seriously about children: our attitude toward having them, about how many do we want, and how will we live our sex lives so as to achieve that size of family without doing anything offensive to God and to one another like contraception or even the consideration of the sin and crime of abortion?
Then, there is the all-important subject of religion: does this person I’m dating share my faith? Is he or she a person of strong religious and moral principles. If not, then his or her promise to be true to me “until death do us part” must be highly suspect from the beginning. I don’t mean to suggest that two persons of different religious affiliations should not marry or cannot be happily married. But the difference of religion certain introduces another point of disagreement in the marriage and can become a real problem in terms of the rearing of children. How can I live, knowing that my first religious obligation is to love God with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, and be successfully married to a person who does not believe or act upon that idea at all? Problems are almost certain.
These are the things that young dating and courting people should be forced to face and to discuss seriously rather than the silly, giggling, superficial things that they too often spend their time on. And certainly, they can only prepare appropriately for a happy and holy marriage if they will live a holy courtship that totally rules out premarital sex as a means of mutual amusement and entertainment. We get the impression these days that there are not very many virgins over the age of seventeen. How sad! What a waste of one’s innocence, integrity, virtue, and honest relationship with God! Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.