Some people want their marriage to be ideal, and if there is any ordeal, they want a new deal.

And the problem is the ideal, the insistence on the perfect. It doesn’t exist. There are no ideal marriages, only real marriages; marriages between two imperfect sinners with “issues.”

Marriage statistics today are very alarming. In 1974 there were just over 400,000 marriages in Catholic Parishes. In 2004 there were 197,000 marriages. Currently of women under 35, only 40% have ever been married [1]. Seventy percent of African American women and fifty-one percent of Hispanic women are currently unmarried. Forty-five percent of white women (non-Hispanic) and forty percent of Asian women are unmarried [2]

These alarming statistics don’t mean they aren’t having babies and nationally more than 40 percent of all children are raised by single mothers. The numbers are higher in most minority categories.

Explanations vary, from the higher economic independence of women, to (seemingly endless) college study programs, to poverty etc. Few of the studies I tracked reference promiscuity,which I think is a big factor. Why get married when when of the important reasons to do so (respectable recourse to a great physical pleasure) has been “put on sale” for cheap and is considered “respectable” under almost any circumstances by a promiscuous culture?

Another factor, as I have discovered in some 24 years of priesthood is that, despite our over all cynicism about most things, most people, especially women, remain highly idealistic about marriage and think it should be a kind of perfect society. Yes, wine and roses, candlelight dinners, high romance, the storybook, “happily ever” after version. Crying babies, dirty laundry, weight gain, frayed nerves…please, we’ll have none of THAT in this fantasy.

But the problem with unrealistic expectations is that they breed resentment, when the reality does not measure up. There is an old saying, “Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments.”

And this high idealism, I have noted extends now to the dating arena where couples endlessly look for the perfect one (who is not there). And since most (though not all) are getting all the sex they want, why push the matter? Why not wait for a more perfect body, a more perfect personality? Why not wait for the man/woman of your dreams (who, did I say, does not not exist)? And thus, most who do eventually marry wait until their early to mid thirties, and an increasingly large number never marry.

There’s an old set of jokes that go like this:

A brand new store has just opened in New York City that sells Husbands.

When women go to choose a husband, they have to follow the instructions at the entrance: “You may visit this store ONLY ONCE!” There are 6 floors and the value of the products increase as you ascend the flights. You may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you CANNOT go back down except to exit the building! So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband.

On the 1st floor the sign on the door reads:
Floor 1 – These men have jobs.
Hmm…she says so do I, lets go higher….

The 2nd floor sign reads:
Floor 2 – These men have jobs and love kids.
Hmm…she says, I can do that too, lets go higher….

The 3rd floor sign reads:
Floor 3 – These men have jobs, love kids and are extremely good looking.
“Wow,” she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

She goes to the 4th floor and the sign reads:
Floor 4 – These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead good looking and help with housework.
“Oh, mercy me!” she exclaims, “I can hardly stand it!” “But still, there has to be more. Where’s the romance and the attentiveness?”
Lets go higher….

The 5th floor and sign reads:
Floor 5 – These men have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead gorgeous, help with housework and have a strong romantic streak.
AH….She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the 6th floor, thinking, I need a man who can listen and is more highly sensitive. No, onward and upward!

Floor 6! and the sign reads: – You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store. Please exit directly to the ground floor.

The Male version has these details:

The 1st floor has wives that love sex.
The 2nd floor has wives that love sex and have money.
The 3rd through 6th floors have never been visited
.

Yes, there is a lot of this perfectionism today. Sometimes, as a priest, just observing the external,  I marvel at breakups, thinking, “Wow, I wouldn’t have broken up with her….”(or) “Do they really think they’re going to find a better combination?”I also marvel at how many gorgeous women are seldom ask out on dates and never get married. I think, “Come on men! Get with the program.” But it isn’t just them men, a LOT of women just aren’t interested in marriage or are waiting (and waiting) for the right guy to come along.

Somehow, the perfect becomes the enemy of the good or adequate. Perhaps romanticism and physical attraction (which, of their nature, peak early and decline) are the problem. For all the “cruelty” of the arranged marriages of the past, they seem to have done better than those of our age where romantic feeling is main basis for marriage.  (Regrading arranged marriages, the old song “I’ve grown accustomed to her face” comes to mind).

But somewhere, in this age of (strange) idealism and perfectionism, we need to come out of the clouds and realize that, in this world, the perfect and the ideal do not exist. Sinners marry sinners. The perfect spouse/best friend/ideal lover isn’t out there. Perhaps the merely good will have to do. Perhaps the “mixed bag” (that we all are) will have to be tolerated. And perhaps we do well to remember our own imperfection before we look for the perfect spouse. Perhaps we do well to say, “My marriage will not be perfect because I will be in it.”

Come on now, young people, lets get those marriage numbers up. Whatever the reasons, it’s time to leave mother and father, and just mixing it up with friends, and find a spouse and cling to one another. And when you get married, have lots of babies and raise them Catholic! :-)

Don’t let the perfect cause the good to slip by.

90 Responses

  1. Irenaeus of New York says:

    I just had this conversation at home with my brother today. He is dating and I am meeting his girlfriend for the first time. His intolerance for perceived imperfection borders on OCD.

    I told him that there is only one version of the truth, only one version of perfection… and that is God. I continued on saying that I love my wife for her imperfections because that is what makes her.. herself. If you don’t love someone for their imperfections, than you will not find love because perfection does not exist outside of God.

    Maybe, it was not the best or most profound advice, but it got him thinking.

  2. Annette Strachan says:

    God bless you.

  3. SJM says:

    Excellent article! I think some of the problem stems from all the “romance” novels people are reading these days.

  4. TEJ says:

    Is everyone called to get married, enter a religious order, or become a priest? Or are some called to remain single for their entire lives?

    • It is a matter of some debate in the Church. My own view is that one could speak of the single life as a “call” only if it were linked to some sort of apostolic work.

      • Scott W. says:

        That sounds reasonable to me. I’m sure they exist, but the number of lay people that think their apostolic work is tied to a non-consecrated single life very small compared to the number of people (Catholics too sadly) that think single life is serial fornication until you find the “right” person.

        • Magdalen says:

          I thought the church accepted single life outside a religious order as a calling. If it doesn’t, then why do we have consecrated virgins?

          • I am not sure. They are sort of a quasi religious category if you ask me.

            • Blake Helgoth says:

              I have read, in relation to RC concecrated virgins, that there is no canonical basis for that state. What do you know about this topic?

              • Seraph says:

                Consecrated virgins are part of the religious life. A consecrated lay virgin does not join a religious order, but his consecrated virginity is part of the religious life and he can be considered religious.

                I believe there is no such thing as a vocation to the “single life”. There is only marriage and the religious life consecrated to God. If a person remains single for life without a religious consecration, something went wrong along the way. A call was missed, or circumstances led to missed opportunities. It’s a mysterious thing that God allows due to free will.

      • I Like the Church Fathers says:

        Saint Paul and Saint Jerome were clear in asserting that the single life is preferable to the married state because it is easier for the single person to be holy than the married person. The single person does not have to worry about providing for a spouse and keeping his/her spouse happy. Hence, the single person can more easily focus on heavenly things and ignore earthly cares.

        • John Paul says:

          The Church’s historical preference for virginity is different from being single by default, single by chance, single by inertia, single for the time being, etc. The Church assigns highest dignity to the consecrated single life, such as the priesthood or religious orders. This is a terminal vocation. Also of high dignity is the married state, which too is a terminal vocation. The single state is a transitional state, betwixt and between, that is theoretically temporary and does not involve a radical give of self. In St. Paul and St. Jerome’s time, there was nothing comparable to today’s single life. St Paul and St Jerome were talking about life-long apostolic celibacy. One of the reasons the Church treats single people so poorly is this assumption that being single is a normative state. Apostolic celibacy is an ideal state. Marriage is an ideal state. Singleness is not an ideal state and does not have the dignity associated with Holy Orders and Marriage. Being single is especially problematic as a pseudo, non-vocation when you desperately don’t want to be single.

    • Ed B. says:

      I think some people need to be careful, and not confuse being “called to remain single” with simple selfishness.

      • Rachel says:

        Joining a religious order or entering into the priesthood or committing to marriage – these are not perfect protections against selfishness, nor do they automatically root out any selfishness still in one’s heart. The Lord looks at what’s on the inside, what’s in our hearts. He’s not fooled by externalities, even when they manifest piety.

        The vows of religious life, for example, are expressions of a desired interior relationship with the Lord. However, the vows themselves are not the relationship, but a symbol of dedication and intention. Virtue exists not in the vows themselves, but in the personal commitment to the Lord, in living out that intention with faithfulness.

        And that is what He loves, whether single, married, or religious – the living out of faithfulness to Him.

    • Rachel says:

      “I believe there is no such thing as a vocation to the “single life”. There is only marriage and the religious life consecrated to God. If a person remains single for life without a religious consecration, something went wrong along the way. A call was missed, or circumstances led to missed opportunities. It’s a mysterious thing that God allows due to free will.”

      God is not confined by human categories and limitations, in deciding how He will call His children to minister for Him in the world, and what particular ministry that is. God is not limited by human judgments in how He calls His people. He is much more dynamic than a sort of “only these two options” approach would allow.

      And, this is not just ministry in the ecclesial sense. Forgiveness and mercy are ministries, as we minster the forgiveness of God to others, through our forgiveness of them on behalf of others, and as we minister God’s mercy to them, as we take pity upon them. Suffering is a minstry, because we share in the pain of Christ for the salvation of the world. The ministry of suffering may be lived out in the single life. God may want someone to accomplish a mission, chosen by Him, which they might not be able to accomplish in the religious state, or with the responsibilities of married life. It may be exactly what God wills.

  5. Jimmy G says:

    Excellent article! I think you hinted at a good amount of reasons why the young choose to wait for marriage (or not marry at all). I do believe a lot of young men these days are babied. For instance, why do men in their late 20′s still play video games? There is certainly a lot of escapism (i.e. video games and greater problems such as binge drinking in college and rise of internet pornography) and this escapism ruins any chance for men (and women) to have honest and faithful relationships. We have to remember pornography is a Christian problem as well and I’m sure it has a direct relationship to why marriages do not happen earlier. Pornography creates an ideal woman that the man wants and that ideal is not realistic. I also believe since a lot of young men get wrapped up with pornography, they may think they are not worthy for a real and pure relationship. The devil gets a hold on these young men with pornography in many ways. Thus, I think escapism has a direct connection between lack of marriages. If men and women are truly escaping (via. pornography, video games, lazy internet suffering, Facebook for the wrong reasons, etc.) they will not know who they are as a person. If you do not know who you are and if you do not listen quietly for the Lord’s voice to enter your heart, chances are that you will not be able to truly get to know and love someone of the opposite sex and make a decision with the Lord for marriage.

    • Will says:

      Men in their late 20′s still play videogames because it’s something they grew up with – it’s engaging, fun, and can be as social as any other activity. Are there people that take it too far? Yes; just like there are people who take sports, study, and any other hobby too far. Is escapism an issue? When taken too far, sure; but escapism comes in many forms, and could be instigated by anything from playing videogames to reading novels or live-action roleplaying. This concept – that videogames or any other piece of modern technology – are somehow less worthy forms of spending time simply doesn’t hold water.

      • Hegelian Dialectic says:

        The concept that video games are “less worthy” ways of spending (some would say, wasting) time depends on which side of the game you’re on. Ask the military industrial complex why they’ve funded and promoted video games from the very beginning and what uses the military industrial complex has for them. The complex thinks very highly of the usefulness of video “games” because the “user” is being gamed and used, regardless of how “in control” the “user” believes himself to be. With sports and study and most other hobbies, no one is literally reaching into your head, via your eyes with technology and acting as change agent.

  6. Micha Elyi says:

    [A] LOT of women… are waiting (and waiting) for the right guy to come along.

    A LOT of females define their “right guy” as a sparkly vampire or billionaire into bondage sado-masochism. Anything less and their response is “Hmm… I can do that too” (or marry the State for an income derived from men but without all the icky inconvenience of actually having to live with one).

    And although less than 50% of first marriages end in divorce (initiated most often by the female for flighty and trivial reasons), the risk that they will remains too high and for men, the consequences of her unilateral divorce, are usually devastating – poor and minorities are the hardest hit, of course.

  7. RA says:

    Despite their undeniable faults, now is not the time to heap most of the blame on men, whose jobs are often enough being taken by the independent women whom they wish would be interested in marriage and children. At a certain point, someone will have to start telling modern women what they don’t want to hear; and traditional incentives will have to be restored to aspiring husbands and fathers, no matter how many automatic charges of misogyny are tossed about.

    Observation as well as recent polls support what I’ve observed: a girl in her early 20s is hardly ever simply too picky in search of a perfect husband — she’s usually terrified by the very idea of marriage and children until she’s first gotten her fun and her career squared away.

  8. Sarah says:

    But I think that a big answer to your questions about why women don’t get married might be right in front of you in the “male” version of the joke. All to often, perhaps even most of the time, it isn’t a joke – it is the truth. And women know it. I for one have been married for 17 years and have 7 children and, though I dedicate myself wholly to all, I still have this hard truth staring me in the face: that, to my husband, sex is the only important thing. I am not sure I would have gotten married had I known how horrible this fact is.

    • Will says:

      “I am not sure I would have gotten married had I known how horrible this fact is.” should read ->
      “I am not sure I would have gotten married to this man had I known how horrible this fact is.”

      Don’t apply the behavior of an individual to the whole of the gender. It’s unfair and intellectually dishonest; the same standard could, for example, be applied to women in remarking that, to most, ‘money is the only important thing.’

  9. shieldsheafson says:

    Perhaps one should marry the person with whom you really really desire to continue, to one’s dying breath, the conversation you’ve begun.

    • JenniB says:

      That’s so great! My husband (of 23 years) and I were at the grocery store the other day. I apologized for our rudeness to our checker because we continued talking past when we should have greeted her. I said, “Sorry, but we started this conversation 24 years ago, and haven’t yet found a stopping point.”

      So much of the problem now is that young women think they “deserve” everything, and won’t see how wonderful the young men around them are. I taught at an alternative high school, and beneath the sometimes angry, sullen exteriors were the hearts of Lions wanting to beat for a special someone. Sad, really, that women so often can’t see that.

  10. Alisa says:

    You hit the nail on the head Msgr, thanks for writing.

    Something you don’t mention is what a hardships those who marry young must undergo from those closest to them. When you start talking about marriage with family, they interrupt and start singing the praises of graduate school and other things, saying that marriage can wait. No, something as trivial as a grad degree can wait forever for all I care, especially when my career goal is to be a full-time mom and I’m already in debt. When I’ve found Mr. Right-for-me, what is the point of waiting six years like our cousins are? They’re also sleeping with their boyfriends. I really wish people would be happier for us.

  11. Matthew says:

    Have you read “The Birthmark”? A wonderful short story by Nathaniel Hawthorn which captures this dilemma perfectly.

  12. Greg Hessel says:

    Hard to find the right one when the question below would eliminate 90% anyway:

    “Do you go to Mass on Sundays?”

    Question 2 would eliminate the rest:

    “Do you follow all the teachings of the Catholic Church?”

    • martin says:

      90%, that’s all? 22% of the population in the U.S. is Catholic (according to the “Official Catholic Directory of 2010″) and according to Gallop 45% of Catholics say they “attended church in the last 7 days” (article published in April of 2009). So if we multiply 22% by 45% we come to 9.9%. And how many of those 9.9% that are remaining have been to confession in the last year? 20%, 50%? I don’t know, but I bet it’s somewhere between those two numbers (but we’ll go with the high of 50% for arguments sake), and take into account that about 50% of those people who are going to church are female (maybe a little low), and let’s also say that 40% are married (that’s going with the under 35 number mentioned above). So now we have 9.9% multiplied by 50% multiplied by 50% multiplied by 40% and that gives us 0.99% of the population is “eligible.” So there we have it, being generous less than ONE percent of the population is eligible. If you remove the general population and say only people who say they are Catholic you get 4.5% of Catholics are eligible.

      Let’s recap: 0.99% of the general population and 4.5% of the Catholic population are eligible for marriage.

      • Hegelian Dialectic says:

        Your numbers are terribly confusing and I wouldn’t dare challenge them since I can’t balance my checkbook. But I think we get your meaning. How about just go to a chapel where the traditional Mass is offered. It’s not the answer for most people but it could be the answer for some. It’s only a starting point.

        • martin says:

          Sorry, I’m an engineer by training, so the whole numbers thing makes perfect sense to me.

          Excellent advice, going to a TLM, but keep in mind that many (probably a majority) Catholics don’t have access to the TLM.

  13. Clueless says:

    I think the reason that women wait for marriage is that marriage is unstable. When 50% of marriages end up in divorce then you’d better have a job as a back up plan, otherwise you and your children will be impoverished once your husband decides he wishes a sexier model. In order to get a job that might pay for an independent life if your husband dumps you, then you need an education, ergo college or graduate school. (Women, unlike men, are heavily discriminated against in the paying skilled trades, such as plumbing, electrical work, welding, etc. Thus, more than men, they need an education if they are to have a job that will allow them to raise a family if their husband walks out). And in my experince it is usually the husband who walks out, not the wife.

    A women who marries young, places all her eggs (as well as those of her children) in the marital basket. Men usually improve their standard of living when a marriage breaks up, women and children usually lower their standard of living.

    Further, while most women want a relationship and children, most men (as you point out) want sex. While children and relationships benefit from the complexities of marriage, most men are able to fulfill their sexual needs without committing to marriage. Therefore the number of available men who are looking for marriage, rather than just sex are far less than the number of available women. This stimulates women to “put out” sexually, in the hopes of eventually achieving matrimony, and worsens the problem.

    The church, while vociferously condeming birth control (at least monthly in my parish) NEVER ONCE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE HAS EVER IN A SERMON condemned the objectification of women as sexual objects or insisted that men who fornicate (the overwhelming majority of unmarried US men, including Catholics) refrain from communion (as women who use birth control to prevent the effects of such fornication, are expected to do.)

    Again, the double standard.

    • Joseph Q says:

      The world is vast so it’s beyond my experience, but I just want to add a voice of encouragement. There are many Catholic men, faithful to the Church and faithful to themselves, that would not leave their wives nor objectify women. They are out there and they are hoping to find a holy bride as well. Attend a faithful parish and join their young adult groups or go to youth retreats and youth conferences. These are uplifting as well as social environments to find faithful men, both young and old. There are good men out there in need of good wives.

      It will always be true that you cannot know the future. You will not know if this man will always be faithful nor will you know if the economy will make his lose his job and way of supporting you. But it’s not about knowing, it’s about finding a man with great character and virtues that you can put your trust in. If you cannot consider trusting others, then you cannot open yourself to growth and God’s plan.

    • RA says:

      http://www.adn.com/2012/06/24/2518581/most-of-the-time-wife-initiates.html

      The woman leaves the man at least two out of three times, so your fears are misplaced (and likely due to myths propagated primarily by agenda-driven feminists).

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304724404577299391480959420.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

      “Young women in their sexual prime—that is, their 20s and early 30s—are generally better off than young men. They are better educated and earn more money on average. What made this possible is the sexual revolution—the ability to have temporary, intimate relationships that don’t derail a career. Or to put it more simply, to have sex without getting married.”

      • clueless says:

        You are correct. (I hadn’t known that, actually, and it is interesting).

        However, further analysis of the demographics indicate that the higher number of women initiating divorce proceedings appears to be due to a higher number of divorces due to physical or emotional abuse, or to alcohol drug problems, both of which were much higher in the male population.

        In previous years, women (having no options) would just take it. Now, having jobs, and an education, they can leave. It is not clear to me that this is a bad thing. I will acknowledge, however that in general divorce is very bad for children, even though most women (in the attached survey) seemed to think it was a good thing for them personally..

    • Hegelian Dialectic says:

      Marriage became unstable when the Church fell down on the job. It’s been approximately 100 years since modernism wrapped its tentacles deeply into the Church and it will be at least another 100 years (if God wills it) before we can claw our way back to sanity (and away from the ideas of the French Revolution which meant a man-centered way of thinking rather than a God-centered way of thinking). The women’s lib movement of the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s was only a symptom (tentacle) of a much deeper illness.

  14. RichardC says:

    Thanks, Monsignor, for reminding me to pray that I not have excessive expectations. For any of you woman folk out there who might be considering marrying a RichardC, you can find him on the 1st floor of the husband store, and he often marvels that he even got to the first floor and ponders how long he will be able to stay there.

  15. Achilles says:

    Dear Msgr, As usual, nice post! I have an off topic question, I read here not too long ago an excellent meditation on the 3 aspects of the diabolical, I don’t remember what it was called but it was followed by and based on an excellent talk by Fulton Sheen. He mentioned the psychological aspects of the demoniac. Anyway, I can’t find that, could you possibly help me hunt that blog down? I need it for a presentation at my parish,. Thank you very much and keep up the good fight. Achilles.

  16. Just as a General observation, to no one in particular, I am surprised how many of the comments relate this problem to one gender or another. I did say int he article that the “marriage as romance” is probably more a feminine phenom, but I also think the problem of perfectionism regarding marriage is common to both men and women.

    • Nate says:

      Msgr.,

      Usually these types of threads turn into blame being put on one sex or the other. Single, practicing Catholics of either sex don’t have many options out there and it is very difficult for anyone to even meet a quality person, much less one that is compatible to marry. Greg Hessel was spot on. Until those numbers change, this problem will just get worse.

  17. Achilles says:

    Thank you for the link MSGR. Exactly what I needed!

    I think there is a connecction between all the self esteem building that takes place in the public schools and the mass media- Kids now feel entitled to bliss and anything short of it is an outrage to the point where emotional violence to one to whom we vowed fidelity is an “appropriate” response. It is all diabolical.

  18. ThirstforTruth says:

    I think a marital relationship requires maturity in both the husband and the wife. This maturity comes with age
    and those who marry too young have a higher rate of divorce than those who wait until their late 20′s or even
    early 30′s. I think the immaturity of one or both spouses is perhaps what you mean by problem of perfectionism wherein one or both spouses carry within them impossible expectations which as you point out often develop into rage and resentment when unfulfilled. As a Catholic woman in her mid 70′s I must say when I grew up in the Catholic church young girls were taught that a woman’s role in life ( regardless of station) was to give and
    when she became too tired to give more she was required to go on giving until she either wore herself out or she died in the attempt. How do you think today’s woman, regardless of age, would ever accept that? In our culture both the male and the female maturation is delayed by expectations for material pleasures placed before personal development or that idea that a life lived well requires sacrifice to the other. A place too far for most!

    • Hegelian Dialectic says:

      Amen! And I’m in my early 50′s.

    • Immaturetwentysomething says:

      Or how about you marry young and mature together? I think blaming society for a lack of maturity is an excuse. Society is made up of people and those people make decisions. They either choose to die to themselves or keep living a life of self worship. Yes, many people choose the self worship(pride), but that’s been going on since Adam and Eve and has nothing to do with age. Young adults can make the decision to move forward in a relationship and this is usually facilitated by supportive family, culture, prayerful life. But those aren’t the only options–miracles come to mind, too. When I met my now husband, I was 18 (I went to college at 17), not attending Mass regularly, and living a lifestyle outside of the Church’s teaching (sex, drugs, you name it). Future husband was in his early twenties and pretty much living the same lifestyle. It took us some time, but we came back to the Church together- by the grace of God and the prayers of family. Now we have been married 3 yrs and we’re on baby number two. It’s not all about maturity, since you can experience any amount of life at any age (and anyway, I know some VERY immature 40+ yr olds) and experience life together- that brings you closer. My husband and i have experienced moving to and working in a foreign country, severe illness, pornography issues, pregnancy/natural childbirth(THAT made me grow up real fast), ups and downs in our faith lives, etc and we are only in our twenties. The fact is A succesful marriage is rooted in love (think Christ on the cross) and all about faith and prayer, things we are not learning enough about from our culture or from our home environment. Instead of blaming society, we should all pray daily for all young, unmarried people to discover their proper vocations and to pursue them the same way God pursues us.

  19. Maria says:

    Marriage is a commitment, jumping with two feet into something that you can not jump out of. (Do you remember the scene in the most recent Batman where he had to get out of that prison, and he couldn’t do it until he got rid of the rope?) At some point, people do have to commit, whether it is to a person or a religious vocation. If you want perfection then a religious vocation (not secular clergy) would be your best bet, marry Christ.

    BTW, do religious men have a spiritual marriage to Christ, the way that nuns do?

    • Rachel says:

      The spiritual marriage or mystical union with God is a state of relationship with the Lord and has been granted to holy men and women. It is a way in which God espouses a soul on a level of deep intimacy, when that soul has been purified and prepared by God to receive the sacred gift. Saint John of the Cross describes a soul’s spiritual marriage with God, as the moment when two – a soul and the Lord – become one flesh, the two having two natures, but becoming one in spirit.

      Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross describe the mystical marriage of the soul to God as a final stage in the soul’s perfect union with God.

      But, more than that, it is not limited to religious men and women. It signifies the state of one’s soul in their relationship with the Lord. And so, it is a state of holiness to which all holy men and women, consecrated and lay, married and unmarried are invited.

      That’s why Jesus died for His Spouse. The soul is His Spouse. (Yes, the Church is His Spouse, and it is through the graces of the Church that Christ espouses the soul.) He invites all to be His spouse, it is how He fully redeems and transforms a soul. The Lord desires to espouse Himself to every human soul.

      As with my other posts here, when I speak of this, I speak of spiritual marriage as the state of a soul’s relationship with God, not as an external symbol of a sought after relationship with God, which may or may not come to fruition. The external symbolism is often used in female religious orders. And it does point to a true spiritual reality that is possible. But, it’s perfection and completion happens on God’s time and by His grace, not by any human planning.

      Ahhh.

  20. tz says:

    None of the above. Modern women follow feminism waiting until their biological clock starts ringing BEFORE the start looking for a father/husband.

    As a man of maturity, I keep getting directed to the used merchandise section although I’m not in a similar condition.

    I also know of good Christian couples that one day the wife goes psycho and seeks divorce and wants to isolate the children. ‘Family Court’ should be re-labeled anti-father.

    And how exactly do I tell if a woman is AND WILL REMAIN what will be a holy wife and mother and isn’t a psycho bitch from hell she-devil? Before investing too much emotional and real capital?

    • Karen says:

      I think someone with your attitude is highly unlikely to ever find a decent woman because you are not a decent man. You want something that you are not capable of giving.

      • Still crazy after all these years says:

        Hi TZ,

        the reality is you can never know for certain if the girl you walk down the aisle won’t crumble and fall and become a psycho. What I do know after 34 years of marraige is that a real man loves his wife inspite of all her faults and imperfections and sticks with her. Years ago I battled serious depression, my husband bore the worst of it. His constant fidelity, confidence in me, support through years of therapy, roses when I didn’t deserve them, and unceasing prayers for me- helped me to recover. It was a very long difficult road for both of us but through the grace of God we are happier than we have ever been and I look forward to being at his side for years to come, I am sure he would say the same. I didn’t beat depression- WE beat it toghether and the win bleongs to both of us and God.

        BTW the girl that walks down the aisle with you doesn’t have any certianly that you won’t become a nut job either. Grace is what transforms these unions. Life is messy and when you you get into the weeds every marraige has its highs and lows, challenges and rewards. Its the shared experiences -good and bad – that make marriages strong. The love that matures together in Christ is so much deeper and lasting than any kind of worldly passion which burns out and grows cold.

        Maybe you should consider a girl that dives you crazy but who will love your imperfect self more than life itself. You might find her if you widened your cirlce and took sometime to get to know a good girl who has made a some bad choices, had her heart broken, but still hopes for someone to love her. Seek someone who still believes that faith and love can change her life. Maybe if you changed your mindset and considered her as a soul who has been used and crushed and longs to be loved and protected rather than “used goods” you might be, as CS Lewis was “Surprised by Joy”.

        To all those who are still searching I encourage you to leave bitterness and criticism at the door when next you meet a gal or guy and bring your optimism and hope to the table. I also encourage you to apply the NEXT Rule which stipulates that you don’t waste your percious time with people who aren’t sure they want what you want (marriage and family) and can’t commit, even if you are attracted to them. Don’t give up! My brother-in-law married in the church for the first time at the age of 60 and just became the father of a beautiful baby girl.

        Finally, Pray unceasingly.

        • Good Catholic Woman says:

          Thank you for finally saying something of encouragement for us Not Looking for Perfect Singles who do our best to follow all of the Church’s teachings and must struggle not only in this bizarre dating scenario but also the rather harsh opinions of those around us. Your love story, Still Crazy, is just that – a story of LOVE, which if you define it the way Christ does = SACRIFICE. I have always known this as I watched my parents of 47 years married go through life with it’s ups and downs. I’ve never been afraid of the sacrifice, but something must’ve “went wrong” as I was following the Church’s Teachings regarding dating. Good for you, Still Crazy! You made many good points in your comments and hit the nail on the head.

          I wish this article had been more positive. I don’t think it was at all. There are many, many, many good singles out there ( men and women) who are searching diligently for a good Catholic mate while also following Church dating guidelines. We need your prayers desperately. If you only knew how many people are doing all they can to do it right. I think we may be carrying a cross of singlehood and self-denial for alot of others who won’t. This could be our calling, although I don’t want to think it could be. I have always asked myself if I was meant to be a nun and have never felt that is what I was called to. You don’t know the sacrifices God may be asking of those of us who are single. Please pray for us instead of being so tunnel-visioned.

          On a last note, it would be nice for the Church to offer more programs for singles who are not 20 years old. If that is too much to ask, how about some good homilies from the pulpit like the other writer mentioned – talking about the objectification of women, etc, and the lack of people in confession lines. This could help tremendously.

          Still Crazy is right. We must pray unceasingly. Only He knows the Plans He has for us.

  21. ThirstforTruth says:

    @TZ…….How do you know? Who is directing you towards used merchadise? When you begin to get
    serious with a young woman, try to get to know her mother….more than likely if you marry the young
    woman, her mother is what you will get in 20-30 years. You sound much too bitter and untrusting to
    be getting serious with anyone until you get your own psche straightened out. Just my opinion from what you wrote here. In a real committment you do not count the cost.

  22. sean campbell says:

    For a much better explanation of this, I suggest reading Hanna Rossin’s new book, “The End of Men” or her article from the The Atlantic Monthly of the same title, in the July 2010 issue. Women, generally are improving themselves both educationally and economically. Men are not. WHY, would a woman settle for this just to reproduce. My wife has a Master’s Pastoral Theology and I have a B. A. and advanced trainging as a paralegal. IF we did not have similar educational backgrounds, interests, etc., she’s made it clear that she’d be gone. Day to day, what matters is similarity of beliefs, education etc.

    • Why? I dunno, maybe it has something to do with vocation and doing what is right, and having Children in a godly way. Your use of the word “reproduce” is significant. I hope your marriage improves and you might find a deeper source for your marriage. I rather dispute your understanding of the “pastoral” and would surely argue that you have not “mastered” it from the way you speak here. It is also interesting to me that you write under so many different aliases here.

    • Hegelian Dialectic says:

      Baloney – what matters day-to-day is a commitment to God and to the marriage and to the life He has given to you together. I have a B.A. and “an advanced degree as a paralegal” as well. My husband has no “pedigree” past his high school diploma but he can run rings around me when it comes to most subjects. His family didn’t have the money to send him to school although he’d been accepted to Rennselaer. He is my hero but NOT because he’s a brainiac; because he’s a good, kind, loving, caring Catholic man who knows what is really important in life and what life is about.

  23. John says:

    “Perhaps romanticism and physical attraction (which, of their nature, peak early and decline) are the problem.” I particularly latched on to this – does this mean physical attraction should play a minor role in the choosing of a spouse? Is it possible to date someone you don’t find physically attractive in any way?

  24. Gia says:

    Since the Church places such importance on marriage and family, it might be helpful if parishes pitched in a bit more to help faithful Catholic singles find each other. The wider society is not going to be of much help, so it may be incumbent on the people in the pews to make a greater effort to see that everyone in the parish who wants to be wed has an opportunity to meet like-minded Catholics — and not just people in their 20s and 30s. There are also plenty of folks in their 40s and beyond seeking spouses, and they may need even more help. Much as those people who complain that pro-lifers aren’t around after the child is born (not true, but it’s a common whine),let’s make sure that a Church that believes strongly in marriage does all it can to help all those called to matrimony.

    • AMH says:

      I agree with this whole-heartedly. In the last year I asked one of the Deacons at my parish if he knew of any good, faithful Catholic men he could introduce me to. His answer – “Try a dating site.” And he wasn’t talking about the Catholic dating sites either.

      • Bill says:

        I think dating sites do more harm than good. Only a minuscule percentage of people who sign up ever get married. Meanwhile, the existence of online dating sites gives everyone else a cop-out. I have had the same experience multiple times. I have quietly and respectfully asked people who I thought were my Catholic friends to introduce me to eligible women my age. People look at me like I have two heads. I discovered that one couple that I thought were friends from college had been making fun of me for asking. I have no trouble at all approaching women in general for dates, but finding serious Catholic women has been a nightmare.

  25. Hegelian Dialectic says:

    @ Msgr. Pope: funny/true article..I laughed out loud.

    And @ “tz” above: You simplify things quite a bit. Not all women purposely wait until their “bio clock” is chiming. I think most women are caught up in the idea that by the 3rd date, it’s “all the way” or the 4th date doesn’t happen. After all, Cosmo wouldn’t steer them wrong…The great majority of men do not want to spend more than a few dinners/movies waiting for the “pay-off” when (unfortunately) they know that they can get what they’re looking for elsewhere and probably less expensively. Women and men have been sold a bill of goods by all media, by “sex education” in the warehouses called schools, and even by their churches. We were told we “could have it all”. That’s a lie. We can’t and we shouldn’t expect it because we’ll be disappointed every time. God is enough even when we don’t think He is.

  26. Tim says:

    Dear Msgr. Pope,
    Thank you for your article–I have a question on the topic, and I am posting it here in the event my question would be shared by, and that your answer would be helpful to, others who are also wondering similarly. My question: How important is it for a man to have a stable economic situation before looking for a wife…especially if there are many good Catholic candidates surrounding him?

    Context: I am recently turned 25; I am now involved in a low-paying, but high-human-value job in the lay world. I am very concretely ‘here’, and am looking to engage living my state in life very fully, and in a very Christ-like manner. I find myself surrounded by attractive Catholic women of various ages and personalities, in nearly all of whom I can find much to admire, but with none of whom I am head-over-heels, exactly. Without over-idealizing, however, or holding out for some idolatrous “perfection”, I am wondering if I owe a woman a much more specific reason for pursuing her than a desire to ‘get busy living’–and/or if I would serve as a poor example of responsibility if I go about trying to build a family or engaging a woman’s affections before having an economic foundation to build off to provide for her well. Thank you again!!!

  27. CRS says:

    I have to add, you can’t just encourage people to marry just anybody (though I know that’s not what you’re saying or advocating). Trust me, it is better to delay marriage than to rush into it with the WRONG person. My “husband” and I are only civilly married, and that ceremony was tossed together at the last minute. We built our relationship backwards, and since I was lapsed at the time, I allowed myself to marry someone without thinking, and only because we had a child. Now I’m in the process of returning to the Church, and I’m trying to “reset” the relationship, by building it foundation-first. Honestly, most moments feel like I’m hitting a brick wall and not getting through to him. Then, he gets better, but the change isn’t permanent, and the cycle starts over. I’ve been told to just stay in the relationship because “it has potential,” and because we have a blended family. I’m miserable and am torn between staying for the kids and leaving to find someone who is right for me. I don’t need perfect. I just need someone who is complementary to me. Oh, and who loves my kids. I just hope that’s not too tall an order. What do you think?

  28. Peter Wolczuk says:

    Maybe all this, and more demands for perfection to be provided for us, is because we seek a short cut to perfection. Instead of following the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 5 (which builds toward His conclusion about perfection) we present ourselves as perfect and try to fulfill the implied (not even stated) promise of satan in the garden that, if we know of good and evil we will become gods and so have fought among ourselves for thousands of years in a futile test to see who is perfect or, perhaps, a follower of the perfect human.
    In grandiose claims, egotism, stories of past incidents re-worded to make ourselves appear better than the other people in the stories have the lies become so good that we have come to believe them and, as a result, demand perfection be provided for in the illusion of perfection? An illusion of which we are in denial about as being an illusion.
    A contest typified by two sinners pointed the finger at each other and saying something like; “I’m not a sinner because you are.” See Luke 18:9-14 for a better result from another perspective.
    Are the fruits of the Twentieth Century in the aftermath of the results of Pope Leo XIII’s auditory vision now bringing us to the final test of our faith and one last chance to use humility as a strength so that we can grow instead of being spoiled brats playing grown up?
    Please note, I have not left myself out of this. I have done the grandiose and other deceits mentioned and more, such as trying to buy affection with money, false flattery, alcohol and worse.
    May God have mercy on us all so that we may better learn to love Him.

  29. John Paul says:

    Father, the outlook for serious single Catholics who want to get married is BLEAK and HORRIBLE. It just doesn’t happen.

    We get no practical encouragement of any kind from the Church, except for online dating services that never work. There are never prayers at intercessions for single people seeking marriage. How come? We pray for the elderly, the unemployed, the poor, the infirm, cops and firemen, and soldiers at war, but never for single people who want to get married within the Church.

    I am personally pushing 50. The loneliness gets worse every year. The opportunities to meet a suitable marriage partner get fewer and fewer. You NEVER have the same opportunities or ability to form relationships that you had in your 20s.

    I think it is very bad advice to tell people to wait until they are mature to get married. I think there is an argument against very early marriage in today’s society (in one’s teen years) but if you are not mature enough to be married by age 25 you will never be or you are choosing not to be.

    A warning to those 25 year olds who think it will be easy to marry when they are past 30. It’s not! The longer you go the more likely it is you will never marry. I am not kidding. I know from experience.

    There are many, many problems out there. The women blame the men, and vice versa. I think that the basic problem is that Catholic society has collapsed and that serious Catholics who abstain from sex before marriage are locked out of the dating pool in secular society. We are probably less than 1% of the population. Even in supposedly Catholic settings, you never know who it is safe to date.

    It doesn’t help that so many Catholic marriages are of couples who cohabited until literally minutes before the weddings. It used to be that the lay community helped single Catholics by providing introductions, etc. Now it totally never happens. The assumption–even by priests, I am afraid to say– seems to be that everyone just makes the accommodations they need to make with secular society to get hooked up. The one topic you can’t discuss is where do marriages come from? There is no place more oblivious if not outright hostile to single Catholics seeking marriage than the typical Catholic parish.

    Another really bad idea one sees over and over again is that one shouldn’t think about marriage until one “discerns” a call to be married. WRONG! We called to marriage by our very natures in which God creates us male and female. The only question is whether we pursue a natural marriage or a supernatural marriage in religious life to Christ or His Church.

    No one is “called to be single” until they are “called to be married.” You may be single by circumstance, or single because of bad choices, or in very few cases, single because of some genuinely apostolic work, but the whole idea of a “single vocation” is not simply “controversial.” It is contrary to Catholic tradition, contrary to the catechism, and just plain wrong. Yet virtually all the Catholic websites for young people are full of articles about posts about living the single life until one “discerns” a call to marriage, or that there can be no vocation to marriage until one discerns a a call to be married to a specific person.

    Young people, if you know you are not entering consecrated religious life, you should be actively planning to be married at some point, in God’s time, and probably far later than your parents and grandparents married, but hopefully when you are still young enough to enjoy the prime of life. Young men, you don’t have forever. You need to make plans to support a family now. It may take you many years to attain this goal, but unless you start early, you will not get there. Young women, it is true that there are a lot of unfocused young men out there, but be willing to give a young man a chance if he is on the right track. Twenty years ago, I was not well off; today I am quite wealthy and own a business. I am not going to recriminate, but there are at least half a dozen Catholic women who turned me down back then and are still single today.

    A lot of serious Catholics think it is good advice for a single Catholic to marry a Protestant or a non Christian if there are not Catholics available. Don’t get me started on that one.

    The bottom line is that Catholic marriage is in crisis, faithful single Catholics have enormous problems getting married, a lot of have reached the point where we will probably never marry and are definitely too old to have children, and still the institutional Church does nothing for us.

  30. Patricia Rose says:

    My 20 year-old daughter just got married to a wonderful 22 year old man. They are both very serious Catholics, and obviously will more than likely struggle a bit financially. But they are SO happy! I will say that most of my family thought she was crazy and should “wait a few years” to fully educate and “establish” herself. Wishing to be chaste, that was not an option for them. Their witness to their friends and families has been incalculable and I have no doubt will continue to be.

  31. Hegelian Dialectic says:

    @ John Paul: I very much agree with the idea about discernment –isn’t that simply cover for “choice”? One chooses to believe he/she hasn’t discerned that it’s the correct time to be married and raise a family because it’s INCONVENIENT. Guess what? It’s almost never convenient. Getting married is life altering! If it isn’t life altering then there is something dramatically wrong with the marriage. But most people (Catholics and non Catholics) in “modern” society are egocentonic (just as many technocrats said we’d be by this time in “history”) and most people (whether young and older) can’t bring themselves to think about sacrificing anything of their “life-style” in order to be married and have children.
    Regarding those women who were not interested in you when you were struggling financially, it’s sad that people don’t see potential in others where it exists. Many women want a ready-made man. It’s just easier that way–or so they think. They don’t think about building a life together. They don’t think that financial “good times” come and go –often go—nothing lasts for ever. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a non Catholic way of thinking. If you are traditional (your writing makes me think you are), then seek out a traditional chapel if possible. Go out of your way if necessary. You may find a suitable woman even though you’re “pushing 50″ . The institutional church will continue to do nothing for you. Its focus continues to be liberation theology and “making nice” with the secular world.

  32. Maria says:

    It is very scary for unmarried people out there! There are examples everywhere, in society and often in our own families of divorce and unhappy intact marriages. But I can say that if we are really striving to live a holy life, united to Christ, he WILL give us what we NEED to make a marriage LAST. He will not make it easy (at least not all the time) because one’s vocation is one’s cross.

    I was not very pius when I married and my discernment was something along the lines of “He’s cute, he’s funny, he seems good with kids, he’s Catholic, I’ll take him.” Now, I’m not recommending such a shallow discernment in choosing one’s spouse, but throughout the marriage it’s not what you went into it with, as much as what God puts into it that gets you through.

  33. Bill says:

    I definitely agree with John Paul that the grimness of the Catholic single life cannot be overstated, and it doesn’t get better as it gets older. Young people, don’t let being over 40 and single happen to you!

  34. Jenn says:

    I’d just like to say that I’m a single 28 year old woman who is faithful to the Catholic Church and I’ve had a really difficult time finding a man who is serious about settling down and who is willing to settle for less than “perfection”. I would absolutely love to meet a solid Catholic man who was looking for a stay at home wife/mother, but I’ve yet to find one who is interested in me even though I’m average size and I would say average looking – I have met several Catholic young men who were dating gorgeous, promiscuous atheists though, because that’s where all the fun was. :-(

  35. John Paul says:

    It’s critical mass. I was in a biology class once and learned that once the population of Species X gets below a certain level, the species craters. For a while you will see a few critters here and there, and it won’t look like they’re about to disappear. But when you are below a certain threshold, the species can’t mate any more and they are extinct within a generation. That’s us.

    • Hegelian Dialectic says:

      Yes, and frightfully, that is the agenda (as in, Agenda 21 and many other agendas pushed from “on high” to the lessers down below). This goes very deep. Just as we’ve been farmed/domesticated, we are now being culled. The evidence is ALL around if one cares to look at it. There are only 2 things one needs to keep in mind when looking at anything that has happened in the last 100-200 years and certainly what is happening in an accelerated fashion now. Those 2 things are land and eugenics.

  36. Seraph says:

    Some of the excuses for delayed marriage is that young people “are not ready”. The newsflash is that nobody is ever ready for marriage and children. If people waited until they were ready for marriage and children, the past generations would never have gotten married and had children. Most of our grandfathers and ancestors were not ready, but they followed the customs, and just got married at the age that was expected by their culture. It all worked out.

  37. Ben Morales says:

    Msgr. Pope,

    I read the 18/Sep/12 post and the link provided to Thinning the Ranks and it brought me back to this post. There seems to be a contradiction but I have a hard time putting my finger on, namely: either we look for perfect or we’ll have a hard time with true discipleship; or, as you sugest in this post, we ought not to seek perfect or we’ll miss on something that is good enough. There is a lot more to each post than my simplification here, but you made me think between thinning the dating ranks vs. good enough will make.

    I agree perfect is not an option but where does the arrow in the tank start marking that it is got to the point where it is not good enough?

    As I see it, there are Catholics that have grown away from the teachings of the Church but by many standards are good. Would agree to raise their kids Catholic and facilitate some of this education, as long as they do not become priests or nuns since it’s a waste of a life. Would pray at night but might miss a Sunday Mass because there is something more important. Would not consider confession a necessary sacrament but make sure their kids would have a first confession and first communion… I hope you get my point.

    Being a sinner I appreciate your point about sinners marrying sinners but would like to understand or be given some guidance regarding wanting to become disciples and helping the other (who is good) in the same direction and at what point should one accept that there might be some thinning ahead.

  38. Michael says:

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I am 26 (almost-Oct 12), and have long since abandoned the notion of perfection because I know I am far from perfect; I have very mild Cerebral Palsy, which gives me a speech impediment and a slightly awkward gait,but I am fully functional, independent and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. Despite people telling me I have good qualities,am handsome, etc, many people don’t know how to handle differences, even when those differences have no impact whatsoever on one’s ability to work or function. I’d get married if I could; I’m not looking for perfection, just love built on a relationship with God and the Church. Where are those girls?

  39. Cynthia BC says:

    My husband and I were 32 and 33 respectively when we were married. We each were comfortable in our own skins, and each accepted the other “as is.” We’re 13 years and going strong. We’re each other’s best friend.

    When I was in college I was quite sure that if I were still unmarried at 30 I would be quite the miserable loser. I eventually realized that one didn’t need to have a partner in order to be a complete person, and broke things off with my then-boyfriend. [No doubt my parents danced long into the night; they knew he wasn't the right person for me, and didn't think we had a particularly healthy relationship.]

    I have no regrets about not marrying earlier in life. I did not go seeking a husband, trusting that if marriage were in the cards for me, God would provide. While I would have accepted it if marriage were not in the cards, I am so thankful that God DID provide.

  40. Mike says:

    After reading the blog and responses, sure sounds as if you’re over 40 –or more, and never married,it is so very much considered that there is something verye wrong with the person.

    I guess the brush is too broad.

  41. Elena says:

    It is very difficult for a woman to find someone willing to commit to her unless she is willing to live together first or have sex very quickly after meeting. Most men also aren’t pro NFP only. It’s not easy to hold a man’s interest if you want to wait, even if you constantly let him know how sexually desirable you find him, and that you are only trying to strive to for this because of your faith. That’s the just reality today. I have been Catholic for 8 years now, and have been praying for a spouse for almost a decade. I’ll be 35 in 6 months. I am no longer waiting for a Catholic man, a Christian man, or even one who believes in God. Just someone who I love that loves me and actually wants to get married. Hopefully my priest will bless my marriage.

  42. Hart Ponder says:

    I must stand up for Romantic Love. Too often we focus on finding the Ideal partner, when our first concern should be with becoming that which we seek to find. Have we made ourselves worthy of the love to which we aspire?

    I believe that romantic love, rationally understood, is not an unattainable dream, a literary invention. It is an ideal within our reach, but to reach it, we must first understand what love and God asks of us…
    A study of Mystical Love points to first the Divine encounter and then to our social interactions… Joan of Norwich, Saint John of the Cross, the Song of Solomon, the prophets (Jeremiah 20:7), even Rumi to is a worthy read to inspire the deepest aspects of love, spiritual and physical.

    Many people experience disenchantment with their careers, and it is not commonly suggested, therefore, that the pursuit of a meaningful career is a mistake.

    It is my current viewpoint that current marriage standards for Priests seems to reinforce the medieval message of nonsexual love to a point that we have lost a very important aspect of love.

  43. [...] this is when a guy so deeply analyzes potential dates ahead of time that he inevitably finds some fault with each and every candidate in his perpetual search for the [...]

  44. Ryan says:

    This is an excellent post Monsignor and I agree with you 100%. Naturally each sex can only speak from their own perspective. Women like to blame men and men like to blame women for all their relationship issues. From my perspective most of the blame falls on women with their idealism, endless education pursuits, and the lack of desire to get married at all but that is only because I don’t fully understand the female perspective as a man. The value of my perspective is only good for half the answer to the problem as I believe it is foolish for either sex to ignore each other’s perspectives. I have seen women name off a lot of common problems with todays young men and they use those reasons to explain why they are unsuccessful with men but what happens when a guy like myself who wants to wait for sex approaches a Christian women? You get rejected.
    The fact that you are a guy who wants to remain celibate and protect her purity ultimately means very little because all you did was satisfy requirement 1 of 100.

    The problem with all this rejection causes frustration, enough frustration can lead to bitterness, bitterness leads to anger, and anger can lead to a feeling of hate for oneself or the opposite sex. I know this because I am smart enough to recognize these feelings build up within myself. These feelings are a natural reaction to the circumstances that we find ourselves in but yet recognizing these feelings allows us the ability to rationalize an alternative way of thinking in order to come up with a solution to these feelings. Even if you do find yourself in a relationship with a women, chances are the relationship is hanging on by a thread the entire time because at any moment she is ready and willing to break up with you even for the most absurd reason. Often times she could have discovered these “problems” with you within the first week and called it off right away but yet she drags it out for a year and then calls it off. Anything I say is going to sound like I am a whiner but it is really only a reflection of the level of frustration which I am not at fault for.

  45. Adele says:

    I think in some regards the author has middle age thinking and just because all he cares for is sex… the emotional needs of the women (6th floor) are discarded as trivial, because that would take effort on his part as a man, and men in general, and why bother, esp. when men being stronger can force a woman(wife) to have sex if needed (“it’s her duty after all”).

    There is a lot of deceit in the media about romanticism and the perfect one, it’s true, but at the same time the whole movement for women’s right and working on marriages is a response to the things going on behind the closed doors of those arranged marriages.

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