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Catholic Activity: Marriage Preparation (Avoiding Certain Kinds of Men and Women)



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Researchers have devoted much time to studies of thousands of marriage failures, and their findings confirm the observations and experiences of priests and other authorities that certain types of men and women are extremely bad risks in marriage. Young Catholic men and women endanger not only their chances for earthly happiness but also the salvation of their souls by associating with such types, with marriage as an immediate or remote prospect. These types are listed as follows.


1. Persons who are now married. Of course, Catholics may not wed anyone now validly married in the eyes of the Church, for a valid marriage is for life. However, occasionally doubt exists as to whether a marriage is valid, and the man or woman involved may hope to contract a valid union when the previous one is annulled. In the vast majority of cases, such hopes are unrealistic, for of every hundred annulments that are sought, only about two are granted. Moreover, annulment cases often take years to decide. Often, when an annulment is denied, the person who sought it unsuccessfully resorts to marriage outside the Church — and if your child is his partner, the two together may lose their souls.

2. Non-Catholics and indifferent Catholics. The hazards of mixed marriages are becoming so great in this country that the entire next chapter is devoted to the problem. But simply because a prospective husband or wife professes to be a Catholic is no guarantee that he or she is a good marital risk. You should tell your son or daughter to avoid those who are Catholics in name only, who adopt a disrespectful tone toward their religion, who scorn the virtues of chastity and modesty, and who indicate a desire to practice birth control. Such persons will threaten the spiritual growth of their mates. And, as we have seen, the lack of a strong religious sense characterizes those homes that are beset by tension in many other areas of activity.

You should also advise your son or daughter to beware of the following types: the man or woman who drinks or gambles to excess (those habits usually grow rather than decrease after marriage, and if they are not stopped at courtship the chance that they will ever be curbed is remote); the man or woman who is overly ambitious and determined to achieve a higher social position regardless of its cost (such persons may throw over all worth-while ideals and emotional values in their passion for success); and the man or woman with a hardness of character (if he or she lacks a spirit of compromise and of charity and kindness toward others, beware!).

3. The emotionally immature and those who show no willingness to accept responsibility. One wise priest, after observing thousands of marriages, remarked that he can see hope for any type of troubled union save one — and that is the one in which the husband or wife refuses to accept the responsibilities of the marriage state. The girl who has had everything done for her and who — through her physical beauty — has discovered that she may need neither brains nor a pleasant personality to attract men, is typically the type who whines over the difficulties of childbearing, child-rearing and the normal tasks of running a home. Likewise, the man who moves from job to job every few months and who habitually seeks help from his doting mother and father whenever he gets into debt, is a type seen often in the divorce courts — or sought throughout the country for having deserted his family in their time of need.

Activity Source: Catholic Family Handbook, The by Rev. George A. Kelly, Random House, Inc., New York, 1959