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What To Look For In A Prospective Dating Partner

Dec 15, 2007
More is required of marriage than lipstick for the girl and broad shoulders and a cute grin for the boy.

The modern woman, for example, must be at least an amateur psychologist, public-relations expert, dietitian, shopping and efficiency expert, accountant, interior decorator, housekeeper, cook, and chauffeur, to mention just a few of the directions in which she may be called upon to render vital service to her husband and family. Such talents aren't acquired overnight. It doesn't take intelligence to fall in love, but it takes real intelligence to stay in love.

It Takes Love and Faith
Fruitful and lasting marriage is largely a matter of true love and faith.

When there is genuine love and a consecrated Faith the practical problems of life are not too difficult to meet and conquer. When these qualities are lacking, even the smallest personality differences will often bring discord and destruction to a marriage and family life.

There are times when even the most devoted husband and wife have their differences. Maybe the baby cried all night and the parents were worried and short-tempered. A petty spat follows. Perhaps the husband is down in the dumps when he sees the next door neighbor's new car and he can't afford one. Or the wife sees Mrs. Jones with a smart new dress and would like one but can't have it....

The husband may be slow, quiet, easy-going and the wife volatile, exuberant, and impetuous -- and these personality differences may at times be provoking to one or the other. One may have a livelier sense of humor and overdo it now and then at the other's expense. One may be patient, the other just the opposite....

These and countless other big and little differences can cause pain and discord in the family life. But where love and Faith prevail... where there is a proper understanding of the mutual character of the marriage relationship... where husband and wife are truly "two in one flesh" -- these differences never lead to the divorce court.

The fact that the husband is the recognized head of the home does not mean that he may act like a dictator imposing his every whim, opinion, and will upon the entire household. A true husband regards the rights, interest, and welfare of his wife as well as himself and any children that may be born.

Under God's specific direction, therefore, marriage is a mutual relationship founded upon love, faith, and the physical attraction of a man and a woman for each other. Its success depends upon the willingness and the ability of both parties to fulfill their respective obligations. It takes a good man and a good woman to make a good marriage

The Catholic Church and Marriage

Because marriage is a sacrament as well as a contract, it is absolutely necessary to consider the laws (canons) of the Church regarding marriage. The Church is the guardian of the sacrament and must set up safeguards. The chief protections against unholy or unhappy marriages are impediments -- obstacles, you might call them --- that block the marriage. They make the union either invalid or at least unlawful. Such impediments are of two kinds: prohibitive and invalidating.

Prohibitive Impediment.

A prohibitive impediment is one that forbids a marriage under pain of mortal sin unless a dispensation from the impediment is obtained. A marriage contracted without a dispensation from a prohibitive impediment would be unlawful but nevertheless valid. There are three of them.

1. A Simple Vow of Chastity(Canon 1058) as distinguished from a solemn vow is a prohibitive impediment. Someone who has made a private vow of chastity or who is a member of a religious congregation of Sisters or Brothers could validly marry but it would be a serious sin to do so unless a dispensation from the vow had been granted.

2. Legal Relationship(Canon 1059)is that which occurs between one who legally adopts another and the adopted. The Church follows the laws of the particular State in interpreting whether the relationship thus set up is a prohibitive or an invalidating impediment.

While this impediment does not apply in the United States, if a country declares that, for example, a brother-sister relationship produced by adoption renders any attempted marriage by these two null and void, the Church in that jurisdiction accepts legal adoption as an annulling impediment. If, however, the State forbids such a marriage but does not declare it null and void, the Church in that jurisdiction considers legal adoption as merely a prohibitive impediment.

3. Mixed Religion (Canon 1060) means that one party is a Catholic and the other a validly baptized non-Catholic. Unless a dispensation is granted, such a marriage would be valid but sinful. Granting a dispensation in a mixed marriage the Church does so with great reluctance, and then only when she has made certain that there is no danger of the Catholic party or the offspring losing the Faith.
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