“I spent more time planning my wedding than I spent happily married,” she sobbed. Most disheartening to Jennifer was that she’d tried to do everything right. “My parents got married young so, of course, they got divorced. We lived together! How did this happen?”
Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing.
“I felt like I was on this multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife,” she said. “We had all this furniture. We had our dogs and all the same friends. It just made it really, really difficult to break up. Then it was like we got married because we were living together once we got into our 30s.” I found the text above in a New York Times article by Meg Jay: The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage.
I can´t say that I agree with the article´s conclusions (see article) –evidently not taken from a Catholic standpoint– still it gives a good outline of the situation in the US and is worth reading. It also coincides with the basic message of the video: living together before marriage is a low-risk, low-cost and low-quality relationship that tends to do much more harm than good to any shot of a happy marriage.
Sometimes people seem to look on the Catholic Church and Her teachings as a “no” religion. No having fun, no risks, no freedom, etc… But they forget something. The Church and the teachings of Christ are based on an essential “yes:” a yes to love, a yes to faithfulness, a yes to happiness. Surprisingly to some, the low-risk mentality of cohabitation is many times based on a skeptic, “no”, attitude: true love is not possible, nor faithfulness, nor that “fairytale” love. I know he/she will get bored with me at some time, why dream? What if there´s something that I don´t like about him/ her? It´s not worth the risk…
I think some truly believe it’s the most sensible path towards marriage. Looking at the divorce rate, who could blame them for trying things out before making a bigger commitment? I recognize as well that some do get married and live happy lives after, in spite of the fact. Still, it´s an immoral and imprudent decision, with proven consequences, that allows love to be suffocated by fear and selfishness. Quoting Mauricio (Catholic-Link in Spanish) it´s the difference between saying, “Here are my conditions to love you” and the Christian marriage that says, “My love has no conditions.“
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What is the Challenge?
Annulments, some say it’s just “Catholic divorce.” Others believe that if you simply pay enough, the Church will “say” you were never married. But what is the truth? What, really, are annulments in the Catholic Church? What do they do? What’s the process? What did Pope Francis do a year or so ago that changed the process? And what effect does it have in my life?
What is the Online Workshop About?
In the Online Workshop we’re going to be discussing what for many people is a confusing topic: Marriage annulments. These are the points that Fr Bateman will explain:
• The Marriage bond – how it is contracted and what is required • What an annulment really says and does • Why the Church can “annul” non-Catholic marriages • What an annulment DOESN’T do • How the process works • How Pope Francis altered the process • Then we’ll have some time for your questions
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