ADVICE FROM MOTHER
A good Catholic mother knows that her children's true happiness lies in their faithfulness to God and the Church. For those called to the married state, the likelihood that they will remain faithful Catholics is greatly increased if they choose a good spouse. Here is one mother's advice to her children:
- Everyone has faults. You have to get to know their faults and decide if you can live with them. If you think they have no faults, then you don't know them well enough and you should not get married until you figure out their faults and know whether you or not you can live with those faults. Usually people's faults get worse as they age. Don't expect them to disappear or think that you can change them.
- The sooner you find out if they are suitable for marriage or not, the better. If a person is not eligible for marriage in the Catholic Church, don't even date them once. Dating should be intended to lead to marriage. If you start spending time with someone who is married, divorced, or otherwise ineligible you may grow to like them more and more. It is a lot harder to break up with someone after you have become emotionally involved, even if you know that it would be the right thing to do.
- The time to decide whether you want to spend your life with a person is before marriage. After you are married, you should focus on learning to live with them and helping them get into heaven.
- Don't marry the first person you meet without first getting to know different types of men and women.
- It is easy for someone to be nice when they are trying to impress you or win your heart. Look at how they treat their family and you will see how they will probably treat you when the honeymoon is over.
- You should choose a spouse who will help, not hinder you in the practice of your faith. It is highly preferable to marry someone who shares that faith so that you will be united in what is the most important aspect of your life.
- Don't marry someone who would push you to live a sinful lifestyle. You need to find out whether they will want to use artificial contraception. This is one of the most common means of a married couple living habitually in mortal sin and subsequently leaving the Catholic Faith. This is a pass/fail question.
- Marriage is for procreation. Are they open to life? Would they make a good father or mother?
- Appearance might be what initially attracts you to a person, but lasting attraction comes from knowing a person's good qualities and values. Do you love them for their inner qualities and do they love you for the qualities you possess besides your physical attractiveness? Physical attractiveness is temporary, it can be lost by time, childbearing, poor health or accident. Will they still love you when you are no longer good looking? Will you still love them when they are no longer good-looking?
- If they ask you to sin, they are not exhibiting true love for you, but self love.
- A couple should not marry unless the man is ready and able to support a family.
- If your marriage is blessed with children, it is better for them if their mother is home to raise them.
- You don't want to rush into marriage, but a long engagement is not a good idea because that brings temptation to impurity.
- Married life predominantly entails work. Don't expect it to be simply a continuation of all the fun things you did while dating.
- If you are considering a spouse who has children, whose other parent is living, you must be prepared to put up with the other parent being in your lives. The other parent will be an influence on those children. It may be a bad influence. Don't get involved if you are not willing to put up with it.
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Published by The Minnesota St. Thomas More Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, February 2005.