What’s Your Nature?

20 05 2018

A wise old man was sitting at the river bank.

He saw a cat that had fallen into the river struggling to save itself from drowning.

The man decided to save the cat. He stretched out his hand towards the cat but the cat scratched him. He pulled his hand back in pain.

However, a few minutes later he stretched out his hand again to save the cat, but it scratched him again, and again he pulled his hand back in pain.

A few minutes later he was again trying for the third time!!

A man, who was nearby watching what was happening, yelled out, “O wise man, you have not learned your lesson the first time, nor the second time, and now you are trying to save the cat a third time?”

The wise man paid no heed to that man’s scolding, and kept on trying until he managed to save the cat.

He then walked over to the man, and patted his shoulder saying:, “My son… it is in the cat’s nature to scratch, and it is in my nature to love and have sympathy. Why do you want me to let the cat’s nature overcome mine?_
“My son, treat people according to your nature, not according to theirs, no matter what they are like and no matter how numerous their actions that harm you and cause you pain sometimes. And do not pay heed to all the voices that loudly call out to you to leave behind your good qualities merely because the other party is not deserving of your noble actions. So never regret the moments you gave happiness to someone, even if that person did not deserve it.

Jesus treats us according to His nature, just think where we would be if He were to treat us as per our nature… That is why He saves us in spite of ourselves





How many rings are there in a marriage? by C. Moynihan

19 05 2016

 

how many rings

An old riddle told at weddings goes like this:  How many rings are there in a marriage?  The answer: three.  The engagement ring, the wedding ring, and then the suffering.  All of you married couples gathered here at this service will be able to identify with this, I am sure.  As for Ethel and Sung Yi, they have only been wearing the first one, and are just about to get ready to put on the second one.  But in my own reflection about the truth of marriage and the marital union of husband and wife, there are really many rings that one will have to encounter and wear.  I now present the first category of these rings.

In the first stage, which is the stage that courting couples begin to find their partner in life.  This is the Engagement ring period– the pairing, the luring, the alluring, and the pampering.  This is the time when the woman and man are on their best behaviour and try all the tricks in the book to win the heart of the future spouse.  And of all days in the calendar, today, Feb 14 is the day when all stops are pulled and the ace that is kept up the sleeve is used.  Of course, florists and chocolatiers make a killing today, but that is another story.

The second category of these rings is in the period that Ethel and Sung Yi are about to embark on.  It’s the wedding ring, where the following rings are also encountered – caring, dearing, and endearing, and followed very closely will be the siring, and labouring which is the start of mothering, fathering, and the demands of childrearing.

After the honeymoon, after the children, and when the everydayness of things set in, and most of all, t is very easy for the marriage to enter into the next set of rings, where life becomes tiring, and boring.  If left unaddressed, and when there is little communication, spouses can become daring, and start wandering, meandering, steering and veering away from one another.  They may also begin touring and the whole marriage may be very enduring.

When that stressful stage is still left to develop on its own accord, the next set of rings is the most painful to wear.  Hopefully, Ethel and Sung Yi will never get to wear this set.  These are the times of sparring, firing, swearing, hollering, which often leads to injuring and tearing, and sadly, may even include clobbering, hammering and devouring.

When things get to this stage, repair is not only difficult, but because communication is already so bad, and perhaps even non-existent, many couples do not carry on.  And so we have the high divorce rates of modern day.  In today’s forum we can receive very good and sound advice, but I feel that the Christ aspect, as expected, is missing.  And this is what must make a sacramental marriage like this one so different from other non-sacramental marriages.

A sacrament is visible sign of God’s love made present to the community and to each other as husband and wife.  It is Christ who joins the two of you together.  He must come between you and it is he who bonds the two of you strongly.  The stronger you hold on to Christ, the stronger your marriage will be.

If you make the mistake of letting go of Christ in your married life, and live your days without Christ in prayer and seeking his wisdom and strength in handling situations, you will be letting go of the very source of your peace and happiness in marriage.  It’s as if Christ is the one who is holding your hands together.  If you let go of him, you will be letting go of your safety line to stability and being steadfast in your commitment to one another.

Because it is only when Christ is recognized as being the VIP in your marriage, you will enter into the last set of rings.  These are the rings that make a marriage meaningful and last.  These rings are the remembering of marriage vows, encountering one another and Christ, adoring, unfettering of burdens and guilt, the correct ordering of priorities, correct hearing, shouldering each other, load-bearing one another’s inabilities, and catering to each other’s weaknesses.  With true empowering, honouring, and proper God-fearing, will you be the true witnesses of a sacrament as wonderful as this.

C.  Moynihan

 

 





15 Ways to Find and Marry Mr.Right by Carolin Hart

5 02 2016

 

how to find marry Mr Right

I have dated many guys, and I can tell you it was hard for me to know which one was right for me until I met my boyfriend, Mark. In a short time, we couldn’t see ourselves living without each other. Here are 15 ways I knew that he was the right man for me to marry.

  1. He is emotionally available. He is not afraid to tell me how he felt, when he is hurting he even cries in front of me. Best of all he is ready to begin again, to start a new life with me. If he could not do those things, I believe our relationship would have been doomed.
  1. What was important to me was important to him. The things I hold dearest to my heart were the things close to his heart too. I wanted to children, he loved children. I loved God and loved going to church, he was willing to come. We shared common core beliefs and values. Connecting on an emotional and spiritual level can be just as powerful as a physical connection.
  1. We got along with each other’s friends and family. Though, I don’t love all his friends and family and he doesn’t love all of mine but, I am able to all get along with them. There are no deep-seated issues between me and his friends or him with my friends. It is always a bad sign if his friends are terrible, untrustworthy people. Your friends are a reflection of who you are.
  1. He supports me emotionally. No matter how stupid my ideas are, your guy should support you. Even if your dream is to climb Mount Everest, he should provide you with emotional support, just like any good friend of yours would. If he can’t, he’s out.
  2. I feel like I can be my true self around him. You cannot marry someone unless you can be yourself — your best, and your worst. If you’re afraid to let him see your flaws, he’s not the guy for you to marry. Sure, in an early relationship, there’s some hesitation, but there should never be actual fear. If there is, it isn’t right.
  3. He never keeps score. He’s not stingy with money; when I ask him for money he gives me more than I ask and never wants it back. If your guy when you ask him to borrow you a penny, he will bring up that penny every time you speak, text, or see him after, until it’s paid, or until one of you dies. Or maybe he keeps score emotionally, tallying up every little squabble you’ve had and who was right and who was wrong. This is the wrong person marry. This is a person who is so petty that being with them turns into a chore. Don’t make someone your chore. You have actual chores. I’ve seen the kitchen, you should get on that.
  4. He is not negative about everything. I’m a bit of a sarcastic person sometimes, but even I see the wisdom in finding positivity in the world. There is nothing worse than being with someone who is negative all the time about everything. From traffic to your future together, if every damn thing makes him groan and roll his eyes and go off on a tangent about how everything sucks and there’s no point, you are better off alone.
  5. He makes me laugh, and also laughs with me, and never at me. If you you’re your boyfriend a joke and he never laugh, then he despises you, he is vicious. Someone who does not laugh with you or find fun in anything you say or do cannot really love you.
  6. We brought out the best in each other, not the worst. We encourage each other to grow personally, professionally and emotionally, recognizing that change is positive and healthy.
  7. We trust each other and can count on one another to do the right thing. There’s no jealousy or second-guessing in our relationship.
  8. He respects my person and I respect him. He sometimes kissed me on the lips for a few seconds only, an affection I appreciated, but which did not stimulate  our sex desire. We never did the “French kiss” (a kiss with the tongue) or prolonged kissing on the lips along with pressing the other against you that some of my friends did with their boyfriends. These led them to have sex outside of marriage leading to selfishness and a focus on self-satisfaction. When sex is involved, break-up and the resulting pain is more intense. When you have not been sexually intimate and decide to break up, the separation is less devastating.
  9. Because of his maturity, we did not date for too long. We saw each other for several days at a time at least a couple of times per month, for 3 months when we suddenly discovered our relationship was something exclusive.
  10. He was ready to make the commitment moves. I stopped seeing other guys, and he stopped going out with other girls. And soon, we were so close that we really could not see living our lives without the other. Three month later, we engaged and married. We have been happily married now for 8 years now with seven lovely children.
  11. Be wary of men who just keep dating and dating. They are tricksters and just wasting your time by making you invest your energies in a relationship that goes no where. I am not saying you should be obsessed with marriage, but you should not be just “dating” after six months. That’s too long to not be committed to a serious phase of your relationship and moving toward engagement and marriage.
  12. Lastly, always remember that the key in succeeding in marriage is not just finding the right person; it’s learning to love the person you found. No matter how right, Mr. Right is, you need to work at loving. Sustaining love is not a passive or spontaneous experience. Love NEVER just happens!. There is no such thing as “finding a lasting love.” You have to “make” it day in and day out. That’s why we have the expression – “labor of love.” Through little things, it takes time, effort, and energy. And most importantly, it takes wisdom. You have to know what to do to make your marriage work.

 

 

 

 

 

 





A Stranger Was Daddy To My Child By Shanell Mouland

22 01 2014

A Stranger Was Daddy To My Child By Shanell Mouland

Dear “Daddy,”
I don’t know your name, but Kate called you “daddy” for the entire flight last week and you kindly never corrected her. In fact, you didn’t even flinch as you could probably tell that she was not confusing you with her own “daddy,” but instead making a judgment regarding your level of “safety” for her. If she calls you “daddy” then you better believe she thinks you are alright.

I sat Kate, my 3-year-old who has autism, in the middle seat knowing full well that there would be a stranger sitting next to her for the duration of this flight. I had to make a quick decision and based on her obsession with opening and closing the window shade, I figured she might be less of a distraction if she sat in the middle. I watched the entire Temple basketball team board the plane, and wondered if one of these giants might sit by Kate. They all moved toward the back. She would have liked that, she would have made some observations that I would have had to deal with, but she would have liked those players. I watched many Grandmotherly women board and hoped for one to take the seat but they walked on by. For a fleeting moment I thought we might have a free seat beside us, and then you walked up and sat down with your briefcase and your important documents and I had a vision of Kate pouring her water all over your multi-million dollar contracts, or house deeds, or whatever it was you held. The moment you sat down, Kate started to rub your arm. Your jacket was soft and she liked the feel of it. You smiled at her and she said: “Hi, Daddy, that’s my mom.” Then she had you.

You could have shifted uncomfortably in your seat. You could have ignored her. You could have given me that “smile” that I despise because it means; “manage your child please.” You did none of that. You engaged Kate in conversation and you asked her questions about her turtles. She could never really answer your questions but she was so enamored with you that she kept eye contact and joint attention on the items you were asking her about. I watched and smiled. I made a few polite offers to distract her, but you would have none of it.
Kate: (Upon noticing you had an iPad) Is dis Daddy’s puduter?
You: This is my iPad. Would you like to see it?
Kate: To me?????? (I know she thought you were offering it to her to keep)
Me: Look with your eyes, Kate. That is not yours.
Kate: Dat’s nice!
You: (Upon noticing that Kate had an iPad) I like your computer, too. It has a nice purple case.
Kate: Daddy wanna be a bad guy? (She offered shredder to you and that, my friend, is high praise)
You: Cool.
The interaction went on and on and you never once seemed annoyed. She gave you some moments of peace while she played with her Anna and Elsa dolls. Kind of her to save you from playing Barbies, but I bet you wouldn’t have minded a bit. I bet you have little girls, too.
Not long before we landed Kate had reached her limit. She screamed to have her seatbelt off, she screamed for me to open the plane door and she cried repeating, “Plane is cwosed (closed)” over and over. You tried to redirect her attention to her toys. She was already too far gone at this point, but the fact that you tried to help your new little friend made me emotional.
In case you are wondering, she was fine the moment we stepped off the plane. Thank you for letting us go ahead of you. She was feeling overwhelmed and escaping the plane and a big, long hug was all she needed.
So, thank you. Thank you for not making me repeat those awful apologetic sentences that I so often say in public. Thank you for entertaining Kate so much that she had her most successful plane ride, yet. And, thank you for putting your papers away and playing turtles with our girl.





Monogamy is unnatural

14 01 2014

Here is a nice readmonogamy

The Matt Walsh Blog

Monogamous marriages are unnatural. On this, I agree with the emailer below.

Now, behold these enlightening thoughts that I found in my inbox this morning:

Greetings Mr. Walsh,

I am a college professor, author, and researcher. It was obvious to me before you ever stated it that you are a man of little education and limited intelligence. Still, I commend your newfound fame and congratulate you on the enormous amounts of money you must be making.

[Five more sentences of insults and pretentious self-aggrandizement]

…You have become a hot topic in some of my classes and this very much worries me. It wasn’t until your name came up for a fifth time that I decided to investigate you. Your prose are rife with fallacies and Neanderthalic musings, so I could easily disembowel and discredit any part of it. But I’d like to concentrate on what seems to be your most common themes:…

View original post 1,201 more words





I LOVE YOU! FOR FIVE YEARS?

6 01 2014

  I LOVE YOU!  FOR FIVE YEARS?

1. Marriage is for life
If someone says: “I love you for five years” or “I marry you for five years but later…I have to reconsider it again, I may ask for a divorce…” Who likes to hear these words? We feel that there is something wrong in this approach to marriage and we are right; this would not be a real marriage according to our human nature and dignity. We deserve much more than five years. Our human nature and dignity asks for a decision for life, without putting conditions to love. Unfortunately we realize that a falling out after some years of married life is quite common.

2. Courtship is a very important preparation for marriage.

Marriage is a very serious step. We bind ourselves for a whole lifetime. Therefore, a period of courtship is necessary; a period of time during which a person can get to know sufficiently well his or her lifetime partner, before making the decision to get married.
During the period of courtship, the man and the woman have to help each other. Human love should not be selfish; marriage is a life of dedication and service to the other and one has to be well prepared. During this period, the most important task is to know the dispositions of the other’s soul, the spirit with which he or she will face married life.

Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. We are persons, a marvelous unity of body and soul; to surrender our own body to one’s spouse signifies surrendering our own self to him or her; honest sexual language demands a commitment to lifelong fidelity.

When a person is not yet married, there is as yet no true commitment; there is no marital bond and a free decision to be with the other for life has not yet been made. (Let us be honest!). If he or she has not committed his or her freedom totally, as the other deserves because of his or her dignity as a human person, one have to admit that the possibility of changing his or her mind in the future still exists; therefore the totality of the gift of oneself would be lacking. Pre-marital relations are a lie.

(Perhaps with an example we can understand this better). If before marriage, one of them suffers an accident in which he or she is disfigured, the other one could decide not to marry that person anymore and it would not be an injustice. There was no true commitment of married life yet. But for a married couple, it would be a terrible lack of justice to leave the other. In marriage, the commitments radically changed their status in life. They promised each other to be faithful in any circumstance.

Those commitments of a married person, so radically change his or her life that a period of courtship is really important and necessary to prepare them.

Courtship should be seen as a time of testing, a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity and the hope of receiving one another as a true gift from God. They should reserve for marriage, expressions of affection that belong to married love and help each other grow in chastity and love (cfr. Pope John Paul II address on the 6 of Feb. 1993).

3. Consequence of the truth about love and courtship.

Man and woman complete each other but expressions of love cannot be governed by feelings alone. We are humans. If the couple does not act prudently, progressively concupiscence can end up governing the relationship and reducing it simply to sexual attraction, each one becoming an object for satisfying personal desires, lowering the relation to the animal level, contrary to the reality of the human person. We should be governed by our mind, which is above our feelings, ready to give ourselves to the other out of love, not out of selfish feelings. For this reason, prudence has always advised that the length of the engagement before marriage be relatively brief (one or two years seem enough to acquire a deep mutual knowledge). External guarantees of stability, such as provided by age, professional situation, house, cannot be forgotten.

Authentic human love is an instrument of sanctification and those in courtship have the obligation to preserve it from selfishness; they are laying the solid foundations for their future stability and fruitfulness.

4. Men and women are different.

Men and women are different; in body and emotions.
Men can easily get aroused. Women are not aroused easily to sexual pleasure. Even if a woman loves someone very much, she may stop some kind of advance which is not proper. For men, this is more difficult. She has slower rising of sexual desires. This is a kind of protection for her, part of the plan of the Creator. This difference in behavior corresponds to the way God made man and woman; it is obvious that the consequences of a sexual act in a man are different from that in a woman. Men do not get pregnant. Women can get pregnant. Women get more trapped, so to speak.

Their hearts are also different. A man can separate sex from love. The average young lady does not generally separate love from sex; for her, feelings of romantic love and sexual desires are closely related.
For the man, sexual desires come suddenly; can be intense and not necessarily related with the heart. He does not feel deep emotions of love and tenderness; he wants immediate satisfaction and pleasure. The woman should understand that the biological and psychological conditions of the man are different. ( Cfr. Jimmy Achacoso, Documentation Service, Philippines, July, 1998).

True friendship is impossible if one allows lust in it. Lust disturbs the capacity of clear discernment and calm thinking. The physical attraction should be subordinated to the spiritual level, to mind and reason.

5. Conclusion

Courtship is a time for holiness, a time to pray, a time to cultivate a love in which the spiritual, emotional, affective aspects are well harmonized and open to the consequences of a married life. A time to fall in love not only in a sentimental way, just because of feelings. But to fall in love, using the mind, the heart and the freedom to chose, for life, a person who has the qualities to be one’s husband or one’s wife until death, and who will be the father or the mother of one’s children.

6. A practical approach.
Some suggestions for the period of courtship:

a) Sincerity. To discuss seriously important topics: children, finance, home, in-laws, work, etc.
b) To avoid travelling alone with him or with her.
c) To avoid certain places, late-night meetings.
d) To get to know his or her friends.
e) To get to know his or her workplace.
f) To seek advice from parents and mature persons.
g) To avoid less decent way of wearing clothes.
h) It is good to have serious disagreements that are quickly solved. In married life these will occur as well.
i) Prayer for happy marriage.

Based on a publication about the topic: DOCUMENTATION SERVICE on Courtship, Dating and going steady, Philippines (1998). Special thanks to John Paul II and Jimmy Achacoso. Written and arranged by Jose Pedro Libano M.





On The Verge Of Divorce, Brad Pitt Saves His Marriage With A Love Letter To Angelina Jolie

30 12 2013

brad2

“My wife got sick. She was constantly nervous because of problems at work, personal life, her failures and problems with children.

She has lost 30 pounds and weighed about 90 pounds in her 35 years. She got very skinny, and was constantly crying. She was not a happy woman. She had suffered from continuing headaches, heart pain and jammed nerves in her back and ribs.

She did not sleep well, falling asleep only in the morning and got tired very quickly during the day. Our relationship was on the verge of break up.

Her beauty was leaving her somewhere, she had bags under her eyes, she was poking her head, and stopped taking care of herself. She refused to shoot the films and rejected any role.

I lost hope and thought that we’ll get divorced soon…But then I decided to act on it.
After all I’ve got the most beautiful woman on the earth.

She is the idol of more than half of men and women on earth, and I was the one allowed to fall asleep next to her and to hug her shoulders.

I began to pamper her with flowers, kisses and compliments. I surprised her and pleased her every minute. I gave her lots of gifts and lived just for her. I spoke in public only about her. I incorporated all themes in her direction. I praised her in front of her own and our mutual friends.

You won’t believe it, but she blossomed. She became even better than before. She gained weight, was no longer nervous and she loved me even more than ever. I had no clue that she CAN love that much. And then I realized one thing: The woman is the reflection of her man. If you love her to the point of madness, she will become it.“

– Brad Pitt





If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man? By C.S Lewis

11 08 2013

If There Must Be A Head In The Family, Why The Man?

As long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. What do they do next?
They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote.

If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.

If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say “Poor Mr. X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.” I do not think she is even very nattered if anyone mentions the fact of her own “headship.”
There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also another reason; and here I speak quite frankly, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside.

The relations of the family to the outer world—what might be called its foreign policy—must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests.

The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife. If anyone doubts this, let me ask a simple question. If your dog has bitten the child next door, or if your child has hurt the dog next door, which would you sooner have to deal with, the master of that house or the mistress? Or, if you are a married woman, let me ask you this question. Much as you admire your husband, would you not say that his chief failing is his tendency not to stick up for his rights and yours against the neighbours as vigorously as you would like? A bit of an Appeaser?
C.S Lewis





How to Hurt a Spouse

7 08 2013

A Divorce Consoler's Advice on How to hurt a Spouse

A lady sought advice from a Marriage counselor. ‘I hate my husband. He’s making my life miserable. I want a divorce and I want to make things as tough as possible for him.’ The counselor advised, ‘Begin by showering him with compliments, indulge him in every whim. Then when he realizes how much he needs you and wants you, start your divorce proceedings.
‘Six months later, the counselor met the woman and asked, ‘When are you going to file your divorce papers? “Are you out of your mind?’ replied the woman indignantly, ‘We’re divinely happy





Does a circle have 3 sides because we say so?

14 07 2013

Gay marriage: Does a circle have 3 sides because we say so?

The current demand to redefine marriage to include same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples is often motivated by goodwill, the will to fairness and happiness, while opposition to this redefinition is often motivated by bad will, the fear or hatred of homosexuals. Nevertheless, the rightness or wrongness of same-sex marriage has to be decided on its own merits, not by taking the moral temperature of the advocates on both sides. For
We have no reliable moral thermometer to stick into people’s motives; and
We often have bad motives for good deeds or good motives for bad deeds; and
We need to judge the deed, not the doer.

When we turn to arguments from reason, the first thing we must agree about is the need to think honestly, open-mindedly, and clearly, especially about important things, and most especially about important things that we feel very passionate about, like sex. This is what I want to explore for a few minutes, as a philosopher.
It is true that we can change our thoughts, and change our definitions of things, of anything at all. Some of these redefinition’s are possible—e.g. we can criminalize or decriminalize many things, including homosexual acts But some redefinition’s are impossible. We can call squares triangles, but that does not make them into triangles. Calling call cats dogs does not make them dogs. And calling homosexual friendships marriages does not make them marriages. This does not depend on whether they are good or bad; it depends on what they are; it depends on their nature, their essence.
Unless there are no natures or essences, i.e. unless we are complete nominalists, and therefore skeptics. (If you are one of these people, and if you actually practice the philosophy you preach, then please do not invite me to your house for dinner, for you must believe that it is impossible to draw a real and absolute line between people and animals, in which case you may be either a vegetarian or a cannibal—two tastes I do not share.)
What Is Marriage?

The whole question of homosexual marriage depends on just one thing: on what marriage is, or rather on whether marriage has a “what” at all, a nature. If marriage is not a natural essence but an artificial human invention, like a game or a human law, than we can redefine it because we invented it in the first place. Because we invented football, we can not only change the rules but we could even call it baseball if we wanted to. We could say there were two kinds of football, and one of them used to be called baseball. If we invent a thing, we can redefine it. If not, not.
The question can be phrased this way: is the answer to the question “What is marriage?” dependent on our reason or our will? Artificial things are dependent on our will, for we willed them into existence. Natural things are dependent on our reason; we discover them rather than inventing them. The decisive question about homosexual marriage is just that: whether marriage is artificial, man-made, and dependent on human wills, or natural, discovered, and dependent on human nature.
The issue is not just psychological, or scientific, or religious, or ethical, but philosophical, in fact metaphysical. The deepest reason why popular opinion has changed in favor of same-sex marriage in industrialized countries (but nowhere else) is that these countries no longer think in terms of what is “natural.” We no longer understand, or feel the force of, the old notion of “nature,” which meant the essence of a thing as manifested by its natural activities. The old notion of “human nature” assumed an inherent, unchangeable telos or purpose or design in it. E.g. “the reproductive system” was designed for reproduction, as the eye was designed to see. (Duh!) But to the typically modern mind “nature” means simply simply stuff, the universe, whatever we can see. It has become an empirical concept, not a philosophical concept.
That is why the notion of “unnatural acts” no longer has a holding-place in our minds. To the modern mind, the difference between homosexual acts (or desires) and heterosexual acts (or desires) is like the difference between the acts on what we now call a football field and the acts on what we now call a baseball field. “Different strokes for different folks” is quite reasonable there. And if football players have traditionally had special privileges which were denied to baseball players, we feel, quite reasonably, that this injustice must be undone. Let us be inclusive; let’s include “baseball” under “football.” Let’s recognize the artificial quotation marks around these two terms. Let’s be Nominalists: they’re just man-made names, after all, not inherent natures.
An Illustration From Geometry

But suppose marriage is not like a game but like a geometrical figure, or a cat: something discovered, not invented. Then redefining it would be confusion. It would mess up the whole geometry of marriage, so to speak, as calling cats dogs would mess up the whole veterinary treatment of both animals.
And if marriage is as natural as geometry, then those who voted for a “Defense of Squares” act would not necessarily be motivated by a personal fear or hate of triangles, but by a love of geometry.
This is the first necessary thing for people on both sides of this deep divide to understand: that their opponents are not loveless cads, idiots or liars. There is an inherent reasonableness to both sides.
But they contradict each other. And therefore one side must be wrong and the other right. For the law of non-contradiction, at least, is not invented but discovered. There is no alternative to it. Its opposite is literally unthinkable. Contradictories are incompatible. The concept of “same sex marriage” may or may not be an oxymoron, but the concept of ”compatible contradictories” certainly is. Two propositions that contradict each other cannot both be true. That’s why neither side can compromise: not because these two groups of people intolerantly exclude each other but because their ideas do.
The traditional definition of marriage contains four properties, as a square contains four sides. If you subtract any one side from a square, you don’t change the nature of squares so as to have a larger set of squares, one that includes three-sided squares as well as four-sided squares; you simply don’t have a square any more, but something else, a triangle.
Four Dimensions of Marraige

That something else may be good or bad—it may be just as good as a square, or it may be less good—but it’s not a square. It’s a triangle. The four dimensions of marriage, as traditionally defined, are:
Freedom
Exclusivity
Permanence, and
Sex
It’s the fourth dimension that is most in question today—though the others are also, and there is no reason why any or all of them cannot be questioned and changed if marriage is artificial, like football.
1. Freedom

Small children cannot marry because they have not yet the maturity to make such a binding covenant freely, just as they cannot yet make legal contracts. “Shotgun marriages” are not marriages then, for the same reason. They are oxymorons. Arranged marriages are not necessarily oxymorons, but they are valid (i.e. real marriages) but only if both parties freely consent to them.
2. Exclusivity

Marriage is between two persons, not one, not three, not many. There can be covenant relationships among more than two persons, but they are not marriages. They are friendships or communes or kibbutzes or states.
3. Permanence

Marriage is for life. Perhaps divorce is literally impossible (as the Catholic Church says), perhaps it is possible and permissible as an extreme, emergency treatment, like amputation, but it is not natural, normal, or intended. Marrying a person is not like leasing a car. That’s why the argument for premarital sex and cohabitation (“let’s give the car a road test before we buy it”) is not only a bad analogy but an insulting one.
4. Sex

Marriage, as traditionally defined, obviously has something to do with sex. The sex between the married couple is to be (a) faithful and exclusive and (b) open to children (that’s part of the definition of a family). This second feature is why it has to be heterosexual: because heterosexual sex, unlike homosexual sex, can and often does produce children. That’s its nature, and its natural end, purpose, design, telos. (The “reproductive system,” remember!) And that’s the aspect that’s controversial today. Essential to the traditional idea of marriage is the idea that marriage, by its nature, produces children, is for children, is about children, is for the sake of children’s existence and welfare.
That’s the ultimate point of traditional marriage. To be complete, marriage needs children, and to be complete children need to be born into a marriage and a family. Every child needs the protection of a family, and every child needs two parents, not only to be procreated but also to be educated, by two different role models. Men and women are “hard-wired” with different instincts and different talents, and children need both. Deliberately depriving a child of a father or a mother is child abuse. What motivates (or should motivate) opposition to same~sex marriage is not hatred of homosexuals but love of children.
Notice how dependent this argument is on the old notion of “nature” and what is “natural.” This is an a priori concept, not an empirical one. It’s true that empirical psychological studies have reinforced it. But they cannot prove it. Such studies have shown that many psychological disorders come from the lack of a father or a mother in a child’s life. But these studies cannot of themselves decide the issue, since they can only compare the probable consequences of the two different arrangements, not adjudicate their intrinsic rightness.

There’s no way around it: philosophy is going to have to decide this issue. Or mythology, which is unconscious, instinctive philosophy. Is there such a thing as “the nature of things”? “To be or not to be, that is the question” not only for traditional marriage but also for Mother Nature herself. How big is the camel whose nose is newly under our tent? Read Brave New World, the most prophetic book of our time, to find out.

Peter Kreeft








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