Questions From Marriage Talk - February 23, 1999
Confirmation II class
These are very short responses to the questions. Please e-mail us with other questions or your comments. As we said, our responses reflect the teaching of the Church. We are not promoting some new view of marriage that we invented. If you don't agree, pray about it, read the Catechism and Scripture, and consider talking to a priest. But don't just go your own way and call yourself a Catholic: that has caused a lot of suffering in the world already, from the Inquisition to slavery. -Notes from the talk - Home
If the husband represents Christ and the wife represents the Church (Ephesians 5), what do the children represent?
The love of Christ and the Church is fruitful: new spiritual life springs from it. In a similar way, the love of the husband and wife becomes visible in the children. The Church has compared this to the life of the Trinity: The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son. Jesus and the Father love each other so perfectly that their love is another person of the Holy Trinity. This is just our way of trying to understand. But the simple answer is that the children represent the love of the mother and father.
Have you ever had trouble in your marriage or in raising your kids? How often do you and your children practice your faith?
We've had the usual problems with the children getting sick, not cleaning their rooms, or whining, just like everybody. Sometimes we feel irritable or tired, and we may not show the love of Jesus very well at all. But as far as door-slamming, dish-breaking, I'm-leaving-you types of trouble, no. It just isn't appropriate for us in a Catholic marriage. This is not to condemn anyone else. We have been very blessed.
We practice our faith all day, every day, in a sense. But perhaps you were asking how often we do explicitly religious acts together. It all depends on what is a religious act to you. For us, eating dinner together every night (and other meals on weekends) is part of our faith. We discuss our day, the Scriptures, Church teaching, history, books we are reading, school, our feelings about things or how salty the potatoes are. Real faith cannot be separated from real life. But to answer your question, we say Grace before meals, pray together nightly, go to Mass, and and a few small things we do less often. It is important to understand, however, that we are called to constant prayer and a life in union with God. We are supposed to practice our faith in everything we do, not in isolated little pieces.
Is it a sin to believe you love someone?
No. If you are asking about romantic love it depends on whether you are already married and what you do about it.
Is it a sin to force your wife to have sex with you?
Yes, it is called rape, assuming that "force" means against her will. In the Catholic view of marriage, it is a Sacrament which symbolizes the love of Christ for the Church. Jesus never forces the Church to do anything, and the Church never forces Christ to love it. The husband and wife must give themselves to each other freely or they are not good symbols of God's love.
Is it a sin to get married just for interest?
Again, it depends on what you mean. If it means getting married to someone that you find interesting or attractive, that is just part of the way God made men and women. If it means getting married because you want something from the person, like money or sex, that would not be reflecting the love of Christ and the Church.
I really love someone and do not know how to tell them. I would like to marry this person, but she is not Christian. What should I do?
While a Catholic can marry a non-Christian (or non-Catholic), you need to think about a few of the problems with this. If your spouse does not agree with you that your marriage is a Sacrament (a sign of the love between Christ and the Church), you will not be able to do it alone. Marriage takes cooperation and it is "broken" when one of the spouses refuses to do their part. As you grow in faith, you will not be able to share a part of yourself because the unbelieving spouse will not understand and may not even want to hear it. It is important to desire Jesus more than anyone else. You may be put in a position of choosing between this person and God. You will have to live with your choice, so you must decide.
Why does marriage have to be permanent?
Jesus became man and committed himself to the Church for eternity. The Church will never have another Savior. The love of Jesus for his Church is permanent. To be a Sacrament, marriage must be a sign of this permanence.
If either the husband or wife is never home because of a job for helping out the family, are they not considered as showing the love of Christ? (because one is not really there for the other)
It is so hard to make a living today that it is sometimes necessary for married couples to be apart more than is good. If it is truly necessary, and is a sacrifice made out of love, it is Christlike. Sometimes, couples work more hours than is needed so they can buy more expensive cars or homes. Sacrificing time together for the sake of unnecessary material goods is not the same thing.
It is important to remember that we are called to consider our own actions. Think about what you want to do in your life. If you get engaged, discuss this with your future spouse. Talk about it with friends. It is important not to look too much at others, and look instead at Jesus and the Saints.
If separating after marriage and never getting back is a sin why do so many people do it?
Actually, the Church does not consider this a sin, but people should listen to their consciences. Many people marry for the wrong reasons or no reasons at all. When they are uncomfortable enough, they separate. It is safe to say most people don't do what is right, that is why the world is such a mess.
The Church says not to use condoms because it's against God, but when I have sex I always use one, because of STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). Do I have to go to confession after?
If you are married to the person, yes, discuss your situation with a priest in Confession (Reconciliation). If you are not married, what are you doing having sex without marriage? Confess that, and change your life, with God's help. Then you won't have to worry about STDs.
My … (relatives) … are getting married. They both committed adultery. They are not getting married in the Church but at the beach. After they get married can they go to confession and receive communion?
They should go to a priest and discuss their situation very honestly, and do what he suggests. This is a complicated situation. It is best for us to let them work it out with the Church and we must be careful not to pass judgment on them.
You probably have witnessed a lot of pain and you may have suffered with this directly. Try to live in a way that will not put you in this position. Many of us repeat the errors of our family. Only God can give us the Grace to live a happy life.
Is it a sin to think of having sex with someone else besides your husband or wife?
If it is just a thought passing through your head, maybe not, but consider why that would happen.
The marriage act (having sex) is reserved to marriage. Thinking about doing what is wrong is a problem, and may lead to actually doing the wrong thing.
Is it a sin to fantasize about your wife or husband?
It depends. If you are not married and this is a sexual fantasy, it isn't going to help you stay pure for marriage. If you are married, it depends on how this affects your life. If the fantasies are things that would be wrong to act out with your spouse, then they are probably a bad idea, at the least.
Will I ever get friends?God has put a desire for friendship in us. If we follow God's way, participating in the life of the Church and living the Gospel, we will have friends. It takes time. Get to know God better, pray, and be of service to others. You will get friends.