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7 years ago  ::  Nov 23, 2007 - 5:48PM #51
Basil1951
Posts: 204
Some interesting comments, here is my contribution to the discussion of sacraments.  My parish priest (Greek Orthodox) once explained that sacraments (or mysteries, as Orthodox Christians strictly refer to them) are "spiritual crutches" -- and that he was a "spiritual cripple." 

We are all spiritual cripples and are in need of these crutches.  It is paradoxical that one does not realize how desperately one needs these crutches until one gets near them, and the closer you get, the more you understand just how desperately you do need them.

As to marriage, it is among the most complicated of human relationships.  Firstly, it is probably a good idea to figure out what you think the purpose of marriage is.  Talk, read, pray, get spiritual coulnseling, whatever you and your spouse-to-be need but figure out what you both think.  As time passes, be prepared to reconsider and expand or refine your thinking about the purpose of marriage.

From a Christian perspective we are called to love one another and in marriage this is especially true.  It is also critical to understand what is meant by "love" in this particular context.  It is not a "warm, fuzzy feeling" one has for another person.  It is not a "starry-eyed romanticism.  It is not a reflection of one's satisfaction with one's own condition.  It is the love of sacrificing oneself for the other. 

A few will be called upon to make enormous sacrifices, up to sacrificing one's life for the life of one's spouse.  Some will be called upon to sacrifice a personal goal or a desire for that of one's spouse.  Most will have to  sacrifice some personal desires or preferences in deference to one's spouse.  All will be called upon to make the countless little sacrifices on a daily basis to benefit one's spouse; things as trivial as what to have for a meal, whether to go to a "chick-flick" or go bowling, or how to arrange the books and papers on a table.

This kind of love is not a feeling.  It is not a reciprocation for something the other does.  It is an active, not reactive, choice; a decision to do what is in the best interest and for the welfare of one's spouse.  The biggest complication comes in how does one's spouse understand this meaning of love and how we react to the differences between our and our spouse's understanding.

Basil
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 26, 2007 - 9:53AM #52
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
"When you strip the term sacrament, and describe it in terms of daily behavior within the marriage, then I think we are all in essence, saying much the same thing."

But you see, that's exactly what you can't do, in terms of the Orthodox understanding of marriage. Because the absolute rock-bottom essential truth or essence of marriage is that it is a sacrament, a means of grace, a calling. It's not simply that the couple has God in their relationship - many people have that, and it is a beautiful, spiritual thing. The Orthodox understanding of marriage is that God has given your partner to you to help you achieve theosis and thus salvation.
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 26, 2007 - 10:24AM #53
KatherineOrthodixie
Posts: 3,689
[QUOTE=DAH54;94645]So what I heard you saying is we may have two couples and both may live in homes, and both may have children, and both husband may go to work and provide for their families. Both couples may be faithful to each other, and even invite God into their relationship. But just because one couple imitates the other couple the imitation in itself does not create a sacramental marriage. I believe this is the stance of both the RCC and the Orthodox church. That the sacramental nature of the marriage depends on how and where the marriage was created? The understanding and the intentions of the parties at the time of the marriage?[/QUOTE]

If one believes the teachings of the RCC or OC, then why wouldn't one be RC or Orthodox?
“The Law of the Church is to give oneself to what is given not to seek one’s own.” Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2007 - 6:57AM #54
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

ladyalice wrote:

The Catholic Church requires engaged couples to  participate in a marriage preparation program before  the wedding can take place.  Is there a similar requirement for other Christian denominations?

Those of you who have partaken in a church based marriage prep program, did you find it to be helpful?


Yes many churches are requiring that couples attend a marriage preparation course or program, before they will marry you.  I have seen no statistics that suggest that these programs or being religious prepares one better for marriage than being an atheist does.

In fact if you want the best chance for a successful marriage it would appear that current data suggest that you should be an atheist. The best chance for divorce appears to be among those who claim to be
born again Christians, after they have been saved.

There is also a chance that the Catholic stance on divorce, is causing many couples to leave the faith skewing the results. It wasn't until 1992 that the U.S. Catholic Bishops issued a statement that women didn't have to stay married in an abusive relationship ~ because Catholic wives thought (or were being told) that they had to stay and save their marriage. You should also be aware that divorce rates say nothing about the families that don't end in a formal legal process. But there are more ways to end a marriage ~ separation and abandonment. Two people who still live in the same house but never speak to each other.

Marriage is all about a couple's commitment to cease to function as individuals. Partnership, family, a union of souls – call it what you want, but the whole idea is that "two become one." As more than one sociologist has pointed out, if you live in a society that preaches a gospel of individualism and self-determination, then marriage goes against the very nature of what that society is about. We shouldn't expect all of that belief in individualismand self-determination, to disappear as soon as we step inside the front door of our homes. And if we're individuals inside the home ~ well, should we expect anything less than to see higher rates of divorce in those societies?

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7 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2007 - 9:45AM #55
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

shiloh43 wrote:

yes baptise reccomend that also and they even charge extra to get a license if you dont take the the classes. everyone should take them or at least speak to your pastor first.


Baptist have one of the higher divorce rates of Christians, why should anyone let alone everyone take such a course, when there is nothing to suggest they actually help?

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7 years ago  ::  Nov 18, 2007 - 3:27PM #56
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

Tmarie64 wrote:

They're not doing it right.  They are showing videos and saying "This is what you do"..  The Catholic Church, however, REALLY counsels, 6 months, team you up with a married couple, all KINDS of compatibility tests.  I was very impressed with the whole thing.


You may have been impressed by the Catholic Church, but the sad fact is it appears after 6 months all you may have done is perhaps unlearned the things the Catholic Church has been teaching, even with the large number of Catholics that quit the church before they divorce the Catholics are not better than the Atheist at remaining married. Nor do these numbers reflect the number of Catholics that cohabit but no longer talk to each other.  Living separate independent lives.

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7 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2007 - 8:45AM #57
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

ladyalice wrote:

Good morning to all!

Thank you for the replies.  Pre Cana has been a primary parish ministry for my husband and me for over 8 years.  I am interested in learning from Catholics who have been through it how the process has effected their approach to married life, and if they think the experience was worth while.  I'm also interested in learning about what other churches are doing to prepare couples for marriage.

The goals of Pre Cana is to open communications between the potential spouses so that they may better know themselves and one another, explore insights into life, love and living, foster understanding of the needs and values of of each and each other, and to prepare them to grow together in their relationship with Christ.


Thank you LadyAlice for taking the time to share your experience with us. As you have noted you have set some rather lofty goals. As I have been judged guilty of 'Catholic-bashing' I am curious as to your opinion. I am also curious as to what you would suggest as a valid means of measuring the effectiveness of what you do, would be? I'm not Catholic and never have been and acknowledge I have no insiders point of view.

As an outsider I come at this with preconceived ideas. Perhaps you would correct my  wrong beliefs. First it is my belief that Catholics understand marriage different than a Baptist does, in that to a Catholic a Marriage is a sacrament?  And I get from that meaning that for a Catholic one does not enter into marriage on a lark, or simply because it feels good at the moment.

It is my understanding that generally speaking someone brought up Catholic has attended a Catholic school, and that in the Catholic school system part of the education process is teaching religion. That religion is taught daily as part of the educational process, and I believe it is reasonable to assume someone brought up Catholic has been exposed to many more hours of religious training than say someone brought up as a Atheists in the public school system. Am I wrong in assuming that one of the goals of the Catholic school system is to teach religious values and significants?

Another of my assumptions is that Catholics because they see marriage as a sacrament, are not out to marry everyone that they can? That marriage is not seen as a sideline business, to increase one's parish funds?

And one last assumption from someone branded as uninformed, I believe that most Catholic marriages still involved someone raised Catholic? As say opposed to two people who converted to Catholicism in order to have a nice big church wedding.

All of which would validate that even without any form of   Pre Cana the average Catholic is likely to see marriage differently than the average Atheist would? That there is more likely to be an understanding of the sacredness of marriage for a Catholic?

ladyalice wrote:

These are lofty goals.  Every couple responds differently.  We do feel that we succeed in bringing some new insights to every couple we work with.  We do not assume that every couple will be a success story.  We hope for the best for all.


Okay so goals that are so lofty that one can not measure them are ineffective, IMHO. So I'm curious and I understand that you can only speak for your parish. It's been suggested that divorce rates are not an appropriate measurement of the effectiveness of this course.  Did your parish experience a high rate of Catholics getting to the alter and saying "no" instead of "yes"? Or perhaps you feel the rate was too low? That too many people where getting married that shouldn't? Do you track these kinds of numbers? Or how about a self rated happiness, how happy one claims to be with there marriage? It certainly seems to me that no matter how it is stated the underlying goal here is to make marriages more happy, and a happy couple I believe are unlikely to divorce.

From the Stats I have seen the Catholics have one of the lowest divorce rates of all who claim to be Christian, (and I really fail to see how that is
'Catholic-bashing'). But the fact remains that Atheist do every bit as good if not better. And I believe that should be troubling to every Christian. **Shrug**

Am I truly Catholic-bashing by suggesting that Catholics should have a deeper richer understanding of the meaning of marriage? That by combining God and making marriage a sacrament that it in theory should be more special? If someone would want to take offense to that I would expect it to be the Atheist.

Am I wrong in my assumption that by the time a Child reaches adulthood within the Catholic church that it is reasonable to expect that they have been exposed to the concept of a sacrament? Indeed is it not this very difference in conceptual understanding that causes the Catholic church to not acknowledge the validity of some marriages?

As to time marriages simple do not fail at a constant rate over the life of a marriage. There are peaks that are seen in the failure of marriage. One occurs relatively fast at the beginning of the marriage. We can play word games here, but is not understanding the significance of marriage a part of being prepared?

I look at what you teach, and I don't see lessons in how to clean ones home, how to shop for groceries, how to change diapers, there are lots of things about marriage that you don't attempt to teach, IMHO. What I do hear is a desire to teach what it means to be married, how to communicate effectively, things that are intended to make a marriage last. So is questioning the effectiveness of based on how often marriages fail meaningful?

I was under the understanding that Catholicism matters and it enriches ones life, it seems my choice to compare it to a group that appears to lack that experience is bashing Catholics in some way. Do you find the belief that Catholicism matters, that it is capable of making a real difference in one's life as bashing? As expecting to much from one's faith? Do you feel that Atheist place too high a value on marriage and it is unreasonable to use them as a base to compare against? Do you feel a Catholic education doesn't matter, doesn't really contribute to being Catholic?

Once again I believe my words, my thoughts have been twisted. I thought you where interested in accountability, in substance over symbolism. Rather than simply being here to sell an idea.


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7 years ago  ::  Nov 19, 2007 - 10:03AM #58
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

KatherineOrthodixie wrote:

The Orthodox Church also regards marriage as a sacrament, and requires premarital counseling with the priest. Naturally some priests are more gifted than others at this, but the goal is to try to dispel the fairy tale and help the couple discuss and explore real life issues.



At the risk of offending you as well Katherine, (for daring to have an opinion) is not one of the expectations of the counseling the hope that it will make the marriage a more happy marriage? That by having a happy marriage one is blessed with the presence of God within their marriage? Therefore it is hoped that the marriage will endure?

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7 years ago  ::  Nov 26, 2007 - 10:19AM #59
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

Anesis wrote:

When you strip the term sacrament, and describe it in terms of daily behavior within the marriage, then I think we are all in essence, saying much the same thing.

An


KatherineOrthodixie wrote:

But you see, that's exactly what you can't do, in terms of the Orthodox understanding of marriage. Because the absolute rock-bottom essential truth or essence of marriage is that it is a sacrament, a means of grace, a calling. It's not simply that the couple has God in their relationship - many people have that, and it is a beautiful, spiritual thing. The Orthodox understanding of marriage is that God has given your partner to you to help you achieve theosis and thus salvation.


So what I heard you saying is we may have two couples and both may live in homes, and both may have children, and both husband may go to work and provide for their families. Both couples may be faithful to each other, and even invite God into their relationship. But just because one couple imitates the other couple the imitation in itself does not create a sacramental marriage. I believe this is the stance of both the RCC and the Orthodox church. That the sacramental nature of the marriage depends on how and where the marriage was created? The understanding and the intentions of the parties at the time of the marriage?

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