By Brother André Marie, M.I.C.M.
Brother André devotes these two talks to the qualities a Catholic should be looking for in a prospective spouse. But he does not begin there; he first raises a question about true friendship, observing that three of the qualities that must be present in a true Catholic friendship will also be necessary for a good relationship with one’s spouse. Partners must benefit each other morally; they must have a common basis of agreement or complementarity, especially true Faith and right morals; and each must have a spirit of self-sacrifice in regard to the other. Our speaker made generous use of three excellent books on marriage, one by Father Hugo Doyle, another called, Chastity, a Guide to Teens and Young Adults, by Father Gerald Kelly, S.J., and Father Leo Lovasik’s Clean Love in Courtship. Dating, Brother points out, is a recent phenomenon that took over western society after WWII. It came along with movie theaters and cars. The dangers of un-chaperoned dating, its exclusivity from real life, its vanity and artificiality, and its proximate occasion to impurity are convincingly laid out without apology to “modern” times. On the other hand, in what was traditionally called courtship (even Vatican II referred to it as the Catholic ideal), you will observe the character of your spouse-to-be in conditions that you will be actually living in as a married couple: the family setting. On the personal side, he warns that one must not imagine that one can “fix” one’s partner later, or “convert” him. To quote our speaker directly: “Marriage is not a vocation to become a missionary to your spouse.”
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