Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 15, 2006
Warning signs in courtship
Invite him for supper with the folks before making final decision, priest advises
By BILL GLEN
"He isn't going to change. What you see is what you get."
- Fr. Clem Gauthier
"Love is to want what is best for the other person. If you don't have the wherewithal right now, I think they should wait two or three years until they have the financial means," he said.
"They should both be realistic and have some skills or a little career. What if the husband takes sick shortly after the marriage? They need to carry on."
Father Oscar Monroy says partners in a relationship should communicate well whether everything appears bright or if the relationship has taken a downturn.
While each relationship is different, there are three key factors he looks for in every relationship.
"Each person must offer the other security. If someone is continually going up and down, the other will feel distress. They also must respect each other's dignity. And they must be able to communicate. If they close the communication, they will be done," said Monroy, pastor of St. Peter's Parish in Villeneuve.
The three factors are interconnected, he said. If one is lacking but the other two thriving, he helps the couple focus on the weak area of their relationship.
Monroy also looks to see whether the relationship contains an element of humility.
"The partners must recognize that if they were wrong, they admit it. Until he says he was wrong, she might not believe anything he says. There is no trust, no security. This is terrible."
Gauthier sees a problem when a partner spends more time doing activities he enjoys than he does with his spouse. He can tell because the person usually says "I" or "me" before "we" or "us."
"You marry a person and you must be willing to take that person on and journey with them in a personal and spiritual way. They must get to know each other and share. A relationship is very demanding and you must give of yourself and not always take for yourself."
Couples who are willing to listen or to take the marriage preparation course are off to a good start, he said. "They meet other couples and the interaction always helps."
"Father, we have been married for 43 years. We fooled them all."
Gauthier recalled one couple who met in church, sang in the choir, fell in love and were married. But it ended. He wondered whether they had seriously discussed their expectations of each other.
On the other hand, other couples have the endurance and resolve to see things through.
"I went to anoint an old woman recently who was dying. Her husband was there. He told me that his marriage was one that was not expected to work because she is French and he is English. She is Catholic and he was Protestant. She was older than him."
He told Gauthier he became Catholic and joined the Church. He learned to speak some French. There was compromise.
As he held her hand, the man told Gauthier: "Father, we have been married for 43 years. We fooled them all."
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