Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jennifer Hartline

5/11/2011 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

With what, exactly, shall we replace Love?

The pronouncement came from actress Cameron Diaz and psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow last week:  marriage is a dying institution. Dr. Ablow blames its demise on government, contraception, disappearing passion and the mockery of divorce. What he never mentions is Love. Marriage will only die if we give up the struggle of love.

Highlights

By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/11/2011 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: marriage, divorce, love, sex, children, family, Dr. Keith Ablow, dying institution, jennifer hartline


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - The pronouncement came from actress Cameron Diaz and psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow last week:  marriage is a dying institution.  It is an old tradition that has now overstayed its welcome and should be thrown out the back door.  It doesn't suit us or our world any longer.  So they say.

Dr. Ablow gave a detailed analysis of the reality of marriage and the reasons why it should and will soon disappear from society.  His eulogy for the cornerstone of civilization as we know it was depressing to say the least.  (I could envision him walking up to the casket in order to smack the dead body upside the head and say, "Good riddance, ya lousy thief.  You shoulda died a long time ago.")  He suspects the reason marriage doesn't suit us now is because it never has.

Marriage, he says, takes so much from us.  It is "a source of real suffering for the vast majority of married people."  "As a healer, I can't help looking askance at anything that depletes energy, optimism, mood and passion to the extent that marriage does.  It is, without a doubt, one of the leading causes of major depression in the nation."

Yikes.  When and how did marriage become such a terrible thing?

First he calls the government's involvement in marriage a "colossal mistake."  He insists government "should have no role in marriage, whatsoever." "Laws should exist, instead, that simply commit parents to financially support their biological children."  Forget about parents making a home for their kids; forget about forging a family for them; forget about showing them what it means to keep promises and put someone else first.  Forget about commitment, fidelity, honor, security, and all those other foundational virtues.  All that's necessary is financial support, and I guess you're off the hook entirely if your kids are adopted.

Surprisingly, Dr. Ablow agrees (unintentionally, I think) with the Catholic Church regarding his second reason marriage is dying:  oral contraception.  Whether he meant to or not, he illustrated that the Church has been right all along:  contraception corrodes marriage.  Sex is meant to be both procreative and unitive and when you separate the two, disaster ensues.  Of course, Dr. Ablow put it differently: "Once human beings understood that they could express themselves emotionally, romantically and sexually without necessarily creating multiple families and perilously diving their assets, the psychological pain of living without sexual passion (even by choice) was significantly intensified."

I'll rephrase:  Once people realized they could have sex with a different person every night with much less "risk" of making a baby, therefore less "risk" of disrupting their life and losing their assets, they soon found no reason at all to remain faithful to anyone, including their child.  All that mattered was lessening their "psychological pain" and increasing their sexual passion.  Pleasure trumps everything.

What a pile of sand.  No wonder the foundation of the family - marriage - is crumbling.

Conspicuously absent from Dr. Ablow's bruising verdict that marriage is passé was even the slightest mention of love.  He speaks passionately about passion, sex, good feelings, physical attraction, freedom, the hassle and expense of divorce, but has nothing whatever to say about love.  So it's no surprise he comes to the same self-serving conclusions as Ms. Diaz and every other prognosticator spreading doom and gloom about marriage.  Marriage surely is doomed to failure without love.

I'm not talking about being "in love."  I'm talking about Love.  And guess what?  Love is hard work.  And that's good!  We self-absorbed humans need daily, plentiful opportunities to look beyond ourselves and stretch our sacrifice muscles so that, with time, we learn how to love.  We have to learn how to love when the good feelings have vanished.  We have to learn how to love when the passion has chilled.  We have to learn how to love when there doesn't seem to be anything in it for us.

We have to be reminded what love actually is:  Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

Did you see where it said love is passion, or love is easy, or love is physical attraction?  Me neither.  Did it say love is a good feeling?  Nope.

That doesn't mean that the love of a husband and wife should be devoid of good feelings, or that the spousal relationship should be tepid and boring.  Emotional barrenness is not inevitable and certainly not God's plan for spouses.  But like all of life there are changing seasons; there are highs and lows; there are easy times and trying times; there is happiness and sadness - you get the idea.  Those who head for the door when they aren't feeling it anymore will never reap the rewards of love.

Dr. Ablow says, "The third reason marriage is a dying institution is because it inherently deprives men and women of the joy of being 'chosen' on a daily basis."  (Here again, marriage is a thief stealing something precious from us.  Sheesh.)  Well, boo hoo.  So none of us should have to feel obligated to stay if we don't want to anymore?  If we don't feel especially "chosen" this week, we should be able to leave in search of someone who will stroke our ego?

I don't want the guy who won't hang around through the tough times.  I don't want the guy who's going to split when someone prettier and more tingly with excitement over his greatness comes along.  I want the guy who has the steel to stand by me, keep his vows, and honor his commitment particularly when it doesn't feel good.  I want the guy I chose when I promised to forsake all others.

And by the same token, I want to be the woman who does the same for her man.  That means I'm gonna have to learn how to love, and it'll be painful at times, because Love will entreat me down off my throne and smash my selfishness to bits.  But only little by little, day by day.

I also want the guy who will choose to love me when I'm not very lovable.  I want the guy who will keep walking with me through the hard times, being faithful through the empty times because he believes that Love will breathe on us again and the delights of passion will warm us again, even if more mellow than when we first began.  (Like a good wine, Love ages sweetly.)

I want the guy who wants to learn to love, because he values Love and knows that Love is the reason for living.  If that sounds like a greeting card cliché to you, too bad.  Love is the end-all and be-all. 

The sad state of marriage today has nothing to do with it being outdated or confining or passion-killing.  It has everything to do with people who are no longer willing to love each other because they no longer understand what Love is, nor do they know Who Love is.  It has everything to do with people being slaves to sexual desire and desecrating the beautiful gift of sexual love that brings forth new life.

No, Dr. Ablow, marriage is not a dying institution.  What's dying is our respect for each other and our reverence for human life.  What's dying is our willingness to sacrifice, to serve, to remain steadfast, to keep our vows.  We are weak with self-gratification and a toddler's attention span.  We have no faith that deserts can bloom, ice can melt, storms will pass, and wounds can heal.  What's dying is our love.

Dr. Ablow concludes, "It's only a matter of time now.  Marriage will fade away.  We should be thinking about what might replace it."  Marriage is in serious jeopardy, no doubt.  If it dies, it will not be due to any inherent defect of its own but because we have ceased to try to conquer our defects.  It will be because we gave up the struggle of love.

With what, exactly, shall we replace Love?

-----

Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother, and a happy chocoholic.  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.  Visit her online at Wordpress and at MCH. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find-even within the huge cities of the world-opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More U.S.

Catholic priest under investigation for child porn Watch

Image of Priest found with images of child pornography (Felix Broussard/Louisiana State Police).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Father Felix David Broussard, a priest of the Diocese of Lafayette, La., was arrested yesterday for allegedly possessing more than 500 images of child pornography, according to local police. Lafayette, LA (CNA/EWTN News) - In a statement, the Diocese reported that ... continue reading


A world without nuclear weapons Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

At any moment, you could be within 30 minutes of being incinerated from nuclear weapons! You are in harm's way if you live in or near a large U.S. city or major military installation. And considering that radiation fallout from a nuclear attack would hurt virtually ... continue reading


Pokemon Go player with CCW halts attempted robbery Watch

Image of A Pokemon Go player has halted a robbery.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Pokemon Go player with a concealed weapons permit stopped a robbery in Las Vegas. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Good for one Pokemon Go player who stopped a robbery thanks to the Second Amendment, which allows Americans to protect themselves. A group of six ... continue reading


'I was thinking as long as I have my hands up ... they're not going to shoot me.' Police fire shots at unarmed black therapist as he lies on the ground asking not to be shot Watch

Image of Officer shoots unarmed black man then cuffed him (WSVN).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey was attempting to calm his autistic patient, who had run away from a group home, when officers arrived on the scene and shot him. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to WSVN, officers in North Miami responded to a report of ... continue reading


DEADLY heatwave settles over U.S., here's what you need to know to stay safe Watch

Image of Most of the U.S. under alert.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The worst heatwave in years is here and it will scorch the entire country from Central California to the Great Lakes, to New England. The heat will be dangerous and persistent. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Ask people what the most deadly weather phenomenon is ... continue reading


Texas female teacher slammed to ground - White officer claims blacks have 'violent tendencies' Watch

Image of Breaion King was slammed to the ground for not moving her legs.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A disturbing video was recently released over a year after a white Texas officer slams a black second-grade teacher to the pavement. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video was recorded on the officer Brian Richtor's dash cam. He pulled second-grade teacher ... continue reading


'Here the church is their family and they know they are loved': The Church reaches out to Hispanics Watch

Image of Over half of Catholic millennials in the United States are Hispanic.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Louisiana's Diocese of Shreveport has hired its first diocesan for Hispanic youths. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hispanics compose over half the United States' Catholics yet several states offer little to no Spanish-language or Latino-centered church groups.The ... continue reading


Deacon Fournier on the Parable of the Sower, the Seed and the Soil Watch

Image of The meaning of the agrarian parables that Jesus used has become increasingly clear as I watch those fields become green every Spring. Of course, preceding all of this, there were barren looking fields, seemingly lifeless, that is before the seed was sown. Preparing the ground for the seed involves hard work, cooperative weather and the goodness of the God who created this beautiful and fruitful world.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Living Word has been sown within us. We must assist in cultivating the ground of our hearts in order to be more fully transformed by grace and reflect the Image and Likeness of God. We are called to grow in holiness and allow the Risen Life of Jesus Christ to ... continue reading


305k believers gather in Washington DC to pray Jesus 'resets the generation' Watch

Image of Tim Tebow makes appearance and speech (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hundreds of thousands of Christians met at the National Mall in Washington D.C. this weekend to join together in an event aimed at resetting the generation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to its website, Together Reset believes there is power in ... continue reading


Who Are the Mother and Brothers of Jesus? We Are! Watch

Image of Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. We are the mother and brother and sister of Jesus

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Through our Baptism, we are all invited into the very family of God. When we choose to be obedient to the will and the Word of God; we enter into an eternal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We actually become a part of the "family" of God; ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24
11 The priests and prophets then said to the chief men and all the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
15 Let not the waves wash over me, nor the deep swallow me up, nor the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:1-12
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2016 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the ... Read More