I'm interested in your opinions...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
I'm interested in your opinions...
11
Tue, 01-13-2004 - 6:29pm
I'm in Holland right now -- on the internet because my internal clock is all messed up and I can't sleep.

Anyway, here's the question... marriage is a lot less common here than in the States, and living together (for a long time) seems to be a lot more common. Interestingly, many of the couples here have been living together for years, and will stay together until they die.

A colleague of mine (fundamentalist in religion) once remarked how horrible it was that these people live in sin their whole life. I answered that I had a hard time condemning them totally -- or at least not any more than Americans who go through 3, 4 or 5 short-term marriages.

I'm not saying what they do is right -- just that their lives together often reflect more love and commitment (from what I can see) than many married couples in the States.

Ok, now really here's my question: who is damaging/disrespecting the institution of marriage more -- those who ignore it completely even if their lives reflect the spirit of marriage, or those who are serial marryers(not a word, I know)-- but marry in a religious ceremony (and with the right legal stuff as well)? Or is it apples to oranges and impossible to say? Or am I just so jet-lagged that the question is only intriguing to me?

Polly

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Wed, 01-14-2004 - 9:56am
I think serial marriers are more disrespectful to the sacredness of marriage. Honestly what I don't understand about the US is why so many people insist on having a religious marriage when they have no intention of living that way. It seems completely disrespectful to me to "get married in the church" for the sake of their families when they have no intention of living in the Church, which I guess would make them not technically married in the Church (Catholic at least) since intent wasn't present, right?

I wonder though if the difference is that the more socialized countries have less economic and legal incentive to get married in the first place. In the US you pretty much have to be married to ensure your rights wrt to your partner, whereas I don't think that's always the case in Europe.

Good question!

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jeff

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 01-14-2004 - 1:36pm
I got more information. Basically, there are three options: live together as couples do in the States, get married, or live together under contract. I talked to a "contract" person today. He says the contract can say whatever the couple agrees, but it sounds like it is often like a pre-nup -- lists who owns what and what property is joint. Its purpose is to avoid a lawsuit if the couple does break up. He also has a will so that his partner gets benefits when he dies, rather than his parents, etc. They just had a son. Often the birth of a child is what seems to spur a marriage here -- which I thought was out of a desire for stability, etc. But apparently it is because if you aren't married, the paperwork to claim paternity is horre

More later, my client arrived.

Polly

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 01-14-2004 - 5:37pm
As I was saying, the paperwork is horrendous. Two other interesting facts -- as of recently, the default is to give children the mother's last name -- even if the parents are married. (In practice, it seems many request the father's name -- but if you don't ask for it, it doesn't happen.) Also, homosexuals were allowed "contracts" and contract benefits before they were allowed marriage. Homosexual marriages have been legal about 2 years now.

The group I was talking to today told me that people in their 20s are reverting back to marriage, and even though most live together, they figure about 80% now of those in long term relationships eventually marry. Church marriage is becoming popular too, although mostly to provide a nice setting, and not because of any religious significance. (I wonder how the Catholic Church here handles that, and if priests ever refuse to marry people.)


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Wed, 01-14-2004 - 10:40pm
Never heard of priests ever refusing to marry somebody, only in circumstances they have little or no information regarding their relationship, seems to be the smartest & safest thing to do, esp. in a world where one doesn't know one's limits.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 01-15-2004 - 10:00am
Re-Marriage, "Contract" Marriage or living together are all grave matters opposed to the moral teaching of the Catholic Church. Many priests will not marry anyone already living together unless they live apart for a period of time.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 01-15-2004 - 1:42pm
Yes, I know they're not supposed to marry those who live together, but counsel them to separate before the marriage. I've even heard that priests can be stripped of priestly duties, so to speak, if they know a couple lives together and marries them anyway. But I also know some adhere to this, and some follow a "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the States. I'm just wondering what happens here, where nearly everyone is non-practicing Catholic. In other words, I wonder if when they say "Church wedding," they mean Catholic Church. I'll have to ask.

Polly

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-10-2003
Thu, 01-15-2004 - 4:38pm
Newbie here with a few thoughts on this topic. As a "serial bride" I think the "Serial marriages" are more damaging and disrespectful to the whole idea of marriage than would be those who live together and 'practice' a married life without the actual paperwork. Those who live together (for long times) probably have a much better, healthier idea of what a relationship should be and have a myrid of reasons for not actually marrying. Those who engage in 'serial marriages' probably do so for the same reason I did, A lack of understanding of what marriage is or should be. I'm sure there are exeptions in both cases. As for the priests marrying couples, my understanding is that there are certian requirements for being married in the Catholic Church, namely being Catholic, and most parishes I know of have other requirements such as premarital counseling. I've not heard the requirement of the couple living seperately. Over time I've come to find that there is much less covered in actual doctrine by the church in many cases than we are often led to believe. Many things are left up to the perogitive of the priest or diocese.

Winter

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 01-15-2004 - 5:57pm
It is true that the Catholic Church does not specifically state Doctrine for each and every situation. That is up to the bishop to teach how certain Church Doctrine applies to a specific situation and he does this most often through his pastors. They are all required to apply and teach the Doctrine in a uniform manner. Sometimes the Vatican congregations do issue letters addresing a specific question asked by a Bishop.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-05-2003
Thu, 01-15-2004 - 6:43pm
In our diocese priests will actually insist that the male move into the rectory or prove alternative residence before the wedding or else they will not marry the couple in the Church. Sadly these couples then skip across the border to DC and get married anyway with the priest having full knowledge of their cohabitation. This was my point in the other thread about popularity vs. strict adherence. It is also why non-Catholics and many Catholics feel that Catholicism is a joke when it comes to doctrine.

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." - Thomas Jeff

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Tue, 01-20-2004 - 1:17pm
Do you mean *doctrine* or do you mean "moral teachings"? I think the latter in this instance, right?

While I always applaud priests who exhort strict adherence to moral teachings, I applaud even more those whose generosity of vision allows them to look beyond weakness towards intent. When DH and I were interviewing with a priest before marriage, we were apologetic about having the same address on our application. He chose instead to look at the number of years we had been together, our Catholic upbringing, our desire to be married in the Catholic church and raise Catholic children, and our intent to make an Engaged Encounter weekend (rather than ordinary pre-Cana). His generosity welcomed us into the Church, giving us a wonderful start and encouraging my DH's tolerance of my beliefs about raising Catholic kids (DH is agnostic).

Sometimes mercy is as much a sign of our love for God as strict adherence to the letter of the law.

Kelly

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