Life Unexpected. Immorality Accepted. True Love Rejected.

Chris and I just recently finished watching the TV Show “Life Unexpected,” courtesy of Netflix.

We both really liked the show. For me, personally, I liked it, not in spite of, but because it portrays so well the way the world thinks. It shows very well how destructive the views of the world are. I have much hope in that it will show to the viewers that this generally accepted behaviour only serves to destroy, and that from that, they would seek the truth found only in Jesus Christ. From cohabitation, to fornication, lying, adultery, and drunkenness, as well as unforgiveness, and pro-choice views/contraceptive mentalities, it hits a broad spectrum of the views of the world. So many people believe that the Church is “out-dated” in her views and that she should get with the times because she doesn’t “get it.” The truth is, the Church does get it. She gets it completely and more than anyone else does, or even thinks that they do. The world is lost, broken, and confused. She needs a mother. She needs the Church. I will be discussing each one of the above topics in brief and why the Church, in her wisdom, teaches what it does. I will be posting one topic at a time. Please note that these do contain spoilers for the show.

We all know that any good parent, any good mother or father, wants to protect their children and keep them safe. They tell a child not to put their hand on a hot element because it will burn them, or tell a child to bundle up when going outside in the winter so as to avoid getting frostbite or hypothermia. Sometimes the child will not listen, even though they have been told what will happen, and they get hurt anyway, having had to learn for themselves. This hurts the parents greatly, and this is why they tell them to do/not to do something.

Going deeper, God, as our Father, and Holy Mother Church, want and have the same desires for us, however on a much deeper level. Many people see the teachings of the Church as rules that restrict and prohibit, but really they are only there because God and the Church loves us, and want to protect us. They know what will hurt us, and it hurts them when we hurt.

Cohabitation –

Ryan & Julia lived together for 3 years. He proposed. She said no. He left and met Cate. They got into a relationship and started living together. Naturally he still had strong feelings for Julia while having feelings for Cate, and I do not doubt that their having had sex (sex with Cate and sex with Julia) played a part in this bond. To all of the characters, marriage is something disposable and not lasting, so easy to throw away.

First, we need to be clear – what is cohabitation? Cohabitation is “a living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage.” (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cohabitation)

Why not cohabitation? So many couples say they have great reasons that justify their decision to live together before marriage. The Church says no, because she loves us as a parent loves their child, and she wants to protect us and ensure our happiness. The below are some of the reasons that people give to justify their conviction to cohabitate (source http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resource.php?n=407)

1.”It’s more convenient for us.”

2.”We’re trying to save money for the wedding, so living together is more economical.”

3.”Because of the high divorce rate, we want to see if things work out first.”

4.”We need to get to know one another first. Later we’ll start having kids.”

The Church knows that, and studies prove that, cohabitation makes the liklihood of a failed marriage very high. The below quote is from the Journal of Marriage and Family, 1995, by David R. Hall (University of Western Ontario-UWO) and John Z. Zhao (UWO), “Cohabitation and Divorce in Canada: Testing the Selectivity Hypothesis.” It supports and demonstrated this fact, from real research and findings.

Findings from various countries indicate that premarital cohabitation is linked to a higher risk of first marriage dissolution. A number of recent studies have argued that this “cohabitation effect” reflects the fact that cohabitors are a select group in ways that predispose them to divorce. This hypothesis was investigated using data on 8,177 ever-married individuals collected from a major Canadian survey. We found that premarital cohabitation was associated with a greater risk of divorce even after the effects of four sociodemographic factors that differentiate cohabitors—the presence of stepchildren, marital status of first spouse, parental divorce, and age heterogamy—were specified in a model of marital dissolution. (http://www.jstor.org/pss/353695)

So basically, the above is saying that even after factoring in other sociodemographic factors, cohabitation heightens the liklihood of divorce. There is a great article in Relevant Magazine which gives a good, concise summary of “why cohabitation doesn’t work” (Hence the article title). The author says:

So why doesn’t cohabitation deliver on its promise to better prepare couples for marriage? Research has found that unwed couples who choose to live together have less reverence for the institution of marriage and less confidence that it will last. Lower expectations weaken a couple’s resolve to stay together, even after they make the transition from cohabitation to marriage.

Research also shows that the high rate at which cohabitors break up reinforces the notion that intimate relationships are fragile and fleeting. Those who have already experienced the collapse of an intimate cohabiting relationship generally have less hope that their marriages will last and more quickly accept divorce as a way to address marital turmoil.

The article later goes on to say that:

For the couple who marries first, courtship is a test of their commitments. For the cohabiting couple, courtship is an experiment in compatibility. Whereas the couple who married first trusted that commitment would lead to the pleasures of intimate life, the cohabiting couple has wagered that indulging those pleasures will give rise to commitment.” (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationship/blog/24883-why-cohabitation-doesnt-work)

Long story short – cohabitation does not work.

 “2391 Some today claim a “right to a trial marriage” where there is an intention of getting married later. However firm the purpose of those who engage in premature sexual relations may be, “the fact is that such liaisons can scarcely ensure mutual sincerity and fidelity in a relationship between a man and a woman, nor, especially, can they protect it from inconstancy of desires or whim.”183 Carnal union is morally legitimate only when a definitive community of life between a man and woman has been established. Human love does not tolerate “trial marriages.” It demands a total and definitive gift of persons to one another.184 (Catechism of the Catholic Church-CCC)”

 To be continued . . .

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About orthojulie

I am a 26 year old wife and Catholic, who loves art, reading, doing housewifey things, and the outdoors (when the weather is nice). Though I make bad jokes, I can at least write decent posts for orthodoxcatholicism.com. Take a read and leave a comment!

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great article! I’m glad to see issues like this addressed. The destruction of the family is a burden on the should of the Church and civil society in the West. I look forward reading the next part of the series.

  1. Pingback: Cafeteria Catholicism | Team Orthodoxy

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