HGTV's programming: like House Hunters. It's an easy way to see some houses - and how the folks make their major purchase decisions. It's also a tiny window on how a handful of American households live.
One of the many patterns I've noticed involves a couple where one has either moved in with the other, or the two are planning to consolidate two households. Sometimes they're married - fairly often they're not.
My wife and I didn't move in together until after we got married. That's a distinctly counter-cultural lifestyle in today's America.
January 20, 2010, January 12, 2010, September 19, 2009, March 8, 2009)
The assorted hippies, acid heads, and dropouts of the '60s formed counter-cultures: But being "counter-cultural" isn't limited to the Woodstock/Timothy Leary experience. (January 12, 2010)
Being a Catholic doesn't involving forsaking soap and wearing love beads, or wearing outlandish clothes. Actually, it could: and that's another topic.
Being Catholic does mean living in a way that hasn't conformed to local or regional mores during the last two millennia - and isn't, in my opinion, likely to do so in the foreseeable future. Yet another topic. (March 21, 2009)
Bottom line: at the end of all things, I'd rather be in trouble with the Supreme Court, or editors of The New York Times, than with God the Omnipotent, Lord of Hosts. Like the fellow said:
" '...As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.' "Which gets me back to domestic arrangements here in America, around the start of the 21st century.
I've heard variations on that for almost a half-century now. Depending on who did the talking, I've heard it described as "trial marriage," "shacking up," and "sleeping together."
I've known folks who were nice people, lived together 'without benefit of clergy,' and never got struck by lightning. I even moved to another state with the intention of moving in with a woman - and that's another story. I associate the words "sleeping together" with a sort of cozy feeling.
I also think cohabitation before marriage is a bad idea.
More importantly, the Catholic Church says sexual relations outside of marriage is a bad idea. For one thing, there isn't much commitment in a relationship that's based on what two people feel like doing at the moment. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2391)
I've written about my take on being nostalgic before. Fairly often, actually. (February 14, 2011, May 12, 2010)
Where was I? Marriage, American culture, and Catholic teachings. Right.
That's called 'hate speech' in some circles, I understand. But I'm Catholic, and that's what the Church teaches.
Back when I was growing up, some folks labeled those who didn't agree with them 'commies.'
Today a different set of folks identify lack of conformity with their views as 'hate.'
In the particular judgment, I won't have to worry about what any of them think, and - yep, I've written about that before, too. (August 8, 2010)
But that's not what the Catholic Church teaches. As a Catholic husband and father, I am not required to cast my daughters out in the snow, if they make me a grandfather without getting married first.
That's not the same as lacking standards.
I am required to do my level best, acting with my wife, to pass along what the Church has been teaching for about two millennia now. That is to love others, not hate them. No matter what. (December 9, 2010, March 13, 2009)
What people do, on the other hand, I don't have to be all that crazy about.
Which is why I've explained to my kids why I think it's a really bad idea to walk on Interstate highways, take illicit drugs, and engage in sexual intercourse outside marriage.
Also changing diapers and running errands.
And I wouldn't have it any other way. There are a lot of perks, besides "sleeping together," but make no mistake: there's work involved.
Here's a little of what the Catholic Church has to say about marriage, including a FAQ from bishops operating in America:
- Sirach 23:18
- Matthew 19:9
- 1 Corinthians 7:1-7
- Ephesians 5:21-30
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- "Frequently Asked Questions About the Defense of Marriage"
United States Council of Catholic Bishops
- "Rambling on About Marriage, More or Less"
(August 13, 2010)
- "Archbishop of Minnesota, About Proposition 8"
(August 8, 2010)
- "California, Same-Sex Marriage, and Some Guy in Korea"
(August 7, 2010)
- "Why State Definitions of Marriage Matter to This Catholic"
(June 23, 2010)
- "Making Your Marriage Work Takes Work"
(February 14, 2010)
A disclaimer I make from time to time: I've got the full authority of 'some guy with a blog,' and that position doesn't carry much authority - certainly not in the Catholic Church.