Saturday, August 01, 2015
Downton and Bluegrass: A Valentine’s Day Reflection
Valentine’s Day, with its annual excess of bawdy innuendo, approaches. Usually I’m tempted to grimace at the corniness and tastelessness…even as I wait to see how my husband will observe the occasion. But today I am smiling as February 14 approaches.

No, I haven’t been sampling any of that newly-legalized product in Colorado. And it’s not a ruby tint in my glasses, either. I’m feeling cheerful because by sheer serendipity I recently encountered – from separate, random sources—two actual anti-divorce messages! Maybe such messages have been around a while, but to me, they’re a remarkable novelty. ()

Latest in Relationship & Sexuality

  Marriage and Infertility  
No, Marriage Definitely Before Carriage.
I’m not a huge mommy-blog follower. While I am stay-at-home mother of three boys and would-be mommy blogger myself, when I have real time to sit down and surf, I just want to know what Kate Moss is up to or which $80 eye cream I should buy.


Let’s Talk About Porn

It's the conversation no dating couple wants to have.

No, I'm not talking about the “what’s our relationship status” discussion.

I'm talking about pornography.

  Romance and Marriage  
Vindicating Valentine’s Day
These days, it’s easy to be sick of seeing red. It’s not hard to be skeptical of all the contrived romance the industry peddles, skeptical of feeling obligated to spend boatloads of cash just to meet some arbitrary standard of affection. After all, on what other day would a guy who sends his girl flowers, showers her in chocolate, plans a romantic dinner, and maybe even wraps up a sparkly little gift stay at baseline? Any other day that would put him in the running for boyfriend or husband-of-the-year, but on Valentine’s Day, all the backflips in the world just keep him on par. It’s easy to write the whole thing off. Plenty of people do.


  Redefining Marriage  
What is Marriage?
On December 19, 2012, Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George discuss their new book What is Marriage?: Man and Woman, A Defense at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C. Watch Ryan T. Anderson discuss the book here. Anderson is William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and the editor of Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute. ()

Witnessing Life-Long Love
In September of 1977, a young, twenty-three-year-old man promised himself to his twenty-year-old bride. Forever. She wore white. He wore a tux. The flowers were the shades of autumn. It rained on their wedding day.

Their story is perhaps not all that different from most other early-stage Baby- Boom marriages of the 1970s and 80s. They met in high school, she went to college, he worked, they moved around, settled down, and then started a family. ()

  Genderless Parenting  
Men Don’t Mother
There’s been a strange turn of opinions about fatherhood—at least in recent public debates. Decades of research have now documented the tremendous challenges children face when they grow up without their fathers. But you would never know it by looking at some of the recent public arguments for “genderless parenting.” ()

Move Over, Will and Kate
Americans might not be interested in having a monarchy of their own, but that doesn't mean they can't appreciate royalty and fairy tales when they wind up on our territory. The hoopla surrounding last year’s visit by the newly minted Duke and Duchess of York, or Will and Kate if you read People Magazine, is just a little proof. So I was delighted to be among the relatively few witnesses at the wedding of His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Imre of Austria to a small-town American girl, Kathleen Walker, just a few weeks ago. ()

And After the Honeymoon?

One frequent question I am asked as a newlywed is:

What are you going to do now that the wedding is over?

A reasonable question—after all, the wedding planning took a lot of time.


I Didn’t Marry My Soul Mate
You read that right. My beautiful new bride isn’t my soul mate. In the confusing world of relationships, guys often make a crucial error in their approach to finding a wife: we operate under the assumption that we are destined to find our perfect soul-mate. (Yes, this applies to the ladies, too, but here I want to address the guys specifically.) You know the woman I’m thinking of–that ideal someone who magically balances your flaws, completes your insufficiencies, and satisfies your deepest desires. While searching for a spouse, we hold fast to the ideal of marrying someone faultlessly compatible with us – even if we concede that she herself is not going to be completely flawless. ()

  Rape and Abortion  
Tragedy Compounded
In light of the controversy surrounding Todd Akin's comments last week, I feel compelled to share my story. Earlier this year I was raped. I don't know whether Todd Akin would consider it "legitimate rape" or if Whoopi Goldberg would define it as "rape, rape," but I know what it was and it wasn't okay. I'm not writing to share the details of the attack but rather to share what kept me from killing myself afterwards. I ovulated only hours before I was raped. I know this because I sometimes have pain and spotting when I ovulate. After the attack I was filled with terror: What on earth would I do if I were pregnant? ()

  Dating and Marriage  
Surviving Singledom
One of the more common misconceptions about singleness and marriage revolves around the idea that maximizing one’s chances at marriage requires work. (See for example the discussion following this earlier Altcatholicah “relationships” piece.) It’s easy for us to suppose, living in modern America, that spouse-hunting is like job-hunting: say the right things, go to the right parties, seek out the right people, live in the right part of the country, and you will find the job/person of your dreams. This is a serious mistake. “Finding a spouse”is not a task to work or worry over. ()

Emily Stimpson on the Single Years
On April 24, 2012, the Catholic Information Center hosted Emily Stimpson to discuss her latest book The Catholic Girl's Survival Guide for the Single Years. Emily Stimpson is a freelance Catholic writer based in Steubenville, Ohio. As a contributing editor to Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly and a columnist for Lay Witness Magazine, Emily writes regularly on "all things Catholic"—from politics and catechesis to higher education and the media, with a special focus on the Church's teachings on marriage, sexuality, and femininity. Watch the full video here. ()

  Dating and Marriage  

I confess to being a good audience when it comes to essays on marriage, dating, and relationships. Part of my penchant for pieces on these subjects has to do simply with the fact that I am a woman.


Arrested Adolescence
I have first-world problems. On the surface, I have nothing to complain about. Well educated, well paid, and well adjusted, there’s not much, materially speaking, I want that I cannot have. I realize that, even in these recessionary times, I live in a degree of prosperity unparalleled in human history. And I also represent a third-wave feminists’ dream come true, having achieved educational and professional success on par with the boys. And yet, like so many of my fellow single, professional, female friends, I have come to the following conclusion: This sucks. ()

NFP: Dilemmas in the Dialogue
In the past year, various Catholic magazines and blogs have suggested that Natural Family Planning (NFP) could be better “branded” in order to attract more Catholics, and maybe even some non-Catholics. In articles I have read and conversations I have had, people have compared the Church’s teaching on contraception to the organic movement in farming, called for NFP to be sexier with greater appeal to the modern woman, and played up the marital and health benefits as if they were guaranteed perks. ()

  Sex and Society  
Helen Alvare on Sex and Freedom
On Thursday, May 10, Dr. Helen Alvare addressed the Catholic Information Center's Young Professionals Program on the topic of religious freedom versus sexual liberationism. Alvare is an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law, the Chair of the Conscience Protection Task Force of the Witherspoon Institute, the President of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity at the Vatican, a consultant to the USCCB's Pro-Life Committee and an ABC news consultant. ()

NFP, Providentialism, and Future-You
Among the small fraction of married Catholics who don't contracept, there are two camps: those who space pregnancies by practicing NFP; and providentialists, who may or may not actively pursue pregnancy, but who do nothing to postpone it. Maybe we have respect for Catholics who are in the other camp, and maybe we don't, but we readily identify ourselves as belonging to one or the other. ()

  Marriage and Soul-Mates  
A Resurrection Kind of Love
She was ice-skating, and she fell. He picked her up. That’s how my grandma and grandpa met.

I ask her to tell the story often. “These great big arms just swooped down and grabbed me,” she chuckles, “and then he kissed me on the cheek. I said, “I don’t know you!” And he said, “I’ve had my eye on you for quite some time.””

The next morning he stopped by her house with a sled and invited her outside. ()

Waiting for the Man
"I don't think I want to date you," he said.

We'd been out together four or five times over the past several weeks, emailed a bit, talked once or twice on the phone, been publicly friendly at acquaintances' parties. . . . In my book, while we weren't "dating," we had certainly been on a few dates. I might have hesitated to go out to dinner and a movie with another guy. I would have felt disloyal. He had said he was trying to make up his mind about whether or not to date me, and now he had made it up. He wasn't going to. ()

  Emotional Chastity  
Avoiding Emotional Promiscuity
Many women today in their twenties, thirties, and beyond are single and searching. They are some combination of beautiful, successful, virtuous, and delightful. They go on dates, develop romantic attachments, but despite their search, they are not marrying.


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