Young female companions, wives
#1
I don't know if this is the proper place for this thread. It seemed appropriate, but maybe On Women would be. After reading it, please move it if you feel it would be.

Well since I am here among clean folks, I think this is a good place to discuss a great problem I have been having in my life. I stress clean because, it seems to many in the secular world and maybe elsewhere (as I may soon learn), a marriage, even a planned one, a betrothal, is not clean, but dirty, where it concerns a young woman. These people, by the way, and they have not been many, so unpleasant was their response to me, have all been women. Generally when I have expressed an interest in betrothal or arranged marriage with their daughters, granddaughters or nieces, they have become nearly venomous, often turning from a friendly person into someone that launches insults and epithets at me. 

I am trying to understand their frame of mind, and how it relates to the Catholic frame of mind. Of course I have asked them myself, but even being generous the most reasonable answer I could get was "repulsive" and "abhorrent". This was in my family by the way, I have been wary to look beyond that, unless I need to. But outside of the family I heard the same thing, and it is more fearful there since I do not know the character of the person. One woman insinuated that I should find a woman in my "peer group". I suppose by that she meant a 35 year old woman. Well, no--I have made it clear that my wife would not work, and I would give the world to her, but that is a two way street. 

Now getting back to the alleged dirtiness of such a betrothal, it is paradoxical, because I have found, as I have aged, I have appreciated more the virtues of young girls, and seen that quality of them more clearly that should be preserved. In that view the act of consummation, at any age, in a properly cultivated wife (pure and innocent) which is not needful at any rate, becomes almost painful, and can only be done with the disclosure that it is a clean thing, and made to bear children, and very reluctantly.

As to older women, my niece-in-law of 18 (serious Christian) that I sincerely spoke to of betrothal, was well beyond the age when I should have done that: she already had a Christian boyfriend, had made plans for her future and was off to college: a missed opportunity. She was convinced, by the schools I am sure, that she wanted to spend her life working, go to college, and not spend her time idle. She would not have made a good wife, for me. I tried to save her from college, but it was too late.

My question is, how do Catholics here feel about having older companions for their young daughters? I have asked myself the same question, and although I would hate to part with my daughter, if I had one, I also think, by reason, if I found a good companion for her, and I think a good father should know this after some time with him, he should seize the opportunity, and though I started this post thinking it would run against the old proverb "Marry daughters when you are able", simply because of changing times, I now see that even today this would hold true. A good chance might not happen twice, and from 12 she goes to 18 fast, and 18 to 20, etc. How long does one keep a daughter around? Well maybe very long if the father wishes to, but if he can find a good companion for her,and she likes him, maybe that would obviate future restlessness she might feel, and ultimately satisfy her.

Also, would you permit your young, pre-pubescent daughter to have a companion, mentor, or tutor, who wished to wed her when she was of age? Would you permit her to stay with him ever? I am trying collect a general consensus of social mores among people that I think would be the most enlightened. There is an easy way to do this in person, one would think, but based on some of the irrational emotion I have endured, even from people that I think would be likeminded in my family, or through signs of their intelligence, there is certainly a wariness in this too. Anyway any other thoughts you might have on this matter would be welcome too.
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#2
Given the vast perversity of our current culture and societal norms. I'd be very weary of having older men around my young daughter.

You were born in these times, not Biblical. It is very taboo for an older man to try and marry a teenager or be betrothed to a child. You should not be surprised that people are taken back when you do something so contraire to societal norms. If I asked you to come to a Bacchanalian orgy, you certainly would be aghast...but it was very common and acceptable during a certain time and place.


So in short, acknowledge the time and place God placed you in and you will struggle less.
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#3
(07-28-2020, 09:49 PM)austenbosten Wrote: Given the vast perversity of our current culture and societal norms.  I'd be very weary of having older men around my young daughter.

You were born in these times, not Biblical.  It is very taboo for an older man to try and marry a teenager or be betrothed to a child.  You should not be surprised that people are taken back when you do something so contraire to societal norms.  If I asked you to come to a Bacchanalian orgy, you certainly would be aghast...but it was very common and acceptable during a certain time and place.


So in short, acknowledge the time and place God placed you in and you will struggle less.

I appreciate your sentiments. If I might say, you believe, it seems, that there are universal societal norms, secular and Christian, among all races and places of man. And because others are thought bad, I should fear that I might be too, and give up my own nature, even if it is righteous, in fear of it.
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#4
(07-28-2020, 10:20 PM)EricChurch Wrote:
(07-28-2020, 09:49 PM)austenbosten Wrote: Given the vast perversity of our current culture and societal norms.  I'd be very weary of having older men around my young daughter.

You were born in these times, not Biblical.  It is very taboo for an older man to try and marry a teenager or be betrothed to a child.  You should not be surprised that people are taken back when you do something so contraire to societal norms.  If I asked you to come to a Bacchanalian orgy, you certainly would be aghast...but it was very common and acceptable during a certain time and place.


So in short, acknowledge the time and place God placed you in and you will struggle less.

I appreciate your sentiments. If I might say, you believe, it seems, that there are universal societal norms, secular and Christian, among all races and places of man. And because others are thought bad, I should fear that I might be too, and give up my own nature, even if it is righteous, in fear of it.

I can't speak for Austen, but I think he's saying just the opposite.

There are general universal Catholic principles of morality, but these are practically applied differently in different cultures and times.

In some places even today, like the Indian subcontinent, arranged marriages are somewhat common. In some places even if there is not an arranged marriage system, there is a expectation of family involvement. In other places and culture, there is a high level of independence, such that parents are expected not to get involved in the choice of a spouse.

In certain times it was normal for older men to marry younger women because it took time for men to make get a household started to provide for a family. That is not now. While there may be an few larger age-gap marriages at times, in general this is seen in both secular and Catholic circles as an oddity, not the norm. Today, normally, people seek a spouse from within a few years age of themselves. If you are actively seeking to marry someone much younger, then it will appear creepy and wrong even if in your case you have the best motives. This is because generally, when older men pursue younger women in today's culture, it is predatory.

The point I think he was trying to make is that you were born into a time that has certain norms. To the extent that these are not opposed to the Faith, you should bear with them, and one of those is to avoid, as a more mature man, spending time with or seeking marriage with someone much younger.
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#5
I know that this practice was acceptable in the past, but it doesn't sit right with me.  At the same time, I think the current dating climate is so toxic as an aggregate, that a retrograde fix may not be out of order.  Retrograde as in semi-arranged: pre-vetting mates within the community and introducing them to our offspring to court when they are 18-20, while still offering them a full choice in the matter.  If this is what you're referring to, that's one thing, but it seems like you are inquiring about another.

The idea is especially repulsive to women because it robs young females - who are still in their vulnerable, formative years - the informed consent a grown woman is capable of giving in selecting her own husband.  Christ's message transformed marriage from a slave-owner relationship to a sacrament which honors the equal dignity of both sexes before God, requiring female consent to be valid.  To give a teenage daughter's hand - let alone a pre-pubescent daughter's hand - to a grown man many years her senior, is not only creepy, but immoral.  You think you'd be preserving her innocence, but this is more like destroying it.  You've made her someone's wife prematurely against her will.  You've relegated her to a possession.

You get adverse reactions because there are a lot of stigmas and preconceived notions associated with not only such arrangements, but large age differences as well.  A grown man attracted to young girls is pedophilic - full stop.  An older man who exclusively dates younger women is either a sugar daddy, or is somehow insecure/defective in that he cannot attract women in his age range, relying on his younger companion's immaturity to get away with things a more mature companion would not stand for.  Sweeping generalizations or not, these are our present social conditions.  These relationships are mainly inappropriate and deviant in their disparate dynamics.

Now, I understand what you're getting at.  You see how early females are turned against their own procreative and nurturing qualities in favor of the false promises of feminism.  I don't think betrothals are the answer.  The answer is for parents to raise their girls to value their femininity, reinforce the importance of complimentary gender roles and to shield them from subversive forces.  Would I like to see a future daughter married young, between 18-23?  Yes.  Am I willing to make this happen by pawning off my 9-12 year old to a much older man?  Never.  And if one asked, I would likely respond in a venomous fashion as well or else I would be a complete failure in protecting her.
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#6
(07-28-2020, 09:49 PM)austenbosten Wrote: Given the vast perversity of our current culture and societal norms.  I'd be very weary of having older men around my young daughter.

You were born in these times, not Biblical.  It is very taboo for an older man to try and marry a teenager or be betrothed to a child.  You should not be surprised that people are taken back when you do something so contraire to societal norms.  If I asked you to come to a Bacchanalian orgy, you certainly would be aghast...but it was very common and acceptable during a certain time and place.


So in short, acknowledge the time and place God placed you in and you will struggle less.
Adding to austenbosten's post, I am no Canon lawyer, but the Church seems to consider societal norms regarding the age of betrothals and marriage:

"Can.  1072 Pastors of souls are to take care to dissuade youth from the celebration of marriage before the age at which a person usually enters marriage according to the accepted practices of the region."

Also, there seems to be a set age restriction:

"Can.  1083 §1. A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage."

This seems to mean a man cannot validly marry before his 17th birthday, nor a woman before her 15th birthday.

I would NEVER allow my unmarried minor daughter to stay with any adult man who had designs on marriage with her.

Additionally, I would never arrange a marriage for my children, though I would council them on their relationships and finding a spouse. My inlaws never arranged a marriage between their son and myself, but my MIL did set us up on our first date, and it worked out well. Ultimately, a marriage is contracted between the man and woman, not their parents, and if I'm not mistaken the marriage is invalid if the two individuals do not freely consent. I'm not sure that consent could be guaranteed in an arranged situation. And besides, I don't know if my daughter will one day be called to the convent instead, and will then face the grief of choosing between her parents' wishes and God's will. 
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#7
(07-28-2020, 10:39 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(07-28-2020, 10:20 PM)EricChurch Wrote:
(07-28-2020, 09:49 PM)austenbosten Wrote: Given the vast perversity of our current culture and societal norms.  I'd be very weary of having older men around my young daughter.

You were born in these times, not Biblical.  It is very taboo for an older man to try and marry a teenager or be betrothed to a child.  You should not be surprised that people are taken back when you do something so contraire to societal norms.  If I asked you to come to a Bacchanalian orgy, you certainly would be aghast...but it was very common and acceptable during a certain time and place.


So in short, acknowledge the time and place God placed you in and you will struggle less.

I appreciate your sentiments. If I might say, you believe, it seems, that there are universal societal norms, secular and Christian, among all races and places of man. And because others are thought bad, I should fear that I might be too, and give up my own nature, even if it is righteous, in fear of it.

I can't speak for Austen, but I think he's saying just the opposite.

There are general universal Catholic principles of morality, but these are practically applied differently in different cultures and times.

In some places even today, like the Indian subcontinent, arranged marriages are somewhat common. In some places even if there is not an arranged marriage system, there is a expectation of family involvement. In other places and culture, there is a high level of independence, such that parents are expected not to get involved in the choice of a spouse.

In certain times it was normal for older men to marry younger women because it took time for men to make get a household started to provide for a family. That is not now. While there may be an few larger age-gap marriages at times, in general this is seen in both secular and Catholic circles as an oddity, not the norm. Today, normally, people seek a spouse from within a few years age of themselves. If you are actively seeking to marry someone much younger, then it will appear creepy and wrong even if in your case you have the best motives. This is because generally, when older men pursue younger women in today's culture, it is predatory.

The point I think he was trying to make is that you were born into a time that has certain norms. To the extent that these are not opposed to the Faith, you should bear with them, and one of those is to avoid, as a more mature man, spending time with or seeking marriage with someone much younger.
I appreciate your thoughts, though I think they might not be everyone's experience. You say it would be creepy and wrong to seek actively to marry someone much younger, but in fact I nearly proposed the other day to my niece in law, who is 18, in front of my father, and I am 35.

Don't mistake me, I greatly appreciate your opinion, and as it's good that everyone has an opinion, since a good deal can be learned from that, so opinions are also personal more or less. Certainly when you say it appears such and such, we are dealing with feelings here, and the wish to deny that that one disapproves of. But opinions and conclusions may not reach so far sometimes as they are cast. Many is the person that has watched the news, and felt that crime was everywhere.
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#8
(07-28-2020, 10:44 PM)Mourning Dove Wrote: I know that this practice was acceptable in the past, but it doesn't sit right with me.  At the same time, I think the current dating climate is so toxic as an aggregate, that a retrograde fix may not be out of order.  Retrograde as in semi-arranged: pre-vetting mates within the community and introducing them to our offspring to court when they are 18-20, while still offering them a full choice in the matter.  If this is what you're referring to, that's one thing, but it seems like you are inquiring about another.

The idea is especially repulsive to women because it robs young females - who are still in their vulnerable, formative years - the informed consent a grown woman is capable of giving in selecting her own husband.  Christ's message transformed marriage from a slave-owner relationship to a sacrament which honors the equal dignity of both sexes before God, requiring female consent to be valid.  To give a teenage daughter's hand - let alone a pre-pubescent daughter's hand - to a grown man many years her senior, is not only creepy, but immoral.  You think you'd be preserving her innocence, but this is more like destroying it.  You've made her someone's wife prematurely against her will.  You've relegated her to a possession.

You get adverse reactions because there are a lot of stigmas and preconceived notions associated with not only such arrangements, but large age differences as well.  A grown man attracted to young girls is pedophilic - full stop.  An older man who exclusively dates younger women is either a sugar daddy, or is somehow insecure/defective in that he cannot attract women in his age range, relying on his younger companion's immaturity to get away with things a more mature companion would not stand for.  Sweeping generalizations or not, these are our present social conditions.  These relationships are mainly inappropriate and deviant in their disparate dynamics.

Now, I understand what you're getting at.  You see how early females are turned against their own procreative and nurturing qualities in favor of the false promises of feminism.  I don't think betrothals are the answer.  The answer is for parents to raise their girls to value their femininity, reinforce the importance of complimentary gender roles and to shield them from subversive forces.  Would I like to see a future daughter married young, between 18-23?  Yes.  Am I willing to make this happen by pawning off my 9-12 year old to a much older man?  Never.  And if one asked, I would likely respond in a venomous fashion as well or else I would be a complete failure in protecting her.
Well Mourning Dove, while I thank you very much for your comments and time spent on my post, you must know yourself that is practically slander and degradation. And I wonder whether a woman boldly and audaciously telling a man what he should and should not do, in such wild and inaccurate terms, is accordant at all with the church. 

"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence"
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#9
EricChurch, in addition to my comments above, you seem to be confused by Catholics' hostile response to your ideas. I submit that you might want to consider the deep disgust many of us feel about the very public scandal of the sins with minors that have rocked the Church in recent years. None of us want any children to be put in situations that even appear to sexually exploit them. The idea of arranged marriage and betrothal of minors connects the idea of sex with children in a way that makes many of us very uncomfortable. Considering what has been in the news the past 20 years, and our feelings about it- I'm not surprised that people reacted with anger.
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#10
(07-28-2020, 11:33 PM)EricChurch Wrote: You say it would be creepy and wrong to seek actively to marry someone much younger, but in fact I nearly proposed the other day to my niece in law, who is 18, in front of my father, and I am 35.

Firstly, no, I did not say it was creepy and wrong. I wrote that to most, even if one had pure motives, it would seem creepy and wrong.

I know several Catholic couples that have a 10+ year age gap and exemplars of Catholic spouses. That is the exception, however, and in both cases in a Western country it was a very hard sell, with a great deal of opposition at first. All of their families are good moral Catholics. One of the main concerns always was the difference in life experience. There is the danger that a young woman is looked down upon by a man with more life experience. That she will still have a degree of immaturity means that he may not treat her as much as an equal partner in this marital bond of which he is the head, but also a equal contractant, and more like a beautiful young girl who he can dominate.

The problem is that even if this were not a problem, in most cultures today, even in Catholic circles, it will appear like an older man acting in a more predatory way, rather than out of virtue. That could cause scandal, and so while there are exceptions, in general it is a bad idea.

Secondly, you mention a "niece-in-law". Usually that is someone who is already married to your brother or sister's child. Clearly, however, there is a degree of affinity in the family here.

The Catholic Church has always been opposed to marrying very close to one's own family, and so while depending on the actual degree of relation, this might not be a canonical impossibility, it certainly suggests there is something awry with the attraction and desires, which, again, even assuming that the motive is pure, would add to the apparent scandal.

I also assume, since you have not mentioned any other cultural situation, and are writing in English, that you probably live in a Western country (or at least one with a Western culture). What you suggest here is, in this culture, simply going to appear wrong and creepy. It may not be your motive, but I wonder if that is why your experience is a negative one. You may have genuinely pure motives, but the way you express them and in the context in which you do, will be offputting, and thus create an appearance of something being wrong.

I can't, nor would I want to judge your motives, but what you describe is going to come across to most in the Western world, even 70 years ago in a much saner time as problematic.
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