Category Archives: Relationships

The inhuman relationship of Mary and Joseph

Every year at Christmas time I think of the many people who experience a more acute loneliness that the season has a way of drawing out of those who are literally alone or feel alone, even among their friends and family.  It’s an inescapable desire to have that one special person with whom you can share the joys of Christmas.

And every year I am also drawn to the mystery of Mary and Joseph; two unique individual persons called to the most unusual marriage that would bring about the Saviour of the world.

We know very little about these two individuals, but just enough to see their role in salvation history.  Details of their lives, about who they were as persons, and what went on in their marriage were not meant for us to know.

Yet, we like to speculate, don’t we?  Did they ever disagree with each other or have a marital spat?  Did they stress over their financial situation?  Did they have problems with friends or family who tried to interfere?

The beauty and grace of their story is of a woman fashioned by God to be without sin from her conception so that her womb would be the worthy dwelling place for God’s son, fulfilling prophecy of old that a virgin would bring forth the savior of the world and would come through the line of David.  It is also the story of a man chosen by God to take care of this Arc of the New Covenant and the Christ Child.  With the eyes of grace, this all makes perfect sense and is not to be questioned.

With the eyes of an onlooker and historian, we know that Mary and Joseph had an arranged marriage, that Mary was pregnant before the marriage, that Joseph was not the father and decided to divorce her, and that it took divine intervention to redirect Joseph back toward his calling to marry Mary.  We know he did so, and served Jesus and Mary all his life in a marriage that lasted until death.

It doesn’t appear to be the best way to start off a marriage. But obviously, with God’s grace and true love, it was a good marriage.

Did they have any actual problems in the marriage?  Who knows?  No one. But it is assumed they did not.  Their marriage must have been perfect, because they were saintly people.  I suppose that’s why so many single women wish to find their St. Joseph, and single men wish to find a woman like Mary.

It’s a mistake to put this kind of standard on the person you wish to find for marriage, because the relationship between Mary and Joseph was inhuman.  In other words, it just wasn’t normal.  I’m not saying they were not human beings.  They were.  And I’m not saying their marriage was not something to be emulated.  It can.  What I am saying is there are no Marys or Josephs to be found.  And there will never be a marriage like Mary and Joseph’s ever again, nor should there be.

Their love for each other and their dependence on the grace of God (which we know as Sacramental) everyone must strive for.  But the individuals and the practical life of their specific marriage?  Don’t even think about it.

The marriage of Mary and Joseph was a life of celibacy.  Mary was “ever virgin”, never to “know” a man.  Mary and Joseph never had marital relations. That can never be emulated by any Christian couple.

It borders on blasphemy to speculate on any sexual struggles Mary and Joseph might have had.  But many think it stands to reason that they must have, or at least Joseph must have.  Based on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, Mary would have no such struggle with sexual temptations. But within marriage, it is not wrong to have a desire for sexual relations with your husband.  However, Mary’s role was to have one child, the Christ Child, and to remain a virgin.

That would mean that Joseph was also called to this life of celibacy.  This is the part that fascinates me most.  This is a man who was called by God to marry a woman and never have a sexual relationship with her.  First, there are no men a woman can find who are not interested in having sex.  That’s not a bad thing, except if they push to have it outside of marriage.  Second, no woman should ever want to be in a marriage with a man who does not want sexual intimacy with her.  This intimacy bonds the two in love and produces the children that grows their family.

Does this mean Mary and Joseph did not bond in love or have a real marriage?  Of course not.  Their love for each other was centered on God, and the family they were to establish was meant for them alone.

Did Joseph struggle with this calling to celibacy within marriage?  Who knows?  It stands to reason that as a human being with Original sin (like all men), he must have. But it makes sense that he would have been given a very unique grace from God that would keep him from this struggle.  This is why there are many scholars and authorities in the Church who believe Joseph was also conceived without Original sin, like Mary. That also makes sense.  Either way, Joseph did successfully remain a virgin throughout his marriage to Mary, and that is inhuman.

If there must be a search for a Joseph or Mary, let it be for someone who has a heart and desire for God as the authority in their lives and an ability to love another in service to one another.  Mary and Joseph we obedient lovers of God.  Despite their better judgment, they believed in what God was asking them to do.  They weren’t caught up in what they wanted for themselves, but what God wanted of them.

This is the lesson of what marriage truly is at this festive and holy time of year.  Two people who come together because God has brought them together and expects them to love each other in service.  That relies on God’s grace to live out what’s expected of them in marriage.

The inhuman relationship of Mary and Joseph is because they are the two most uniquely special persons created by God for a specific role in salvation history and who were not sinners like the rest of us.  But their love for each other is totally human and accessible to all with God’s grace.

No matter who that person is who will end the loneliness and share your life, they are human and a sinner, unlike Mary or Joseph.  Marriage is always a rocky road only smooth out over time by mutual love and a life of grace with God as the authority.  Mary and Joseph lived under that star.  May the star of Bethlehem be what lead all couples to the Christ Child, and the two special servants of God who put God above themselves in all things.  That is Christmas.

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You’re not my type!

Nowadays, there is much talk of “types” in dating.  “He’s a nice guy, but he’s not my type.” “I don’t know a thing about her, but she is definitely my type”.  Friends and family chime in as well because apparently they are in tune with your “type.” But what is a “type”?

I have come to believe that we use the word “type” as a replacement for a feeling that accompanies an attraction that really can’t be put into words.  There are certain physical features, ways of dressing, how a person conducts themselves, personality qualities, or something else, that just always seems to get your attention and spark interest.

In my opinion, that’s not really “type.”  That’s preference.  We can’t really say “I prefer” one person over another, though.  That would sound too snobbish.  But we do have preferences, and that’s okay.

When it comes to “type,” there is something very different going on that I don’t think anyone likes to admit.

When it comes to dating, we believe and maintain that we are doing something exclusively in the “now.” Certainly, it’s a new person, it’s a new day, things are what they are right now.  So yes, we shall see what happens as two people attempt to become a couple.

But in reality, this new person we’re dating is being viewed through a prism — the prism of our our past.  In doing so, we evoke types, based on people in our past.  From these past types, we create our present type, which influences our decisions with the person we’re dating.

That sounds kind of creepy.  Nobody wants to think that any new person they’re with is some kind of placeholder of a previous person.  No one wants to think the person they’re dating is looking at them as if they are someone else, or that they want them to actually be someone else.   That’s not really it.  It’s something far less obvious and calculating, promoted from a more subconscious reality.

One of the foremost past types in our lives is our father and mother.  None of us can escape our parental influences.  We lived with them through all the formative years.  Their ways, their mannerisms, their vernacular, their interests, their behavior, have rubbed off on us.  They raised us as they saw fit, and we learned from their example. They were the role models of our lives (whether parent, uncle or aunt, grandparent, step parent, etc.), and they have formed us in how we believe a male and a female adult should be.

Everyone’s prism is different.  In fact, it’s absolutely unique to each individual, even those from the same household.  Two siblings have just started dating new people in their lives.  The siblings both find the person they’re dating is just like their mother.  One sibling hated their mother, the other idolized her.   The one who hated their mother finds the new dating relationship is not working out and soon breaks it off.  The one who idolized their mother finds the new dating relationship is working out well and allows it to get more serious.

Both siblings had no idea they went into the new relationship looking through their prism.  Like all of us, they went into it with a completely “now” approach.  But the fact is, the past type of their mother played an influential role in the present type, and had the subsequential results.

Now consider this.  The sibling who idolized their mother had a distorted sense of what was to be idolized.  The idolizing was because she was the mother, but what was learned from the mother was dysfunctional.  The new relationship is, in fact, not going well because it is dysfunctional.  But the dysfunction is what is considered normal to that sibling because having someone like their mother is more important than what is objectively healthy in a relationship as a couple.

The sibling who broke off the new relationship because the new person was too much like the mother was a move toward breaking free from dysfunction.

How about those who had wonderful, truly ideal parents?  A young adult girl begins to date and very much wants (and needs) to find someone like her father.  She doesn’t know this consciously, but her prism is very specifically in search of this.  Unfortunately, she cannot meet anyone exactly like her father.  Her standards are so high, and finding a man with so much quality and virtue is so difficult and discouraging.

As the years go on, this girl becomes a bitter woman, more bitter with every passing year of experiencing men who are not like her father.  Each new man gets less and less of a chance with her because their window of opportunity to prove themselves is shorter because she has become impatient and too assuming of the worst.  Some good men actually come and go, all because she coupled her high standards of a past type with her disappointing experiences and time-frame for finding such a man.

We can’t help the prism we have.  It’s there. It has to be accepted.  However, like all prisms, they can present a different light if you look through it on a different angle.  Our prisms might very well be an indicator of how we have been fashioned to be attracted to a certain type, but it does not mean we have no say in the matter or are predetermined to be stuck with that certain type.  No!  We have a choice.

This is precisely why the Catholic Church puts so much emphasis in marriage preparation (and in the annulment process) on the upbringing of individuals.  How we grew up matters.  It’s why a therapist or counselor often attempt to help you make connections with your past, specifically your parents.  It’s not to make you feel like you’re crazy or get you to admit you hate your parents.  And it’s not so you’ll realize that you’re not fit for marriage and no one will ever want you.

On the contrary, it’s meant to prompt awareness.  Awareness of who you are based on your past, why you do the things you do, what your triggers from the past are while you are in the “now” with the person you’re dating.  All kinds of things to be aware of regarding your prism in order to help you see through it in a different direction, and so it can cast a different light on the now.

Knowing and embracing our past is all part of embracing who we are.  Our prism is a phenomenal and beautiful mechanism that shapes our adult life and future.  Understanding it and how to use it can make all the difference between healthy and dysfunctional relationships.

So the next time you are interested in discussing your “type” in dating, consider the prism through which you can know your true type, and through which you can discover who to enjoy the type of person you’re with in the “now”.

True love does not require romance

Another Valentine’s Day is upon us.  For some, it’s exciting and romantic.  For others, it’s another stinging reminder there is no one to share it with.

For me, it’s a reminder to write something in the spirit of the holiday.  So I will start with these words of wisdom:

Without romance, love is just an obligation.  

Well, it all depends on what your definition of romance is.  I think it is most commonly understood to be associated with feelings and emotions, as modern novels and movies portray.  We want love to be this way.  

Despite the romantic notion (pardon the pun) of love being a choice, especially when you don’t feel it, no one wants to love because they are obliged to.  And no one wants to feel they are only loved out of duty.  

Yet, Jesus said nothing about romance when teaching about love. The deepest Christian meaning of love is that it’s a decision, an act of the will.  That it has sacrifice for the sake of the other as it’s highest good, regardless of feelings and emotions.  In other words, true love does not require romance. Any Christian who desires to be married must accept and live this definition of love.  Life has no real meaning whatsoever without the existence of this kind of love in the world among individuals and communities.  Putting the welfare of others first is the heart of this love.  It is ‘Agape’.

I have heard many definitions of this Greek word for love as it applies to Christ and His commandment and example.  They are all summed up in the fundamental concept of being fully invested in the love proclaimed and promised – to be fully committed.  God loves in this way.  God has called us to love one another in this way.  Sadly, we all fall short to some degree.  But we should all strive for it at all times, with the help of God’s grace.

Having said this, and accepting this kind of love is the highest priority in Christian love, there isn’t a single person who desires marriage who does not wish it to also include romance.

Romance requires feelings and emotions.  There is no way around that.  Many pious persons would like to dismiss feelings and emotions as a distraction to holy pursuits.  But it’s a mistake to dismiss feelings and emotions.  God created human beings with feelings and emotions.  It stands to reason that they play a major role in our human experience.

Granted, they must be guided by our mind and will.  But we must pay close attention to them.

In the area of dating and falling in love, feelings and emotions are critical to everyone.  How can anyone falling in love without a strong feeling and emotional connection to the other?  Romantic love requires the participation of these very human attributes.

Let’s assume we all agree that to fall in love and get married requires romance.  A romantic relationship has two people mutually attracted to each other. There must physical attraction as well.  

It’s very romantic when the person you are sharing an intimate friendship with develops into a desire for physical intimacy.  This is a must!  Hand holding, hugs, and kissing are the first physical experiences of the romance.  You definitely want there to be a desire for much more physical intimacy that is exclusive to two persons who are married.  In fact, that is one of the most (if not the most) practical reasons to get married.  Physical desire is one of the signs that things are leading to marriage.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, full physical intimacy is expressed far too often prior to marriage, and accepted as common practice within the dating process. A romantic relationship with full physical expression is not so romantic today because it has led to many putting off marriage.  The adage of “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” comes to mind.

So today’s singles have to learn other very important signs of a romantic relationship that can make both persons say “This is the one I want to marry.”  They are not signs noticeable by feeling and emotion.  It takes your wits to notice them.

Two of the most important qualities for creating a strong, lasting romantic relationship are being observant and a good listener. Without these, instead of progressing forward with a solid potential spouse, there is misunderstanding and premature break up.

Being observant and a good listener is actually very romantic!  Experiencing these qualities in the person you’re dating can be quite attractive.

As an observant person, you pick up on the non-verbal cues of the person you’re dating and respond accordingly.  As a good listener, you make the person you’re dating feel important, understood, and loved. Close friends are good listeners for each other for venting, sharing, discerning important decisions, cheering up, providing laughter, and providing healing. Close friendship is a cornerstone of love and marriage.

Many find candy, flowers, expensive and fancy dinner to be romantic. They’re nice. All warm, fuzzy feelings are nice. Being on emotional highs from being in love is an extraordinary thing.  But at the end of the day, most people would trade these in for a good friend who knows when they need a hug, can make them laugh, and  knows what to say (and when to say it).  Someone who will patiently listen to them when upset, or when they want to share the great joys of their day. 

Any man can buy a woman things, take her to nice places,  charm and seduce her, and stir up her feelings and emotions.  How difficult it is, though, to find a man who is willing to, and capable of, investing the time to get to know you, be observant of everything about you, know how to make you laugh, and listen to you with full attention.  

How difficult it is to find a woman who wants to get past the male persona and reach into the heart of a man with all his vulnerabilities and insecurities, support him, has a good sense of humor, and wants to listen to him, rather than wanting to do all the talking herself.

Please don’t take this as a suggestion to abandon all those wonderful romantic things that touch our emotions and make us feel loved.  Just don’t forget that there are other things that are just as romantic, that get overshadowed by the typical trappings of romance.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

text me back or it’s over!

Let me start by saying it’s okay to not know where your partner is or what they’re doing every moment of every day.

There is an epidemic in today’s dating scene that is ruining relationships. It is the obsession to need constant knowledge of the whereabouts of the other.  

If you think I am being over dramatic, let me ask you if any of these sound familiar to you:

–  You text your boyfriend or girlfriend and you don’t get an instant reply, so you start being suspicious.

–  You call but get no answer, nor a return phone call within a half hour, so it must mean you are not as important to them as you thought you were.

–  You see that your significant other has not been on Facebook for hours or all day, so you start calling or texting to find out what’s wrong.

–  You notice your boyfriend or girlfriend has friended someone of the opposite sex on Facebook, and it gets you thinking what the connection is.

–  Your text exchange has been going on for hours, and then all of a sudden he or she stops the exchange by sending no further text.  This makes you suspicious that he or she must have something “better” to do than keep texting you.

–  You can see on your iPhone that your text was read or can see when he or she was last online, and you start getting upset because there has not been an immediate reply.

Human interaction has taken a major shift with the dawn of the smartphone and tablets, providing the ability to have access to communication at anytime and from practically anywhere.  That’s not a bad thing.  This marvel of technology has given me the ability to get tons of work done without having to be in my office. Being able to respond to a time-sensitive email while I’m sitting at the barber shop waiting to get my haircut is absolutely wonderful.

But the down side is a really huge landslide when it comes to healthy and normal human interaction; namely, the unwritten common understanding that in today’s world, you must (and I do stress “must”) be immediately available and accessible at all times to everyone.  But most especially to the person you’re dating (or married to, for that matter).

To not be available makes no sense to anyone today.  How can you not be available?  You have a mobile phone, don’t you?  Well, then….you’re available.  You can’t NOT be available.  

You can’t fault people for having this attitude conditioned in their brain.  So many have subscribed to this commitment to be available at all times that those who choose to be so socially rebellious as to not be accessible by mobile phone and social media networks are truly social outcasts.

It’s a marvel how you see people clutching that phone everywhere they walk or sit or while driving.  It’s become an extension of the hand.  I certainly see it in myself.  I hold on to my phone for dear life, because God forbid I should put it away for an hour, let alone a whole day or week.  It’s that much of a staple to every day living.

But as wonderful as these mobile devices are, they are a risky business for your love life.  I don’t mean to put the blame on the mobile device itself.  How human beings use such technologies is always the root of any problem associated with them.

Your love life is in jeopardy if your attitude is firmly committed to the idea that the person you are dating must be available at all times.  It’s not healthy, nor is it normal to have such an expectation of another person.  No one should be that available.  And no one should have to feel guilty because they want a break from social interaction.  Some possible reactions one might receive from the person they’re dating should they decide to want some non-accessible time are:

“What?  You turned it off?  Are you crazy?  What if I wanted to get a hold of you?  What if I had a cool picture to text you?  What if I was in a car accident, struggling to speed dial you for help but couldn’t get you and then died?”

“What’s that?  You don’t check your email, text messages, or answer phone calls while you’re driving?  What a waste of precious time that we could be talking about all kinds of important things during your boring commute.  Or what if I was deciding what outfit to wear and you’re not answering to help me decide?”

At the practical level, every person has the right and the need to not interact with others.  This applies to couples in love as well.  Just because you’re dating, or in love, or engaged, or married does not mean you have an absolute right to their time and to hold them accountable to you for the time they were unavailable.  

It’s a terrible thing to feel like you must keep the conversation going, or you have to get back to the other right away lest you get in trouble.

A guy told me once that he went to the movies by himself to see a movie his girlfriend already told him she had no interest in seeing.  He shut his phone off in the theater (as the theaters are emphatic about us all doing). When he came out of the theater and turned the phone on again, there were many texts and voicemails from his girlfriend.  Each one escalated into further disturbance because she could not track him down. He broke up with her because of it.  

I wondered why he would end a relationship that sounded like it was going fine otherwise.  Later, it made sense to me. I recalled how often he sounded annoyed that he could not get that little break from her.  He was just doing something for himself on his time.  Or so he thought it was his time.  The point is, he realized he could not have any time for himself and did not want a life like that.

He was right.  No one should have to live like that.  Is this what couples want in their relationships today?  I should hope not.  As impractical as it is, it’s much more spiritually damaging.  The spiritual life depends on time for solitude with no human interaction, just time alone with God.  Everyone has a right to time alone.  Do not make the mistake of demanding constant availability and immediate response from each other just because you have a mobile device.  It’s not fair, and it’s a deadly attitude in your love life.

treating people like objects

Be careful who you leave behind.  You just might have turned your back on love and happiness.

I figured I would start with the bottom line.  Dating should be about beginning your commitment to marriage when a suitable partner comes along.  But sadly, dating today seems to be about perpetually waiting for “the right one,” while passing up on a suitable one.

There is that terrible concept again: a suitable partner.  No one likes to think about marrying someone because they are “suitable”.  They want undeniable feeling and magnetism, confirmed compatibility, strong physical attraction, and (most of all) confirmation from God that this is “the one.”

Suitability means that the person will make a fine spouse for you.  You are “suited” for each other for reasons that are practical.  I won’t get into the particulars of what makes for practical suitability.  I want to make the point that there are people who come along in our lives who are lovable and loving and would make a wonderful spouse.

Because we don’t like this pedestrian approach to finding a spouse, we have become little children playing with toys, treating a person like an object to be used at will, with no consideration or regard for that person.

It’s a terrible thing when we treat a person like a toy we think we can play with whenever we’re ready, assuming they will always be there.  But I can tell you with much certainty that this childish behavior is alive and well in the dating scene (and in marriages, for that matter).

Why is this happening?  Perhaps it a pride. Anyone should feel lucky to have us. We can treat them however we like. Perhaps it’s even deeper and uglier than that.  Perhaps we have never grown up; we are still childish, not really capable of love and responsibility.  

It’s not easy to admit that we are childish. But if we can admit it, we can start to change and take responsibility for ourselves.  And in turn, that responsibility allows us to treat the people we are dating like people, not like a toy.

When I speak of treating another as a toy, I don’t just mean for happy enjoyment through interaction.  I’m also talking about what we do when we are no longer amused.  Dropping the toy when you are suddenly done playing.  Not playing with the toy for long periods of time. Doing harmful things to the toy purposely or ignorantly to the point of breaking that toy.

Many relationships suffer from being the type to drop out when uninterested. Maybe you display your boredom in a conversation or change the subject abruptly.  Maybe you don’t call or get together for a period of time because you are too busy, and are quick to try and get together when you have nothing else going on.  Maybe you talk to the person like they are a child, or are often snarky, easily perturbed, and snappy.

Much to the amazement of many, people actually have feelings and intelligence.  When they feel hurt, they might not be around any longer to risk being hurt again.  When they are mistreated or ignored, they have the intelligence to decide not to allow further mistreatment or being ignored any longer.

Often couple breaks up because of this childish treatment. They make some other excuse as to why it happened (usually a blaming of the other), and walk away having learned no lesson at all.  They move on to the next person, ready to repeat the same pattern.

A mature person dates much differently.  They treat the person with the dignity they deserve.  They show respect.  They care what the other thinks.  They consider the feelings and interests of the other.  They learn how to adjust attitudes, and balance their time.  They are fair in their dealings with the other. They assume the best in the other, and are compassionate when dealing with their faults and failures. They realize that they are not God’s gift to dating, marriage, or love.

To treat someone like a toy is to assume that you have endless opportunities for love and marriage.  It’s just not so.  Yes, it’s true that there are endless eligible singles out there in great wide world, but you don’t have practical access to them.   You just don’t have the time, situation, availability, convenience, energy, or financial resources. The people who come into our lives need to be considered.

Being a grown is about making a choice and taking responsibility for your actions.  Stop playing with toys and choose to have an adult exchange and friendship with a person.  Give that person an opportunity to be the person you’re looking for rather than dominate the relationship and be quick to judge them as the wrong person.

That bottom line again:  Be careful who you leave behind, or pass up on.  You just might have turned your back on love and happiness.

 

Love is not a union of opinions.

People have strong opinions.  And with a strong opinion comes a definite sense of being right.

Sadly, in the dating process, too many singles believe that they have not found love if they are dating someone who has different opinions.  In other words, love is about having the same opinions.

But love is the union of hearts, not opinions.  In fact, how boring life is when we are only around people who have the same opinions. Your hearts are united in mutual love and respect.  But you both have your own mind, ideas, thoughts.

Underlying this misunderstanding that it’s essential to have the same opinions, in my view, is a strong desire to be right.  More to the point, there is an unhealthy attachment to one’s personal view of the world and how things should go. From this stems (often times unnoticed) an inability to accept another person, and an unwillingness to change one’s mind based on new or different information.

I’m sure we have all encountered this type of person – a person who must be right all the time and inconsiderately squashes the opinion of another .

It’s wise to strongly reconsider dating someone you find unreasonably immovable, and how they treat you when share your opinions. If your opinion can never matter or be considered, then life with this person will be a subservient one.

Why am I even addressing this?  As you read this, you might be saying to yourself that this is pretty obvious stuff and should be a no-brainer in the dating process.  If only it were.

Unfortunately, often times this is a very subtle reality that can be overlooked by the distractions of other things, particularly feelings.  Unless the person you’re dating is an overall and obvious monster, you’re going to find many good, enjoyable, attractive things about them.  These have the power to excuse the issue regarding opinions. Often the person feeling slighted and their opinions undermined will feel guilty for feeling that way and decide they must be more “Christian” about it.  

The union of two persons must include a separation of certain individualities that make both individuals who they are.  And displaying evidence that you are an “opinion squasher” has to be seen as a red flag that needs to be addressed.  

The art of compromise is required.  Love prompts a natural mutual respect for each other.  Love makes you want to know the other’s opinions.  You enjoy hearing why the other disagrees, and appreciates where they’re coming from.  The differences make each other interesting to the other, and the relationship dynamic. These differences create a truly authentic and genuine love.

dating advice from kids

As singles know all too well, there is a vast and seemingly unending amount of dating and marriage advice available. Some of it is unsolicited.  Some of it is sought in the form of books, videos, blogs, and other media forms.

(photo under creative commons via mattieb on flickr)

Among the mountains of advice available, however, I doubt anyone gives a thought to considering the advice of children. After all, what does a child know about love and marriage?  

The truth is, kids are pretty smart, and pretty observant.  They observe a lot when it comes to love and marriage. They certainly call it like they see it.

I stumbled upon this advice from kids online and thought I would share it with you. Here is some advice that children have when it comes to love, dating, and getting married.  (Disclaimer: The advice presented here doesn’t necessarily represent my own opinions, but I think they are pretty insightful and will at least make you smile.)

How does a person decide whom to marry?

  • “You flip a coin, and heads means you stay with him and tails means you try the next one.” — Kelly, 9

  • “My mother says to look for a man who is kind. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll find somebody who’s kinda tall and handsome.” — Carolyn, 8

  • “One of the people has freckles, and so he finds somebody else who has freckles too.” — Andrew, 6

  • “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.” — Alan, 10

  • “Most boys are brainless, so you might have to try more than once to find a live one.” — Angie, 10

  • “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.” — Kirsten,10

What is the right age to get married?

  • “Eighty-four, because at that age, you don’t have to work and you can spend all your time together.” — Carolyn, 8

  • “Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person forever by then.” — Camille, 10

  • “No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.” — Freddie, 6

What Do Most People do on a Date?

  • “On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” — Martin,10

  • “They eat pork chops and french fries and talk about love.” — Craig, 9

  • “Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. — Lynnette, 8

When is it okay to kiss someone?

  • “It’s never okay to kiss a boy. They always slobber all over you.” — Jean, 10

  • “When they’re rich.” — Pam, 7

  • “When a person gets kissed for the first time, they fall down, and they don’t get up for at least an hour.” — Wendy, 8

  • “You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own DVD, ’cause she’ll want to have videos of the wedding.” — Jim, 10

  • “Never kiss in front of other people. It’s a big embarrassing thing if anybody sees you. But if nobody sees you, I might be willing to try it with a handsome boy, but just for a few hours.” — Kally, 9

  • “If it’s your mother, you can kiss her anytime. But if it’s a new person, you have to ask permission.” — Roger, 6

  • “I know one reason kissing was created. It makes you feel warm all over, and they didn’t always have electric heat or fireplaces or even stoves in their houses.” — Gina, 8

  • “The rules goes like this: if you kiss someone, then you should marry her and have kids with her. It’s the right thing to do.” — Howard, 8

Is it better to be single or married?

  • “It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need somebody to clean up after them.” — Anita, 9

  • “Single is better, because I wouldn’t want to change no diapers. If I did get married, I’d just phone my mother and have her come over for some coffee and diaper-changing.” — Kirsten, 10

Why does love happen between a man and a woman?

  • “No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” — Jan, 9

  • “I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” — Harlen, 8

How Can a Stranger Tell If Two People are Married?

  • “Married people usually look happy to talk to other people.” — Eddie, 6

  • “You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.” — Derrick, 8

What Would You Do on a First Date That Was Turning Sour?

  • “I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers to make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.” — Craig, 9

What do you think it’s like to fall in love?

  • “Like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.” — Roger, 9

  • “If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” — Leo, 7

What is the role of good looks in love?

  • “If you want to be loved by somebody who isn’t already in your family, it doesn’t hurt to be beautiful.” — Jeanne, 8

  • “It isn’t always just how you look. Look at me, I’m handsome like anything and I haven’t got anybody to marry me yet.” — Gary, 7

  • “Beauty is skin deep. But how rich you are can last a long time.” — Christine, 9

What promises do a man and a woman make when they get married?

  • “A man and a woman promise to go through sickness and illness and diseases together.” — Marlon, 10

What is your opinion about love?

  • “I’m in favor of love as long as it doesn’t happen when The Simpsons’ is on television.” — Anita, 6

  • “Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I have been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.” — Bobby, 8

  • “I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” — Regina, 10

  • “Love is foolish…but I still might try it sometime.” — Floyd, 9

What is necessary to be a good spouse?

  • “One of you should know how to write a check. Because even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills.” — Ava, 8

What are Some Surefire ways to Make a Person Fall in Love with You?

  • “Tell them that you own a whole bunch of candy stores.” — Del, 6

  • “Don’t do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain’t the same thing as love.” — Alonzo, 9

  • “One way is to take the girl out to eat. Make sure it’s something she likes to eat. French fries usually work for me.” — Bart, 9

  • “Yell out that you love them at the top of your lungs…and don’t worry if their parents are right there.” — Manuel, age 8

How can You Tell if Two Adults Eating Dinner at a Restaurant are in Love?

  • “Just see if the man picks up the check. That’s how you can tell if he’s in love.” — John, 9

  • “They will be just be staring at each other and their food will get cold. Other people care more about the food.” — Brad, 8

  • “It’s love if they order one of those desserts that are on fire. They like to order those because it’s just like how their hearts are on fire.” — Christine, 9

What are most people thinking when they say “I Love You”?

  • “The person is thinking, Yeah, I really do love him. But I hope he showers at least once a day.” — Michelle, 9

What can you do to help stay in love?

  • “Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck.” — Ricky, 10

  • “Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take out the trash.” — Randy, 8

  • “Don’t say you love somebody and then change your mind. Love isn’t like picking what movie you want to watch.” — Natalie, age 9

  • “Don’t forget your wife’s name. That will mess up the love.” — Erin, age 8