Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Great quotes (part 3)

C.S. Lewis:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen.  Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

I tried to explain to my agnostic husband at one point that faith results from a perception of God's existence more than anything.  I think Lewis said it better than I.

Mike Adams:

I would not even trust a Marxist to give me directions to the grocery store.

This guy likes to be offensive and exaggerate, but this one sentence made me crack up.

John Lewis:

Mitt Romney comes across like a sort of bizarre-world combination between John Kerry, Richie Rich, Charlie Crist, and Data from Star Trek.

I think that about covers it.  Goes a long way towards explaining last November, no?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Managing Finances Like a Man

My husband doesn’t like dealing with money. For years, I’ve handled everything from paying the bills to making the decisions, and he just does whatever I tell him. This makes things really hard on me, but he says financial issues cause him stress. Do you have any suggestions?
Carol Lee
Dear Carol Lee,
The plain truth is you need your husband to step up and be a man. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but it’s unfair for you alone to carry the weight of all financial and household decisions. It would be unfair, too, if he were the one carrying it all. This isn’t a gender issue.
Normally I enjoy reading Dave Ramsey’s columns.  Usually he is full of good sense and compassion.  In this case, this paragraph left me taken aback.  Wait a minute!  I manage all the money in my family – does that mean my husband isn’t a man?
Then I reread the first paragraph.  I see what the problem is.  She feels overwhelmed with doing all the finances herself.  I guess that’s the difference.  I have a system, and managing the finances is pretty easy for me.  I guess that comes with having a CPA.
But it did start me thinking – is this dynamic sustainable?  Just because I feel fine now about managing all the money doesn’t mean I’ll feel fine about it forever.  And what about my husband?  Is he going to resent me at some point?  I hope not.  In the time we’ve been together, he’s gotten better about telling me when something’s bothering him, which is handy since I can’t read his mind. 
I guess I’ll just chalk this up to one more way that my husband and I are not like any other couple we know.  And just trust that my husband will let me know if and when it becomes a problem.  That’s all you can do in marriage, right?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Convalidation Conundrum (part II of II)

Is a convalidation a wedding?  And does it merit a wedding celebration?
I did some poking around on the rest of the internet, and I did find that I’m not the first person to have this question.  I also found the “vow renewal” thing refuted:  
“It is important to realize that a convalidation is not merely a renewal of vows made previously but is a new act of consent by each spouse.”
And accordingly, Canon #1157 states that, “The renewal of consent must be a new act of the will concerning a marriage which the renewing party knows or thinks was null from the beginning.”
So does that mean we can have a wedding?  From the same site as above: 
“Customarily, since the couple’s married life is a known and public fact and may have been so for many years, a simple celebration with an invitation to close family and friends may seem more appropriate than a large celebration.”
I see.
Frankly, it’s bullshit that I even have to ask this question in the first place.  Plenty of couples (including Catholic couples) live together for so long that they are common-law married before they actually get married.  In some cases they even have a couple kids together.  Those couples do the all-out wedding celebration and no one bats an eye (except the previous couple generations).  My husband and I were at least honest enough to make it legal as soon as we knew that was the direction we wanted to go, and my girls have benefit from having a father figure for all this time.  Yet we are the ones getting penalized.  Apparently, it’s not tacky to live together indefinitely and have children before having a big white wedding, but it IS tacky if you have a big white wedding for your sacramental marriage after previously demonstrating your intent publicly with a civil wedding. 
Yes, I realize I sound like a stodgy old conservative (even though I am still of childbearing age), but if everyone gets to live like a married couple before marriage and STILL have a “real” wedding celebration, then it really shouldn’t matter whether you have a wedding celebration for your legal marriage, sacramental marriage, or the second Tuesday of every month.
I don’t know what we’re going to do yet.  I am warming up to the idea of a wedding celebration, tailored for the things we care about and excluding the things we don’t.  Not because I want to “recreate our wedding day” or to “relive my one glorious day of being the center of attention.”  (Although, admittedly, if you need other people’s help to make something happen, being the center of attention comes in handy.)  It’s because our story is awesome, and it’s worthy of being celebrated.  When we don’t celebrate our milestones, we say to each other and to everyone that we don’t matter. 
And we do matter.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Religion is a great cop-out

No, really.  It is sometimes.  I was teaching my 4-year-old Sunday school class yesterday, and I had the following exchange with one of the kids:

4-year-old girl: Do you have a baby in your belly?

Me: Why, yes I do!

4-year-old girl: Why?

Me: Because God sent me and my husband a baby.

That is as much about the process as I am willing to explain to a 4-year-old child who is not mine.  Being able to blame it on God gave me the perfect out.  So yes, I freely admit that in this situation religion was a great cop-out to avoid having to actually explain anything.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Convalidation Conundrum (part I of II)

Is a convalidation a wedding?  And does it merit a wedding celebration?
Those are the questions I have as my husband and I go through the convalidation process.  Out of curiosity, I sent my situation and my question here to see what type of opinions and answers I would get. 
To my surprise, I didn’t get nearly as much snark as I expected.  The admin and many of the commenters had some constructive, articulate thoughts and offered some well-wishes.  That made me smile and gave me some material to work with.
However, the admin suggested that having a wedding celebration was tantamount to having a vow renewal “in which the couple recreates their wedding day” or “for the wife to relive her one glorious day of being the center of attention.”  Seriously?  The reason I began with the ho-hum details of my civil wedding was to avoid that type of assumption.  A wedding celebration would be in no way recreating my wedding day or reliving anything about our wedding.  If I wanted to recreate / relive my wedding day, my husband would be the center of attention and we would both wear jeans and sneakers …. just like we did 3-1/2 years ago.
She went on to say, “If you and your husband truly believe that the convalidation ceremony carries far more spiritual and theological significance than your civil wedding, then the fluffy trappings of a big wedding day should be irrelevant.”  By that logic, no one should ever go to any trouble to dress up or celebrate any event at any time.  The reality, however, is that big celebrations and events are how we mark milestones of deep significance, and that will continue to be the case for as long as human beings have a physical nature (as well as a spiritual nature).
And the snark did come out, as I knew it would.  Frankly, it’s part of the entertainment of the site. 
“I’m glad to see the Admin’s response.  I get so annoyed with couples who have a civil ceremony and later decide to have a big fancy party because ‘ we wanted a church wedding.’ If you want a big fancy party, admit that you want a big fancy part, instead of pretending it has anything to do with your religion.”
Spoken like someone who: 1) didn’t even read what I wrote; and 2) has no clue what a “church wedding” is or what the significance is. 
It’s not that the civil marriage is not also “real” in its own right.  We are “really” married in the eyes of the state such that we are a social unit for various purposes, and I changed my name.  The convalidation is a different type of “real.”  After this ceremony, we will be married in the eyes of the Church.  Also, the Church marriage is indissoluble in a way that the civil marriage is not.  So from where I’m sitting I’ll admit I have some nerves about that, owing to the seriousness of the commitment (not because I’m afraid I’m committing to the wrong guy).
“As a non-catholic, I find the original post and some of the comments a bit confusing. Some write that the church ceremony is the important one, and only after that you are married in the eyes if God. But still some, including the OP, have been only legally married when they moved in with their respective partner. If the church ceremony is the one that matters, then these people have been living together without being married in the eyes of their god. Isn’t this a sin, if you are actually religious?
To me, it feels like people are trying to have it both ways: marry legally early, and have all the benefits of marriage because it was convenient to do so, and then have the big wedding at a later stage, and get the party. But, if you really are truly religious, then you couldn’t live together before you were married also in the eyes of God? And if you actually feel that it is ok to live together (with everything that entails, scrabble, etc) before being married in the eyes of God, then do you really respect God?”
Yes, because everyone who “respects God” does so with equal levels of enthusiasm and proficiency their entire life.  Everyone who “respects God” does everything by the book the first time around, and thus are free from sin, all because they “respect God.”  In fact, there was no need for Christ to die on the cross in the first place because everyone who “respects God” is already sinless.
In any case, it would be the height of legalistic stupidity to “break up” while we’re waiting for the convalidation.  You cannot possibly think it’s a good idea to deprive my daughters of their father figure for an indefinite period of time.
But thanks for your opinions on things irrelevant to the question I actually asked.
(To be continued)