Little Girl asks “What is Marriage?” What do you think?July 19, 2011 1 Comment
My husband and I cared for a little 6 year old girl this weekend. She has a wonderful vocabulary and a maturity that is well beyond her years, so I enjoyed our conversations very much. Often, they revealed more than I expect.
Her “step-mother,” and her father are not yet married, though considering it seriously, as a turning toward God in their relationship.
She began a long description of her family, how she had two “Moms,” and how much she loved them both. She is a very happy child, though her natural mother does not have custody or visiting rights.
She asked me something about her “Papa,” my husband, referring to him as my boyfriend. I told her he was my husband. She seemed confused, wrinkling her brow. She said again that she thought he was my boyfriend. I asked her what she thought marriage was.
“A lot of work.” was her first response, followed by, “It is the best way to take care of a baby.” She had heard her parents discussing marriage, and probably repeated what they had told her.
“But, you don’t have any babies, so why are you married?” she inquired. She seemed not to be able to comprehend why my husband was not my boyfriend.
I was suprised at first, then considered her position. Most of the important people in her life are not married. Some co-habitate, but married couples are a rarity in her life. My and Papa were the rare exception in her life.
It was a real challenge to try to explain my marriage to her. My husband and I have been happily married for almost 29 years. How could I explain Catholic marriage to her without seeming to condem her parent’s situation? I briefly explained that marriage meant that a man and a woman promise to love each other forever, askng Jesus to be part of their marriage.
It was difficult for me to keep from extolling the deep and holy commitment that seems unimaginable to many people in her parent’s age group. Hopefully, I will have many more opportunities to show her by example what marriage is. I have been praying about it, asking God to inspire my words when the time and place is right. It is humbling to realize what a huge responsibilty I have to live my own marriage in the holiest manner possible. It may be the only example of Catholic marriage experienced by this child. Perhaps it will be so for her parents as well.
For that purpose, I respectfuly ask the readers to provide input. What do you thing about this situation? How would you respond?
Please respond as a comment to this article. I hope this will begin a conversation about the topic as genuine, happy marriage becomes more rare in our time.
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