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Dear Friends,

I hope this is in the correct area of the Forum.

A relative of mine who is 26 is living with someone who will eventually be her husband - as she says.

She doesn't see anything that is wrong with sex outside of marriage.

When her mother confronted her with this, she (true to her millennial character) pulled out her Blackberry and Googled the topic . . . That is where she gets her revealed truth from . . .

She said that the 'medieval Church' concocted the idea that premarital sex is wrong as it isn't in the ten commandments etc.

I'm very good, as you know, giving advice to others. Giving advice to a relative appears to present its own challenges.

How does one approach a topic like this with a millennial?

Alex

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Friends,

I hope this is in the correct area of the Forum.

A relative of mine who is 26 is living with someone who will eventually be her husband - as she says.

She doesn't see anything that is wrong with sex outside of marriage.

When her mother confronted her with this, she (true to her millennial character) pulled out her Blackberry and Googled the topic . . . That is where she gets her revealed truth from . . .

She said that the 'medieval Church' concocted the idea that premarital sex is wrong as it isn't in the ten commandments etc.

I'm very good, as you know, giving advice to others. Giving advice to a relative appears to present its own challenges.

How does one approach a topic like this with a millennial?

Alex

First of all, like most people, it is hard to approach someone who's mind is already made up. As human beings, we tend to make up our minds, then bend the facts into convenient shapes which support our ideas. In short, unless she is willing to even consider that she may be wrong, you are probably wasting your breath.

The fact is that sex is for a reason, and once that primary reason is put aside -- the bringing forth of new life in the context of a male/female family relationship -- then anything goes, as we see in our current culture worldwide. When feelings ("but I luuuuuuuuuv him") replace facts, then how do you say no to anything which is feeling based? What becomes good for one is good for all, no matter how degenerate it is.

True love has several characteristics: it places the welfare of the beloved in front of its own good. The prime example of this is the sacrifice of our Lord for His Church, the Bride. True love is always sacrificial. Our culture, on the other hand, is self-centered and narcissist. It is all about what "I" want instead of the good of the other.

Sex is a very dim and vague picture of something far greater. To get a grasp on this, read Peter Kreeft's excellent article "IS THERE SEX IN HEAVEN?" It is an act of complete self-giving an self-trust, a complete surrender to the other. No doubt she is using contraception, which takes away the act of self-giving and replaces it with the basic scratching of an itch. In self-giving -- in true self-donative love -- nothing is held back from the other and both parties accept the responsibilities of this mutual self-giving: the man the responsibility of giving up his freedom to commit himself to financial, spiritual, and physical protection of the woman and the children who may come from this union. The woman to the pregnancy, the nursing, the diapers, the cooking, and all that comes with having a baby.

Contraception removes all this. They are using each other. Perhaps they will stay together and get married, perhaps not. But either way, the order God ordained was commitment and then sex. What our world has now is sex without commitment, and he may one day surprise her and walk away from the relationship. If so, one would only hope that she might learn that true commitment is a ring and a trip down the aisle -- not taking your clothes off for another!

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I cannot thank you enough sir!

Don't know why I lose my head in these things - it's all "relative" and the like . . .

I'm going to study your words and repeat them so they sink in with me.

Thank you, once again.

Alex

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Alex:

Christ is in our midst!!

I cannot even begin to answer as our brother did so eloquently above.

My response to my own children is that within the commandment against adultery is a command against ALL sexual sin. So anything outside the blessed, sacraficial union of one man and one woman in marriage, is a sin against the temple that God has created to house the human soul during its pilgrimage through our time to eternity. Sexual relations outside this understanding actually are wrong because they undermine the dignity of the human person as God intended us to be. We were not intended to be animals acting on instinct and impulse. We are intended to master the flesh for the upbuilding of the soul and its relationship with our Creator.

Unfortunately for your young relative, she can't see that the man is using her. She has the most to lose in this relationship because he can leave at any time and she may end with a child and a broken heart. No birth control is 100% certain and she's gambling with both body and soul.

Bob

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Dear Bob,

Thank you for your thoughts!

Yes, you are more than correct - and she is my Goddaughter too.

I feel especially guilty as I'll probably have to share the blame for this (although for the life of me I don't see why.

Alex

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Originally Posted by theophan
Alex:

Christ is in our midst!!

I cannot even begin to answer as our brother did so eloquently above.

My response to my own children is that within the commandment against adultery is a command against ALL sexual sin. So anything outside the blessed, sacraficial union of one man and one woman in marriage, is a sin against the temple that God has created to house the human soul during its pilgrimage through our time to eternity. Sexual relations outside this understanding actually are wrong because they undermine the dignity of the human person as God intended us to be. We were not intended to be animals acting on instinct and impulse. We are intended to master the flesh for the upbuilding of the soul and its relationship with our Creator.

Unfortunately for your young relative, she can't see that the man is using her. She has the most to lose in this relationship because he can leave at any time and she may end with a child and a broken heart. No birth control is 100% certain and she's gambling with both body and soul.

Bob

Not meaning to butt in, but I don't believe Alex said that the man is using her.

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Here are some points you might want to bring up to your Goddaughter:

(1) Marriage was a hallmark of civilization itself from the very beginning, before the birth of Christianity. Ancient societies differentiated between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" children long before the Church came into the picture. Illegitimate children were children borne outside of marriage and was considered shameful. So the Church did not "invent" the idea that pre-marital sex was wrong.

Ask her: do you want to be part of civilized society (in kinder terms, of course).

(2) That sex was a SACRED act was a belief of every civilized society even before Christianity entered the picture (part of the reason that the earliest Alexandrian and Latin Traditions considered Marriage part of God's Natural Law).

(3) Ask her to really think about these questions:
- Does "love" always equal "having sex?"
- Should sex confirm commitment, or should sex precede commitment? Should you not wait until you are sure that TRUE commitment exists before having sex?
- How special is your own body to you?

May God guide you in giving advice to your Goddaughter.

Blessings

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Not meaning to butt in, but I don't believe Alex said that the man is using her.

Peter J:

Always glad to have another perspective. My comment was my own and it reflects things I've seen in my life working with families--intact, broken, mixed. It's my own conclusion following my own observations.

Bob

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
A relative of mine who is 26 is living with someone who will eventually be her husband - as she says.

She doesn't see anything that is wrong with sex outside of marriage.

When her mother confronted her with this, she (true to her millennial character) pulled out her Blackberry and Googled the topic . . . That is where she gets her revealed truth from . . .

She said that the 'medieval Church' concocted the idea that premarital sex is wrong as it isn't in the ten commandments etc.
Alex,

Your question got me thinking--isn't it axiomatic among the "intelligentia" that Margaret Mead "proved" in the 1920s that the more sexual freedom a society has, the more peace-loving it will be? (I understand that "a few" anthropologists have challenged her theses in recent years, but they have gained little acceptance.) This would help to explain why college graduates in particular find the whole notion of chastity absurd.

(Another point I found interesting is that statistical studies on cohabitation tend to show that about 3/4 of cohabiting women say that the relationship is leading to marriage, while about 3/4 of the men say it is not.)

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Why are only men commenting on this? Since it involves a woman it would be beneficial if a woman chimed in.

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Friends,

A relative of mine who is 26 is living with someone who will eventually be her husband - as she says.

She doesn't see anything that is wrong with sex outside of marriage.

When her mother confronted her with this, she (true to her millennial character) pulled out her Blackberry and Googled the topic . . . That is where she gets her revealed truth from . . .

She said that the 'medieval Church' concocted the idea that premarital sex is wrong as it isn't in the ten commandments etc.

I'm very good, as you know, giving advice to others. Giving advice to a relative appears to present its own challenges.

How does one approach a topic like this with a millennial?

With lots of prayer and fasting for their conversion. wink

Beyond this, I'm always a big fan of reasoning with people and meeting them where they're at. What motivates her? What does SHE hold "sacred"? For example, is she someone who's big on not harming animals (up to and including eating them)? Ask her where the prohibition against harming animals is in the 10 commandments. If she is savvy enough to suggest it's in the commandment not to kill, point out that that is a reference to human beings, not to animals. And so, since not harming or killing animals specifically is not listed in the 10 commandments, it apparently follows that it's perfectly ok to do so. (According to her own method of reasoning.)

You might ask her why adultery is a sin in the first place. A millenial is likely to suggest that it's "obviously" because it always hurts the other spouse when they're cheated on. You might rejoin with something like, "But why is it 'cheating'? What's the big deal about sex? Everybody's pretty much doing it with whoever they want to these days. Why does marriage suddenly change things for a couple?"....Let her think through it.

If she comes back with something along the lines of, "Ok, yeah, but it's not like we're just dating, we ARE getting married, so it's no big deal", ask her if she or her boyfriend has ever changed their mind about anything else in the past...If so, why is this scenario necessarily any different?

...And then pray and fast some more, as this will undoubtedly play the much weightier role than any attempts to reason with her will, no more how powerful or eloquent the presentation. wink

Peace be with you.

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Originally Posted by Mark R
Why are only men commenting on this? Since it involves a woman it would be beneficial if a woman chimed in.

Wonderful point.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 06/22/14 10:47 PM.
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Ok I will jump in here as a woman -wife of 32 years and mother of a 20 year old daughter. Here goes yes the couple in question I'm sure have heard all the retoric about sin and commitment. What makes you think that only her boyfriend will opt out and leave the relationship? She too has free will and might also do the same . As for birth control lets get down to brass tacks whether that is used or not is their business. Just because a couple is married in the church doesn't mean their union will last any longer or be any stonger than those are a living common-law. How many families with children are broken up due to divorce? Let her be ,you have expressed you opinion and I'm sure her parents have as well. If they feel pressured to marry just to satisfy you beliefs what will that accomplish? In time she and her partner will come around if that is what they are meant to do. Meantime as her godfather be happy for her and support her, dont condone and judge her.
Just my opinion ,
Marusia

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Dear Marusia,

Excellent points!

I love my goddaughter and niece and don't condemn her (I sometimes needle her about things - yes, that's hard to believe . . .).

I think godparents often get a bad rap. They are 'stand-ins' if and when the parents can't give the godchildren a good Christian upbringing and yet it is as if the whole project of "godparents - godchildren" is doomed to failure as the parents who are unwilling to work with their kids won't call on the godparents for assistance over the years.

I've seven godchildren - those with parents who are honest enough to tell me to get more involved with their children as they have neither the motivation nor the time to raise them in the Christian spirit fare better than those who aren't.

I'm ready to do my part, working with whomever.

That can be frustrating when there is no cooperation from the parents.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 06/23/14 09:52 PM.
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Alex:

Christ is in our midst!!

I have four godchildren, all adults now. Since I was called on to sponsor them, I have taken the responsibility to pray for them, by name, each and every day. I place them in God's Hands and let Him do what He thinks is needed for their health of soul, mind, and body in this life and pray that they will arrive at the Kingdom at the end of their pilgrimage. Each of them lives--and has lived--far from my being able to take any more active role, but it seems that prayer for them as if they were my own is still valuable.

Bob

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