Blog Template Theology of the Body: The Case for Espousal

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Case for Espousal

My girl friends and I are fascinated lately by an article that recently came out in the Atlantic Monthly. The article, by Ms. Lorri Gottleib, is entitled Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Goodenough:

My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run...

What intrigues me about this article is the way the author is putting her finger not only on our modern culture's feminist backlash, but on our more fundamental foolishness about the human body. We simply don't know what to do with it anymore. As John Paul II has reminded us, apart from killing bodies at every turn like blundering idiots, we have forgotten the very basic and fundamental fact that the human person is a nuptial person, made not to be alone, but to be espoused. I grate my teeth every time anyone uses the utterly pagan term "singleton." The Christian revelation calls us fundamentally to espousal. For married persons, the Christian call to espousal is for unitive and procreative self-donation. For celibates, the Christian call to espousal is for the total consecration to Jesus that we will all enjoy in Heaven. Even single persons who have not yet discerned a call to one of two permanently vowed states enact and express in a vivid way the Church's betrothal to her Lord. But in any state, we are not made to be alone. We are made to be... married.

(Case in point: my family recently celebrated a wedding, and I welcome you all to the footage; see also the booming convent of the Dominican Sisters of Mary for an equally vivid picture of nuptial life.)