Falling in Love
Falling in love has nothing to do with being a Husband.
Emotion and attraction are God’s ways of helping us discern our lifelong helpmate, certainly, but because of our Original Sin and Fall, we have an incomplete manner in which we recognize those emotions and attractions – and often a resulting inappropriate response to those feelings.
“Falling” in love must be mitigated with intelligence and foresight, just as any other emotion is. Why do men so easily accept the infatuations of the heart and find themselves pretending to be married with sexual activity, yet they do not kill people when the emotion of anger gives them the desire to do so?
If we can Perfectly subordinate an extreme reaction to anger with such moral clarity of right and wrong, then the feelings of love can also be tempered. A “fall” in Love will not occur in a Man, because he has discerned the natural order of things, and if he has discerned being a Husband, he knows that his Wife will be revealed to him as the obvious complement to his Natural Calling as a Man, making him her only Husband and her his only Wife.
Discerning Being a Husband
Discernment is the process of perceiving, recognizing and distinguishing, with difficulty, the unique, God-ordained place one has in Infinity and Eternity. Discernment is the discovery of one’s own Perfection – God’s design for one’s life – who God wants us to BE and what God wants us to DO to support that BEING.[Discernment is not the process of deciding what we want to DO with “our” life or what career we should pursue. What we are supposed to DO is revealed by God to anyone who discerns who he should BE. ManHusbandDad focuses on helping you BE so you can hear what God wants you to DO.]Discerning BEING a Man, fortunately, is the least difficult of all discernment for males. To be blunt, if you were born with a standalone XY chromosome pair in the 23rd autosome, God wants you to be a Man.
Just because all males are naturally called to be Men there is no guarantee or fate that a particular Man must become a Husband. In fact, being a Husband requires careful, conscious discernment, and, once entered into, is a vocation that cannot be annulled or from which someone may divorce or be separated.
Falling in Love versus Discerning to Marry
When a young man’s fancy turns to love, it is always a fatuous change in his life, born of the googly feelings he has inside him when he encounters a particular young lady and, depending on his physical maturity, may be compounded by sexual urges the child does not understand and cannot readily identify or define.
Whatever he is feeling, it is not Love.
Why? Because at this stage in life the boy cannot comprehend what Love really is. He thinks Love is a feeling. And Love is the furthest thing from a feeling, and it is the furthest thing from his mind. Children, regardless of their age, are not Men until they have a perfect Moral Clarity that brings about an understanding that Love is a verb, an action, nor a feeling, which is a noun.
So when someone sayshe has met the girl he is going to marry because he is “in love” with her, I know immediately (and he would, too, if he were a Man) that he is wrong. A child cannot determine who he is going to marry. A Man doesn’t determine who he is going to marry until he first discerns that he SHOULD be married at all. When a Man discerns that he should be married, he then becomes open to and capable of discerning whom he should marry. A decision to marry a particuar person before discerning if one should be married at all is incompatible with Natural Law.
More frequently in recent generations and increasing with each ensuing one, men have determined who they will marry before they know for certain that they should be married. This is evidenced by the ever-increasing symptoms and natural consequences of getting the order reversed:
So becoming a Husband MUST be a discernment based on the Twelve Righteous Virtues learned and practiced as a Man, grounded in a level of Moral Clarity perfect enough to establish for a Man his Aptitude for Marriage – his ability to BE married – before he can ever determine WHO he should marry. In today’s climate, that tends to disqualify a lot of current and would-be “husbands.” But only if they have given up. Fortunately the vocation of Husband can be aspired to and achieved even after great failure (sin). One must return to the core vocation of being a Man, rescinding and repudiating his previous ways and walking the path of Marriage guided by the Twelve Righteous Virtues and his newfound perfect Moral Clarity.
Natural Calling versus Cultural Calling
Just as there are two callings a male hears and only one he can follow to truly be a Man, there are two callings for a Man that battle each other for his attention. Choosing the right one will engender in him the Courage to Be a Husband or pursue the virtuous life of a Single Man. Choosing the wrong one will pull him into a wallowing cesspool of disjointed surrealism in a life of moral relativism.
A Man does not Marry because he has fallen in love.
A Man Marries because he has chosen to Love. If a man falls in love and marries because of it, he has most likely married the wrong person. In fact, he would be intent on probably marrying his first babysitter or second grade teacher!
Discerning Marriage involves intelligent, virtue-based discernment that commits a Man to sacrificing for someone – and sacrifice is always based on a choice, not an obligation or a feeling. It is, in fact, based on doing what is right.
A Man will Marry the right woman because he is supposed to, not because his feelings make him want to. God will always lead a Man to that woman and allow him to have the emotions and feelings associated with “falling” in love in order to make it more than just a passing attraction and to help commit the couple to each other. But the feeling will never be the reason for the Marriage.
The Natural Calling of a Husband
A Man discerning the vocation of Husband is experiencing the Natural Calling God places on the overwhelming majority of Men’s hearts. There are only 414,656 Catholic Priests in the world. Common sense tells us that, with rates of marriage being between .4% and .7% globally (meaning four to seven people per 1000 marrying annually [you look up the statistics…we’re getting into the weeds here and without Common Sense, the rest of this site won’t matter anyway.]) indicates a huge difference in numbers when it comes to married men and single men.
Most people do not get married on a whim, by accident, or forcibly. Instead, they have considered it for a long time, while it niggles at the back of their head growing up. Something draws them to it.
That something is the Natural Calling.
It is a Man’s natural proclivity to be Married. Note the use of capitalization, here. That’s important. If there is this natural pull, there must be a reason for it.Nature has her own reason for it, which you can explore in this series of articles. This reason is completely in line with God’s reason. Nature wants human beings to survive, and God wants as many souls in Heaven as possible.
In order to accomplish those two goals, Men must Marry, so as to procreate and form other Men and Women who will have the ability to add to the success by which those goals are measured.
When a man ignores the Natural Calling, he is headed for some serious trouble…
The Cultural Calling of a husband
Culture calls men to be husbands in distorted, unnatural and even evil ways. And those it does not succeed in turning to its ill-fated definition of a husband it ridicules, demeans, and seeks to destroy.
The Cultural Calling is the moral relativist approach to marriage as a convenience of finances, location, fornication and publicly sanctioned prostitution. The cultural calling tells a man to marry for the convenience of saving money and having a concubine who trades sex for a mutual place to live. The culture does not understand Love and what it defines as love is distorted into the satisfaction of one’s own desires instead of ensuring the well-being of another.
Culture calls men to satisfy their natural desire to fornicate – to the point of convincing them that tsuch a thing is all they are good for – and, if they find a particularly satisfying piece of meat, shack up with it and pretend to be married to “see if it will work out.” Society mores teach him that as long as she puts out in the various manners he desires and doesn’t complain too much, he’s got the best that life can offer. After some indeterminate amount of time, if he thinks it’s a good enough thing to make sure it stays that way (and he’s been out of practice with the other “ladies,” so finding another willing woman may prove difficult, at least within the few days that he knows he will want to have sex again) he takes the woman as his lawfully-wedded wife. The church may be involved, or not, but the reasoning behind the nuptials are suspect, at best, and may well create an invalid marriage.
Then he wonders why his life is miserable – because he has made promises and oaths that this wife expect him to keep his word on. While she has been an active participant in this relationship based on fornication and adultery, most women have retained the concept of the ideal Marriage and think that they have to go along with society and culture to get a Man.
While this isn’t the forum for that topic, it is important to say that any Woman who holds out for a Man by specifically NOT compromising herself and her virtue will be rewarded with that Man. But if she stoops to the gutter, she will get a gutter-dweller.
Gutter-dwelling men are what society celebrates. That’s who the culture calls men to be. And men who follow that cultural calling as they become interested in sharing their life with a woman will simply fall into the cultural calling of a being a husband. Not a Husband.
The Cultural Calling is the societal norm pushed, celebrated, and promulgated in the portrayal of men on television, in commercials, movies, and in the daily media browbeating even the casual observer cannot escape. The media in turn influences wives, parents, co-workers, and even children into mimicking this dfulbehavior toward Men and would-be-Husbands to the point that a Man is terrorized into believing such a way of life is not only his fate and destiny, but his obligation. He learns that to behave differently, as an upright Man and Husband is to put a giant target on his back. It is a cultural self-fulfilling prophecy that plays to the carnal instincts of the human male who, in this time, is ill-equipped due to the absence of or limited training from a virtuous Dad (himself beaten to a pulp from all sides) to do anything about it, let alone even understand what it is that is happening to him.
Aptitude for Marriage
To review: God gives a Man unique capabilities within the Four Natural Aptitudes; unique not only to here and now, but to infinity and eternity. Nobody else will ever be that Man, and because of that he has a natural duty and obligation to build on what kind of a Man he is in order to be the Husband he is called to be – since he won’t be repeated ever again, anywhere else – IF he is indeed called to be a Husband. By living up to his specific Natural Aptitude levels, he fulfills God’s calling to be a Man. If those aptitudes raise him to a level worthy of having a wife, and he discerns that he should have a wife, then he should be a Husband. That’s why a Husband cannot be any Man, because his perfection in the Four Aptitudes may not be the perfection God would require of him to be Married, but instead a perfection God requires of him for another vocation..
The Marital Aptitude:
A Husband’s perfect willingness and perfect ability to die constantly for his Wife
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her. Ephesians 5:25
This “love” St. Paul speaks of is not a feeling. This is an action. It is upon the Virtue of Love, which the other eleven Righteous Virtues train a Man to do, that the Marriage Aptitude is built. The Perfect Man can only Love perfectly as a Husband if he can die for his Wife.
That is why to be a Husband, one must be a Man first – to know how to Love perfectly by forming a virtuous life that leads to Love.
Someone who, following the cultural calling, feels “love” and has sex is (at least in that era of his life) incapable of doing this Sacrificial Love: Agape. Agape is the love that Christ did for His Church. What is that Love? Christ died for the Church, and we know from St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians that such is required of a Man who Marries. A Husband must die for his wife. In a real sense, a true Husband will die for his wife should the need arise. Most men and even children will understand that. They’d take a bullet for her, or otherwise. But Paul tells Husbands to die for their wives. He does not tell them to be willing to die for their wives. He tells them to DO it. So not only must the Husband be willing to die for his wife, but he should die – “hand himself over“- for his wife.
So what does this mean?
Willing vs. Doing
Willing to Die
When a man is willing to die for someone or something, the heroic image of John Wayne or some other suitable figure comes to his mind and he imagines grand last stands at The Alamo, laying one’s life down for what appears to be a hopeless (or hopeful) cause because the romantic ideals of love pervade his senses and gives him the courage to say he will take a bullet for his damsel in distress.
Many Men HAVE gone to their deaths for this sort of reason, and the very ideals and practices of Freedom are expressed nowadays because of such heroics by many famous and even more anonymous Men.
But even these are not the “willing” to die mantras a sex-crazed (or -craved) boy expresses when he is trying to bed a woman (acting married). Sure, he may truly be willing to step in front of a bullet – but what are the chances of that actually happening?
He can feel this, and even believe that he is righteous because of it, but it does not mean he will do it. But even if he will do it, what does that matter?
He has died for her once, and fueled by lust. Hardly the requirement set forth for him by Jesus Christ and codified by St. Paul, “as he Loved the Church.”
Dying for your Wife once is never enough.
Doing the Dying
Being a Husband involves one thing that must constantly be done: Dying.
Jesus Christ Loved the Church by dying for her, and he continues to die for us. Eternal and infinite, Jesus is not bound by time or place, so while we may remember Calvary of 2000 years ago, the sacrifice of The Lord is happening all the time. If He died for us, and we did not exist until we were born, then He MUST be dying constantly because more than four babies are born every second.
We experience Calvary in the Eucharist (link to free book explaining this) when celebrating the Holy Mass, which is the source and summit of our Christian faith. It is at that moment that Heaven and Earth meet, and that time is brought together so that we re-present the very moment of Christ’s sacrifice. A brief article explains this doctrine, and it references this apostolic letter from Pope Saint Paul VI.
Jesus’ Love for us has been a single dying and single resurrection constantly happening (as we can best understand it with our corporeal and temporal existence without ManHusbandDad spending the rest of our space explaining what is explained better elsewhere) and Christians have experienced it the billions of times Mass has been celebrated (and the Crucifixion was pre-presented) since the first Mass: The Last Supper.
What does this doing have to do with being a Husband? Everything!
Summarizing¹, Jesus constantly dies for His Church, and Husbands are to love their wives the way Jesus loves the Church. Jesus loves the Church by choosing to constantly die for us. So that’s what Husbands must do for their wives:
Yikes! This is what causes some Men to shudder and realize they should not be a Husband…or causes them to abandon the virtuous life altogether as a hopeless, unattainable ideal. Do you dare go on? Understandably, this is a hard thing to do. That is precisely why we know not all Men are called to be Husbands. Many men simply do not have the perfection of Aptitudes required to understand, let alone make, and then do the commitment of dying on a constant basis. In fact, no Husband, even with the Aptitude for it, can always do it, because of our fallen nature. But we are not called to be perfect as the world subjectively understands the word today, but perfect as Jesus objectively commands us to be and shows us how to be: By climbing back up on the sacrificial cross when we fail.² As Men, we are called to be faithful. So the personal test of one’s Aptitude for Marriage – for being a Husband – is: Can I reach my perfect willingness and perfect ability to be faithful to the practice of dying constantly for my Wife?
¹ManHusbandDad acknowledges that we are simplifying things here. It is not our intent to be heretical or otherwise mislead on Catholic Doctrine. Christ died for us once, always. All of us, individually. He transcends space and time, and Husbands can only emulate Him in our linear, corporeal existence as best we can, as noted in the Matrimonial Sacrifices.
²Contrary to “perfection,” in its Greek (and therefore Biblical) origins, “failure” in the same context means to “miss the mark.” or “miss the goal.” Therefore, each ManHusbandDad has a different perfection and a different failure. Remember, sin itself is defined as “missing the mark”:
Failure is an option, but not a destination or a lifestyle.
I think I missed something...
No worries. Start with “Vocation” then click on “Being a Man” when you get to the last paragraph and go forward from there. We’ll be here when you catch up!
If you’ve gone that route already, check out the “What if…” section below for some answers to frequently asked questions concerning being a Husband.
I accept and embrace this understanding of what it means to be a Husband
Not so fast…
Once a Man has discerned the vocation of Husband, he cannot fully commit to that vocation without further discernment. While discerning the vocation of Husband is not a given…it is a prerequisite to being a Dad, as being a Dad is a natural result of being a Husband…
No Man can fully discern that he is called to be a Husband unless he has also discerned that he is open to the gift of children and raising them to be virtuous Men and Women. Being open to the gift of children is the first step to being a Dad – and being a Dad is a natural, inseparable part of being a Husband. A Man cannot be a Husband if he is unwilling to have children, or if he does not want to raise children to be Men and Women of virtue.
This openness to children is expressed in a very real way during the Marital Act of Love.
Contraception is contrary to openness to children, by definition. To use contraception or to encourage or knowingly allow one’s wife to use contraception therefore means a man is not a Husband because he rejects openness to children (and, in fact, children altogether) by using contraception. In fact, he is not even a Man because he violates several of the Twelve Righteous Virtues, starting with Courage. Children are created when a sperm fertilizes an egg. That’s the only way it naturally happens. A Man is not a Husband if he engages in sexual activity that results in his sperm not having a chance to fertilize his wife’s egg.
If you do not think you have to be willing to be a Dad to be a Husband…you should stop now. God is not calling you to be a Husband right now.
(NOTE: As you will see, willingness to be a Dad does not mean you have to have the physical ability to conceive a child. Men who are sterile or Marry Women who is unable to conceive can still be Husbands and Dads.}
Well, there’s nothing wrong with an honest skeptic or someone who wants to know more before making the obligation in the next link. In fact, honest skepticism is encouraged.
Here are some questions below that may ease your mind or make you run screaming away from here as fast as possible. Truth has that affect on folks.
Can I be homosexual and still be a Husband?
That answer is a little harsh and bigoted, isn't it?
A Marriage is between a Man and a Woman. And while a homosexual can be a Man, he cannot be a Husband for myriad reasons but the basic one is that he cannot fertilize the egg of his wife, a woman – because who he calls his wife is not a woman, but a man. Regardless of the legal definition of marriage, the Natural Law of Marriage fulfilled in the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is by definition naturally impossible for two people of the same gender to experience or give to one another – so Marriage is simply impossible, no matter how it is redefined in culture, society, or the law. That’s just the way it is.
Always has been. Always will be. Just like gravity has its own specific properties. It is simply a Natural Law – a fact,a Truth – that mankind cannot change by redefining it.
But I'm gay and I love my man. You are hating on love and #LoveWins!
The kind of love you are talking about that “wins” is not Agape love, which is the highest form of love and is the love a Man can have for a Woman in the context of marriage. That sort of love you are talking about is anti-social hate for nature and activist adoration in contempt for authority – the biggest authority being Nature herself. It is sloganeering in response to honest Truth instead of thoughtful contemplation of that Truth. Outside the context of Marriage, sacrificial love is possible and we have heroes all around who have shown that to us. But the sacrificial, giving of life that a Husband has for his Wife is very particular to Marriage – as pointed out by St. Paul – and is something a homosexual simply cannot physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually do, just as much as we cannot keep a rock suspended in mid-air without acting against the natural force of gravity. If we succeed in suspending the rock, we have not changed gravity – we have worked against it. That’s what homosexual #LoveWins love does.
You might as well put frosting on a brick and call it cake. It ain’t cake.
What if I am homosexual but marry a woman?
SO lying to someone about who you are just so you can be a husband makes sense to you?
Look… embrace your homosexuality if you believe that you are genuinely wired toward that sexualism. Then figure out what God wants you to do with your Single, Celibate Vocation! Be joyful that He obviously has something He needs you to DO, so the sooner you accept who you are, the sooner you can get about His Plan.
Why pile lie on top of lie?
If you are homosexual and have married a woman, you need to talk to a Priest. We are in no way equipped to counsel you on the validity of your marriage. If you entered it deceptively, then no, of course you cannot be a Husband. Basing the marriage on a lie precludes you of that privilege.
What happens if a Man chooses not to be a Husband?
Okay - what if a Man DISCERNS that he should not be a Husband?
During the discernment process a Man will discover his calling to either be a Husband or a Single Man.
If he discerns that he is called to be a Single Man, he must continue to discern if he should go further and be a Consecrated Man, devoted to organized religious service in an ordained capacity. Either way, since there is no inevitability that requires a Man to become a Husband (It is not fate – it is a calling from God: A Vocation), any Man who has discerned the Single vocation should continue their discernment for furthering their vocation through the qualified guidance of a spiritual director, minister, and other Men who faithfully live the Single and Married vocations.
The Single Life is supported at ManHusbandDad as much as a Man continues to pursue his utmost calling as a Man. There are many resources online to pursue in-depth the particular Single vocation, and we recommend you start here. A Man may discern a Consecrated vocation if God is calling him to that – the consecrated life in dedicated service to God through ministerial or sacramental service, such as the priesthood or religious life. To ManHusbandDad, the Consecrated life is an awe-inspiring commitment. However, we are in no way a resource for such discernment once a Man hears his calling to such sacred duty.
*This is awesome because imagine the hurt and despair one avoids and temptations he resists if he discerns God is calling him to be single… He will not break hearts or make unwanted babies, contribute to the decay of society through fatherless homes and socially-widowed women. And those are just a few of the successes a Man creates when he embraces a calling to SIngle life. These are the same successes he has if he is called to and accepts being a HusbandDad. The only time these bad things happen is when a Man who should be single either gets married when he shouldn’t or stays single but acts married. There are only two Natural discernments for a Man: HusbandDad or Virtuous Single, which may lead to further discernment of religious life..
I've made some mistakes. It looks like I can't be a Husband...
Regardless of what situation you find yourself in, starting at the beginning and getting yourself right as a Man, and moving forward through this stage and onto the Dad vocation is your best bet at getting it right. That’s what we are all doing in some fashion – Kristofer isn’t some flawless ManHusbandDad. In fact, he’ll tell you he falters many times a day. But each day is better than the one before…usually.
As we pursue being a Man, we learn how to be a Husband and you can, too – even if the mother of your children has married another man (or woman!), or any other situation – and you will find the right tools for being at least the Man you are supposed to be. But it is all, first. based on your Moral Clarity formed by your Four Aptitudes, measured against your perfection, which you need to discover and live up to first.
It’s not an easy thing – but it’s pretty simple.
God’s mercy is big enough for Hitler, Stalin, and hordes of others whose actions we detest and abhor. As we do not know if they are in Hell for all they did and do, God’s mercy is certainly grand enough for you! A good confession is a great start!