Why can some men never live alone

It is not good that the person is alone ...

Dear Congregation,

three preliminary remarks:

  1. If here from the catholic Sex morality is mentioned, then it is not meant exclusively, in the sense that this is only the morality of the catholic Church is or could be. Most people are known to be non-Catholic and many are still very nice.
  2. The subject is huge! It is more than likely that the questions and topics that you bring up on the topic will hardly or never appear in the following. I beg your forbearance here.
  3. I'm not married, I don't have an inside view, I'm an outsider. But this look also has its justification and opportunities. You don't have to have had every experience yourself to be able to contribute a helpful experience here and there. Even a blind hen is known to find a grain from time to time.

We all know the ideas that our Catholic Church has when it comes to sexual morality: A man and a Woman, loyal to life, with children and once grandchildren. No sex in front marriage and Next marriage, except death separates the partners.
Seven points today!

  1. Changed starting position

Thanks to modern medicine, we are getting older. While “Until death do you part” used to mean 15 or 20 years, it is now 50 and more years. While in the past a rather prudish, strictly religious environment supported and even demanded staying together, today one has the opposite impression: Why stay together when love is gone? Better an end with horror than horror without end!

In addition: in the past, women didn't even know where to go after a divorce! Thanks to emancipation and the welfare state, divorce is still burdensome today, but it is nowhere near as scandalous and ruinous as it used to be. Nobody is blocking their future with it or is stigmatized in their neighborhood!

When Jesus tightened the ban on divorce in his day, he had in mind: It must be prevented that the woman ends up on the street and is condemned to prostitution! The men must not make it too easy for themselves: send the previous woman away and take a new one - that must not be! It wasn’t possible the other way around.

Can you still claim the old standard in a society that has changed in this way? I see two extreme solutions:

  1. The biblical extreme: In the Bible it says so, so all Christians of all times must do it that way, no matter how much their living conditions may have changed.
  2. We sort the Bible and its relational advice as out of date and unworldly all and are only looking for contemporary solutions.

It is one of the oldest human knowledge - and it comes from God! It is not good that the person is alone ...

This is not a plea for platonic friendships between men and women, where you recite poems to each other, but rather an intimate community with everything that goes with it - of course also and especially: sex!

Thomas Müller from FC Bayern, national soccer player and goalscorer, graduated from high school in 2008. A year later, in 2009, he married - at the age of 20! - his girlfriend Lisa. That caused a stir at the time:

  • How can they get married now?
  • They can't even know if it's going to work, can they?

Müller countered and replied laconically: Because it's the right one. Point, done! At 20! I mean: That caused such a stir back then because it is now so unusual. In the past, people wanted to get married soon because they finally wanted to move in together and live together without an improper one wild marriage to land - today practically all couples have been living together for several years and their marriage is the solemn occasion where you get to the heart of what has been initiated and has been practiced.

  • Most couples today are over 30 when they get married.
  • More and more people don't get married at all, live together like that.
  • And there are loads of people who don't have a partner at all. Some also don't want one (anymore).

Those who get married too early are of course building up opportunities. That's right. And sometimes you want to advise one or the other couple to wait a little longer.

But what one forgets: Those who do not get married are also obstructing opportunities. It is not the case that in the first case one forgives all possibilities and in the other one keeps all of them open. The question is rather: Which I seize the opportunity and open it up Which do I renounce?

  • If I want to keep my independence as long as possible, it will be difficult to have a big family.
  • Will I still learn to share my life with others when I am 35 or 40, as one has to do in a family?
  • Will not creep in on the beaten track and habits that I no longer shed caneven if I want to?

Apparently you can't both to have. There are always opportunities, but there is always renunciation, one way or another. And if you want to keep all options open, you may have to find out in the end that you no has chosen and is left empty-handed.

  • Marriage strongly recommended!

Why is it not good for man to be alone? A first answer: Because God doesn't want that! Because togetherness is not only advisable, it is morally imperative! And not just in our religion.

  • All major religions urge their followers to pursue such a long-term married life, all central commandments - including our religion - are clear here - we only think of them Ten Commandments.
  • Jesus has this rule with him one Staying together for a lifetime is more aggravated than relaxed - let's just think of today's gospel.
  • Children have clear caregivers, parents and grandparents.

 Even in the age of singles, shared apartments and blended families, the smallest cell of life is and remains the family today. The forms of life that deviate from it - I myself live in such a form of life - only flourish in the long term if there are stable, stable families.

You can turn it around as you want: The Bible, Old and New Testament, religious tradition, and all other major religions practically speak in unison for marriage - by that I mean a long-term relationship between a partner and a (!) others - for moral and religious reasons. In some areas of Africa, women fight for one man only a Wife may have - they expect more justice and emancipation from this fact alone

  • (My longest point): marriage is sexy

God created sexuality. It is good and God wants us to practice and enjoy it. I think I can even say: the more often and more intensely, the better. And the more catholic! In fact, living this is most realistically possible within a stable two-person relationship - i.e. a marriage. As already indicated, it is important to distinguish between two aspects: quantity and quality

a) The more often the better: quantity of sexual encounters

I suspect that most people, including young people, do not find it easy to approach other people. Nonetheless, it may be easy for many teens and twenties to go out every weekend to find a partner for the night. I assume that this has its charms, otherwise not so many would practice it or at least long for it. And if you look reasonably passable, are not too shy, and know the appropriate establishments, then it may even work for a while, be fun.

At the latest when you cross the 30 threshold, it becomes exhausting.

  • Normally you then have a job or are required at the university.
  • You have to make money
  • take care of an apartment, take care of your own parents and much more.

The brutal nights of youth can no longer be managed, the convalescence phases become significantly longer. At 40 or 50 this becomes even more difficult, unless you take refuge in love that you can buy, but where you only get a surrogate of real love. Most 40- or 50-year-old singles do not have one partner after the other, do not indulge in beds without obligation, weekend after weekend, as the condom advertisements suggest, but sit alone in front of the telly, at best clicking through the porn sites on the Internet.

If you want to be regularly intimate as you get older, the easiest way to do this is in a steady two-way relationship in which you know and trust each other. Everything else is - we're not even talking about the above-mentioned religious and moral reasons - time-consuming, exhausting and, with increasing age, simply unrealistic.

Anyone aged 40, 50 or even older who wants to have sexuality as a regular part of their life has no real, practicable, realistic alternative to a permanent relationship - marriage. God is just right: It is not good that the person is alone ...

b) The better the more often: quality of sexual encounters

Like all other things, sexuality wants and must be learned. Intimate competence is not just innate to us! You have to grow into it. But this requires mutual trust, especially if you want to exhaust the full range of sexual possibilities. If you need object lesson here, read this Song of Songs of Love in the Old Testament! That is erotic literature in the best sense of the word! It crackles and tingles, but without one or the other being degraded to a mere sex object. The Bible is really not prudish here and also not suitable for minors.

  • The problem here isn't a game-spoiling god.
  • The problems arise from poor communication between the partners:
    • What would like youwhat will I?
    • I manage to tell him my wishes and
    • am I ready to hear his / her wishes?

This is about things that don't come easily from your lips and that you have to discover in yourself first. In addition, the needs in the partnership change, including of course the sexual needs.

I remember my superior in Rome. A Spanish Jesuit who had lived in India most of the time. He was now, back then, around 70. I once asked him: “Say, THAT never stops?” He said: “Non finisce mai! It never stops! But the Art longing changes. ”He no longer has as great physical longings as he used to, but when he sees a happy couple on a bench in the city park, the thought may occur to him: You could have had that too! And then he hears God whispering softly in his ear: It is not good that the person is alone ...

Of course, elderly and old people also need closeness and physicality. And the fact that this is largely taboo, and that advertising proclaims eternal youth, slimness and wrinkle-freeness, only makes things more difficult. In old age, in particular, tenderness is only possible in a marriage where people know and trust each other.

I was once in the intensive care unit because of an anointing of the sick, where a 90-year-old man was stroked by his wife, who was also over 90, and died. My God, how sad and how beautiful! They both always knew: It is not good that the person is alone ...

God doesn't want man to be left alone. Anyone who takes this path anyway, like me, should think twice about it - also when talking to good friends. The normal case - and, in my opinion, the ideal case - is and remains to live life together with a steady partner.

Of course, there are many dangers and risks. I have indicated a few, but there is also a lot of help! Experienced therapists, psychologists and even theologians who can help. Of course, it can turn out: it was the or the Wrong! But sitting at home alone at the age of 50 or 60, trying one dating agency after the other, is not nice in the long run either. Therefore: dare to do it! Of course, it makes sense to plan your life. But do not wait until you have climbed the corporate ladder and have the academic title in your pocket, the pension notice is there. Don't build your private life around your professional life, do it the other way around. Experience and God say: It is not good for man to be left alone.

  • Heaven first, marriage second!

As is well known, Martin Luther called marriage a worldly thing. That means even the best marriage is only a foretaste, a taste of what God is for all Prepared people, singles and married, divorced and loved ones.

A marriage that is under one Canopy of faith posed knows - as this is expressed in Jewish weddings - is entloadet. The other doesn't have to be my one and only thing now no Man can afford and everyone Overwhelmed. I have an authority to whom I can entrust my relationship, especially with its difficulties. Precisely because marriage doesn't have to be everything, I can exploit its depth and refine crises into opportunities for growth.

Marriage is an invitation, not a requirement! It is an encouragement, sometimes an imposition, but not a threat! It is a suggestion, a way, an advice that does not claim exclusivity. Catholic sexual morality does not want to say: You have to and are allowed to do it this way and not otherwise, but: We have life with all its sizes and limits - and of course sexuality is part of it! - looked at, and think I can recommend this path to you! It is not a verdict on other ways. And it is by no means a judgment on those who tried this path but - for whatever reason - did not turn out to go all the way to the end.

Years ago there was an advertisement from the pharmaceutical industry - you may remember. A person from everyday life back then, such as a gas station attendant at the gas pump, comes into the picture and says: “Headache? I have something for you… ”Then comes the sonorous voice from the off: We don't know what this friendly gas station attendant recommends - we recommend TOGAL if you have a headache

Love pain? Longing for tenderness and togetherness? We do not know what this or that advisor, this or that dating agency, religion or belief system recommends. We recommend:

N.N., I accept you as my wife / my husband and promise you loyalty, in good and bad days, in health and illness. I want to love, respect and honor you as long as I live. Wear this ring as a token of my love and loyalty. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

P. Manfred Hösl SJ