THE PERFECT CHOICE OF LIFE-PARTNER
(H.G. Bishop Moussa)
There is no doubt that the choice of a life-partner is a
vital decision. It is the decision of a lifetime; you need
to be successful in choosing your life-partner. No doubt
there are many forces at work in this decision, the outcome
of which is a crucial step; one of personal destiny. What
are these forces? Let's consider them from the lowest
upwards. The lower drives, unfortunately, are the most
pressing and clamorous. The higher powers are less
insistent, yet they are the more reliable guides.
This is humanity's most basic drive, for we shares it with the animals. A young person may imagine, at the onset of youth, that he or she has chosen the right life-partner.
This choice may merely be the result of propinquity: of
being crammed together in public transport or in overcrowded
housing conditions. Most typically, it can stem from the
incessant stimulation of the modern media and - even worse -
video, which carries highly provocative material. However
simplicity and chastity are assumed, the more powerful
prompting voice lurking behind is undoubtedly instinct. It
has its call, its heat, its treacherous currents, especially
under the influence of external stimulation and internal hormonal activity.
It is well known that young people at that age undergo a
phase where they are inclined to have knowledge of the other
sex. So their attentions shift from one personality to
another in a changeability characteristic of that age.
Deception is so dangerous at this phase, when we think we
have chosen well and are proceeding towards a perfect
marriage. However good our intentions, however keen we may
be to please God, the strong voice of instinct makes itself
felt at this age. The truth, that instincts alone cannot
lead us into the path of holy marriage, should be made
The dangers of this attitude are clear enough, especially
for the young girl. For they may lead to risky involvements
and damaging results. Consequently, young people undergoing
this phase need to be aware of the range of their instincts,
their recognized limitations and the need to elevate them,
in holiness and in progression towards maturity. Those
envisaging marriage must not allow the message of the beauty
of the body and sensual desires to determine their choice of
life-partner. These motives must be cut down to size, since
"Charm is deceitful, beauty is vain" (Prov 31:30) and the
body returns to dust (Gen 3:19).
This is the second set of drives. Although they may seem
finer than instincts, they are related at the core.
Emotions are a part of the psychological system, necessarily
then of the natural system.
Therefore, we cannot rely on them as a sufficient guide to
the choice of life-partner. Untrammelled emotions are
subject to human limitations: they are fickle, superficial
and tend to get us into tricky situations.
Fickle: Emotion is not spiritual, pure, sacrificial love.
It is a kind of trade-off: a relationship based on what you
can get out of it. It is a form of selfishness: you have a
special motive for love. You find in your partner something
you are missing: a resource that you need and want to draw
on. On the other hand, spiritual love carries on "in spite
of ..." For it is a divine, self-giving love. It is
generous, giving without waiting for a response, even
without getting anything in return. It can be compared to
God's love, which prefers giving to receiving: it gives
itself to the other.
Superficial: Emotion does not run deep in the human being.
Lovers get high on it for a quickly fading moment as it is
superficial, highly excitable, not deeply rooted in the
heart. It is facet of the soul - not of the spirit, which
is the most profound part of our human identity.
May Degenerate: Emotion, without the spirit, may degenerate
into bodily desires and sensuality at a rate which may vary
from one person to the other, depending on that individual's
concern for personal salvation, struggle against sin, and
sanctification of marital life.
This is a higher power. It distinguishes human beings from
the animals. The animal has rudimentary instincts and
emotions, but human beings are characterized by the mind and
the spirit. The mind is a noble gift of the Creator, yet it
is substantially limited. It cannot be the sole arbiter of
this crucial choice. Can the mind really get to the bottom
of things? Can it, no matter how intelligent one may be,
discover the depths of the chosen partner's psychology and
his or her character? Can it gauge the unknown and the
future and foretell what destiny is reserved for him or her?
Or for his or her life-partner? So, the couple and both
their families have to think through things. Yet the mind
alone is not enough as a guide. Yes the mind ponders the
suitability of both partners socially, ethically,
economically, religiously, etc. What is possible and what
is not? What is fitting and what is not? Nevertheless, the
mind is unable to give the last word.
This is the decisive element, the divine part in us, the
power which links us to God. By it we believe in God, gaze
into His heaven and live out His commandments. Therefore,
the divine voice is the most significant. The satisfaction
of the spirit is really crucial. The only guarantees for
giving the spirit its opportunity to thrive, to move and to
+ Sincere and consistent prayers in true surrender, in
accordance with God's will, with the conviction that God
knows and will choose the best, and works out everything for
our good. He works in a way which is radically different
from our limited human approach.
+ Finding pointers of Christ's ideas in His Holy Gospel, as
it shines in our hearts in a special way and gives a power
of discernment in controversial matters.
+ Giving opportunities for discussion with family members
and friends capable of giving the right advice. Sharing our
thoughts with others cancels psychological tension and its
bad effects. Being open to the Lord to speak through
family, friends and the spiritual father.
These are the main forces at work in making this important
decision. Let us summarize them according to their
1. Spirit: praying in
surrender, asking for the Lord's
2. Mind: thinking calmly
3. Emotions: feeling
acceptance towards the partner-tobe.
4. Instincts: sacred,
caught up into an expression of
spiritual love, within a family
which is a true church and a unity
blessed by the Most Holy.
Proceed, my friend, keep yourself under the protection of
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