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Author lists 7 big myths about marriage

May 22, 2015
Valerie Schmalz

Taking a hard look at the choices your beloved makes is one way to see if you are going to be happy married to each other, says the co-author of “The Seven Big Myths About Marriage.”

“One of the key things is to understand what the nature of love is,” said Christopher Kaczor, professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University and William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program  at Princeton University.

“Having good will – love involves the good of the other person, seeking to be unified,” the philosophy professor said. “Happiness is to be found in love: good will, appreciation and seeking unity.”

Kaczor will be one of the speakers at the Aug. 21-22 California Association of Natural Family Planning conference at St. Mary’s Cathedral which is cosponsored by the Archdiocese of San Francisco. CANFP is the only statewide natural family planning organization in the country. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone will speak at the conference.

The two-day forum will be a presentation and discussion of masculine and feminine spirituality and sexuality and empowering sexual integrity for individuals and couples, while building healthy, happy, and holy marriages, according to CANFP. Other speakers include Dr. George Delgado, medical director at the Culture of Life Family Health Care in San Diego, California, who helped develop a protocol to reverse the effects of the RU 486 abortion pill; Dr. Lynn Keenan, CANFP president; and Jennifer Lahl, president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture.

Over a lifetime, “love involves a choice or a decision. Often emotions come along with it, but sometimes not,” Kaczor said.

“One of the most important things is thinking about the character of the other person, thinking of the choices the other person is making,” during courtship, Kaczor said. “Obviously you want to be attracted to the other person” and having a good friendship is critical, he said.

“Also, extremely important is whether the other person is of good character,” Kaczor said. “Are they temperate, courageous, just?”

For example, he said, “Someone with courage has a strength and toughness and they do keep their promises. They are going to follow through even if it is difficult, even if they have to overcome some obstacles.”

And it is important to see if the person demonstrates “self-sacrificial behavior,” Kaczor said. “Is this person someone who volunteers to help people in need? Do they go out of their way to help their family members? If their brother is moving, do they take time off and help him move all the boxes?”

“If a person is lacking those virtues, they are not just going to treat other people in an unfair way, at some time they will treat you that way,” said Kaczor, who co-wrote the book, published by Ignatius Press in 2014, with his wife Jennifer Kaczor. It is based on a course he teaches at Loyola Marymount, he said.

At the CANFP conference in August, Kaczor will discuss the hazards of cohabitation, including the disadvantages for women, and as a negative factor in marriage. “In a nutshell, what I am going to say is that cohabitation ends up increasing the likelihood of divorce. And it is particularly detrimental to a woman. The longer a woman lives with a man, the less likely it is that she will be able to find a marriage partner,” he said.

Archdiocese of San Francisco director of marriage and family life Ed Hopfner said the CANFP conference is the first state-level conference in many years. He makes the point that natural family planning is a way of approaching the marriage relationship on many levels.

“Archbishop Cordileone has spoken frequently about the importance of NFP for Catholic couples, calling it ‘one of the church’s best-kept secrets’ and a ‘key to the new evangelization,’ particularly as couples share the benefits of NFP in their own marriages with others,” Hopfner said. “This approach to family planning connects couples on a deeper level spiritually, emotionally, physically, and psychologically, and respects the dignity of each in a way that contraception does not.”

It is especially appropriate the conference is being held in the Bay Area “since we are noted for our concern for a healthy lifestyle,” Hopfner said.

“NFP is based on modern science and medicine, is a completely natural, green, way to regulate births, and promotes both the physical and spiritual health of couples,” Hopfner said. “It is also a form of ‘marriage insurance’ – couples that use NFP have been consistently shown to have an extremely low divorce rate.”

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