7th May 2012
Let them live their own lives
Author: Ged McMahon
Catholic Church, man drought, de facto, marriage, young women, Australia

The Catholic Church is likely to draw the ire of many people after Fr Tony Kerin has claimed that young women in Australia are too fussy when looking for a future husband. Fr Kerin, the Episcopal Vicar for Justice and Social Service in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, believes that if they continue to be choosy on the dating scene they’ll miss out all together due to a man drought currently wreaking havoc on our society.

Firstly, as a newly married man, I would like to thank my wife Kylie for not being too fussy and congratulate her on finding an oasis in the middle of such a barren man drought.

Secondly, I will acknowledge that because I was raised a Catholic, I am naturally quite defensive of criticism that is thrown at the Church. I often feel that it’s an easy target at which people can take a shot. But on this occasion I’m not defending them. If they have a PR team, I’m sure they’re rolling their eyes now because all Fr Kerin’s proclamation does is add fuel to the fire of how ‘out of touch’ the Church is with modern society.

But what upsets me most is people forcing their version of happiness onto others –– it doesn’t matter what religion these people are. The long held view that marriage is how you live ‘happily ever after’ is simply not the case for everybody. Some people are happy to live their life as a bachelor or bachelorette. Others are happy to live in a loving de facto relationship. And what if you’re not heterosexual? But let’s not get started on that.

If a woman wants to focus on her career instead of finding Mr Right, then full power to her. If she prefers a de facto relationship, that’s her choice. And if she wants to wait around for the right partner, let her wait. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Let people make their own decisions and stop telling them how to live their lives.

Do you think young women are too fussy these days? Should we re-evaluate our understanding of ‘happily ever after’? Is it time for people to accept that relationship types have changed over time?


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    7th May 2012
    I do not think that our women are too fussy at all, they need to have a career to back them up, if their marriage fails them in the future.
    Surely Father isn't suggesting that they ''make do'' in the choice of a future partner.
    Marriage is far too serious for that sort of decision.
    7th May 2012
    Even up to and including the Edwardian era, society pressure said a woman needed a husband. For that reason, women weren't too fussy about their choice. Then came the 1st and 2nd world wars and after each one, there was no opportunity for a woman seeking a husband to be too fussy. There wasn't much choice; they'd all been killed! It's only since the 60's, years after the last world war, that the prospect of wider choice became a reality.

    This time, of course, coincided with the advent of "free love" and a freer life style. Since the 60's, the divorce rate has soared, so no wonder women are taking their time over choosing the right partner. Let each woman make up her own mind; that's what freedom is all about.
    7th May 2012
    I'm 57 and have been married to the same person since I was 20. I think it IS time to re-evaluate relationships even though I'm happy with mine...we live a lot longer these days and being married to the same person that long isn't always a happy arrangement. I feel girls should have the right to pick what kind of relationship they want and as a mother of an 18 year old I wouldn't want her to be tied down as young as i was. Women have so many more opportunities these days and they should be able to live their lives and make the most of life. When they do "settle down" it should be because the person the settle down with makes them happy not because they have to get married out of convention. I know many divorced couples that are happy with their new extended families...things have changed and the church should realize this. We might as well go back to arranged marriages if women should marry and not be fussy. I was lucky enough to fall in love with someone I could spend the rest of my life with, but would never marry second best just because there is a shortage of men and I might miss out. better to be single than unhappily married. I also feel that our longer life span gives us more time to make up our minds before deciding to share the rest of our lives with a special person. It's up to the individual. Of course there are things to consider...even though we are living longer if the couple want a large family or to have children at all the body still only has a certain amout of years to do that, but other than that constraint, people should live their lives as they choose and marry because they are in love. In fact being fussy is good, maybe when we do get relationship they will be better relationships...not ones like in my day where a man married a woman so he would have someone to cook and clean for him, but rather a relationship where they help each other grow as people and share values and morals and if they bring children into the world they will be happier children. Fussy is good.
    7th May 2012
    I agree "young-at-heart" I wish I had lived with my husband before being married, as a couple of my daughters have done with their partners previously. I would have recognised that my husband who I dearly loved and still do, was a highly critical person of many things I wanted to do, and after years finally did do. I also had to step in and protect my children from his harsh criticisms, and give them positive thoughts on their decisions and actions, so that they grew up not feeling lack of self esteem and toughened up and still made their own decisions ultimately, and not to just please their father.

    I am Catholic and had believed that marriage was for life, however, my husband was not. Part of me felt that being divorced was not right (due to my faith drummed into me during schooling etc), but he did not feel it necessary to be divorced, but realised I no longer wanted to live with him and he felt the same. So separation was the answer and was carried out amicably. This was done with the consideration for our childrens feelings as well, and they understood and accepted our decision.

    Having observed my childrens live-in relationships before marriage, I feel this has been a good thing as they really knew their partners well (generally 3 -4 years together) before consenting to marriage. Marriage is mainly there for the protection of children of that relationship I have assumed. Some Catholic teachings place too much fear on their followers ( and some other religions as well), and I feel that for those who have faith In God, that he is also a forgiving God as always. Most laws have been instrumented through the leaders of the various churches, and "he who is without sin should cast the first stone" - no priest, bishop or Pope is without sin, no human being is. Many so called laws are not right and we have free choice to do as we feel is right. This is my belief!!

    We have been married 45 years now, and living separately for the past 4-5 years, and I personally am a much happier, independent person, and I can see he is also happy living on his own. When a year ago he was diagnosed with Cancer, I was there to support him, and upon release from hospital, he came to live with me for 3 weeks as it was easier on me to provide meals showering etc. He was very appreciative of this, and when it was time for him to go to his home, he surprised me by saying "not many women would have done this you know".

    However, he will often visit to ensure I am OK, share some meals, have a pleasant time whilst together, and should a criticism rise to his lips about me or what I do etc. I calmly say that this is none of your business.....and he just smiles!!!!
    7th May 2012
    I loved reading your story. How very brave of you to realise that you would be happier apart. And how brave to actually do it. My husband is also very critical at times. Every thing has always revolved around him and if I had an opportunity to do something, be it within a career or a personal thing, he would usual say no to it. I wish I were that brave.
    7th May 2012
    Maybe the Catholic Church should allow priests to marry and free up some available men ... Fussy is always best - happily-ever-after doesn't end at "I do"!
    7th May 2012
    You're so right VivK! Also if priests married they would understand the realities of life a bit better! How would they like to be stuck in a long term relationship with someone they didn't love or suit them??
    7th May 2012
    I agree with the comment, however I believe that young woman are very superficial in todays society. They really have it all and dont realise how very lucky they are to be able to make choices. My personal experience is that most young woman view every man in terms of movie star looks and if the hapless young man is not up to standard they do not bother to go beyond the looks and see the potentially perfect young men that are available. I have five eligible quite handsome grandsons and their parents have taught them that looks and money are not all they are cracked up to be. I was married to the same man for 45years and believe me while we had our ups and downs it was a true love affair. Tolerance and consideration for others is the key.
    7th May 2012
    Jazzy, don't you think what you just described about women is what men have had as long as mankind? As a child I got taught that "boys don't make passes to girls that wear glasses" Men have ALWAYS been able to pick for looks and if they didn't pick for looks they picked someone that would be a good home maker...girls are just doing what men have done for centuries. I agree that looks aren't everything but Unfortunately most people judge on looks, even fairy tales are based on the most beautiful girl that the prince picks...not the other way around.
    7th May 2012
    Hallo freinds....here again is my comment...when i was 22 i decided
    against marriage...children etc. so i had a tubal ligation & started to
    travel & now that i am over 70 i don't regret that at all...i am happy
    & content in my own space...doing what i love doing or just being
    7th May 2012
    Good for you Tafola...life is all about choices. We only live once and life is way to short to not be happy with how you're living. I really admire your life choices, they must have been extremely difficult at the time and I'm sure there were people who didn't agree. I wish you every happiness always. :)
    8th May 2012
    hallo again 'young-at-heart' i didn't have any difficulties or problems
    as far as i remember but then i was born in berlin to non-religious &
    non-political...educated parents & my sister & i were quite informed
    about what choices we had...so, i was lucky there..& so later in life
    i always informed & educated myself...life-long learning...then ca.
    30 years ago after lots of travel i decided to go to australia & here
    i still am & happy again...all the best talofa
    8th May 2012
    The Roman Catholic church doesn't care what women want - they just want them to be obedient. I think most young women are far more sensible than we were - it's really important to choose a good man.
    8th May 2012
    I read with interest the different vew points to this topic. I was married unhappily for 20 years and we finally divorced. I remarried 6 years later and have been with my second husband for 11 years now. We are best friends and that is a good basis for a marriage. I love him and respect him but I would say it is better to be single than unhappily married. So, forget Prince Charming or the film star look alike and base your choice on the man who you can form a deep and meaningful relationshup with. The rest comes.......
    Cat Lady
    9th May 2012
    I wish I had been "fussy" and had the chance to live with my husband before I married him. When I finally escaped from him and his violence, he tried to burn our house down with the children and me in it. He then stalked us with daily threats of killing me. I was under police protection for a few years until he committed suicide. It would still be happening today if he was alive. I would not wish what I went through on my worse enemy! You don't know a person until you live with them and today's generation at least can see the real person before they commit to marriage. I looked down on couples that lived together without marriage many years ago, but after my experience I think it's a wise thing to do.
    10th May 2012
    We live and learn Cat lady, my thoughts are with you. YES fussy IS good. I too wish i was more that way. and even more so i wish i had somebody to teach me things i needed to know. Instead i had to teach myself. Life wasn't easy for me either.....
    Signed Loner.
    10th May 2012
    By the time you learn the rules of life, you are too old to play the game.
    Cat Lady
    10th May 2012
    How very true! I am very wise now about life, now but I needed it when I was young.Too late now. lol
    11th May 2012
    There is a lot to be said about living together before marriage, these kids today are a lot smarter than we were.
    11th May 2012
    On the flip side, I have seen a few couples, after living together for many years, marry & then split shortly afterward. Don't know what it is about the marriage state - maybe the need to please is removed once the words "I do" are spoken .....
    12th May 2012
    vivk obviously there was no real love there,perhaps it was jus phsical, once that was realized then they separated. iT happens like that and often once living together for a while they see its not quiet what they wanted? If you get out early enough, and be able to start a new life then great.
    but if you listen to your reli's who tell you to stick with it.......boy that can be a big mistake and a waste of life!
    14th Nov 2012
    Please please do not take any notice of priests advice on relationships and marriage, comon what would they know, they advised my mother to stay in a violent marriage and keep having children (they did not want) and could not afford, we children had a life of torture and abuse because these parents did not even like each other so they took their frustration and hate out on we defenceless children, so I say loud and clear fussy is a must, I agree couples should live together first before making such a big commitment.

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