Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Better to Wait

Why does the Church make us wait for all of Advent until Christmas comes?  The kids eagerly count down the days until Christmas in nearly unbearable anticipation.  Advertisements loudly proclaim how many shopping days are left until Christmas.  But still we wait.  Contrary to everything the culture promotes, there's no instant gratification in Advent.

The engagement period is another kind of Advent, another kind of waiting period.  Many engaged couples don't want to wait either.  Most particularly, they don't want to wait for the wedding night.  More than half of couples showing up for pre-Cana marriage preparation classes are already living together.  In this environment, chastity is sometimes treated like a crazy distant relative, who has to be invited to family holiday gatherings, but you hope she sits in a corner chair without making a nuisance of herself.  Chastity is often seen as an unattainable relic of a lost age, not hip, or modern, or attractive.

But there's a lot to be said for remaining chaste and for waiting.  My husband and I waited for each other, despite being madly in love.  Through waiting, I gained respect and trust for my husband.  Respect for his self-control.  Trust that if he could keep himself from sleeping with me before marriage, then he could keep himself from sleeping with anybody else afterwards.  So, my husband and I always introduced Great-Aunt Chastity to the engaged couples we taught in pre-Cana classes.  To our surprise, they kind of liked her.  Even couples who were already living together made the decision to stay chaste during their engagement period to make the wedding night more special.  Instant gratification is here and gone.  But you want to wait for something that lasts.

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