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“Yesterday my Facebook Status was “I have been meeting with prominent secular psychologists, sociologists, marriage and divorce experts. I have asked the people working in the Catholic Offices that deal with annulments. I have spoken to therapists and priests. I have been asking them all what the number one issue marriages face today and the most common reason for breakdown. Without exception, the answer has been the same. Can you guess what it is? (I was really surprised)”

And then I left it open to see comments.

This morning I had 48 comments with everything being suggested from children, to jobs, to selfishness, to money.

It was very interesting.

I promised I would share what I found today, but I wanted to be sure I had enough space to show some sources and to be very, very clear.  This is NOT my opinion.  This is what is coming out of studies, this is what secular psychologists are reporting.  One registered marriage therapist I spoke to said that in her practice, her clients have become almost exclusively in some way having to deal with this matter. When I asked an expert in marriage preparation programs in secular society, he reported the same thing.  When I talk to priests who help couples, the same thing comes up.

When I started to really see a trend, I did the most logical next step. I started looking in published journal and medical articles, and have found papers.  The recent studies are showing the same trend.

Pornography is ruining marriages.  And in all its forms: sexting, social media, online access.  The number of people suffering with full blown addictions are startling.

No lie.  I was, honestly, shocked.  I knew it was an issue in society.  How could it not be?  We are an openly sexual culture.  But all of the information about what feels going and natural being good and natural seem to have been misleading us.

This isn’t meant to be a rant.  Not meant to criticize.  Just a shocking revelation I have been seeing the trend of (I work in the marriage industry).

One interesting thing is that sometimes the wife or husband (because it affects women too) doesn’t even realize pornography is the problem. Very often it presents as another issue, but then comes back to some sort of relationship with porn.

And sometimes the addiction is hidden.

But EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Psychologists, sociologists, priests, counselors, annulment issue people… The most common issue is surrounding porn. (The most common CAUSE of breakdown is communication failure)

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From: THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY ON INDIVIDUALS, MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D. (http://www.frc.org/pornography-effects)  – I recommend highly that people read this as it covers more comprehensively this issue than any other articles that I have seen.

“Two recent reports, one by the American Psychological Association on hyper-sexualized girls, and the other by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on the pornographic content of phone texting among teenagers, make clear that the digital revolution is being used by younger and younger children to dismantle the barriers that channel sexuality into family life.

Pornography hurts adults, children, couples, families, and society. Among adolescents, pornography hinders the development of a healthy sexuality, and among adults, it distorts sexual attitudes and social realities. In families, pornography use leads to marital dissatisfaction, infidelity, separation, and divorce. Society at large is not immune to the effect of pornography. Child sex-offenders, for example, are often involved not only in the viewing, but also in the distribution, of pornography.”

“In a study on the effects of “cybersex”—a form of sexually explicit interaction between two people on the Internet—researchers found that more than half of those engaged in “cybersex” had lost interest in sexual intercourse, while one-third of their partners had lost interest as well, while in one-fifth of the couples both husband and wife or both partners had a significantly decreased interest in sexual intercourse. Stated differently, this study showed that only one-third of couples maintained an interest in sexual relations with one another when one partner was engaged in “cybersex.”

Prolonged exposure to pornography also fosters dissatisfaction with, and even distate for, a spouse’s affection. Cynical attitudes regarding love begin to emerge, and “superior sexual pleasures are thought attainable without affection toward partners.” These consequences hold for both men and women who have had prolonged exposure to pornography, with the decline in sexual happiness being primarily due to the growing dissatisfaction with the spouse’s normal sexual behavior.

Finally, pornography users increasingly see the institution of marriage as sexually confining, have diminished belief in the importance of marital faithfulness, and have increasing doubts about the value of marriage as an essential social institution and further doubts about its future viability. All this naturally diminishes the importance for them of having good family relations in their own families.”

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Pornography has now been shown to have similar biological influence as drug addiction.  Neuorpathways are reformed around addiction.  Our bodies are changed, our minds are changed.  And until recently, society has been extolling the wondrous virtues of it.  Only after years of the porn industry being the highest money maker in the world have the social scientists really started seeing the effects.  And with it being so readily available and acceptable, I am worried it may be too late.

VERY interesting article: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/ummah/men/how-watching-pornography-changes-the-brain/

When I was in university, I recall in my abnormal psychology class reading a case study about a man who could only have an orgasm when he was around yellow boots.  It was a complicated situation, and more complex than I could expand on here, but essentially, his therapist concluded that his need for this was due to the fact that when he was a teen, he would masturbate outside where there was a pair of boots.  His brain made a physical, chemical reaction to them.  Essentially, all of our brains grow to need what they are surrounded by in climax.  Good news for faithful married people, but disastrous when external forms of lust become involved.  We are created to “fall in love” (chemically) with what we gain sexual pleasure from.

I don’t know the answer to this trend.  Maybe there is no answer, but I think it is so so important that we are aware of it.  Aware of our personal actions.  Aware of our choices.  Aware of what our children are being exposed to.  Sometimes what seems like innocent enjoyment has far greater impact than the five minutes of ‘pleasure’.

I would love to hear your feedback and opinions about this issue.

Pray for me and my family, as I pray for yours.

In Christ,

Catholic Momma

Some sources from one paper I was reading:

Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, American Psychological Association, Washington DC, 2008 at http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/sexualizationrep.pdf; and: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: “SEX And TECH, Results from a survey of teens and young adults.” Washington DC, 2008. http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/SEXTECH/PDF/SexTech_Summary.pdf
Jennifer P. Schneider, “Effects of Cybersex Addiction on the Family: Results of a Survey,” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 7 (2000): 31-58.
M. Deborah Corley and Jennifer P. Schneider, “Sex Addiction Disclosure to Children: The Parents’ Perspective,” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 10 (2003): 291-324.
Jochen Peter and Patti M. Valkenburg, “Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material, Sexual Uncertainty, and Attitudes Toward Uncommitted Sexual Exploration: Is There a Link?” Communication Research 35 (2008): 579-601 (581).
Peter and Valkenburg, “Adolescents’ Exposure to Sexually Explicit Internet Material,” 596.
Todd G. Morrison, Shannon R. Ellis, Melanie A. Morrison, Anomi Bearden, and Rebecca L. Harriman, “Exposure to Sexually Explicit Material and Variations in Body Esteem, Genital Attitudes, and Sexual Esteem Among a Sample of Canadian Men,” The Journal of Men’s Studies 14 (2006): 209-22 (216-7).
Michele L. Ybarra and Kimberly J. Mitchell, “Exposure to Internet Pornography among Children and Adolescents: A National Survey,” CyberPsychology & Behavior 8 (2005): 473-86 (479).
Vincent Cyrus Yoder, Thomas B.Virden III, and Kiran Amin “Internet pornography and Loneliness: An Association?” Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity 12 (2005): 19-44 (30). This was a study of 400 individual Internet pornography users.
Thomas Johansson and Nils Hammarén, “Hegemonic Masculinity and Pornography: Young People’s Attitudes Toward and Relations to Pornography,” The Journal of Men’s Studies 15 (2007): 57-70 (64).

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Having a family of four is a strange thing. My friends with bigger families scoff when I refer to my family as large, and smaller families are shocked that I have so many. The most interesting part of my family (I think) is that I never thought I would ever have or want a big family. I was never particularly maternal. I never had the ‘clock’ ticking. Each child came naturally from a gentle nudge when it was time. I thought at one I was done, then I thought I could never handle more than two. As three and four came, I just realized my cup didn’t empty, it just got bigger. My girls bring me so much joy. My marriage has been strengthened so much by our roles changing and developing together. I think I have had the graces to become a better person throughout this journey.

One of the funny things are some of the things I constantly hear. People just seem to have the same standard responses. Normally they are:
“Are you done now?” – Not sure. For today I am, but I have had my heart changed in the past, so who knows…
“All girls?!?! Are you trying for a boy?” – Nope, I like girls. In fact, I had a priest once tell me he would pray that God blesses me with a boy and that he become a priest. Thank goodness that prayer hasn’t been answered yet. I don’t understand boys at all. Although my nephews are freaking fantastic!
“You must be busy!” – Nope. (I say as I flop down to fold ten loads of laundry while on the phone sorting volunteering hours, changing a diaper, kissing a boo boo, and cooking dinner)
“Your poor husband!” – Don’t even get me started on this one
“Better you than me” – I am never quite sure how to respond to this… ‘yes, I MUST be soooo much better at this than you??’ (which is ironic since I spend half the time trying to figure it out)

I am not thinking about joining the quiverfull movement anytime soon (www.quiverfull.com) I don’t quite fit the 2.5 children box.  I am just me.  Learning each day how to be a better wife and mom.  Learning that I can grow and that I can forgive myself when I screw up.  Learning that I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to love with all I have.

And because I love lists, I will end with this:

Things I would love my children to learn from being in our “big” family:

1. Love multiplies as numbers increase.
2. Extra kids mean extra opportunities to give.
3. Fighting is impossible to avoid, but easy to end.
4. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ are not only for guests.
5. Even mom and dad have to say I am sorry when they are wrong.
6. Easter and Christmas are about Christ, not candy.
7. What we DO is far more important than what we have.
8. We sometimes have to choose to love someone. If we rely only on our emotions, we are not going to make it very far in life.
9. Doing things to help others is not an option, it’s a requirement.
10. Big things can be done when one person starts small.
11. Ikea tables are made too small for real dinners.
12. A messy house is okay sometimes.
13. People are ALWAYS more important than things.
14. Being kind is contagious.
15. Our lives are an example to each other and the people around us.
16. Birthday cakes come in extra extra large.
18. It’s important to tell people what you need. Nobody is able to read your mind.
19. Sometimes people just need a hug. Always be ready to give one, and be grateful in accepting one.
20. Family is the absolute, number one, without a doubt, most precious gift you have ever been given.

Pray for me and my family as we pray for you always.

Catholic Momma

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I will start with the small stuff first…

Last week, I went back to work. Full time.  Wow.  What an adjustment.  I am so blessed in that I get to work a job that is perfect for me in terms of my spirituality and personal growth.  I work for the Archdiocese of my area.  I am surrounded by smart, funny, and extremely interesting people.  People that challenge me, have great conversations, and make me laugh.  If one has to go back to work, I pretty much have the ideal situation.

Who is watching my kids? (you may ask)…  Well, after some research, and having experience with my older children being in a dayhome, I decided on a small daycare local to my small town.  Was a tough process, but that is a blog for another day.

As for my announcement….

DRUM ROLL……

Catholic-Dad and I were talking and we decided that HE is going to start a blog too!  What does this mean for you?  Funny posts on the same subject (we are alternating weeks choosing blog assignments), more consistent posting (our goal to start is once a week), and all the hilarity of my marriage brought into it too.  My normal, random posts will continue, but this is going to be just… well…  It’s going to be mind-blowing awesome.

He will have the domain of http://www.catholic-dad.com (although I am sure he will expand to more web presence as I have).

Hold onto your pants people, this is going to be awesome!

Praying for all of you always, please always pray for me!

 

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So I am sitting here tonight in my mess enjoying the quiet.  I made the biggest batch of chili I have ever made that is being doled out to the homeless tomorrow, so my house smells great tonight.

But that has nothing to do with glitterbombs.

A few days ago my two year old managed to find a brand new container of glitter make up and dump it in my master bathroom.

Do you have any idea about how much square footage one of those tiny containers can cover???  It is all over my clothes, my husband’s work shirts, my jacuzzi, my sink.   Shocking really.  So my master plan was to cover it in a towel, warn my husband, and figure out how to deal with it later (procrastination ALWAYS solves problems like this, right?).  The result?

Well, my six year old got to have a bath in my tub yesterday.  So, she got out, grabbed what she thought was a clean towel (from the floor??  Who would think a towel on the floor is clean???), and wrapped it around herself.  Glitter successfully transferred to my child and in a lovely sparkling path down the hall, down my stairs, and into my living room, where I appropriately freaked out, and sent her back up to shower.  Which she did.  In her bathroom.

So now I have glitter in 2 bathrooms, a hallway, a bedroom, my living room, all over my laundry room, and in my husbands clothes.  And just to add to the awesomeness of the experience, I washed the towel (thinking that might help) and his work shirt only to find he had left a pack of gum which I didn’t detect in his pocket.

So, lesson of the night:  If a bomb explodes, clean it up immediately, and thoroughly.   Covering it up and pretending it is not there only increases the mess and makes for a bigger problem later.  I suppose this is a life lesson that can work in relationships too.

And check pockets for gum.  Every time.

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