In an announcement that shocked much of the world, Buckingham Palace announced not one but two divorces within a 7 day period!
The first divorce announcement was of the Queen’s grandson, Peter Philips who confirmed that he had split up from his wife of 10 years, last year.
The second divorce announcement was of the Queen’s nephew, David Armstrong-Jones the Earl of Snowdon from his 26-year marriage.
This divorce epidemic isn’t just limited to people in the public eye – although they are a reflection of society at large – but can also be seen among the Catholic laity.
Even though divorce is frowned upon within the Catholic church, there are many cases where it is unavoidable and for the lucky ones, they go through an annulment rather than a divorce.
However, the pain, heartbreak, and devastation in both processes are pretty much the same.
Now barely 2 weeks ago, another high profile divorce was announced.
This time it was of Philip Schofield, a UK presenter, who announced, after almost 3 decades of marriage and children, that he was gay.
What on earth is going on??! Is there something in the water? In the air?
I do believe so and I decided to address this topic.
This month being dedicated by the Church to The Holy Family makes this article timely.
The Bible tells us that in the last days “men shall be lovers of themselves more than lovers of God….lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy” and this refers to people putting their own selfish desires first at the expense of others – the very definition of malignant narcissism.
I do not think it is any coincidence that right about the same time that the divorce epidemic is in full swing, we are also experiencing an epidemic rise in narcissism and narcissistic personality disorders.
To make things worse, it has become increasingly difficult for singles to find a decent marriage partner.
People often think that all that is required to determine if a person would make a suitable partner for marriage is CHEMISTRY and COMMON VALUES.
While it is certainly nice to have common values such as similar belief systems, similar attitudes to the faith, raising children, earning income and so on, it is just a very small part in determining overall compatibility.
Now, what about Chemistry?
“But, I loooovvve him and I am attracted to him. Surely, that is enough?”
Um, actually it is really not.
So many people today have been so conditioned by Disney and Hollywood to believe that love solves everything and if you love someone, everything will simply fall into place. But la la-land fairytales and fantasy do not translate well into reality.
Love is NOT enough. Feelings or chemistry is NOT enough.
A marriage based on feelings aka CHEMISTRY or love alone WILL fail because frankly, feelings can not be trusted!!
Feelings so easily manipulated and predators, as well as other toxic, disordered or dysfunctional people just love to manipulate our feelings.
Feelings can change. They ebb and flow throughout the course of a lifetime.
And do not even get me started on the nonsensical concept of soulmates, which is neither Catholic nor Biblical, but a diabolical New Age lie concocted to lure and trap people in vicious, abusive, dangerous and destructive relationships.
Even the Bible warns us against relying on our feelings alone.
“The heart is deceitful..who can know it?” – JEREMIAH 17:9
Your heart is deceitful and your emotions WILL fluctuate.
So, if you are making a major decision on your life partner based on Chemistry (aka Love aka Feelings) and/or Common Values, then your marriage is doomed to eventually fail and you’re in for a very rude and unpleasant awakening.
I believe that this is the problem that exists within many marriages today, both in the Church and outside of the Church.
I also believe that a 3rd C is necessary in order to have a fulfilling marriage that will last a lifetime:
Nowhere in the Bible does it advocate choosing a spouse based on “feelings”
In fact, the Bible prioritises the person’s CHARACTER as a key determinant for a successful marriage, rather than just CHEMISTRY or COMMON VALUES.
In Proverbs 31, the Bible says “Who can find a VIRTUOUS woman?”
As you can see, priority is placed on the person’s VIRTUE aka their CHARACTER.
No matter how much CHEMISTRY or COMMON VALUES you may have with a person, if they have poor CHARACTER, they will not make a good choice as a longterm spouse.
And there are some people who have such rotten CHARACTER, that they are just not fit (emotionally or psychologically) to be in a one-on-one relationship, let alone to take on the challenges and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood.
It really doesn’t matter how much you love them, how much patience or charity or prayer you pour into them, you will never be able to change their CHARACTER and one day……someday, that rotten CHARACTER will be the source of immense pain and heartache in your life.
This is why I believe there is a divorce epidemic in modern society today.
People are getting married based on Common Values and Chemistry, and omitting a vital part of the 3 Cs – the person’s character.
It is impossible to have a functional relationship of any kind with a person who is CHARACTER-DISORDERED.
These people are what we know today as people with narcissistic personality disorder, and they include all Cluster Bs from the low-end of narcissism, all the way through to sociopathy and psychopathy.
Their character gets in the way of everything and it becomes unleashed within their closest relationships aka their spouses and children.
Character-disordered people are oppositional, defiant, and contrarian, and whereas normal people get into relationships and marriages to work together and build a life together, these people’s primary goal in everything is to WIN – at your expense, including the expense of your health, your peace of mind, your finances and your life.
They view everything and everyone as a competition to be obliterated, and everything they say or do is a lie, a manipulation, and a scam. This is what their character is about. And that would never change.
In one of his talks, Fr. Ripperger, exorcist, priest, theologian and psychology expert confirmed what every psychiatry professional says about these people – they do not change – EVER – and it is best to avoid getting into any relationship with them.
Character-disordered people do not have a mental illness and this is why medication does not work on them.
They are in full control of their behaviour, they know and understand the harm, hurt and abuse they cause, but they just don’t care.
Therapy makes them worse and they generally get worse with age and time.
THIS is why I believe there is a rise in divorce cases, especially in the over 40s.
As these people get older, their character becomes just so unbearable, dangerous and destructive that their spouse has no choice but to exit the marriage, in order to preserve what is left of their own sanity, health, and safety.
A lot of people, including children and young people, today are dealing with so many physical and psychological ailments from having to deal with these character-disordered people.
With the rise of NPD, there is also a rise in depression, anxiety, drug-taking, suicidal thoughts and more.
It is all connected.
There is even a meme that says something like “before you diagnose yourself with depression, look around and be sure you are not surrounded by toxic people.” and it makes complete sense.
These people mess with you on a fundamental level, leaving you unable to function properly in life.
And choosing to remain with a character-disordered person can put your life and the lives of your children at risk.
There are too many stories of character-disordered men (or women!) who killed their spouses and children, and they had had no prior obvious history of violence.
But that is not the way abuse works.
People don’t just wake one day and start choking their wives out.
Abuse is very insidious and it begins with emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sabotage, financial abuse.
In fact, physical abuse is often the last stage of abuse and by the time it gets to that stage, it is often too late for the victim(s).
This is why it is so important to get away from anyone that displays subtle signs of emotional abuse such as gaslighting, invalidation and so on.
Some of these character-disordered people may never get to that point of killing their spouse, but they will still destroy and then discard them in the cruelest and horrific ways….such as Philip, who I mentioned above, walking out on his 30-year marriage because he suddenly realized that he is gay (!)
How utterly selfish is that?! Wasting decades of that poor woman’s life, only to throw her away like this.
In addition, scientists have confirmed that living with emotional abuse or high levels of stress does cause damage to the brain.
The horror stories pour regularly into my inbox, including the woman who got married only for her husband to tell her that he doesn’t want children.
Is she then to stay within that marriage – considering her hand in marriage was obtained under fraudulent means??
As Catholics, we are even more vulnerable because predators KNOW the high value we place on marriage.
They know that we are more likely to tolerate bad behaviour and remain within a marriage, even if there is any form of abuse going on. This is why having BOUNDARIES is not just Biblical, but also vital!
We Catholics are more likely to get entrapped into a false marriage by a faux Catholic only to find out afterward that he/she doesn’t want children or they are knowingly impotent or infertile or they have gross addictions or they are gay!!
Fr. Ripperger did touch on the possibility of there being some sort of premarital screening before marriage to weed out the character-disordered and I wholeheartedly agree with him.
I firmly believe that before the Church agrees to marry a couple, there should be screening for personality disorders.
A character-disordered person is just not fit for the vocation of marriage, and it is unfair to bring an innocent spouse and helpless, innocent children into a family set-up with such a person.
I also believe that there should be annulments permitted for marriages obtained under false pretences such as a spouse getting married when they know they are gay or unwilling to have children.
I really hope that the Church does take notice and act accordingly.
Prior to entering seminary or religious life, potential candidates are often screened thoroughly.
Gay men are not allowed to join the priesthood, so why should the screening process be less stringent for those discerning a vocation to marriage?
If the family is the fundamental unit of society, does it not make sense to nurture healthy families in order to have a healthy society? Dysfunction only breeds more dysfunction, and dysfunctional people creating dysfunctional families will only ultimately lead to dysfunctional societies, which is EXACTLY what we are seeing around us today.
Proper premarital screening would eliminate many of the problems that beset a lot of Catholic marriages, including spousal abuse, neglect, aberrant sexuality and so on.
It would also stop the rise of children being born to a dysfunctional parent and growing up traumatized from their childhoods.
Character-disordered people are not just dangerous; they are also VERY destructive.
They destroy lives, they destroy their spouses, families and even their own children.
They really do not care who they destroy because everything is always all about them, all the time…..at your expense and at your destruction.
They make terrible spouses and horrific parents.
If you are unmarried and discerning marriage, I urge you to choose VERY WISELY!
Screen a person thoroughly for THESE RED FLAGS that indicate they may be character-disordered and get out quickly before they begin to manipulate your own feelings and groom you into getting into a relationship with them.
However, even if the Church or a psychologist provides premarital screening, please understand that character-disordered people are MASTER MANIPULATORS and they often manipulate psychologists.
They also tend to control their behaviour in the presence of a third party, so it is honestly up to you, as many of these red flags will be revealed ONLY TO YOU, within their close interactions with YOU.
These people do not manipulate or abuse everyone; they reserve it for those closest to them – their significant other or close family member. This is how a lot of them fly under the radar and get away with abuse, control, and manipulation.
If you are dating someone and you notice any significant amount of the red flags in the above link, WALK AWAY!
So in summary, the 3 Cs you need to consider when deciding to date a person, let alone marry them are:
- CHEMISTRY – there should be a mutual attraction between you
- COMMON VALUES – you should be on the same page regarding key issues such as money, finance, children, religion and so on.
- CHARACTER – this is probably the most important of them all.
When all these 3 key areas align together, you can then look forward to happy, fruitful and fulfilling married life together.
If they’re really “THE ONE” that God sent:
They will respect you.
They will pray for you.
They will support you.
They will love you.
And you will not have to convince them or even teach them to do any of these things because they’ll recognize how valuable you are and they won’t want to lose you.
Holy Family, make our families like unto thine.
ad Jesum per Mariam