Christine Meert

Contributor and Website Manager

How can we show millennials that their hearts are good but their methods flawed?

How can we show millennials that their hearts are good but their methods flawed?

It seems the beta concept comes from the intersection of two good instincts: the desire to marry and to avoid the divorce tragedies of their parents...

How can we show millennials that their hearts are good but their methods flawed?
Millenials want to marry which is a good start! They are afraid of commitment, though, because they have seen so many marriages end up in divorce. They believe they can palliate the fear of ending in divorce by testing out the marriage first.

Beta marriage is typical of our “consumer society mentality.”
Let’s say I buy a pair of shoes. I try them out in the store, I walk a few steps with them; they are fine, pretty and comfortable. I take them home and put them on to “make them.” They’re still fine. I’m still happy with my purchase. Now, a few days later, I get lost in the city wearing them and I have to walk miles and miles to find my way. The new shoes hurt terribly, they create blisters on my feet, and I’m so upset! I finally get home and throw them away! They didn’t live up to my expectations!
We try things out and when they no longer satisfy us, we discard them.

It is the same kind of idea for beta marriage, except that we are not dealing with “things,” there, but with life and persons.
Life is not a straight line, even for shoes! These shoes were not made to walk for miles at a time, but it just happened that they had to! Events happen in life, events that we cannot foresee, that we cannot prepare for, and that we cannot control.
Persons, on their part, are not like shoes! Persons have a heart, feelings, emotions; they have a past, a cultural background, a specific upbringing, and wounds.

The testing out might go well for a few months, and even years, but life being life, and persons being persons, there will be events, traumas, bumps on the road that will throw off our good testing strategies!

A “test drive” mentalityis mainly exploitative in nature, reducing a potential spouse to someone who is easily replaced by a “better” model. When we take a car for a test drive, and don’t like it, we can just return the keys and move on to the next model. But people are not cars that we can just exploit and cast aside... Dating and marriage are about commitment and sacrificial love for another person, not comparison-shopping for the best deal, or test-driving the latest vehicle. Sex is a unique gift by which we hand ourselves over to another within marriage, and cement the treasure of marital love in a permanent commitment to one another.”
- Fr. Tad Pacholczyk

Now, let’s say they test the marriage out and decide it won’t work. What happens, then?
They just leave the relationship as if nothing had happened? When a couple lives together intimately, married or not, a bond, a very strong bond is created. It is in the nature of sex to bond two persons together. No one can get out of such “trial periods” unscathed.
Breaking up, whether married or not, will hurt, will wound, will damage the persons.


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