Beta Marriage: A Strategy for Future Relationship Success?

by | Apr 9, 2015 | Marriage, Society

Beta Marriage: A Strategy for Future Relationship Success?

How should we reply to the argument that “beta marriage” is simply a strategy for future relationship success?

Can testing a marriage out ensure its future success?

Millennials understand marriage as a purely human and secular institution. They think that, as intelligent human beings, we can be in control and that if it can stand the test of a few years, it will be all-good.
Actually, this is a lure, a fantasy; it doesn’t work that way. Thinking that testing the marriage out can insure future success shows a flawed understanding of what marriage truly is.

Who invented marriage?

God did (Genesis)! Who is the source of love? God is!
“If we look at marriage and family, we see that they are not invented by man. The Creator is God and if we want them to function well, we must follow the Creator’s instructions. In this way we will be on the right path, because God knows what is good for us.” Says Cardinal Arinze.

Try flying a plane without first reading the instructions. Only if we follow the instruction manual closely can we attempt to fly the plane.

Marriage, as created by God, also has its own instruction manual. We need to follow the instructions given by the one who invented it if we want it to be successful.

Marriage as created by God is total, free, faithful and fruitful, until death do us part. “Conjugal love reveals its true nature and nobility when it is considered in its supreme origin, God, who is love, the Father, from whom every family in Heaven and on earth is named. Conjugal Love is fully human, free, total, faithful and fecund.” Humanae Vitae II, ch.8, 9

“The Christian family is founded upon the stable union of a man and a woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, and the acknowledgement and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gn 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love.” (emphasis added) – Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, 52

What is God’s strategy for success, then?

Marriage images the love of Christ for the Church. There is our instruction manual.
How did Christ love his Church? He laid down his life for her. This is the key word: Sacrificial love, a notion that has been “lost in translation” in our culture.

Knowing that this kind of love is not always “natural” to mankind, Christ gives man and woman His specific grace, through the Sacrament of Matrimony, the grace of self-giving love, the only love that can endure the test of time, the only efficient strategy for relationship success.

When we are not ready to accept this awesome gift from Christ, of course we will feel that test-driving the relationship could be useful. But even a test-driven marriage will fail if it is not founded on true self-giving love in the image of the love of Christ for the Church.

Visit Agapè Catholic Ministries‘ to register for the Catholic Marriage Prep course. To learn more about the course, please visit

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Christine Meert

I was born and raised in Burgundy, France. Good wine and good food reign, but the the region is also deeply rooted in Christianity. The number of beautiful roman churches and chapels is amazing. I am number four of five kids: three girls and two boys. I was raised in a practicing Catholic family. I married Christian in 1977 in Burgundy in an 11th century church. We have five beautiful daughters. Two of them still live in France and three are in the US with us. Our two eldest daughters are married, one in Denver, one in France, and each have five children so far. Our third daughter is currently expecting her first baby. After fifteen years in the Catholic Community of the Beatitudes, we dedicated ourselves to the ministry towards the engaged. We have been the Directors of the Office of Marriage and Family Life for the Diocese of Colorado Springs since 2005. We became American citizens in 2010 and now have dual citizenship: French and American. I love to take pictures and to scrapbook, I love drawing and crafts (salt-dough is my best!), hiking and gardening. I am the computer geek for our organization.

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