Monday, 28 January 2013

Auntie Seraphic & Changing Men

This letter has been entirely rewritten and compressed to protect the innocent!

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

Do men change? My mother says that they never do, but she's always been pessimistic about men. My boyfriend has made changes when he found out something he said or did really bothered me. And anyway, what about men who are striving for holiness? Don't they change?

Changing Men

Dear Changing Men,

It was my mother's opinion that men do not change after the age of 30, so if you expect a man to change, you must snaffle him before then. 

However, I think she must have meant major tendencies of character, like zeal versus laziness, intellectual vigour versus dullness, and kindness versus malice. It is certainly possible and likely for a kind man to change how he behaves around a woman if he knows certain things he does or says make her upset. It is less likely that a malicious man will do so. 

The good thing about marrying older is that one and one's husband know exactly what they're getting by way of a spouse. A twenty year old man is not going to be the same man at thirty. However, a thirty year old man will probably be the same man at forty. Technically a twenty year old bride and groom are expected to "grow up together" although the notion makes me shudder. What a risk. 

The important thing is that you marry only a man that you really love and who really loves you. If you are thinking the man you are with needs a major overhaul, don't marry him. Yes, a man who loves Christ will strive for holiness, but my guess is that one should see some of the fruits of this already in a man of 30-odd. A man who goes to confession for staring too long at a bare-chested woman who popped up in an ordinary film is rather a different man from the one who has a deep-seated porn addiction. 

I hope this is helpful. To summarize: major changes after 30, probably not (although one must leave mental room for the workings of the Holy Spirit); little changes in keeping with his overall character, yes.

Grace and peace,


Maria said...

Helpful for me, thanks!
Hope your birthday was grrrrreat!

Andrea said...

Could you comment, Seraphic, on the Christian man striving for holiness who had a major porn addiction for a significant length of time, but then confesses it and goes to some lengths to change his life around, at the age of 30 something? Hope for permanent change here or not? Let's say this man displays all other fruits of the spirit, kindness, gentleness, etc. and felt great shame over said porn addiction. thoughts?

Seraphic said...

I'd say hope. Plus his ongoing therapy/spiritual direction.

Eowyn said...

Andrea, Matt Fradd at Catholic answers has some resources and a ministry aimed towards helping men overcoming that sort of addiction. He's doing very good work.

Andrea said...

thanks, Seraphic and Eowyn.

Mustard Seed said...

One of the scariest things to me about marriage (though I still want to get married) is the unknown-ness of how a person will change over time. It seems like a safe bet that we will all change to some degree, but how can we be sure it'll be for the better? I know there are no guarantees in life, but it just seems like a wild card.

Seraphic said...

Yes, but as a matter of fact, people don't seem to change that much after 30, except for getting fatter (or thinner) and saggier and greyer or balder and richer. Usually richer, thank heavens.

Mrs. Pinkerton said...

A man striving to be holy will continue to change. For the better. Married 26 + years and happier than ever.

Seraphic said...

Aha! You're both blessed!