Last month, I took the deposition of a 28-year-old woman who was born and raised in Iowa. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call her “Julie.” Julie’s deposition took place in her lawyer’s office.
A deposition is a court-related procedure in which a witness or party to a case is questioned by one or more of the lawyers who are involved in the case. Depositions are ordinarily scheduled to take place in a lawyer’s office with a court reporter present. After the deposition, the court reporter prepares a transcript of the testimony and sends it to each of the lawyers.
Julie was the at-fault driver in a rear-end collision with my client. My client was injured as a result of the collision. I attempted to settle the injury case with Julie’s insurance company, but the insurance company was unreasonable, and I had no other choice but to file a lawsuit.
During her deposition, Julie appeared to be honest and sincere. She was also educated, well-spoken, well-dressed, slim, and attractive — qualities that would appeal to a jury.
If I had a choice of whom I could file a lawsuit against, it would be a person who is aggressive, uncouth, and shabbily dressed, with multiple piercings on her lips, nose, and ears, and ugly tattoos on her neck, arms, and fingers. It would also help if the person had missing teeth and greasy hair.
I know it’s politically incorrect to judge a person based on appearances, but I practice law in the real world, where jurors routinely judge parties and witnesses by their looks and the way they present themselves on the witness stand. I would be a fool if I neglected to consider a person’s appearance when deciding whether I should take a case to trial in front of a jury.
Anyway, Julie moved from Iowa to Central Illinois three years ago, with her boyfriend. She has lived with her boyfriend since before she moved to Illinois. She testified that her boyfriend recently accepted a job in another state and that she plans to move with him to the other state within the next few months.
Upon hearing her testimony, I wanted to stop the deposition and lecture her about how foolish she was for allowing her boyfriend to use her for the past several years, without her getting a commitment from him to marry her. She reminded me of some of my young relatives who have done the same thing that she has done — moved in with a boyfriend without getting married, and gone on with life as though the relationship were a marriage.
I’m very sensitive to the plight of young women who expose themselves to this type of situation, because I raised six daughters of my own. Every time I find myself in a conversation with a young woman whom I know has moved in with her boyfriend, I have this overwhelming urge to ask, Why have you surrendered your heart and your body to a man who is not willing to commit his life to you?
Early in our marriage, my wife and I met with Fr. Clair Bourdereaux to work through some issues we were having. Fr. Clair was a Franciscan priest who was assigned to Sacred Heart Church in downtown Peoria. He had all the qualities of a great marriage counselor. He was holy, smart, wise, humble, gentle, diplomatic, and understanding. He had the unique ability to connect with people on their level and set them on a path toward happiness and holiness.
At one of our meetings, Fr. Clair told us about what he called “the two greatest desires.” He said that every man has one desire that stands far ahead of all other desires — the desire to be respected. He then said that every woman has one desire that stands far ahead of all other desires — the desire to love and to be loved.
Another important lesson that Fr. Clair taught us had to do with our understanding of the gift of marital intimacy. He emphasized that a man’s interpretation of sex is the complete opposite of a woman’s interpretation. From a man’s perspective, the marital act (sexual intercourse) is an outward expression. From a woman’s perspective, the marital act is an inward expression.
He said that during the marital act, a woman not only takes the man in physically, but for reasons unknown to us, she also takes him in psychologically. As a result, for the woman, a deep emotional and psychological bond is created between her and the man. He explained that the same psychological bond does not exist for the man, so it is generally easier for a man to step away from and end a relationship than it is for a woman. Fr. Clair said that when a man ends a premarital sexual relationship, the woman is usually deeply wounded on both an emotional and a psychological level.
Fr. Clair then said that he believed that it was common for a young woman to end up married to the wrong man because, prior to marriage, she misinterpreted the man’s physical attraction and desire for her as an expression of his love for her (which fulfilled her desire to be loved). If premarital sex occurred, the woman’s ability to make rational decisions was severely compromised, because of the emotional and psychological bond that was created. The end result was that the woman’s later decision to get married was based on the bond she developed, rather than on a balanced and objective assessment of whether the man would be a good, lifelong husband and father.
As a general rule, because of our fallen human nature, men are born with a strong tendency toward irresponsibility, which includes a reluctance to make commitments. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. There are a small number of men — probably less than 5% — who are much more responsible and commitment-oriented than their counterparts.
Despite their tendency to be irresponsible, men can be very creative when their objective is to satisfy their sexual needs and desires. Last week, I wrote about how true love requires sacrifice and suffering. For a man, the commitment of marriage is a huge sacrifice that ordinarily leads to genuine suffering for the man. When a man gets married, he gives up a part of his identity and a part of himself, which includes his freedom to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it.
If you’re a girl or a woman who is allowing a boy or a man to have his way with you without a commitment of marriage, he is using you primarily for his own satisfaction and pleasure. He does not love you the way that God intended for a man to love a woman. If he truly loves you, he should be willing to sacrifice himself for you by pledging himself to you for the rest of his life in the covenant of marriage.
Whatever his excuse is for delaying marriage, it’s a ruse. He may tell you that he’ll marry you after he finishes his education, buys a house, saves some money, or gets a better job. Those are all convenient excuses that allow him to avoid the responsibility, commitment, and sacrifice that come with marriage.
Most women have no idea what a decent, morally upright man who has a strong desire for her will do for her, if she will only stand her ground. If you’re a woman who is in a situation where you have given a man to whom you’re not married all the benefits of marriage, and you’re not willing to end the benefits, you need to at least give him a short deadline to make a commitment to marry you. If he’s not willing to show his love for you by making the sacrifice that is required in marriage, you need to get away from him as fast as you can.
The 28-year-old woman I wanted to lecture during her deposition has already wasted the better part of her youth on a boyfriend who is not willing to commit his life to her. And she will most likely waste several more years of her life waiting for him to show that he truly loves her by making a lifetime commitment to her.
While she is growing older waiting for him, he will be advancing his career, acquiring assets in his name only — such as a home and investment accounts — while keeping his eyes open for a replacement for her if she gets too pushy or impatient with him.
If you have put yourself in a position where you are sacrificing your life for a man, while he avoids sacrificing his life for you through the commitment of marriage, you need to pray for the grace and courage to let him go.