What’s the difference between a boyfriend and a husband?
What a silly question! Everybody knows what’s the difference. One is single and the other is married, right? Yes, that’s true, but the real meaning of the word “husband” is as foreign to people in society today as the word “boyfriend” is to Traditional Catholics.
What exactly is a “boyfriend”? For any Catholic girl who is serious about her faith, what does this word even mean? Some might say a boyfriend is a boy that a girl is “in a relationship with,” or as Justin Bieber’s song “Boyfriend” puts it, someone who will “never let you go.”
Some might say it means someone they’re intimate with. Or perhaps, some might think it means, as the dictionary says, “a male significant other in a regular romantic or exclusive relationship.”
However, a true Catholic will no doubt have serious issues with the idea of a boyfriend. How so? Well, let’s take a deeper look at what it means to be a boyfriend.
YOUR BOYFRIEND IS IN A FAKE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU
A boy and a girl who like each other are actually not even in a “relationship” at all.
The word “relationship” refers to things that are related to each other. When we say something is “related” to something else, we mean they have something in common, such as an apple and an orange are “related” because they’re both fruit. But a non-married couple of friends are not “related” to each other in this sense – nor are they “related” in the sense of two people having the same parents, for example. Their true “relationship” is that they are just friends.
YOUR BOYFRIEND CAN DISSOLVE YOUR “RELATIONSHIP”
The tendency is to think (or at least desire) that a boyfriend wants to “never let you go” implying a sort of pseudo-marital indissolubility. The perception is that the perfect boyfriend will be in this emotional “relationship” with you for the rest of his life. As wonderful as this sounds, it completely ignores two things: first, that this never happens. After the initial euphoria of “falling in love” wears off, it’s only a matter of time before boyfriends either find someone else they’re more interested in, or they themselves somehow lose their initial charm and attractiveness. Second, as just unmarried (single) “friends”, they’re not actually in any kind of “union” in which to remain in, so it can hardly be considered “indissoluble.”
A BOYFRIEND-GIRLFRIEND RELATIONSHIP SHOULD NOT BE INTIMATE
There is a tendency to think of this “relationship” as an intimate one. If death is preferable to sin, and even putting oneself in the occasion of sin is itself sinful, then how could anyone justify being in a “relationship” with a boyfriend, if the very meaning of “boyfriend” is synonymous with sin?
AN EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIP IS NOT EXCLUSIVE
Without their friendship being an actual union (other than just an emotional one) there’s no reason to think of it as being exclusive. What really prevents or prohibits multiple simultaneous friendships other than feelings?
Therefore, as you can plainly see, there’s really no such thing as a “boyfriend” other than a friend who happens to be male.
But a husband is something entirely different. Now we’re going to look at the difference between a husband and boyfriend, by looking at all the points made above.
A HUSBAND & WIFE ARE IN A REAL RELATIONSHIP
There is no greater or intimate or closer relationship on Earth, by any meaning of the word than that of a husband/wife union. In the sense that they are “related” to each other, even their parents or siblings are not as closely related as they are themselves, because they are not two, but only one flesh.
A MARRIAGE CANNOT BE DISSOLVED
A living human being is the union of a living body and a living soul. When that human body/soul mixture is united in holy matrimony to another living human body/soul, both their bodies and their souls are united, in an inseparable, indissoluble bond.
As Pius XI put it:
“By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies, and that not by any passing affection of sense of spirit, but by a deliberate and firm act of the will; and from this union of souls by God’s decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises.”CASTI CONNUBII – POPE PIUS XI
A HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE INTIMATE
There is no greater intimacy than between two validly married spouses. I’m not saying that they always feel that sense of euphoria that newly married couples have. I’m talking about a much deeper intimacy that, even if they both completely hate each other or even fall into adultery, that their souls remain just as intimately united to each other as on their wedding day. His body is no longer his, but hers. And her body is no longer hers, but his. And the united souls of each exist within both their bodies.
As St. Paul says in Ephesians 5:
“So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it.”Douay-Rheims Bible
A HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE EXCLUSIVE
The union of husband and wife is a sacred sign that represents the union of Christ Himself with His Church. In fact, as a sacrament, we could say that marriage itself is the Christ / Church union itself, represented sacramentally by the visible sign of the union of a man and a woman. Therefore because Christ only has one Church, so a man can only have one wife.
As Pope Leo XIII put it:
“Marriage was not instituted by the will of man, but, from the very beginning, by the authority and command of God; that it does not admit of plurality of wives or husbands.”ARCANUM: ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
Pope Pius XI condemned even the desire of such things, saying:
“Nor did Christ Our Lord wish only to condemn any form of polygamy or polyandry, as they are called, whether successive or simultaneous, and every other external dishonorable act, but, in order that the sacred bonds of marriage may be guarded absolutely inviolate, He forbade also even willful thoughts and desires of such like things: “But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Which words of Christ Our Lord cannot be annulled even by the consent of one of the partners of marriage for they express a law of God and of nature which no will of man can break or bend.”CASTI CONNUBII – POPE PIUS XI
So what’s the real difference between a boyfriend and a husband? A boyfriend is just a boy that happens to be a friend, and a husband is the person your soul is united to, whether you like him or not, until death do you part.
More on Courtship
- Clean Love in Courtship by Fr Lawrence G. Lovasik. S.V.D
- Dear Newlyweds, by Pope Pius XII
- Three to Get Married By Ven. Fulton Sheen
- Prayer to St Raphael for the Wise Choice of a Married Partner
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