The Longing to Be Loved and Cherished

Today, in anticipation of its June release, I’m posting another excerpt from “Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship.” Today’s excerpt is from the courtship story of Damon and Melanie Owens and it’s entitled “The Longing to be Loved and Cherished.”

Damon: Our journey back to Christ began with what we now simply call “The Question,” “Melanie, what if we stopped having sex?”

It’s funny how different a question can be asked (or heard) with just a slight change of inflection. I intended to start an interesting conversation. Chastity had not been an issue of debate or even conversation between us, so I offered the question not as a proposal to stop but as a hypothetical-California graduate student-latte sipping-cosmic-what if. Neither of us had any idea what Our Lord had in store for us.

Though being from opposite coasts, we both grew up in similar Catholic families. We attended Mass regularly, went on retreats and participated in youth groups. At thirteen, I had a profound experience of God on an Antioch retreat that played a significant part in helping me remain chaste and drug-free through high school. Melanie’s childhood memories are filled with songs from Catholic family summer camp and piling in the station wagon with seven brothers and sisters.

When we met as new graduate students at the University of California, though, we were both recovering from spiritually dark college years distant from God. During my undergraduate years at Brown, I partied, rarely attended Mass and, drawn by gospel choirs and organs, dabbled in other faiths.

Melanie: I had suffered in relationships during my college days at U.C. Santa Barbara, but continued to attend Mass regularly, though more out of habit than desire.

Damon: So, when we began dating, there was not much virtue, or even desire, left for us to draw on to be chaste.

Melanie “wowed” me the first moment I met her. What a smile! What a sweet soul! We could talk effortlessly for hours—and we did. I wanted to share everything with her. I wanted to know everything about her. I wanted to protect her. I wanted to love her, and I thought I did. Then, I asked . . . The Question.

Melanie, my new beloved, cried. I didn’t know what was going on. Is she hurt? Is she pregnant? Or, is she just emotionally unstable? (I had not known her for that long!)

After ten inconsolable minutes, she simply said, “Yes.”

Yes? Yes, what? Did she think that I was proposing we stop? Well, while my dulled conscience had been thinking our sexual “intimacy” was deepening our love, Melanie had been tortured with the reality that something was very wrong. When she tried to explain, it was as hard for me to hear as it was for her to speak.

Damon Owens and his wife, Melanie, are the co-founders of the New Jersey Natural Family Planning Association ( Their story in its entirety can be found in Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship which will be released on June 15, 2011.

Photo and text copyright 2011 Damon and Melanie Owens and Full Quiver Publishing

The Benefits of Saving Sex for Marriage

There are many benefits to saving sex for marriage, especially in this day and age when sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. Couples who wait until they are married to consummate their love do not have to worry about disease (there are now over 40 different STIs, some incurable) or unwed pregnancy. They don’t have to worry about side effects from various contraceptive devices or chemicals.

Physical repercussions aside, waiting until marriage to have sex increases the likelihood that a couple will have better communication and experience a more stable marriage. The following is an excellent article on the emotional benefits of saving sex for marriage.

“Couples who reserve sex for marriage enjoy greater stability and communication in their relationships, say researchers at Brigham Young University…Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved in the study, responded to its findings, saying that “couples who hit the honeymoon too early – that is, prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship – often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.” Regnerus is the author of Premarital Sex in America, a book forthcoming from Oxford University Press.”

Saving Sex for Marriage Leads to Greater Stability and Communication – LifeSiteNews

“Adult” Conversations

In my latest column on Catholic Mom, I write about having the difficult but relevant “adult” conversations with my older children:

…we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a society of misused free will and disordered passions, a world where many people embrace their fallen human nature. However, this is also the world in which we try to prepare our children as they grow older and become young adults. While we can shelter our kids from the perversities of our secular culture while they’re young, there will come a time when it will be necessary to give some account for the sexual attitudes so prevalent in our society.

copyright 2010 Ellen Gable Hrkach