In my last post, titled Is Your Porn-Addicted Boyfriend Fit to Become Your Husband? Not a Chance, I reviewed why porn-viewing men would not make good spouses. Today I want to explore why ladies should consider only men who practice the cardinal virtue of temperance for marriage.
I realize may folks do not recognize the beauty of the practice of virtue, even a cardinal virtue. This may be because they have not seen many virtuous people to imitate. I hope this will help to see the splendor of cardinal virtue of temperance, especially.
In St. Thomas Aquinas’ masterpiece, the Summa Theologica, he discusses the cardinal virtue of temperance in II-II, q. 141. He likens it to practicing moderation in our temporal, physical needs or desires.
Because the Angelic Doctor can be difficult to comprehend, I direct your attention to a Summa summary in laymen’s terms, called My Way of Life by Walter Farrell and Martin J. Healy. I will share a portion of their summary of Thomas’ description of the cardinal virtue of temperance. Then we will see how it applies to married men.
WHAT IS TEMPERANCE?
“Temperance is that virtue which makes man ruler of himself and of the material world in which he lives.”
Farrell and Healy write, “It is an unfortunate fact that the world today has glorified intemperance, impurity and immodesty. Through the newspapers, radio and television, men and women are led to believe that ‘glamor,’ sophistication, ‘sex appeal,’ the right silhouette, and the right liquor are the only things in life worth striving for.
“This is an appeal to what is lowest in man, his animal nature. That is why the virtue of temperance and its related virtues are a necessity in the modern world.
“Man is made for God, not for the beasts. Man’s problem is to use the things of this world to lead him to God. He must be the master of his animal nature, or he will be its slave.
“He must conquer the world so that he may go to God. Temperance is that virtue which makes man ruler of himself and of the material world in which he lives.
“The intemperate man is a plaything in the grip of the debasing forces of the material world.
“The temperate man is the master of material forces, and his self-control enables him to use the world as a stepping stone to God. The temperate man finds happiness through rational self-control.” (1)
IS NOT A TEMPERATE MAN DESIRABLE, LADIES?
Look at how a temperate man is described. He is a ‘master,’ having rule over himself. He has self-control and rationality.
Contrast that to the intemperate man. He resides in his animalistic instincts, never rising above them. He serves a ‘plaything’ for evil forces.
I will ask the rhetorical question to you, ladies. Which man would you want to marry and raise children with?
APPLYING TEMPERANCE TO TODAY’S PORNOGRAPHIC WORLD
To navigate through Western society today while remaining on the straight and narrow requires a special grace from God. Most commercial breaks contain at least one appeal to a carnal pleasure, especially sex. Sporting events are filled with in-your-face immodesty.
Think about it. To view a boxing match does not require a scantily-clad woman holding up signs between rounds. But she is employed to rouse up the crowd, to keep them interested. The goal is to excite their animalistic passions, hoping they keep chugging beers and making the arena more money.
A temperate man knows his limitations and so he knows what situations to avoid.
Obviously, going to strip joints or viewing pornography are not activities he engages in. But it goes beyond that.
A temperate man looks away from immodestly dressed women in public. He refuses to watch unchaste women on television or in movies.
Ladies, if you find a man taking steps to do those everyday things to maintain his chastity, then you may have found a keeper. Such men are few and far between.
A temperate man does not lead you to occasions of sin.
If a man is testing you to see how far you’re willing to go physically with him, then you probably want to dump him. He is supposed to be preparing himself for marriage. You are not his wife. If he’s willing to be promiscuous before marriage, do you expect that the temptation to be adulterous will vanish for him after the wedding?
If the man really treasured you, he would not want to cause you to sin. He would not allow yourselves to be alone together late at night. He would avoid check his speech around you too.
A man with self-control can overcome his passions, so as to be conscience of yours. He will seek to please you, will be chivalrous, and will be courteous.
An intemperate man, on the other hand, is consumed by his passions and has no power over them. Do you expect him to respect your feelings, when he has not conquered his own?
Choose wisely, single ladies. Seek out the men who practice self-control, and even self-denial. Their practice of the cardinal virtue of temperance will make them men worth marrying. Happy hunting, ladies.
Ladies, I would like to hear from you. Do you agree with the importance of selecting a man who practices the cardinal virtue of temperance? What advice do you have to women seeking such men? Where can such men be found?
Guys, you’re welcome to weigh in with your thoughts as well on the topic of temperance.
Please sound off below.
1. Farrell, Walter and Martin J. Healy. My Way of Life. Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Brooklyn, 1952, p. 428.