Busted Halo
author archive
Christine B. Whelan :
214 article(s)

Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
December 19th, 2008
How to handle those pesky relationship questions this season
‘Tis the season for Christmas parties, family gatherings … and pesky (but well-meaning) friends and relatives asking you when you’re going to get married. Yep. While we enjoy the anticipation of Advent and look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ, for many young adults this is also a season of waiting — with more than a bit of dread — for the family inquisition into your love life. Maybe it’s just an innocent comment from your great-aunt: “So, dear, any special someones in your life?” Or perhaps your family is more direct, with relatives tsk-tsking about how “you’re not getting any younger” when you say that “the one” hasn’t…
December 8th, 2008
Readers share their experiences with and reactions to NFP
So a few weeks ago I began a series on Natural Family Planning (NFP) to start an open and honest discussion about the what, why and how of NFP. The response has been tremendous: Nearly 150 of you replied to the online survey and many submitted in-depth, heartfelt comments about your personal experiences. According to our BustedHalo survey, 76 percent of readers said they plan to practice—or already do practice—natural family planning. Wait… hold up, I said to myself as I looked at the data: These results caught my eye instantly. Since numbers from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops tell us that fewer than 4 percent of married Catholics report using NFP methods to plan and space…
November 24th, 2008
Frustrated American dieters seek spiritual support
As you gather round the family table to give thanks, you’ll consume anywhere from 2000 to 7000 calories as you graze on turkey, stuffing and candied veggies galore. Certainly not everyone is so fortunate to have a horn of plenty this time of year, but the majority of Americans will eat their fill… and then some. As we gobble gobble, a growing number of groups caution us God might not approve of that second piece of pie. Yes, that’s right. The omnipresent world of wonder diets and slim-down regimes now has a foothold in the world of the omnipotent. I wrote this piece for USA Today but thought that it might have some resonance with young adult spiritual seekers as well. Post your thoughts below…
November 11th, 2008
Honest answers for young adults' frank questions
This past Sunday I gave a lecture on sex, dating and relationships at the Newman Center at the University of Iowa. As a professor here, I teach classes on the American family and introductory sociology courses, so I’ve heard a lot about the undergraduate hook-up culture. My students aren’t sure what a hook-up really means, or how to find a lasting relationship when casual sex is the norm. So when the Newman Center invited me to speak to young adult Catholics on these issues, I jumped at the chance. To prepare for the talk, I attended at Thursday 10 p.m. Mass where about 75 committed Catholic undergrads served as a focus group: After I explained why I thought it was important for issues of sex and dating to…
October 27th, 2008
Why religious and non-religious couples are using NFP
Let’s talk about Natural Family Planning. Wait… wait… did you just grab the mouse to click away to another screen? Give me a chance. When you think of Natural Family Planning (NFP) you might think of barefoot-and-pregnant super-religious types who are out of touch with modern science. The words “conservative” or “creepy” or “weird” might pop into your head. I know. I’ve had those thoughts myself. In fact, until recently, the only thing I knew about NFP was a stupid joke: Question: “What do you call a couple who practices natural family planning? Answer: “Parents.” But a few things happened recently: I got yet another letter from a reader requesting that I address NFP (a subject I’d…
October 13th, 2008
Prayer in Pen
The Ramona Quimby Diary was my first journal. I was seven, and helpfully it was fill-in-the-blanks. For most of 1985, I recorded my deepest thoughts and darkest secrets in that red, spiral-bound book: I never practiced piano like I was supposed to. I had a crush on a boy named David.
September 21st, 2008
Some Tips on Avoiding the Wedding Bell Blues
I remember receiving that first oversized calligraphied envelope. I was 22 and giddy with excitement as I opened the multiple envelopes, sifted through the tissue paper and found an impressively engraved invitation. I felt honored to be among the chosen to receive this elaborate missive: One of my oldest friends was getting married to her college sweetheart and I was thrilled. That was nearly 10 years ago—and the bloom has worn off this wedding rose. I’m going to speak the unspeakable: I need a break from weddings. This year, my husband and I received 12 wedding invitations. The year before that, there were nine, including our own. The year before that, eight. I’m happy that each couple has found love and…
September 8th, 2008
BustedHalo readers weigh in
In my last column I shared a letter from Susan, a longtime reader of Pure Sex, Pure Love, who has been dating a man struggling with depression. “How do you deal with a partner who’s dealing with depression? Can you help—and if so, how?” I asked BustedHalo readers to weigh in on this email, and dozens of you responded. Nearly 60% of respondents said that, like Susan, they have been in a relationship with someone suffering from depression, and 75% of respondents said Susan should continue her relationship. Many offered first-hand advice. Lynn, 25, has been dating a man with depression for four years, and has dealt with the illness first hand herself. “It makes a relationship 10 times harder. There were nights…
August 25th, 2008
The God of Thin?
“Does God really care if we gained ten pounds over the holidays? Yes!” announces The Dieter’s Prayer Book. “If you’ve struggled with obesity all of your life, you may not even be able to imagine yourself free of the bondage of unwanted fat. But God can,” promises The Bible Cure for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain. As part of the Templeton-Cambridge Fellowship to study the intersection of science and religion, I explored the world of religious diet books. Surprised that such books exist? So are many Catholics, but religious weight-loss and health initiatives that began among evangelical Christians are spreading to other denominations—and other faiths—as Americans continue to put on the pounds.…
August 4th, 2008
Depression Hurts
Recently I received a request from Susan, a longtime reader of my Pure Sex, Pure Love column: How do you deal with a partner whose dealing with depression? Can you help—and if so, how? And where the lines are drawn between being supportive and looking after your own emotional needs, since depression doesn’t just affect the person going through it. Do you deal with a loved one’s depression differently if you are married versus dating? I pondered this email as I left for my final week of the Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship, where one of our lectures happened to be about the recent studied of Buddhist meditation used in the treatment of chronic depression. “Estimates are that 1 in 6 people…
July 22nd, 2008
Navigating your relationship during a recession
My husband, Peter, is a lawyer, and recently accepted a job with Legal Aid, a non-profit organization that provides legal services for the working poor. In states nationwide, community legal services groups are expanding their personal bankruptcy practices as this economy continues to soften, and he’ll be working with many families in financial crisis. As we spent hours talking about the clients he’s going to work with and their difficulties making ends meet, we began thinking about our own finances. Are we saving enough? Peter drives 30 minutes to work and back each day; if gas prices continue to go up, do we need to cut back in other areas to pay for that increased expense? Our savings are dwindling as the…
July 7th, 2008
Declare your financial independence
This weekend, we celebrated our nation’s independence with fireworks and cook-outs. But according to a recent Busted Halo® survey, young adults are struggling for an even more personal kind of independence this summer—financial independence. More than 40% of respondents said they hold credit card debt, and nearly 50% are floating school loans. We’re the first generation in American history to be less well off at age 30 than our parents were at that age. And with the economy’s frequent hiccups, rising gas prices and falling home values, nearly half of respondents said financial discussions with loved ones have gotten more tense. How can we declare independence from financial…
June 27th, 2008
Our readers respond
My last column, "Wives, obey your husbands?" was intentionally provocative… and it worked! Over the years, as I attended different parishes during college and beyond, I noticed something odd: Depending on the priest, we’d hear different versions of readings from Colossians and Ephesians about how a man and a woman should love and honor each other. The full text of this New Testament letter from Paul includes this advice: "Wives, be subject to your husbands, as it behoveth in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter towards them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to indignation, lest they…
June 24th, 2008
After the flood
"I pray that the community spirit stays strong in all these communities, and that the floods can't drown the love we feel for our neighbors in times of need."
June 12th, 2008
“Wives, obey your husbands?”
As someone who studies the family and relationships, I usually look forward to the discussion of these big, important issues in the liturgy. At one church I attended during childhood summers, fathers would be recognized on Father’s Day by standing up and receiving applause. At another church, I remember mothers receiving a special blessing on Mother’s Day. And on the feast of the Holy Family, usually the Sunday after Christmas, the readings always caught my attention. But over the years, as I attended different parishes during college and beyond, I noticed something odd: Depending on the priest, we’d hear different versions of readings from Colossians and Ephesians about how a man and…
May 8th, 2008
Men DO want to marry their mothers
If the old saying is true that men want to marry a woman like their mother, then this Mother’s Day, let’s thank moms for leading the way toward gender equality for a younger generation. New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd has long complained that today’s men are a bunch of insecure wimps who are intimidated by smart—high achieving women and, she argues only want to marry their mother or some intellectually inferior woman to avoid their masculinity being threatened. The Dowd pronouncements have caused millions of today’s high achieving women to fret over their probabilities of ever getting married. It turns out that Ms. Dowd is correct: Today’s men do want to…
May 5th, 2008
Stop Looking for Your Soul Mate!
The honeymoon is over, and being somebody’s “everything” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Catholics need to break up with the quest for “the one” in favor of a more realistic perspective on relationships. Recently, my friend Angela called me in tears. Angela, 31, and her husband have been married for three years and they are very well-suited: They can spend hours at a time together talking and laughing, are attracted to each other, get along with each other’s friends and families, and are on the same page when it comes to faith, politics, and financial matters. But recently, she told me, the “glow” had worn off. The two were involved in their own…
April 28th, 2008
The Catholic Guide to Blind Dates
It only has to work once. That’s what I told myself after every bad date in my 20s. If we fell head over heels in love with everyone we met for coffee or dinner, we’d get ourselves into heaps of trouble. Being picky (up to a point) is a good thing. And this means that there are going to be some terrible dates. Which is why I’ve always thought it’s interesting that blind dates—when your friend, coworker, family member or random neighbor down the block sets you up with someone you’ve never met before—strike such fear in our hearts. (And BustedHalo readers had a lot to say on this topic!) But let’s be brutally honest: Your success rate hasn’t been all that stellar,…
April 28th, 2008
A new approach to New Year's resolutions
Did you make some New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, you’re in the minority: A 2005 study found that only 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Did you make New Year’s resolutions last year—and did you keep them? If so, you are really in the minority. Only 8 percent of Americans achieve their resolution goals, according to “Living on the Up Beat,” a publisher of self-help books. What’s more discouraging is that 22% of all New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. With that in mind, here’s a new twist on the New Year’s resolution racket: 1. Start small This year, a friend…
April 15th, 2008
Blind Date!
Those two words strike fear in the hearts of singles everywhere. And if you’re single past your early 20s, odds are, you’ve been on one. Blind Dates TAKE THIS SURVEY!! To Answer the Questionnaire, click here Name (fake name is fine) Age Gender I would be willing to go on a blind date. a) true b) false How many blind dates have you been on? a) 0 b) 1-3 c) 4-6 d) 6-10 e) more than 10 My mother or father has set me up on a blind date. a) true b) false I would insist upon seeing a photo before I agree to go out on a blind date with someone. a) true b) false I would ask about the person’s religious background before I agree to go out on a blind date. a) true b) false Women are more likely to agree to going on a blind date than men.…
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