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Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
09-18-2008, 10:21 PM
Post: #1
Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
I am Catholic. My boyfriend, and soon to be my fiance...hopefully... is not. I love him. With everything I have. But I also believe in Catholicism. I would like to get married like a Catholic should... in a Catholic Church. Catholicism is a huge part of my life, my family's life, his family's life, it is a part of my soul. It actually means something to me. He doesnt believe in anything. I do not wish to force him to be Catholic but unless he is, we wont be able to get married in the Catholic Church. I dont wish for him to do something he doesnt believe in, like becoming Catholic, but I do want to marry him. And it means so so so much for us to marry in a Catholic Church. I cant even describe how much. I was raised Catholic and at some point i stopped believing because i felt it was forced on me but that faith was rekindled. On my own. Now i believe with a certain passion. It hurts that my boyfriend does not. I do not know how to show him what i believe. He believes in no religion. I do not understand that. He just believes in God. Honestly, I dont know why Catholicism is so important to me. I jsut know that if i dont get married in a Catholic Church my life will not be complete. However, if my boyfriend were to convert without truely believing in his conversion, our marriage would be a lie and that would be jsut as bad. I do not know what to do. Any Adviice? Help?
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09-19-2008, 08:40 AM
Post: #2
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
Hi Carolina!

This topic comes up often in our home. We have three teenagers, two of which are dating age and one 13 year old that is learning how to choose someone to 'date' or whatever they call it at that age.

The Bible tells in 2 Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?"

This is the scripture that we automatically come back with. If you were raised Catholic and are a practicing Catholic, then I will assume from your post that you will want to raise your kids in the same faith. But before we even get to kids ... think about the Christian holidays and celebrations that you have in your faith. Will you celebrate them alone? Are you willing to celebrate them alone? Will that separate part of your life from your husband help or hinder your marriage? Marriage, IMO, is a lot of work, and hard enough when things are all aligned, as it is. When you have an issue, a life altering issue such as faith and practicing it, it can throw a huge wedge in your relationship.

Marriage takes two fully committed, fully participating people. Yes, you'll still have stray socks and dishes randomly lying around and the trash will overflow... that's married life ... but if you are unevenly yoked, the things of your faith will likely become battles in your marriage.

Now think about your kids, if you are considering having children. Will you want them raised in the Catholic faith? Will he? Or will you be taking them to mass and at the same time, will he be telling them that the Catholic faith isn't what they need to believe, they just need to believe in God?

Has he told you why he isn't fond of the Catholic faith? Was there some experience in his education that turned him?

It's one thing to do something for someone as a favor or because you love them. But commimtting to a faith takes dedication, not obligation. Marriage is likely to be difficult because the unbelieving spouse will have a different set of standards to live by than you, causing a multitude of arguments, fights and a lot of unhappiness.

I read this example ... and thought it would fit for you:

"The Bible uses beasts of burden as an example. If a donkey and an ox are yoked together (which God forbid the people of Israel to do in Deuteronomy 22:10), the yoke will weigh heavily on one animal while choking the other, or as the animal with the longer stride moves ahead it will painfully drag the other along by the neck. They would not be able to pull smoothly or painlessly together and little work would get done. But when two animals of approximately the same size and weight are yoked together, they pull the plow smoothly, helping each other, and work is accomplished. "

I would strongly encourage you to explore with your fiance what you are both willing to live with and without. Talk to your families. Talk to your priests (though I think you already know what they will say).

Bless your heart ... it's a difficult situation.

Justice -- When you get what you deserve.
Mercy -- When you don't get what you deserve.
Grace -- When you get what you don't deserve.
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09-20-2008, 12:05 AM
Post: #3
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
Thank you Alison for your post. I went to Catholic school for all of my years of basic education and graduated from a Catholic school. I had an amazing priest teach me Theology in High School and we spoke often of the views of the Catholic Church on marriage. He is the one that told me about Catholics marrying Catholics. However, my fiance is Christian. Its not a drastic change in beliefs but there is a change. He claims that the incident with the priests and little boys a few years back turned him and his family away from Catholicism as well as a few other things that I dont really see as important. The thing is, he was raised Catholic. He is Italian and his entire family is Catholic... except him, his parents and siblings. His father seems to be the driving force behind all of this. My fiance and I have discussed the issue of raising children already. He said he would go to Church every week with us and not preach against Catholicism if that is what I would like. He celebrates all of the major Catholic holidays such as Christmas and Easter anyway.

To him, he feels as if Catholicism is too controlling and has too many rules. I in turn have been to his current church and it seems as if they are very liberal. That liberality is slightly irritating and their interpretations of some things annoy me. Haha. He however isnt completely committed to this church. He doesnt really feel any ties or loyalty to it. Because of this, I believe there is a chance to at least convince him to complete his Catholicism. By this I mean to receive the rest of the Sacraments and maybe show him what Cahtolicism really is, not what his father has told him. He has already been baptized and received 1st Eucharist. In order to get married in the Catholic Church he would only need to be Confirmed, I believe.

He is a committed man, a rarity among men these days. He is a very focused and determined individual. Both of us are willing to sacrifice and work at our relationship. We have been for several years already. We have a very open communication and never leave each other in anger. We do not like to walk away or hang up or whatever the case may be if we are in the middle of a disagreement. Most of all, we have never gone to bed angry wiht each other. It is soemthing we started very early in our relationship and have continued to put into practice. It forces us to really watch what we say at the moment and to explain our comments if they might be inappropriate or not what we meant. It is, in my opinion, the most important part of our relationship. We were, before we started dating, best friends and we keep this relaitonship alive as well. I often call him my best friend before I mention that he is my fiance. I have heard however from a variety of people that marriage is nothing like dating. I unlike most others refuse to move in with him before we are married because living together, in my eyes, is for married people and I dont think living together NOT married is the same as living together married and contrary to popular belief, doesnt give a taste of marriage. I am not married though, and have never lived with a man so I have nothing to compare it to.

So Alison, after all of that, do you still feel the same way? I'm just curious.
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09-21-2008, 07:22 PM (This post was last modified: 09-21-2008 07:23 PM by God Rocks.)
Post: #4
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
I am also Catholic and I'm pretty sure the Catholic church will allow you to marry a non-Catholic as long as you agree to raise the children Catholic. You will also need to get dispensation, which is permission to marry. You should talk to a priest about this because he would be more knowledgeable about how it needs to be done.

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09-22-2008, 10:27 AM (This post was last modified: 09-22-2008 10:29 AM by Alison.)
Post: #5
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
I'm not Catholic ... so there are other considerations that involve Catholicism that I don't understand, like the one's God Rocks mentioned.

I was just tossing my $0.02 in ... mileage may vary! Smile Your second post gives more information that your OP. I've always been taught (primarily as a Baptist) that biblically, different faiths (Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc) are what that scripture are referring to as being unevenly yoked. From your OP, I took it that he had no affiliation with anything but believing in God.

So, my original reply still stands ... to your OP. But to your second post with more info, it really looks like you're on the same page, at least with the basics. Unfortunately, the Catholic church has taken some hits with the priest abuse. The same can be said about the Baptist faith and several other Christian faiths. I'm not sure about Jewish, Muslim, etc. faiths, but ... you get my point.

IMO, sexual abuse of any kind is hideous, but it's especially heinous against children--even more so those that are taught to belive that their priests are what they are in the Catholic faith -- and it stems from serious mental problems ... not faith problems. There are preachers and ministers in other faiths that abuse, too.

I still stand by this: talk to your families ... talk to your priest ... together. But in the end, only you and he can make the call.

Best of luck ... marriage is fantastic. Your joys will be doubled ... your sorrows will be halved ... all because you have your life mate to share them with.

(and the dirty dishes, stray socks and water ring on the coffee table will eventually become part of the reason you love them!!)

Justice -- When you get what you deserve.
Mercy -- When you don't get what you deserve.
Grace -- When you get what you don't deserve.
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11-11-2008, 05:08 PM
Post: #6
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
The best advice I can give is to encourage him to go to Mass with you and pray for him.

When I married my wife I was an atheist. I went to Mass with her and her family just so that I could join them afterward for a free meal. I really didn't care about God at that point, I really was rather indifferent about religion.

Eventually I joined the RCIA and was baptized into the Church Easter Vigil '07. To me it had everything to do with God gently tugging me during those times I went to Mass and then becoming a parent.

Show him the door and trust that God will do the rest.

God Bless!

"I find your lack of faith disturbing..."-Darth Vader
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02-07-2009, 10:54 AM
Post: #7
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
I don't want to give you any advice, my dear, and that is quite possible the best advice I believe I can give. Ultimately, you are responsible for your actions and your happiness, and it is up to you to make your own decision. The funny thing about this, though, is that if you want, you can choose to give up that decision to someone, or something, else. I've seen many people in this situation do just that. Often, the result is misery. When you give your decision up to someone else, they will decide according to their desires, and not yours.

As a result, you often get the short end of a the stick, so to speak.

Es gibt keine Korken in diesem Strom. Aber ich dachte zweifellos, dass es geben würde. Es dauerte mir Jahre, um diese einfache Wahrheit zu finden.
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02-20-2009, 08:34 PM
Post: #8
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
(09-18-2008 10:21 PM)Carolina1218 Wrote:  I am Catholic. My boyfriend, and soon to be my fiance...hopefully... is not. I love him. With everything I have. But I also believe in Catholicism. I would like to get married like a Catholic should... in a Catholic Church. Catholicism is a huge part of my life, my family's life, his family's life, it is a part of my soul. It actually means something to me. He doesnt believe in anything. I do not wish to force him to be Catholic but unless he is, we wont be able to get married in the Catholic Church. I dont wish for him to do something he doesnt believe in, like becoming Catholic, but I do want to marry him. And it means so so so much for us to marry in a Catholic Church. I cant even describe how much. I was raised Catholic and at some point i stopped believing because i felt it was forced on me but that faith was rekindled. On my own. Now i believe with a certain passion. It hurts that my boyfriend does not. I do not know how to show him what i believe. He believes in no religion. I do not understand that. He just believes in God. Honestly, I dont know why Catholicism is so important to me. I jsut know that if i dont get married in a Catholic Church my life will not be complete. However, if my boyfriend were to convert without truely believing in his conversion, our marriage would be a lie and that would be jsut as bad. I do not know what to do. Any Adviice? Help?
Perhaps you should consider being more open minded to his beliefs and what is important to him as well. If you think that what you believe is better than what he believes then that is a selfish and close minded way to go by things.
If he doesn't mind being married in a Catholic church then by all means marry him in one, but don't force him, and don't "pray for his soul"; that will just annoy him. Most likely he will not have any objections.
If you don't know why Catholicism is so important to you, then why are you a Catholic? And what leads you to believe that your life will not be complete if you are not married in the Catholic Church?
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02-20-2009, 10:44 PM
Post: #9
RE: Love and Conflicting Religious beliefs...
This resonates with me, as my girlfriend is a Christian while I am an Atheist, and we had problems with this before we worked it out.

First, talk to your boyfriend. Talk to him really, really honestly. Talk not just about faith, but about how you want your kids raised (because if he really sticks to his beliefs that will be an issue.) Decide in advance how much of Catholicism do you need to have in your life? How important are your beliefs to you?

I have to be a bit harsh for a moment. If you are convinced that you can bring him around to Catholicism, call it off right now. Just call it off. It will not work, and it will end poorly. But if you can live with his beliefs, and he can live with yours, then start talking. Decide what things you must have, and what things you are willing to give up (Mass every Sunday? A Catholic wedding?) You can consider some things to compromise, like having a civil ceremony AND a religious ceremony. Especially talk about the kids, if they will be going to catechism.

I know in my case, my kids probably are going to be taught several religious beliefs, but only as a means of studying other cultures. And they will be free to choose what they wish. Depending on how strong his need to express his Atheism is, certain things might be fine. I would have a problem with infant baptism because of the symbol it presents, but he might not. He might not have a problem with them learning catechism if he can talk to them about his views afterward.

But trust me on this - get this all worked out before the wedding.
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