(Closed) Civil ceremony for the sake of religion?

posted 10 years ago in Christian
Post # 3
Member
245 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2008

as background on our situation, we are getting married in a catholic church that we are members of (altho I am not catholic) & we have been living together for a while. The church officials send all our wedding mail to the same address and yet noone has pressured us to hurry our engagement or get a marriage license etc (altho all the pre-cana literature officially states that couples living together should move apart or at least refrain from sex until their wedding date) ….i’m assuming at Pre-cana they will reiterate that, but personally aren’t planning on changing anything. like you said, I would be hesitant to rush into a wedding and marriage especially if you are not engaged. Actually I would be less concerned about anniversary dates/how to tell people and instead have a serious conversation with your boyfriend on whether you both are really ready or just feeling pressured. If you agree with the priest that you shouldn’t be living together if you aren’t married, his suggestions are not the only options. Maybe you can’t move apart and don’t want to plan a wedding in 24 hours, so why not look at a reasonable compromise (like abstainance or sleeping in seperate rooms) until you two can figure out what you want to do and when (and no, i dont think you need to tell the priest or anyone else what you decide to do in your own bedroom!). Either way, if you guys show the intention is there to get married (and it seems that it is) the priest will probably tune down the pressure. : ) good luck on such a complex & personal decision!

Post # 4
Member
4 posts
Wannabee

Honestly…is there another Catholic Church in your town?  Not all Catholic churches are run the same, and you won’t get the same answer everywhere.  I would encourage you to talk to another church and let them know that you’re not looking to be pressured into marriage because of your living arrangement.  Most churches are understanding about the situation and teach you the Catholic stance but do accept that people live together.  Good luck!

Post # 5
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2008 - Portland Armory

I think that you have to think very hearfeltly and prayerfully about these choices given your feelings. Getting engaged and married is not something to rush into, but it would be difficult to continue to live together as it is counter to your stated beliefs.  

Mr. Robin and I actually had to take time apart to refocus and decide to take this major step, because we feel that divorce is not something that is in tune with Christian beliefs. And the not being able to stay the night together is something that I am sooo happy is ending in two months… sometimes just because I would love to roll over in the morning and see him. I can’t wait for that.  

So a question: Do you believe that your boyfriend is the man that God has intended for you?  If the answer to this question is a clear "Yes" then I see two choices:  

1) If you cannot move out, then sacrifice your well planned wedding. I am sure that the ceremony would not have to be completely civil if it was quick. Your church leadership should be able to marry the two of you in a religous ceremony within a month,right? Have they gotten to know you as a couple enough to quicken the pace of premarital counciling? As I feel that having a purily civil ceremony IS something you would possibly regret. Just have a few friends and family who can make it around you as you say your vows. Then plan out the most amazing, lovely and wonderful 1st anniversary celebration the town has ever seen and make it everything you thought your reception would be.

2) Get engaged. Move yourself out. I am sure somewhere in the congregation of your church or another in town is a bunch of women who live together and need a roommate for a bit. I know there are  several in our church. Or even an older couple who would support you. (If you were in Portland I would find someplace for you!) And live there while you plan the wedding of your dreams. It’s only a few months, right? You have the rest of your lives together.

 I would love to talk to you more if you would like. I think that these are difficult decisions. Being called to walk as a Christian is not easy and sometimes it means tough decisions about what is right, and what we are called to be.

Post # 6
Member
4 posts
Wannabee
  • Wedding: February 2008

I’m going through Pre-Cana right now too and from what I know, No Catholic church would push for a civil ceremony since they don’t count as an actual marriage.  It would need to be blessed or con-validated in order for you to be out of sin if you will.

If religion really matters to the both of you now I would have separate bedrooms and refrain from "coupling".  That way you can still live together without engaging in "sinful" behavior.   I  know that it sucks but people are supposed to conform to religions not religions conforming to people.  I hope you can get some answers and find a way to work through this.

 ~*m*~

Post # 7
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’m afraid that if you feel that strongly about your religious beliefs, then you should follow the priest. That being said, i have several (strongly) Catholic friends who lived together beforehand and had no problem getting married in the Catholic church later on. If it’s an option to you to leave your church for another (although it sounds like you might like where you are and that it’s helping you in your faith,) you could do that. Otherwise, if the priest is refusing to ever marry you…

One thing I would NOT do is rush into a ceremony. Not to be cold, but with no chance of divorce later on, I agree with the poster above who said some time apart might be a better way of re-centering yourself on the commitment to the relationship before an engagement. 

Post # 9
Member
267 posts
Helper bee

Just a note on getting a marriage license and getting married “later”: most licenses are only valid for 90 days or so, so if by “later” you mean “a lot later,” you may have to get a new license.

Why wouldn’t having the priest marry you be a marriage under God? I can understand how getting a judge or notary to do it might not qualify, but if the priest is marrying you, I assume it’s valid…

Post # 10
Member
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2008

What do *you* think?  Do you know the reason the priest is using to say that living together is wrong?  Do you agree?  Is there a commandment against cohabitating somewhere that I missed?

Living together != having sex.  And it’s completely possible to have it without cohabitating.  So what’s the real problem here?

Do *you* believe that being married is appropriate for you right now?  Are you prepared for a legal merger of assets and a permanent commitment?  Would you be getting married just so you don’t feel bad about living together?  Without the priest’s input, would you be considering getting married right now (even though you aren’t engaged)?

This all sounds like bad news to me.  

Post # 11
Member
9 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: January 2008 - Portland Armory

I have to admit that Miss Banana brings up a valid point. It worries me that you weren’t engaged before the priest brought it up. That you might not be ready for this step and are just being pushed into it too fast.

However, I do not believe that living together should be considered without it. Let’s be honest for a second, I firmly belief that sex should wait for marriage, but if I lived with Mr. Robin I think we would slip. I am just too attracted to him.  If you could live your boyfriend as platonic roommates… then either you have superhuman self control, both of you, or I don’t think he’s really the guy for you.

 Yeah, you can still have sex without living together, but living apart sure reduces the constant temptation.

Post # 12
Member
21 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2007

You say that you "realize the mistake we made from a Christian perspective and want to make it right" but that moving out would be "too hard."  Not to be mean or judgmental at all, but honestly, it sounds like you want things to be easy and don’t want to go to the trouble of moving out and truly "making it right." 

 I am a Christian and agree with robin’s entire comment, especially that sex should wait for marriage. My husband and I dated long distance for six months before I moved to our current town, and while it would have been much easier for me to move in with him before we got married instead of moving into an apartment of my own for a year, we knew it wasn’t the right thing to do.  And believe me, we hated to leave each other every night, but for us and because of our faith, living together before we were married was not an option.

Marriage is a lifelong commitment and not something you should enter into lightly or because you feel rushed or pushed. Like Miss Banana and robin said, is marriage something you and your boyfriend are ready for right now, and would be ready for it now if this issue wasn’t happening?  My two cents, if you really do want to make it right in the eyes of the church and God — move out, and wait until you’re truly ready for marriage.  The right decisions are sometimes the hardest!

  

Post # 13
Member
211 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011 - in the woods

I, too, am waiting to live with my guy and have sex until after marriage. Thanks, robin and KNW, for encouraging me to stay true to God’s Word; it’s nice to know that I am not the only one out there who believes this!

Post # 14
Member
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

For the record, I’m not a Christian and I’m a big fan of knowing your guy as well as possible before you’re married. : )  But it still sounds like your current living situation is incompatible with your faith and, as I said above, you shouldn’t feel pressured into getting married just to keep up your living arrangement. So I agree with the other ladies who have said you should step back from the situation in whatever way is appropriate for you, which sounds like living apart for now. It sounds like you and your boyfriend are both on the same page as far as your religion goes, so hopefully this will be an experience that will allow you to either become closer or realize that you’re not meant for each other.

Best of luck! 

Post # 15
Member
21 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2007

Jess – you are not alone in your beliefs and convictions (I felt that way at times, too)!  Hang in there, and know that it is totally, 100%, no-doubt-about-it worth it to follow God. 🙂 

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