Post # 1
I am Baptist and SO is Catholic. We have been together now for nearly 3 years. We are both still young and things like kids are a long way off, but I would rather know now how our family would work. I think its important as I do not want to get married until I know we could come to a solution we are both happy with. Whereas SO seems to think it will sort itself out and we should deal with it as and when. I feel like I am driving him mad with this but equally he doesn’t seem interested at all in my religious beliefs.
At first we were agreeed to expose them to both of our beliefs and when they are old enough they can decide for themselves. I said that I was fine with having any children baptised as infants although I could not stand up and promise to raise my child as a Catholic. I just don’t think he gets that this would be a big deal for me and could cause friction within my family. BUT I know it would cause even more with his if we didn’t do it at all. I agreed that it would be fine as I see it as nothing and he sees it as heaven/hell.
However now he has said he wants his children to go through all the sacrements at the ages that he did. Whereas I would prefer that they decide when they are old enough if they want to join the Catholic church/ Another church/ become an athiest/ join another religion altogether.
In other aspects of Catholic/Baptist he doesn’t seem to mind as much ie: he said he would have no issue getting married not in a Catholic church.
Everytime it has been brought up its ended up in a huge arguement and it makes me scared to ever talk about it again. Now I’m just really frustrated. I feel like he has no interest in compromising with me or even understanding that for me personal choice in religion is everything. I really don’t want this to break us up in all other respects we are great together. I am just so confused.
Sorry this is so long!
Post # 3
People whose faith is important to them tend not to *compromise*. That’s not how it works. Religion and Faith are emotion based topics…. not logic or scientific based logic. So, it’s not a menu that you can rationally say “I pick this and this and this” because, especially for Catholics, ALL the sacarements are important. You can’t just choose not to do one of them, but do the others (Ie – get baptised Catholic, but not do a 1st Communion…. then you arent’ being “Catholic”.)
Additionally, with this particular religion….. Catholicsm tends to be a “loophole” religion. NOT a “compromise” religion (absolutely no offense intended).
You said “Everytime it has been brought up its ended up in a huge arguement and it makes me scared to ever talk about it again“. Why is this an argument rather than a discussion? If the two of you don’t have the communication skills to sort through tough topics like this….. how will you handle other topics?
I could not stand up and promise to raise my child as a Catholic. In My Humble Opinion – if this is your stance….. don’t marry someone who wants to raise their children Catholic.
Post # 4
As you say, many of these issues are a long way off, but you are smart to be thinking about them ahead of time and figuring out what areas you can compromise on and what are deal-breakers.
A few good things for you to know (your SO may not have all the details on these points, either, and they would be good for him to know, too):
– as a Catholic, he has a responsibility to get married in the Catholic church. If he gets married outside of it, the Church doesn’t recognize the marriage and he is “out of good standing” (i.e. he won’t be able to take Communion) unless and until you have the marriage convalidated (blessed in the Church).
– when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic, the Church no longer requires the non-Catholic to promise to raise the children as Catholic. They once did, but now they only require the Catholic half of the couple to promise to do their best to make that happen.
When and if you get to that point, my best recommendation would be to seek out a priest that you like and trust, and talk with him about all these issues and concerns. Try to see him as an ally rather than an adversary. Chances are he will be really pleased to be working with a couple who takes their faith seriously and will do his best to give you good information and help you work things out. The Church wants to see marriages succeed and families, including interfaith ones, be happy and stable.
Also, re. children: for what it’s worth, they are already by default going to make up their own minds about their religious beliefs when they reach adulthood, no matter what. A parent’s role and responsibility, as your SO sees it, is to do his/her best to give them (as much as they can of) a foundation and a formation so that they have an informed understanding of what their faith tradition is, and not a (mostly) blank slate. They may ultimately end up rejecting it, but at least they will understand what it is that they’re rejecting. I know that a lot of people advocate “not choosing one or the other and letting the child choose when s/he’s older,” but, as the child of a mixed marriage, I am really grateful that my parents exposed me to both religions but saw to it that my siblings and I were raised with a specific faith identity.
Post # 5
Thanks that was really helpful!
I think it jsut frustrates me as he rarely goes to mass and has no issue not getting married in a Catholic church I think his beliefs just confuse me!
Post # 6
It sounds like he has some things he needs to sort out for himself about the role religion will play in his life, and I can understand how upsetting that must be. I was really frustrated a few years back when I dated a guy who had been raised Lutheran, who had thought about becoming Catholic (before he even met me), wasn’t sure that it was for him … we were pretty serious, talking about marriage, and religion was one of the big sticking points. His take was that “he didn’t quite know what he considered himself/wanted to be, but he didn’t want to be Catholic – and he didn’t want me to be Catholic, either.” I felt like, for crying out loud, “you don’t seem to have an established faith identity, whereas I definitely do and it’s really important to me. The last thing I want to do is abandon my Catholicism and follow you dithering about with all these flavors of the month.” Not to mention kids … it started with talking about whether or not it would be a Catholic wedding, and it ended up coming out that he felt like “the husband’s role is leader of the family, and the wife should follow his lead because he’s the husband.” Ahem, excuse me? Circular reasoning much?
It sucked, of course, and it was a really painful time that ultimately led to us breaking up. I wondered for a while if I’d made the biggest mistake ever and if I’d ever find someone else. In retrospect, though, I’m so grateful that we ran into that brick wall. It saved me from making what really would have potentially been the biggest mistake of my life, and now I am fortunate to be with someone who is a much better match on pretty much every level, religion included.
I’m not saying this is what’s going to happen to you – I sincerely hope that you and Fiance are able to sort things out and have a great, successful interfaith marriage (like my parents and many other couples do). I am saying, though, that a these difficult and painful conversations are really a blessing in disguise. They will ultimately either draw you together and show you a path to bridge your differences, or show you that your path lies in a different direction. Best of luck, and blessings!
Post # 7
Ohh you guys sound like my parents. My mom is Baptist and my Dad is Catholic. My siblings and I were mostly raised in the Catholic Church, (my grandmother was a big reason for it, lol). Baptized, first communion. But when we visited my other grandparents (which was often) we would go to their Baptist Church. When it came to being confirmed in the Catholic faith my one sibiling and I decided that it was the right choice for us. But my sister decided against it. My parents let us choose what we each felt was best for ourselves when we were older.
I think getting to be in both faiths growing up was wonderful. I got to see that a lot of the beliefs are the same, just worded differently. There are great things about both churches and they both have the same great message.
I think its great that you are thinking about this now instead of waiting. I think what helped me and my siblings was that my parents didn’t fight over what religion to be raised in, but let us see both and decide for ourselves.
sorry if this isn’t helpful, just wanted to throw in my own personal experience being the child in this similar situation. 🙂
Post # 8
@BirdyBe: Good for you on really wanting to hammer this out with him prior to marriage! A lot of people think “oh we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” and then… well the bridge blows up.
I get where you’re coming from – if it was so important to him, why doesn’t he carry about getting married in the Church too? It makes no sense.
Maybe this is how he’s looking at it. Raising the children Catholic is no gurantee that they will remain Catholic – they still have that freedom to choose a different religion as an adult if they wish. For Catholics the big sacraments like first Holy Communion and Confirmation are big social occasions, too – maybe he remembers the family get-togethers and the parties and the special lead-up events and wants those cultural/spiritual experiences for his children.
Kind of like if you are a Jew and you don’t raise your kid Jewish, they don’t get to have a Bar Mitzvah and read from Torah and all that…
Post # 9
@Magdalena: I think thats why it bothers me so much! If he was determined to get married in a Catholic church etc I could understand it more!!! Very frustrating!!