(Closed) Converting for love – your man vs. your family

posted 8 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 3
3254 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I think it’s great you were able to look past religious lines when it came to falling for the man of your dreams. That said, Judaism and Catholicism are EXTREMELY different, as you know. You need to make a decision for yourself regardless of your fiance’s or your family’s beliefs. What concerned me about what you wrote is the fact that you said you would have no reason to convert to Catholicism without your future hubby. Do you believe in Jesus Christ being the Messiah? If you don’t, you may want to reconsider converting to a religion that revolves around Jesus. I just hate to see you convert to a religion you don’t 100% believe in because I think you will regret it down the road if that’s the case. Best of luck with your decision. 🙂

Post # 4
5657 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2012

Definitely convert for yourself, not for anyone else. Not your SO, not your family. 

That said, they are your family, and so hopefully they will love and support you regardless of your choices in life. I would bring it up with them and hopefully you can work it out.

Post # 5
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

(Disclaimer: Lutheran bride replying here, engaged to Jewish man, neither converting.)

I agree with the OP that religion is (or should be) a choice.  Though many people inherit their religious traditions, it is absolutely a free choice that adults can and should make for themselves, and we should honor each other’s choices.  You are not stuck with what you are born into.  I have a friend or two who have happily converted upon marriage or basically let the spouse’s religion hold sway in the household.   

The question that kept running through my mind as I read your post is: where does your man stand on this?  Does he want you to convert?  Would he still be okay with your relationship and where it’s going if you did NOT convert?  Who suggested it?  Why particularly do you want to convert?  Do you find Roman Catholicism on its own spiritually meaningful? 

I would echo other posters in advising not to convert to a religion with core beliefs that you don’t share, regardless of the reason.  Too much potential for resentment.   

If, on the other hand, you do find that you share Roman Catholicism’s core beliefs and that that faith is spiritually and religiously meaningful for you, converting may be a good idea, regardless of how things go with your fellow.

I think one of the things that makes it particularly tricky here is that Judaism (from this outsider’s perspective) seems to be a religion that isn’t just religion: it is a whole culture, and a deep tradition, and those aspects might make it seem bigger to your family than if you were switching from Lutheranism to Unitarianism, for example.  So I guess be gentle with them, but be honest.  Make sure they know how much you love them and how much you respect your family and its traditions.  That you’re proud of them and of who you are.  But that this is the best choice for you.

If you’re okay with sharing your family’s traditions, especially with children you may have, that might be a good thing to mention as well, if you still want to come over for Hanukkah parties and Passover seders, that you’re not abandoning that experience because you identify with a different faith tradition.   

Post # 6
369 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

Ditto to Deathbydesign. If you convert, do it for yourself and not for somebody else. If you are Jewish and non-religious, how sincere can your conversion actually be? Are you being true to yourself?

Have you and your fiance thought of a mid-ground, something like the Unitarian Universalists. They tend to have services for both Jewish and Christian holidays, and they accept people who are not religious.

Post # 7
1645 posts
Bumble bee

@cosmo1: The part that concerns me is where you said you would have no reason to convert if you weren’t with him. Converting out of Judaism is a HUGE deal (as I’m well aware you know). I’m converting into Judaism, but I would be doing that regardless of whether I was with SO or not. Converting out of Judaism into something all about Jesus makes me kinda nervous, to be honest. 

Post # 8
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Well, you will for one learn a LOT in RCIA, so you could always wait until your RCIA is over and you have made the final decision, Yes, you BELIEVE what the church is and teaches and you covert and tell… or you don’t convert and have an interfaith marriage (and no family drama’s have needlessly occurred before you changed your mind.)

I’ve had many friends convert (from other protestant faiths) and many waited until last min to tell family/protestant friends. Some waited to even tell Catholic friends. There’s so much to learn, and so it may very will be best to wait until you know for sure if you believe 100% in the Catholic faith and wish to convert. You do need to do it for it being the true faith, not just because you feel welcome or your Fiance is (but I’m so happy you feel so welcome by my faith!)

The good news about learning a lot in RCIA, is I imagine you will also learn a LOT about the background of the faith. Judaism plays a HUGE…. Humongous role in Catholocism. While our fundamental beliefs about Jesus are “hugely different” in the end, it’s about the new vs old covenant. For you in Judaism, you have been focused on the old covenant God made with the people. It’s a beautiful thing, but God sent his Son, Jesus, to make it “New.” There’s so many amazing things about the old vs new covenants and everything plays into it! 

Where I was trying to go with this, is that if you learn where we have integrated a lot of Jewish customs/traditions into our faith, perhaps it could help you to explain to your family. Knowledge is huge power, but you may need to wait until you know it all 🙂

I would really rec. the book, “The Lambs Supper” by Scott Hahn for a full explanation of the mass. Scott Hahn also has a book, “Rome Sweet Home” which is excellent but it’s more about a protestant/Catholic conversion… still a lot of great background and info in there though!

The biggest thing, is to really pray that God opens you to the path he is laying before you, whatever that may be. Pray for the knowledge to understand and be open to his will… and you won’t go wrong.

Some of my friends have been through “hell” and back in dealing with their family and becoming Catholic, but prayers and knowledge (along with time) go a long long way. If it was me, I would wait until after my RCIA and I was firmed in my belief that I would indeed be baptized into the Catholic Faith…. 

Post # 9
350 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

I’m the most pro-Catholic person you’ll ever meet, but based on this…

“Although I’m not converting for him, I am converting because of him, meaning I would have no reason to go against my family and convert if I wasn’t with him.”

and this…

“Converting for love – your man vs. your family”

I would strongly urge you to think through things a little more.  If your Fiance left you right now, would you still convert?  If not, don’t do it.  Eventhough your family is opposed, unless you love Jesus so much that you’d convert no matter what obstacle was thrown at you – even death as in the case of the early Christians – don’t do it. 

Post # 11
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

I really don’t understand the whole “converting for marriage” thing. I mean, you either believe that Jesus is the son of god or you don’t. I don’t understand how marrying someone who is Catholic when you are Jewish magically changes your entire belief system? It always seemed to me that people do this to be “on the same page”, but it really looks like people who do that are just going through the motions because it’s expected that the couple have the same belief system. You shouldn’t be converting if all you want is a church that feels “comfortable”. It should be because you wholeheartedly believe in what the church stands for/espouses. (This coming from an Atheist from an Episcopalian family married to another Atheist of Jewish decent). I’m a big believer in not faking it – I think it is really disrespectful to join a church if you don’t fully believe.

Post # 12
7695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

I think the biggest thing that jumps out to me is that you havent yet said whether you believe that Jesus is the son of God. If you dont believe so, how can you convert to Christianity of any denomination? Converting isnt about being able to celebrate holidays, its about beliefs. My husband is Jewish and I have strongly considered converting because I have always identified with the Jewish faith and I do not believe that Jesus was the son of God. That conversion would make sense, but Im not so sure about yours. Im sure you would go through a long and in depth process where you would have to ask yourself these questions….but its just something to think about!

Post # 14
13 posts
  • Wedding: July 2011

I say follow your heart.  Religion is a personal thing, and your family loves you and will come around.  Even if they are initially upset. 

Post # 15
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

As a lapsed RC marrying another – and we are still unsure about a church wedding – I have no extra info to help you, but I do wish you all the best.

Post # 16
1645 posts
Bumble bee

@cosmo1: Well if you believe that then you believe that! But THAT was, I think, the huge selling point to everyone here.

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