I'm Catholic and SO is Athiest…

posted 3 years ago in Catholic
Post # 2
304 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I don’t think you’re doomed necessarily… BUT, I think it’s important that you talk about your views and respect each other’s opinions.  The most important thing, at least for me, is that if you plan to have Children, you should talk about how you would want those children to be raised when it comes to religion.  If you can’t agree that will probably be a big problem.  No matter what you have to be supportive of each other, and make sure you’re on the same page.  Good luck!

Post # 3
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

Absolutely start talking about it. What happens when you want your future children Baptized? Or want to go to Christmas Eve midnight mass? Or want to get married in a CHurch? If he is ok with all of that, then no, of course you’re not doomed.

Post # 4
328 posts
Helper bee

anonkitty:  You need to talk about religion, and asap. As well as anything and everything else about yourselves, your beliefs, and what you want in life. Religion (or even something as simple as budgeting for that matter) can absolutely destroy a relationship. You need to know right now if you are both on the same page in terms of how you plan to live your life, and if and how you will raise and parent your children. If you were ever to take a good marriage prep course, they basically go over the fact that if you do not know anything and almost everything there is to know about where you and your partner stands, you are inadvertently setting yourselves up for failure later on. Talk to your boyfriend, and be sure to do it before you make any further committment to each other like engagement or marriage. Good luck! Also as a side note, how long have you both been together? How has your beliefs never come up in conversation? It is a pretty important aspect of our humanity, spirituality (or lackthereof). I would get a move on it!

Post # 5
1167 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

I agree with the above.  I’m an atheist (not capitalized btw, it isn’t a religion, that would be like claiming bald is a hair color or not playing football is a sport) and as long as you have discussed the major issues you’ll be fine.  I wouldn’t expect him to reinforce religious teachings (hell, sin, thinking others are wrong or have issues for being homosexual or bisexual, the need to give money to the church to prevent an eternity in a firey pit, etc.) though, so if that is your plan you are setting yourself up for disagreements.  

Side note: you can’t get married in the church (assuming it is a Catholic church), I’m an ex-Catholic so I know the rules there, you can’t complete the counseling with someone who isn’t also Catholic, and you can’t get married in the church if you haven’t completed the counseling.  

Post # 6
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

A very dear friend of mine is Catholic, married to an atheist.  They will have been married 25 years this Valentine’s Day.

But…the struggle is real.

It is do-able, but know going in that this IS going to be a source of conflice at some point.

I had it explained to me this way, which I think makes a lot of sense:

  • When we receive the Eucharist, we enter into the deepest possible communion with Christ and fellow Catholics
  • In one of those weird spiritual ways, the Eucharist is actually a deeper kind of intimacy than the marital embrace (all those analogies with Christ is the bridegroom of the Church are starting to come to mind)
  • Accidentally and totally out of your control, you have this communion and intimacy with Christ and the Church that SO will never understand is stronger than the communion and intimacy with SO

Bottom line is, my friend’s wife has felt increasingly threatened by his relationship with the Church, the more involved he got in ministry and in his faith.  Their marriage has been on the rocks for as long as I’ve known him (over 10 years).

BUT THEY ARE STILL TOGETHER AFTER 25 YEARS.  So I don’t want to scare you away.  I just want you to walk into this with your eyes wide open.

I hope everything works out for the best!  God bless.

Post # 7
5201 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

anonkitty:  DH is Catholic and I am agnostic. We talk about religion all the time. Almost 13 years together and it hasn’t caused a conflict yet. The key is just to be open and respectful of each other’s beliefs. You can state your opinions and leave it at that. It doesn’t have to turn into a debate unless you want it to.

Post # 8
64 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

MrsTywinLannister:  Perhaps the church/priest in your area was more strict than most, but Catholics are definitely allowed to marry non-Catholics, even in the Church — I’ve seen it done.

Of course, you have to be willing to agree to be open to conceiving children, and you have to agree to bring up those children in the Church.

If you don’t agree to those terms, then no, they won’t let you get married in the Church.

Otherwise, you can marry, even in the Church, they just don’t consider the union “sacramental.”

Post # 9
4757 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

anonkitty:  I think it depends on how religious you are. I know a lot of people that call themselves Catholic, but never go to church or observe any religious holidays besides the secular aspects of Christmas and Easter. Basically, they were just raised Catholic, so they call themselves Catholic. In that case, I don’t really see it as being much of a problem. If you are a devout Catholic and you go to church and pray all the time and believe that anyone who does accept Jesus is damned to hell, then I definitely see that being a problem. It also depends on how committed he is to the atheist cause. There are atheists who just don’t believe in god, but don’t really think about it on the day to day, and there are atheists who hate all religions and believe that all religious people are stupid. 

Bottom line, this is something you should discuss, especially if you are considering children in the future, as PPs have said. 

Post # 10
5895 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

tegrossheim:  It depends on how he feels about the church. If he just doesnt believe and is totally okay with your beliefs and raising your children that way, then fine. But if he has a real problem with the church’s policies regarding women, homosexuals and birth control. Or if he thinks it is silly that the Eurchrist is actully the body and blood of Christ, then you will have problems. 

How will he feel when you teach your kids that Heaven and Hell are real places? How will you feel when he teaches your kids that there is no heaven and hell and when you die, nothing happens except body decomposision? How will you feel if you get a divorce (hey, sh!t happens) and he doesnt take them to church, CCD or even actively tells them horrible things about the church or religion? 

These are the conversations you have to have now!

Post # 11
2964 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014


MrsTywinLannister:  I have plenty of friends who have married non- Catholics in the Catholic church.  It takes special dispensition to do so (which isn’t really that special, they hand it out like candy bars at Halloween) but it can be done.  You do have to still go through the counciling, and you will have to talk about the issue of the other person not being Catholic.  The not Catholic person will have to articulate why they are agreeing to get married in the Catholic church when they are not Catholic.  They also have to agree to raise the children Catholic. 

OP; There are plenty of relationships that can survive differenting views on religion.  There are equally as many that can’t.  Communication and laying our expectations are key. To find out which kind of relationship you have, you have to talk about it. 

Post # 12
3251 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Do you need him to believe in God? Does he need you to not believe in God? I have faith. My DH does not. It has never been an issue. We do not attempt to convert the other. We accept and I have the room I need to practice and he never feels obligated or coerced by me or my religion. Jesus was totally and completely non-judgemental. Christians can forget that. . .

Post # 13
8038 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Interfaith relationships can work if both parties respect each other’s beliefs. You’ll both have to compromise at some point. It’s good to talk early on about how big issues will be handled like how religion will impact childrearing. Catholicism has very particular things regarding Catholics marrying non-baptized Christians, so if you get to that point, you both will have to decide how you want to approach it. FI is Catholic, and I’m nonreligious. We’ve been successful because of compromise, love, and respect. 

Post # 14
3303 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My husband is an atheist. Though I was raised Catholic, my beliefs are more consistent with the United Church. I do not attend religious services but I do pray and believe in God. 

Our marriage works because we respect each other’s beliefs. There is no forcing our views on each other. 

If you are very religious, it will be hard to have a successful marriage if your spouse is the complete opposite. The conflicts will become more intense if you decide to have children. 

So have long discussions about your beliefs and how you will navigate the differences. 

Post # 15
748 posts
Busy bee

If it is important to you, you need to discuss it.  If you can be respectful of each other’s beliefs, you will be fine – but you won’t know this until you talk about it. I don’t suggest waiting for a situation to arise before you have that conversation.

As for us, DH is Catholic, but not a big fan of the Church, and I’m agnostic.  We actually agree on a lot of things, and I think his disillusionment with the Church is a big part of that.  If he was devout it would definitely make us less compatible.

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