- 5 years ago
- Wedding: July 2016
I have been browsing Wedding Bee for a couple months now, but I finally have a pressing issue that compelled me to join. I need some unbiased advice, as I am really struggling right now.
My (now) husband and I met at my brother’s wedding two years ago, and it was essentially love at first sight. The wedding was in Portland, Oregon and I’m originally from Canada. We began a long distance relationship after a wonderful, romantic weekend of getting to know each other. A bit about the wedding: my sister-in-law is strongly Catholic. My brother was raised Catholic for some time, before he decided it wasn’t for him. My mum supported him and my other brother in their decision, and she has since also left the Catholic faith and instead become a born again Christian. I was a bridesmaid at my brother’s wedding, but because it was the full shebang (Mass, communion, etc), I was unable to partake in much of it. So K (husband) evidently knew I was not Catholic from the moment we met.
K was born and raised Catholic. His family is Polish and their Catholic faith is strong. His older sister married another Catholic, in the church, etc. K himself has said he considers himself a Catholic, but has never felt any desire to really practice. He is just a Catholic because his family is. His parents are very serious about their faith, especially his mother. She believes her kids straying from the church or partaking in anything un-Catholic is a sin and failing on her part.
I was born and raised in an Evangelical missionary church. I have not been baptized. My mother had me “dedicated” but she believed the choice to be baptized was ultimately up to me. In high school I started to stray from the church. I had gone to private school up until the end of grade 9, and being in a public school setting was new to me. I began drinking with friends, dating, and eventually slept with my long-term boyfriend. I have since not returned to any one church. I believe my faith is more important above all. I have a relationship with Jesus, but it does not necessarily fall under any denomination. This is how I choose to practice. I believe one day I will be baptized, but it is not a requirement for my belief in Jesus and our relationship.
As K and I became more serious, we started talking weddings. I knew a Catholic wedding was important to his family, and I said I would consider it. However, I was not fully aware of all the conditions and rules. Nothing was ever promised; it was simply something I said I would consider.
Last February K proposed and I obviously accepted. Because I was from Canada, we had to start thinking about immigration. I had already known from the start that I would move down to be with him. We applied for a K1 Visa, a fiancée visa. The terms of this visa were that we were to be married within 90 days of my arrival in the States. We married at a JOP in October 2014. We had always planned to have another more formal ceremony and reception with our friends and extended families (parents and siblings were at the JOP with us).
We have started planning our second “Wedding” and the issue of what faith to have the ceremony has come up. Now, K has never stressed that a Catholic wedding is particularly important to him. I started looking into our options. What we both had no idea about was all the requirements. ee are legally already married, and I know that is frowned upon. As we are not married in the eyes of the Catholic Church, is living together and sleeping together is a sin. We plan to have an outdoor wedding; also generally a no-no. I am not comfortable baptizing my kids as infants. I have said I am willing to attend both a Catholic Church and some form of Christian church (likely Evangelical or non-denominational), and when the time comes, our children can establish their own faith and decide to be baptized. I am not comfortable with assuming just because they are baptized as infants, they are automatically a follower of Christ. I believe God spares all children, should they pass on, until they are of an age thag they can make an informed decision in their beliefs.
I was willing to compromise in having both a priest and a pastor of my choice at our wedding, if we were able to get around all the Catholic loopholes. I don’t know the correct terms, but you can request permission to marry a non-Catholic, marry outside, blah blah.
However, now it has come up that K’s parents would not come to the wedding unless it was Catholic. They also told us it is not a marriage in their eyes if we do not marry Catholic. Even if we still promise in front of God with a Christian pastor, it is not legitimate. I have never been so insulted. They have even tried to blackmail K with his mother’s health (she has Lupas, although it is under control now).
I am now struggling because I cannot stand for a religion that says you can’t attend your son’s wedding to the woman he chose to spend his life with, if it’s not Catholic. I cannot stand for a religion that shames me because I am not Catholic. My faith is just as strong as theirs, regardless of which classification of Christianity I am. What hurts is that our love is not enough for them. I believe whether we have a wedding in a church or outside in a field, whether it’s Catholic or Christian or none of the above, God will be there to witness our devotion to one another. For someone to claim they follow a God of love and no judgement, but tell me their love has conditions, does not sit well with me.
K is stuck in the middle. He flip flops back and forth. One day having a Catholic specific wedding is not important, because he’s unsure of his faith. The next, a Catholic wedding is important to him, but he can’t explain why, other than “it’s what I’m supposed to do”. I believe his feelings are coming from the guilt he is receiving from his parents. The Polish culture holds family above everything, and the kids are raised to respect their parents beyond anything. I am all for respecting your parents, but if my mum was to say “I’m not coming to your wedding because it’s not Christian,” I would tell her she isn’t welcome. It shouldn’t be about anyone else. It is OUR day.
I feel as though I’m in a losing battle. I can suck it up and have a wedding I’m not comfortable with, based on lies and deceit, just to say we were married Catholic. Or I can have my husband disappointed that his family has rejected me and our marriage, and possibly resent me for it in the future. Or what I’ve said now, I don’t want to have another wedding. If this is what it has come down to, why? In my mind and heart, we are already married. God knows I have promised to love my husband forever. Would they rather us have no wedding at all than a Christian wedding? Which, technically speaking, the Catholic falls under anyways. Many girls dream about their wedding from a young age. I was never one of those girls until I met K. I want to have a big celebration of love, with all the important people in our lives. But now this seems futile. K doesn’t know what to believe. He understands my disagreements with Catholicism (some areas, not all) and why I feel that way. He says he agrees, but he still feels compelled to have a Catholic wedding and please his parents.
I am broken up that it has come to this. We can have a wedding that his family wants, in which I, the bride, my friends, and family will be uncomfortable with. We can have a Christian wedding which I think K would be willing to do if he knew more about it. Or we can have no wedding at all.
K is not strong in his faith, and has not been since before we met. He doesn’t know what to believe anymore. He knows there is a God and a heaven and he’ll, but beyond that he is lost. I think he knows deep down what he wants, but because of his parents, he is shying away and putting it off.
Does anyone one have any advice or wisdom to offer? I feel as though I’m not being unreasonable. I never promised a Catholic wedding, and I believe my discomforts with Catholicism and how they view marriage are justified. The Christian church is not going to tell us we’re not married because it was Catholic, per se, but the Catholic Church will not recognize our Christian wedding. I cannot stand by a religion that teaches that. Maybe I’m completely unreasonable and that’s what I’m here to know.
Please feel free to be honest, but constructive. Don’t be rude or take any offense to what I’ve said. I need advice on how to approach this and carry on with our wedding plans. I am so frustrated and hurt that I’m no longer excited for something that was once so important to me. Am I being unreasonable? Where do I compromise? Thank you for reading and I look forward to seeing your responses.
PS. We are paying for the wedding ourselves. My mother has been a single mother my whole life, and she is unable to help. K’s parents have said they want to help, although I’m sure that offer is void now. We decided early on we wanted to pay for it ourselves, so anyone pulling their money if we don’t marry one way isn’t the issue.
- This topic was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by laceyecross.