Post # 1
My Fiance and I had a discussion today about my difficulty finding psalms for the wedding, and we started talking more generally about faith and religion in our relationship.
I said that it was important to me that he understand that it’s kind of a sacrifice for me to be with someone who I can’t share my faith with, but it’s a sacrifice that I gladly make because he’s the one I want to be with. He might have been kind of hurt or upset by that because his first reaction was that he wished I’d have said that 4 years ago. Then he said, well, I should realize that it’s a sacrifice for him to raise our kids Catholic, as he has promised we will do, but he’ll do it because it’s important to me.
My most important question is: Is it ok for us to feel this way about each other and about my religion? I don’t know, it’s a week to go and maybe it’s just stress. It was not an argument, no heated words. He’s not very open to talking much about faith or religion at all, nor does he know much about it. I think that bothers me more than him not coming to church with me.
Post # 3
i was raised catholic, and fi was not… however both of our extended families are devout catholics…. anyways….. i can see where your coming from. i think it is normal to feel the way you do. you are both sacraficing for one another and thats what marriage is about. i wouldnt get too stressed about it… i know you feel like you are not sharing your faith, but you are… little by little he will learn more and more about it. the most important thing is to not be too pushy… and it sounds like u arent so dont worry!
Post # 4
This is a big deal for me. I actually converted to Catholicism from being protestant. Fiance is Catholic. I think you two should be on the same page going into your marriage.
Post # 5
My fiance is from a Catholic family, and my family is all Muslim. We don’t care. “Technically” we’re not supposed to be marrying each other anyway. I’d rather be happy with the person I love than subscribe to a tradition. Then again, neither of us is very religious, and neither of our families has given us any pushback. I think if/when we have kids we’ll expose them to both traditions and let them figure it out for themselves.
If this is important to you, then maybe you should reconsider the relationship? I don’t know you guys but I’m guessing that’s not what you want to do. I think you have to be 100% OK with the way he is, because it most likely won’t change. :/ I don’t think it would be fair for you to expect him to change either.
I think he has a valid point about the sacrifices, though. It’s really nice of him to let your kids be raised in the Catholic tradition because it’s important to you.
Post # 6
If “marriage is all about compromise”, you two are a soon-to-be successful manifestation of that phrase. Add another cliche, “love is blind”, and you have a classic interfaith household. There’s nothing wrong with two people being together who do not share the same religious views or affiliation, as long as there is some level of understanding.
There is no reason for him to attend services with you if he does not believe, just as his personal beliefs should not stop you from practicing. By marrying you have agreed to compromise on everything, including if/when you have children and how you will raise them.
It’s healthy to talk about it, that’s how people grow. Has he opened your eyes to aspects of your beliefs you never questioned? Has he become better at accepting you as a believer? Time and honesty will see you through it.
Post # 7
This is such a personal thing, but it is also so common. I think that as long as you communicate openly, honestly about it, then you will always be on the right track. I am Catholic and of my family and friends we have so many interfaith marriages as well as marriages between religious and nonreligious. My Fiance sounds alot like yours in that respect, too–not only is he nonreligious, but he did not grow up practicing and so is even openly uncomfortable with many aspects of religion. So I practice on my own and with family/friends–we are open in communicating about it and being respectful of each other. @BostonBaby is right, different perspectives on faith in a relationship help you discover more about your own beliefs as well.
I have a friend who is very devout and could not imagine spending her life with anyone who is not Catholic. Her sister is also very devout but couldn’t care less what her SO practiced. My point is, sharing your faith with an SO is a personal decision and if you feel OK about it, then that’s all that matters! That said, it is important to talk about such an important thing, and it sounds like that is just what you and your Fiance were doing.
Post # 8
I think it comes down to what you two can live with. I would not have even considered dating someone who’s views differed from my own (I am an athiest, and a scientist, and luckily live in a place full of athiest liberal people!). That was a no-go zone for me. But, your fiance still dated you, is still agreeing to marry you. So this is obviously less of an issue between you guys. If you can truly be ok with him not being Catholic, and any “afterlife” ramifications you believe that may or may not have (among other issues of course), then I think it is fine.
Post # 9
Hmm..I dunno. It all depends on how important your faith is to you…
I can only speak for me personally. My faith is everything to me. It is the reason that I am here on this earth; there is nothing bigger…and it is not something I could sacrifice for anyone else. My fiancé is also a believer, and knowing that we could share it and grow together was a dealbreaker (or, rather, dealmaker ) for me.
But it all depends on how strongly you feel…I hope that makes sense.
Post # 10
“Sacrifice” is a strong word and I understand why you both reacted strongly to it. You are compromising, but about something really important. You might want to spend some time talking with a priest or another interfaith couple to help you work out expectations – particularly for when you have children.
Post # 11
Does he have a faith? Is he a Christian, but not Catholic? Would he be open to going to church with you, or is he opposed? When you have children, will he attend mass? Just things to think about.
It’s a tough position. I dated a protestant for a while and I knew part of the reason it wouldn’t work is I didn’t want my kids to feel like their faith was divided between 2 churches.
But just remember, as a Catholic, you are called to love people as Christ loved them, and that is something you can do for your fiance, regardless of his beliefs.
Post # 12
I think he has a very valid point. You are sacrificing, but he is too. You didn’t give us many details on how he feels and if he believes in something, or is agnostic or atheistic, but you can imagine he’s probably going through something very similar to what you are. It’s hard to love someone so much, but not see eye to eye on such important matters. I would encourage that you sit down and have a more in-depth discussion with him as this is such an important issue.
Post # 13
He calls himself Deist. He does not practice any faith and his first reactions about religion seem to be negative (though maybe I’m looking for that). He sees believers as blind followers, though when pressed he says he’s not talking about me or my family. I think he had some bad experiences with religious people trying to change and convert him and now he kind of thinks all religious people are kind of like that.
We agreed a long time ago that our kids would be raised Catholic, because that was a dealbreaker for me, and he promised that when our kids are old enough to start forming memories, he’ll go to church with us as a family every week. I anticipate occasional grumbling with this, but I think he’ll be ok with it in the long run.
As far as how important my faith is to me–well, I’ve had some times in my life where I felt really close to God and some times where I didn’t. I attended Catholic schools through high school and probably felt closest to God and the church then. I’ve always been a regular churchgoer, even though I usually go alone. There are some things in the church that I don’t agree with and some things that I don’t like. I feel kind of conflicted about it sometimes.
I never saw his not being Catholic as a dealbreaker, and I don’t think it’s right to make someone convert. I would really like to have more talks with him about spirituality and epistemology, but those subjects really turn him off.
Does this change what you think about my situation? I agree, it is a fine line, and everyone has to draw it for themselves, after reflection.
Post # 14
@marjojo: it sounds to me like you have good instincts with the situation. I’m impressed that he’s agreeing to go to church with you all as a family – my dad’s an atheist and refused except for when I got confirmed, etc.
I can only give you advice from my POV, and that of an atheist is obviously going to be different than that of a deist: just continue to be respectful as you have been. I know it’s hard to listen to the criticisms of organized religion, and I’m sure he doesn’t want to bring it up, because it’s a hard subject to broach since it is so dear to people who believe. I won’t talk about it with my extended family, two of whom are pastors. I just don’t want to hurt them, but I still feel very strongly about what I believe, you know?
Right now, I think you just need to be realistic with yourself. Maybe one day something will change his mind. But it’s just as likely that he’ll feel the same way down the road, and (IMO) it would make things a lot better for him if you’d take some time to learn more about what he believes with an open mind, etc. There are plenty of very successful interfaith marriages out there (my parents included) and I really do believe that accepting and respecting the other person is key.
Post # 15
I agree with fitzly. It doesn’t feel very good to know that the person you love is being forced to give up some kind of dream or goal to be with you. I’m not sure what you hoped to accomplish by saying that to him.
My fiance is very religious and I am not. This was something we talked about right away, and our compromise was that I would not convert but we would raise our children Catholic. Niether of us felt like we were making a sacrifice because we both got to spend the rest of our lives with someone amazing, kind, and loving.
I agree with some of the others that if you feel this way, you really should seek some premarital counseling. Good luck!
Post # 16
It sounds as though you simply have different views about the philosophy of religion. He may not be interested in discussing spirituality and epistemology simply because it doesn’t interest him and isn’t relevant to his own life. Yes, it would be nice to sit down and have deep, meaningful discussions about these things, but that’s hard to do when only one of you holds an opinion.
I think you’re right to give considerable thought to questions of religion, given its importance in your life. My experience is rather different from yours, so I don’t have much in the way of sound advice to offer. But I do come from an interfaith household, and yes, my parents both had to compromise. As long as there are no personal attacks and you both make an effort to understand, I think only good will come of it.