(Closed) Very random question

posted 9 years ago in Catholic
Post # 3
1336 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

Have you heard of Engaged Encounter?  It is Catholic, but the nice thing is that it brings up this dilemma for many couples.  We recently went and when we were all asked for feedback, those couples where an individual was not Catholic, it seemed to really have helped that person understand the other.   Since the retreat does not seem to push Catholicism too much, at least in our experience, it is a safe place of discussion of how your love is also spiritual.  I believe they have a national website, and I am sure your priest would recommend it as well.   

Post # 4
873 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I don’t know if this is helpful to you, but this is our story. 

I’m not in exactly the same situation, but I’m a practicing Orthodox Christian and Fiance is a lapsed Catholic who goes to church 2 or 3 times a year.  We are having a very small Orthodox wedding apart from our 2 major ceremonies because of this fact.  Some people think this is a ‘dangerous’ relationship because he’s not Orthodox or practicing.  However, he really supports me in my faith.  If I don’t go to church, he yells at me (in a cute way!) because he knows that it is important to me.  We both love to go to pilgrimage sites (Christian/Buddhist/Shaman whatever), and we share the same values, the same beliefs about family, marriage, fidelity, charity, etc.  The way I see it, I could find a practicing Orthodox man, but would I love him?  Would he be the person for me?  And just because he goes to the same church doesn’t mean that he is in fact a good moral man.  I’ve known a lot of people who carried the title but were very immoral people. 

We support and love each other for who we are, and are comfortable with the different roles religion plays in our lives. (For the record, we are also a biracial/bicultural/bilingual couple, so I think this is just one more difference we have to negotiate).  I think if you feel that your SO fulfils you, and tries to help you be the best person you can be (in your religious life, your emotional life, your career life etc), then there is no contradiction.  

Post # 5
208 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

My Fiance and I were both raised in the Catholic faith, but left the church in our teens. We now both identify as Atheists (Secular Humanists) and though we do not belive in organized religion, or the concept of “God”, we both share deep connections to our world and the people in it.

Even though your fiancee identifies as a non-beliver, he still has a belief system on how the world works and his place in it. For him, this may be science, Humanism, Natralism, etc. Discuss this with him. Perhapes you could draw both of your belief systems into the ceramony.  You may find that much of what he belives as a non-beliver is similer (in symbolism) to your Catholic faith. 

I’m sure that as a person of faith, it is difficult for you to have a marriage that may not be considered a “sacrement”, but this is a path that you are choosing.  With a little work, and a little thinking outside-the-box, I’m sure you will be able to reconsile these disconnects.  Just remember to honor both of your belief systems, as they are both very important.  Best of luck to you! 

Post # 6
2004 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2008

I agree that going to a marriage preparation program like Engaged Encounter or Three to Get Married would be a great way to address these questions. I attended the latter program and there were lots of people there who were non-Catholics marrying Catholics. They teach you how to talk about these issues without getting upset and really ask lots of good questions.

That said, the other thing I would focus on is what values you share. For example, a person could believe in helping the poor, doing good in society, the intrinsic worth of all people, and so forth, and still not believe in God. Likewise, some people who profess to believe in God treat other people very poorly. What values do you share?

Post # 7
2030 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

I am surprised to learn that the Catholic church would not view this marriage as a sacrament. My husband and I are both Presbyterian and very religious, so this was not an issue for us, but it still seems surprising that you would be denied a sacrament because of your husband’s beliefs. (not judging at all, just surprised)

I know that in my religious experience I was taught that marriage is also a gift from God and that it allows us to glimpse the depth of God’s love for us by seeing that in our spouse. So perhaps if you can’t enjoy the sacrament you could focus on receiving the gift of God’s love. Maybe it would also help to talk to a trusted priest about this – I’m sure you’re not the first person to be in this position and they are probably well trained to help.

Post # 9
399 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

@FlygirlJ – I totally know where you are coming from regarding the Fiance not really enjoying taking about “deep issues”.  My husband is the same way!  Sigh.

Regarding the religion/non-religion thing, my dad is an ordained Prebyterian minister, and my mom is not religious at all.  They have been married for over 40 years, so there are ways to work it out.

Post # 10
950 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I apologize for the length, but I think I read a deeper meaning in your post…forgive me for the length or if I over step. (Short version: if the Church is important to you, Engaged Encounter will give you and Fiance the kind of environment to explore each of your opinions on deep issues – which is important in ANY marriage, regardless of faith)

Flygirl, I think, before clarifying issues with having a non-believer as a Fiance or husband (which is my EXACT situation), it’s important for YOU to decide how important your faith is to YOU.  If you’re a C& E Catholic (one who goes 2-3 times a year, around Christmas & Easter) & getting married in the church is not that important to you, then the discrepancy between you & Fiance is not that wide.  If, however, you mean by “good Catholic” that you are practicing regularly (taking communion more often in the month than not), that you want to follow most (if not all) the teachings & practices of the church, & that a Catholic sanctified marriage is important to you, then this is definitely something to reflect on.

I only ask for this clarification because I was in a VERY similar situation as you.  I’m a cradle Catholic, but lapsed for a few years after college because I didn’t find a parish that I fit into.  For those years, my faith, while important, was not practiced as frequently & wasn’t an issue between me & my non-believing Fiance (he also wasn’t brought up in a faith & isn’t sure of his belief in God – an agnostic, NOT an Atheist (nothing personal against Atheists) – which is a BIG distinction in the Church, if being part of the Church is important to you).  However, as soon as I found my parish, I began practicing very frequently & thoroughly…leading to my better understanding of many of the beliefs in the Church that I previously didn’t agree with (like contraception & the importance of marriage). 

Which leads to the next question – one you and Fiance should answer together: How much does your Fiance support you in your faith?  How much support do you, as a Catholic, feel you need/want to have from your future spouse (regardless if that person is your FI)?  This is the kind of question that Engaged Encounter will give you the space & nurturing environment to pose & answer.  I feel that I am VERY lucky that my Fiance supports the fact that I want to practice my faith (“rule” 1 for the Church to marry you),  is willing & actually content to raise any future children in the faith (“rule” 2), promises to follow through with his support & Catholic raising of our children even if I am incopacitated or unable to do so “rule” 3).  Once my Fiance realized how important my faith is to me, he was VERY supportive, even frequently joining me at mass & taking NFP classes in preparation for postponing pregnancy in a practice acceptable to the Church.  Now, most parishes don’t require that extent of commitment from non-believers; my Fiance just ROCKS!  Your Fiance should only do that which he is comfortable with.  Essentially, the Church just wants to make sure that YOU and any kids you may have will have the support you need from a non-believing spouse to live your faith. 

Sorry for the length…I hope it helps.  Just wanted to show you that you’re not alone; that FIs who are non-believers can still get married in the Church.  While your Fiance might not be comfortable with discussing “deep issues”, I hear from all the married couples I know, that marriage – solid marriages – are all about making decisions about “deep issues”.  Since he loves, he’s bound to be willing to discuss things that are important to you.  My guess is that you just need to let him know that it IS important to you.

Good Luck!

Post # 11
10 posts
  • Wedding: June 2010

I just went to Engagement Encounter this weekend, and it was amazing! My fiance and I had no idea what to expect before going, but it was awesome! They focus on you and your fiance as a couple, and they are there to help your marriage grow not to convert your religious beliefs. I totally reccommend it for anyone!

Post # 12
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

If your fiance’ has ever been baptised, than the marriage would be considered sacramental.  If not, than no it would be considered a natural marriage.  Please note that you marry each other and thus would be conferring the sacrament together.  The priest does not marry you.  He gives witness to the marriage on behalf of the Church and the State.  As such, if one party has not been baptised, that person cannot be an administer of another sacrament.  That said, if he ever did become baptised, your marriage would automatically become sacramental.  You would not need to go through the ceremony again.

In regards to advice on relationships, I think its best to ask couple who’ve been married a long time.  If your deanery or diocese has a good marriage prep program, you may be given the opportunity to speak to such couples.  The best parishes will actually assign you a couple to help form  you, but doing that takes a lot of willing volunteers, and many parishes just aren’t able to get the volunteers to pull that off.

But if you insist on my experience, here goes:

My recommendation is to pray and be really sure this is what God wants of you.  Remember that our primary vocation is to love and serve God, our specific vocations (marriage, religious life) are expressions of our primary vocation. Whatever our vocation, our aim in getting married or joining religious life should be out of obedience to a call God has given us.  He directs us on a path that ultimately leads to Him.  If your Fiance (and I’m not saying he is) is leading you away from God, than I’d seriously question whether God is calling you to marry this individual.  But I say only question. The answer may come immediately to you that for whatever reason, God is using this non-believer to bring you closer to Him, and perhaps to lead you Fiance a bit closer to Him as well.   Just be sure to be honest with yourself.

But for me, many years ago when I was considering marrying a non Catholic, I came to a point where I realized that I had created an idol out of him.  I looked at romantic love as if it were supreme, as if there were no greater love than to fall in love.  And I truly at the time believed that God had brought him into my life as an answer to a prayer.  But I came to realize that there were longings in my heart that I had thought were supposed to be fulfilled by a man that ultimately were designed to be filled with God’s love.  God calls us to love Him with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength.  We are to love Him above even our spouses and our children, and to love them and all others out of our love for Him.

I realized that in basing my need for divine love in human love, we were like to cups full of water constantly pouring our contents into each other, but while there were period of my glass being full, his glass was always empty when mine was full.  Whereas when you have a God centered relationship, God is like this stream of love constantly pouring into you and your relationship.  Whatever you pour to the other person or to others is not primarily filled up by their return, but by God constantly refreshing you. 

As such, we obviously didn’t get married.  Our break up was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through, but I’m happy with the path God has ultimately taken me on.  I remained single for years and am now marrying devout Catholic who I love dearly and am so thankful I have the chance to marry.

As such, love God first above all.  Make sure you are seeking His guidence in your relationship as much as you can and go wherever He leads you.  I cannot tell you what that path is.  At least for me, God had a different path than I had thought He’d prepared for me.  Pray, and don’t be afraid.  God’s plan is always greater than we could ever plan for ourself.

Post # 13
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

There’s a lot of great info… so I’ll be brief….

… another consideration needs to be not only now, but in the future.  What do you expect of your family unit when kids are involved?

As for the scientist thing, not all hope is lost.  Did you know the Catholic Church is actually one of the leading “faiths” to explore the sciences?

My priest told a story the other week in the homily…. and after some googling found it 🙂

<pre style=”color: black; background-image: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; -webkit-background-clip: initial; -webkit-background-origin: initial; background-color: #fff2d7; font-family: monospace; width: auto; background-position: initial initial; border: initial solid #f9dfad;”>Over a hundred years ago a university student found himself seated in

a train by the side of a person who seemed to be well-to do peasant.

He was praying the rosary and moving the beads in his fingers.

“Sir, do you still believe in such outdated things?” asked the student

of the old man.”

“Yes, I do. Do you not?” asked the man.

The student burst out into a laughter and said, “I do not believe in

such silly things. Take my advice. Throw the rosary out through this

window, and learn what science has to say about it”.

“Science? I do not understand this science? Perhaps you can explain it

to me.”, the man said humbly with some tears in his eyes.

The student saw that the man was deeply moved. So to avoid further

hurting the feelings of the man, he said:

“Please give me your address and I will send you some literature to

help you on the matter.”

The man fumbled in the inside pocket of his coat and gave the boy his

visiting card. On glancing at the card, the student, lowered his head

in shame and became silent. On the card he read:

“Louis Pasteur, Director of the Institute of Scientific Research,


Louis Pasteur died clutching to a crucifix and was originally buried in I think Notre Dame. He’s not alone however. here;s a short list


Post # 14
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

@ Flygirl J –

“How do you cope with a significant other that is a non-believer, and any advice on how I should feel about the wedding”

-The best way to approach this is that GOD has brought you two together for a reason.  Maybe it’s HIS way of using you to help draw your fiance closer to GOD.  This is a very dfficult situation, but you should stand firm on your beliefs and be the spiritual leader to your family, bringing them to the fullness of the faith.

“I know that in the Catholic church this would not be considered a sacrimental marriage, which really bugs me, but I believe that God had a plan for me to meet this man and marry him.”

-Actually, if you are married in a Catholic Church, it is a Sacramental marriage. You are marrying one another in the presence of GOD as your witness.  Hence, you will receive the blessings, BUT, you and your husband must also agree to raise your children up with a Catholic upbringing (teachings, morals, values… not just some of them… but ALL of them).



Post # 15
646 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Flygirl, my response is a quote from John Lennon’s song: 

“It’s easy:

All you need is love. 

All you need is love. 

All you need is love, love. 

Love is all you need.”


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