Advice? (especially from married ppl)


#1

Ok, let me begin by saying that I am a pretty picky person and I know that I can be difficult to deal with.
However, in the last year I have become increasingly interested in learning, in a more in depth way, about my faith than ever before. A friend who I attend college with turned me on to a lot of Catholic reading and although I've been busy, I've been slowly chomping away. As well, I have been listening to a new Catholic radio station and this has also encouraged me to strengthen my faith in the intellectual realm. This past year, although challenging many of the faults I've let creep back into my life since going to college, has been wonderful because my Catholic IQ has increased and made me feel more myself than ever in some ways (obviously sin still prevents me from the best parts, but I'm working on that too).
My girlfriend and I are pretty seriously considering marriage and I've prayed about it a lot and I do feel the call from God to marry her, but some things have been frustrating me a bit in our relationship. I'll rank them by how much they're bothering me (granted, I'm not sure any are deal breakers, I just need some advice)
1) Although her family is much more frequent attendees of mass than mine, their theological disagreements with the Church (confession, contraception, etc.) have been too much for me at times (her mom in particular, who once told me that I would contracept in a nearly commanding voice). This frustrates me because some of their biases have rubbed off on her as questions now (questions are great, I can answer those, but let me move on first). So frustration 1 is essentially, dealing with her mom who, despite her frustrating me, I really care a lot for. She does some great things and I can see how much she loves her children and other than that situation she's never done anything directly to me to frustrate me.
2) Encouraging her to read/learn more on her own about these questions doesn't really seem to be working and I don't want to be a nag. This is pretty much tied for first, maybe even higher than number 1 but explains #1.
3) Wow, I guess they're all tied because this is pretty important to me too. I will be moving about 500 miles away at the end of the 2010-2011 school year to attend graduate school. My girlfriend and I have seriously discussed marriage and like I said, I know that I have been praying about it. However, I am concerned that she is too worried about her parents opinion and may be unwilling to challenge them if they don't like the idea of: 1. her moving away even if it's temporary 2. us getting married at 22. Like my parents, they are very business-minded people and being financially stable is probably the most important thing on their list, but when we've discussed it with my parents they've accepted that this is what we feel called to and love each other.
4) She's an introvert and although no one is closer to her as far as openness with talking (except God obviously) it is difficult for me to get some discussion on the parental situation out of her at times.
Any help will be appreciated, if I think of more info that can help I'll post it.
God bless,
B


#2

I think you would need to ponder more before entering into marriage. It sounds like it would be like marrying someone of another faith who has hostile thoughts about yours.

It is important to marry someone who believes as you do, or there will be much strife in the marriage, and that will affect your children as well.


#3

This makes me wonder if your problem is about to solve itself.

You have been given wisdom in identifying your frustrations, all of which are warning signs of problems in a marriage. That doesn’t mean that the issues are insurmountable.

My “married guy” advice is, figure out if you want to be married. No use solving problems in a relationship if you aren’t going to get married anyway.

Second, (if you both want to marry) get thee to a marriage prep class. Issues like you mention should be addressed in a class like this. Marriage prep is effective in preparing for marriage. I know people who went through it, ignored the feedback, and now regret not addressing problems when they could have been dealt with early on. Marriage prep can be a key to a successful marriage. I can say it was invaluable in my marriage.


#4

In marriage, the two cleave unto each other, and that requires a certain amount of letting go of the previous family, not in terms of love, but in terms of authority.

So a wife once married submits to her husband, no longer to her parents.

And a husband becomes the head of the family, no longer under his own parents’ authority.

It sounds to me like maybe your girlfriend is not yet ready to marry with all that marriage entails. And that is ok.

OTOH, I have warned my children of getting too closely involved when one of the two people is not ready to commit to marriage (either financially, emotionally, or otherwise). It is not good to give what one should reserve for one’s spouse to another, and this is a temptation in a too-close relationship with someone not yet ready to commit to marriage (and altho sexual activity is included in that, there are also other relationship aspects to consider).

It also sounds like if/when you two marry, you would have in-law problems. We had them with my parents–I had to simply tell my mother right out that I was married to my husband and she could not criticize him to me, for example.

And the issue of abc and probably also of children would need to be resolved between you and her as well. Not good to get married when there is any obstacle–love will *not *change the other person, and this is a serious obstacle in a marriage!


#5

Continue to pray, maybe pray a special novena to St Joseph who is a model husband. Continue to take care of yourself, ie graduate school etc. Personally I’m a firm believer that all will be revealed. Only you and God can figure out what to compromise on. And my personal experience is on important issues seek the advice of 3 people you trust, admire and who stay close to God. Much more than that and I have too many opinions and am confused. God will guide you. Don’t be afraid. Love is a beautiful thing. In laws? Well that’s why there are jokes about them!! Also if you have a good rapport with a priest you like, chat with him. God Bless. Relax. Enjoy.


#6

All of these are indicators of trouble ahead if you marry this girl.

Her mother is domineering and she is submissive. The fact that you are already having trouble with the mother means it will only get worse. You may like her, but interfering will destroy a marriage. If your girlfriend isn’t willing to tell he to butt out now, it won’t get better.

Also, the fact that she’s not interested in the faith is another red flag. You can’t force someone else to have faith or to want to grow in holiness. You are on the path, and she isn’t.

Find someone on the SAME path as you with regard to belief, practice, and virtue in the faith. Marriage is hard, even when you are 100% on the same page. I can’t imagine what it would be like if DH and I were not. Unbearable.


#7

[quote="PaschalCatholic, post:1, topic:197287"]
Ok, let me begin by saying that I am a pretty picky person and I know that I can be difficult to deal with.
However, in the last year I have become increasingly interested in learning, in a more in depth way, about my faith than ever before. A friend who I attend college with turned me on to a lot of Catholic reading and although I've been busy, I've been slowly chomping away. As well, I have been listening to a new Catholic radio station and this has also encouraged me to strengthen my faith in the intellectual realm. This past year, although challenging many of the faults I've let creep back into my life since going to college, has been wonderful because my Catholic IQ has increased and made me feel more myself than ever in some ways (obviously sin still prevents me from the best parts, but I'm working on that too).
My girlfriend and I are pretty seriously considering marriage and I've prayed about it a lot and I do feel the call from God to marry her, but some things have been frustrating me a bit in our relationship. I'll rank them by how much they're bothering me (granted, I'm not sure any are deal breakers, I just need some advice)
1) Although her family is much more frequent attendees of mass than mine, their theological disagreements with the Church (confession, contraception, etc.) have been too much for me at times (her mom in particular, who once told me that I would contracept in a nearly commanding voice). This frustrates me because some of their biases have rubbed off on her as questions now (questions are great, I can answer those, but let me move on first). So frustration 1 is essentially, dealing with her mom who, despite her frustrating me, I really care a lot for. She does some great things and I can see how much she loves her children and other than that situation she's never done anything directly to me to frustrate me.
2) Encouraging her to read/learn more on her own about these questions doesn't really seem to be working and I don't want to be a nag. This is pretty much tied for first, maybe even higher than number 1 but explains #1.
3) Wow, I guess they're all tied because this is pretty important to me too. I will be moving about 500 miles away at the end of the 2010-2011 school year to attend graduate school. My girlfriend and I have seriously discussed marriage and like I said, I know that I have been praying about it. However, I am concerned that she is too worried about her parents opinion and may be unwilling to challenge them if they don't like the idea of: 1. her moving away even if it's temporary 2. us getting married at 22. Like my parents, they are very business-minded people and being financially stable is probably the most important thing on their list, but when we've discussed it with my parents they've accepted that this is what we feel called to and love each other.
4) She's an introvert and although no one is closer to her as far as openness with talking (except God obviously) it is difficult for me to get some discussion on the parental situation out of her at times.
Any help will be appreciated, if I think of more info that can help I'll post it.
God bless,
B

[/quote]

You admit you are picky and can be difficult to deal with, which likely contributes to the situation. She may balance your personality by having the type of personality that strongly prefers to avoid conflict. There's no need to seek out unneccesary conflicts, but not all situations can peacefully co-exist.

Regarding contraception and her parents: Perhaps they used contraception to plan their own pregnancies, but they don't get to plan grandparenthood. That's between God, their daughter and whomever their daughter marries. They might push or try to influence their daughter to make similar choices, but ultimately she's an adult now.

Make it clear *before *you get engaged that you plan to follow the Church teachings and ask her to agree to that. You don't have to convince this young woman that the Church is right to condemn artificial contraception, but she should respect and agree to follow your "choice" not to bring contraception into the marriage. If she has a problem with following the Church teachings, then she's not the woman for you.

If she doesn't want to marry you at this point because her parents object or because she plans to use contraception, then she's not ready to marry you. Don't push it or you may live to regret it. If she agrees to marry you under those conditions and over the objection of her parents, then she's not as influenced by them as you fear.


#8

I disagree with this advice.

A promise made is not a promise kept. If she doesn’t believe it in her heart, there may come a time when she goes back on this promise. We see **post after post **on this forum where a spouse promised to raise the children catholic, use NFP, etc, while they did not embrace or accept the Church’s teaching only to change their mind later in the marriage and reject what they had promised.

You cannot MAKE someone believe what you believe, and trying to elicit a promise when they know to state otherwise would mean breaking up can sometimes yield a false promise.

It’s not something I would bank on, personally. I would only marry someone who embraces Church teaching wholeheartedly and wants to practice the faith out of love and devotion to God, not for any other reason.


#9

Too much info missing.
Do you passionately love this girl? Can you live without her? What are your feelings?
I would certainly give this relationship a lot of thought before going any further.


#10

You’re right he can’t bank on this promise. However, we’ve also seen some posts from people who did agree with the Church teachings until they encountered some difficulty (health, unplanned pregnancy, challenges of parenting, etc., etc…) who then question what they once believed. Following what we believe is not always easy.

I also agree with you that we can’t make someone believe what we believe. That might be part of this gentleman’s troubles. He’s trying to make her believe, and it might be pushing her further away from following the Catholic teachings. He wrote he’s newer to this interest in the faith. I suspect that if he learns to lead by example of faith instead of trying to argue his way intellectually, she will likely grow in her faith too.

Life is easier for serious Catholics if they marry someone who follows the Church teachings–even if the other person doesn’t completely understand or agree with them–rather than married to someone who believes them but refuses to follow them. Ideally, it’s best to both believe and follow, but that doesn’t always happen overnight. Sometimes people need to believe before they follow; other times the heart follows the feet.

He stated he feels called by God to marry this woman, and some ot the things that he wrote make me think they may compliment each other nicely. No guarantees and no promise that there won’t be times of conflict. There will be. We observe these types of conflicts as people share them on the internet, but we rarely know how they resolve over time. If he marries this woman and grows in holiness as her husband, I strongly suspect that she will grow in holiness as his wife. She sounds like she has the personality of a follower, and he might lead her to a fuller relationship in following Christ.


#11

Old married person’s advice to you - WAIT. There’s too much up in the air here for you to make a binding decision about your future together. Marriage is permanent, so you want to have confidence going into it that you simply don’t have yet.

See how it goes when you go to grad school. Rushing to marry before you leave would, in my opinion, be a terrible mistake. If you’re truly called to marry her, the physical separation will not pull you apart. If it’s not God’s will for you to marry her, being away will help you look at things with a clearer head.

Twenty-two is pretty young to get married, especially when you have questions about the relationship. A good marriage is worth waiting for. A bad marriage can be hell on earth, and divorce is not much better.

WAIT.

Betsy


#12

[quote="PaschalCatholic, post:1, topic:197287"]
. . . their theological disagreements with the Church (confession, . .. .
B

[/quote]

They don't believe in confession? Can you elaborate? That could very well be a deal-breaker right there!


#13

[quote="spirit4life, post:12, topic:197287"]
They don't believe in confession? Can you elaborate? That could very well be a deal-breaker right there!

[/quote]

They don't go and I wouldn't say they totally disagree with it, but on the same note do not seek to learn more.
She on the other hand does believe in confession, but I think she struggles with this breaking away from the views of her parents because she wants so much to please them.

I also want to thank all of you for the advice, but after praying the rosary yesterday, reflecting before the bible study I lead last night and then discussing some topics involved in this situation and then again reflecting, I feel like God really gave me the advice I was looking for.
I have a friend at the bible study who deals with the same frustrations about people not desiring to learn more (to clarify for some of the earlier posters, yes she does desire for holiness, it's just she isn't interested in doing the reading to answer the whys in the church). My friend's frustrations are a little larger and her response more harsh and I think God used the advice I gave her to give me some clarity and perspective. She is in the process of converting (my friend) and I challenged her with her frustrations because the topic for the night was last sunday's gospel (Jn 13:31-35). I said to her essentially, how are you using the gift that God has given you, i.e. knowledge and a thirst for more, to love others and minister to them. Reflecting on that last night and this morning while running at the rec, I realized that God is asking me that exact question, How am I being patient with her as she grows AT HER OWN PACE? How am I ministering to a family that needs God's love and mercy just as much as I do? How am I loving?
And you know what God told me?
I'm not.
I learned more about the Paschal Mystery in the last 24 hours and I need to live it out more.
To one of the earlier posters, YES I love this girl passionately, and I know that this is the girl to marry. But now I realize that although there are frustrating situations regarding her family, there are many more in my own heart. As far as her being willing to stand up to them when push comes to shove, I need to trust that when she tells me she will, that she will follow through, after all, love hopes all things and believes all things does it not?
Thanks again for the advice people and I really enjoyed most of what everyone said, but nothing can compare to what God gave me since writing the first post, peace. If you guys have any further questions I don't mind answering, but I think this one is answered for me.
God bless,
B


#14

Being open to life is very, very important. Your marriage WILL suffer if both of you are not on the same page with that. I am a convert and I can tell you...this is #1 problem with us. (I've always wanted to be open to life even before converting) I caved and had a tubal. It is a cross that I carry for my marriage.


#15

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