Advice on relationships needed - help!


#1

I am hoping that I can get some good solid advice here from others that share my faith. I have a great dilemma... two men have approached me with offers of marriage (NOT formal proposals yet but they have both stated that it is their intention to do so).

My question is... how important is faith prior to marriage?

My current boyfriend is amazing, treats me like I should be treated, wants me to meet his parents etc etc etc BUT is not Catholic (possibly wiling to convert and I am trying to lead him in the right direction :D), although he did attend my baptism/confirmation and is very supportive of my faith. He want's to go ring shopping this summer 'just to have a look around'.

The second man - a former boyfriend - treated me very poorly when we were together but has come to me saying it is the only thing is regrets, he loves me (which he never said before), would do anything to have me back, knows I'm the one for him AND he is Catholic. He in fact comes from a very large Catholic family and is one of 12 brothers and sisters (some of which I have met).

In this situation, how strong a role should faith play?

I know this is something I will have A LOT of thinking to do about, and that faith is not the only factor when thinking about this (I also know that I am ultimately trying to figure out who God has planned for me - and am thus praying very hard about this). Any and all advice - personal situations that are related and so on is welcomed. I can use all the help I can get!

Thank you and God Bless.


#2

Faith is VERY important before marriage. I have friends who were non-catholic and after they got married, the husband converted. And now there is a lot of compromise on both sides. When their kids get older, it will be harder because he wants them in the catholic school and she is dead against it. I would not marry someone who does not share your faith.

Nor do I think you should go back to your ex. If he knows you now have another boyfriend and is trying to get you back, he obviously has no consideration for your current boyfriend. I have to wonder how good of a Catholic he is. He is only saying these things to get you back and once he has you, he will return to your old ways.

You don’t have to get married now. There is the option of trying to meet someone else

CM


#3

[quote="cmscms, post:2, topic:194264"]

Nor do I think you should go back to your ex. If he knows you now have another boyfriend and is trying to get you back, he obviously has no consideration for your current boyfriend. I have to wonder how good of a Catholic he is. He is only saying these things to get you back and once he has you, he will return to your old ways.
CM

[/quote]

Thank you! I hadn't thought of it that way but yes, he does know I am seeing this other man and now that you bring it up it is fairly disrespectful to be trying to woo (sp?) me away.


#4

[quote="cmscms, post:2, topic:194264"]
Faith is VERY important before marriage. I have friends who were non-catholic and after they got married, the husband converted. And now there is a lot of compromise on both sides. When their kids get older, it will be harder because he wants them in the catholic school and she is dead against it. I would not marry someone who does not share your faith.

Nor do I think you should go back to your ex. If he knows you now have another boyfriend and is trying to get you back, he obviously has no consideration for your current boyfriend. I have to wonder how good of a Catholic he is. He is only saying these things to get you back and once he has you, he will return to your old ways.

You don't have to get married now. There is the option of trying to meet someone else

CM

[/quote]

Faith is important. But so is the character of the man you intend to marry. Loyalty, intergrity, trust, respect for you and your moral values and your own intergrity are all just as important. Don't make the decision just based on whether one is Catholic and one is not. Your current boyfriend is supporting you in your faith walk, that is huge. Just because a man says he's Catholic, he better walk the walk and it surely sounds like your ex has some real issues he needs to work out.

Can I just advise that you really should be learning more about your current boyfriend before you even consider going just to even look at rings. That should be the last thing you're considering at this point.


#5

[quote="PatriceA, post:4, topic:194264"]

Can I just advise that you really should be learning more about your current boyfriend before you even consider going just to even look at rings. That should be the last thing you're considering at this point.

[/quote]

Very true. Thanks for the advice.


#6

On your ex-boyfriend-Be sure to remember that it's very,very rare that marriage changes people. If someone treats you like dirt before the marriage, they'll do the same after.

On your current-take it slow. Don't be in a hurry.

God Bless.


#7

Skip #2 unless you want to spend the rest of your life with someone who treats you poorly, never says "I love you" and would do anything to have you back. (I bet you find out that he is in between girlfriends). #1 may not turn out to be the one for you, but I would give him a chance.


#8

I say concentrate on guy #1. I would NOT be focusing on buying rings though. The non-Catholic part is tricky. There are many posts and threads on here to testify to the fact many women and men get married to non-Catholics and find it a constant struggle both in raising kids and developing spiritually. When you want to pray and develop a spiritual life, he may want to do other things with you. Be sure that he not only supports the spiritual part but also will be willing to raise the kids as Catholics. This means he has to play a part. He needs to be instilling Catholic values into them. If your husband does not play a part in raising the kids Catholic, then chances are high that the kids wont grow up to be Catholics as they get older. 19 out of my 23 cousins were raised with either both parents as lapsed Catholics or one parent as a non-Catholic and 19 out of 23 either lost their faith or were raised without the faith. The remaining 4 are from Catholic families however I am not sure how devout they are in their Catholicism or how often they attend mass. There is a good chance though that 23 out 23 of my cousins could have left the faith, not be raised in it or be nominal Catholics. As long as both of my parents were devout, my brother and I stayed firm. When my mother left the faith for a few years I lapsed for a few years as well. When choosing a husband or a wife it is critical to know that in such a marriage it is highly likely if not inevitable that all your children will not remain Catholic. In the families I knew that were devout with both parents, the number of their kids leaving was either small or none. I have no numbers from a scientific study to back up any definite conclusions but based on my life experience it is extremely difficult to raise children in the faith and keep them there unless both are devout. Not impossible but difficult. Kids tend to mirror what they see from their parents. This is why the faith of the parents is very important.


#9

I agree, definitely nix the idea of the ex-boyfriend. No need to go back there. He only wants what he can’t have.

But, I’d say what’s the hurry on the current boyfriend? You haven’t even met his family yet? I guess it depends on how close the kids are to the parents, but I would have never though about getting engaged without meeting my fiance’s mom. Although we’ve been dating for 5 years. So I’ve had plenty of time to get to know his family!

I agree also that you need to take it slow with him and think carefully. He can’t convert solely because you want him to. He has to want to. I couldn’t imagine marrying someone not of my faith. But, I became Catholic after meeting my fiance, so I know where you’re coming from. I think being on the same page faith wise in a marriage is very important. To Catholics, the point of marriage is to help your spouse get to heaven. How will you do that if he’s not on the same page as you? And, how will you weather the hard times of marriage if you don’t both have the same faith? God gets you through the hard parts, and having Him in your marriage is a great blessing.


#10

thank you all for your great advice.

I am not in a hurry to be married, especially since my current significant other is in Arizona - I am in Iowa with at least 3 more years of graduate school. We are meeting his parents this summer when I go for a visit and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how he interacts with them as well as just getting to know them. I have asked him about raising kids etc (in our extended phone conversations as one can imagine!) and he said (if we were to get married) that he would be open to raising kids however I wanted.

My concern (as some of you mentioned) is that its not enough to just be okay with it, one must practice and set an example - showing children what faith looks like in practice as well as what a healthy marriage is.

Anyway, I appreciate all the advice! It's nice to see others perspectives on the issue.


#11

Door #1… sounds like a nice guy. But really… long distance relationships can mask all kinds of things. Do not talk marriage until you have had a chance to be around him up close and personal for months at a time. Anyone can put on a front on the phone and by email.

Door #2 is a guy that didn’t want you when he had you, but now that you’re with someone else, he wants what he can’t have. Don’t even answer that door. Just because someone is a Catholic from a large family, he could be a jerk that most of his family can’t stand.

Why not hold out for Door #3?

There could be a nice CATHOLIC guy out there who won’t abuse you, and whom you could get to know face to face.

You don’t say how long you’ve know Guy 1. But starting to talk rings…? :shrug:

I married a guy who converted. As soon as he didn’t want me, he quit going to Mass. It’s had a devastating effect on my children.

You won’t turn into a pumpkin if you’re not married by the time grad school is over.


#12

[quote="Liberanosamalo, post:11, topic:194264"]
You won't turn into a pumpkin if you're not married by the time grad school is over.

[/quote]

Good reminder! I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed with all of my sorority sisters current engagements/marriages/baby talk - it often seems as if I am the ONLY person not there yet!


#13

[quote="prodigaldotkait, post:12, topic:194264"]
Good reminder! I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed with all of my sorority sisters current engagements/marriages/baby talk - it often seems as if I am the ONLY person not there yet!

[/quote]

Oh goodness-I know so many women who aren't there yet-some well into their 30's. Yes, they want to get married, but they'd rather not rush into anything.

Take your time, and find a guy who treats you like the princess all women deserve to be treated like.


#14

[quote="prodigaldotkait, post:12, topic:194264"]
Good reminder! I sometimes get a bit overwhelmed with all of my sorority sisters current engagements/marriages/baby talk - it often seems as if I am the ONLY person not there yet!

[/quote]

I felt exactly the same way. I didn't get married until I was 31 myself, didn't meet my husband until I was 29.

But the sad thing is, lately there is not a month that doesn't go by it seems that I don't hear of someone from my college days getting a divorce.


#15

I agree with the advice given so far, that is, forget the ex, concentrate on the current one *but *don't jump head-on into marriage.

Something I've been able to notice is that you attach very particular attention to a couple of things, as if anchors, or islands in a sea of all other things (meeting parents, coming from a large family etc.). Make sure you're always in touch with the big picture. Don't interpret too much out of one or two details.


#16

Chevalier's comment above summarizes my thoughts, but I would hope you know that true Love is not found in a couple gazing into each others eyes, but a couple gazing in the same direction, in other words a couple with the same life goals. Everything else in the relationship can be worked out if you have the same life goals, and the problems you do encounter, if approached correctly, will only aid and strengthen your Love.


#17

There is lots of good advice here. If voting is still open :D, I too vote against #2 for all the reasons already noted.

Have you had a heart-to-heart discussion with your boyfriend on how important this is? There are a lot of threads on "mixed-marriages" and while that is possible (I know first hand), it makes it far more difficult (particularly when you have children). Be sure you understand all the implications (there are many) of that really well.

It is a little unclear from your comments but sounds like you might be a recent convert. If so, that gives you some first hand experience (e.g. why, the process, etc.) that may be helpful. You may be in a good position to help your boyfriend if he is willing to consider conversion (by actually going to inquiry and RCIA).


#18

Ill put it to you this way. This is a true story.

My brother is catholic (doesnt practice but used to be an altar server…go figure). His ex was jewish, but was not very nice, mean woman! She tried to lock him into their relationship by trying to get pregnant…I know it may sound nasty and mean…she did get pregnant but miscarried (TG!) So they broke up…they were breaking up but that was her desperate attempt.

In comes another woman…really nice, not a catholic either but has not real denomination. YET!!! She makes my brother go to church when they both have days off!!! She loves going to church. WE love her.

My brother, again is the catholic, the non catholic is encouraging him to return to church. Like someone else said, being the same denomination helps, yes it does…in the end you will raise the children the same. Well you hope. I have catholic cousins who are not practicing and could give two rats farts about how their children lead their lives. Sometimes a catholic can be so immoral than a non catholic. Id say…stay with your current boyfriend. The other guy had his chance. You might not marry this guy your with but still…sound better than the last!


#19

The original question is how import is faith to marriage.

It is not just important, it is everything.

Understand that the call to marriage is a vocation. That means that God's purpose for you in life is to get married to the person you are marrying and to live your whole life with that person in total commitment. The whole purpose of dating is a means for discerning with whom you should fulfill your vocation.

That means that faith should color every, single thing you do with respect to dating and marriage - because you are going about discerning and then doing God's work. Marriage is not simply about finding someone to "be happy with."

It is for this reason that if you are Catholic I cannot recommend dating anyone who is not a strong Catholic.

I did not do this when I was in a period of darkness in my life (I married an unbaptized anti-Catholic), and I have suffered terribly as a result.


#20

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