Agnostic Fiance (not sure if this is the right place to post this)


#1

Hey I’m a newbie to the site. I ended up on here b/c I googled “agnostic conversion” and it ended up on the thread of an agnostic spouse who was overseas. Gave me a little hope that I could get some great advice with you guys if I posted what I’m dealing right now with my fiance.

My fiance is agnostic, thinking that there is definitely a higher being but he thinks we’re too small and unknowlegdable to know for certain what this being is and what it thinks is right and wrong. He was raised without a religion although he was baptised Catholic (due to the parents wanting to please his grandparents) and his parents did a great job raising him in right and wrong without religion, but this raising has made it frustrating for us b/c he thinks some of the teachings of the Church are limiting and closeminded (homosexuals, birth control), and I want him to understand what this faith is and not be bitter towards it.

This all came to surface when we were discussing raising children recently, and before then, I thought he realized that I was going to bring up my children in the faith with the sacraments and Mass, etc b/c I told him that I needed them raised in the faith for us to get married. Unfortunately, he translated that as they would go to Mass every now and again and I would teach them my faith but never immerse them in it b/c he wants his side to be taught too. There are other arguments about it but that’s the jist of it.

we both have very good arguements but I think that the only way he’ll see my side is if he starts understanding my faith and why i feel inclined to do this. I asked him to please go to Mass with me every Sunday and Pray the rosary with me every day for three months to decide if we can get past this. During this three month period, I’m going to do 10 novenas.

He agreed but said that he’ll feel like he’s just “talking to the air” when he’s praying and he doesn’t know why this will help. I told him that I’m not trying to convert him, I’m just wanting him to understand my faith deeper and if anything, the rosary is a great way to meditate about universal things like becoming humble, more charitable, etc and I think that it will de-stress him in life.

I guess waht I’m asking is am I taking the right path? Is there any supplemental reading I can give him that isn’t judgemental on other beliefs but gives a great teaching of the faith? He’s very logical in his thinking, so I would need something that could convince a very educated and innovative man about our beliefs. Should I do anymore prayers? Is there any order of action that I’m misssing or should do?

Thank you all so much for listening and hopefully responding. This is a breath of fresh air! :slight_smile:


#2

My wife is the equivalent of your husband!! Religion never was an issue until we were planning to marry. She wasn’t very happy that I was Catholic. As we talked, I discovered she had bad experiences with the Catholic Church.

After we were married I bought a green scapular, had it blessed by my parish priest, and placed it under the mattress on her side.

Twice a day for the last 8 1/2 years, I’ve prayed this devotion. One day last year, my wife bought a Bible and started reading. She is contemplating of joining a Protestant church, but she’s still has reservations.

Aside from that, I opted for a “hands off” approach. My wife knows she is welcomed to attend Mass with me if she wants, but I don’t push her to. She goes through periods of asking me questions. I try to answer them as best I can.

Instead of focusing on religion, we looked for ways to bring us closer together. For example, I discovered Kiva.org and my wife decided to adopt a soldier serving in Iraq.

Anyway, we can’t force anyone to believe in God or trust in Jesus. Faith is a supernatural act performed by Divine grace. (Summa Theologica “Second Part of the Second Part” See Questions 1-16). Pray for husband, keep an open invitation, answer questions, be an example of your faith.

I sometimes I do think of St. Monica and pray for her guidance.


#3

You sound like a person who practices their faith and wants to please God in all things.

So, my question to you would be why you did not seek to find a person with whom you share the biggest part of who you are-- your faith-- and how you want to live your life and raise your children-- actively practicing your faith.

You have reached a point where you will have to make a hard decision-- your fiance or your faith. You cannot compromise your faith and you are just asking for lifelong heartache if you go into a mixed marriage with a spouse who is an unbeliever and will fight you on raising children Catholic and who rejects the moral teachings of the church which you must uphold: contraception being a big one.

You need to reprioritize and do it soon. You let your heart lead you down a path that you should have avoided. I think that the things you are suggesting-- attending mass, praying-- are an attempt on your part to magically convert him. Only the Holy Spirit can do that-- and if he rejects that Grace you should NOT marry this man.

I am sorry it has come to this. Please think about your future and the souls of your future children. Find a man with whom you SHARE your life’s goals, faith, and vision for family. This man is not the man. I’m sure he is a nice person, but it takes much more than that to make a Sacramental, holy, and successful marriage.


#4

I am going through something similar with my wife. I am a Catholic, and she is an Evangelical Protestant. Although our social views are similar (abortion, etc), when it gets down to world view and the “nuts and bolts” of the faith, we couldn’t be more different.

What has been recommended to me is to seek to deepen your faith and understand it more than ever before. Understand the basis for the authority of the Catholic Church, understand the basis for the sacraments, and most importantly learn about Christian history. Go to mass every week, and go to confession. More importantly, deepen your understanding of WHY you are doing this.

Your religious beliefs aren’t “aesthetic”, where his beliefs are just as good as yours. There is only one Truth, and when you two discuss your differences in beliefs, you need to focus on what the truth is. It seems that he believes in some kind of God, so that is a good starting point. Go from there. Read about why we believe in a personal God who loves us. Study the Old Testament and salvation history.

I know I said a mouthful, but that is the best I can offer. Keep us updated and let us know if any progress or pitfalls. I’m in a very similar situation. God bless and good luck!

-erbo


#5

I converted to the Catholic Church from atheism. When my atheist/agnostic wife learned of my sudden conversion, she gave me a choice; stop going to church or she will divorce me.

I was being asked to choose between being faithful to God and faithful to my wife’s wishes. I could not do both.

She divorced me.

Perhaps you should ask yourself this same question.

This is one of the main reasons why I would never date a non-Catholic. These types of differences ultimately end up with a winner and loser. Marriage is not about winning arguments, it is about cooperation. When there is a loses, the seed of resentment is planted. And resentment in these things will never go away; it will only grow.

There are few things in a marriage more important than raising children. It will be difficult to have a unified family if one of the parents refuses to allow, or at least be involved in, the most important aspects of brining up children and maintaining real family bonds.


#6

PaulCt, you are a truly strong individual! That is amazing what you are doing for your wife. I did join a thread dedicated to St Monica to pray for our non believer significant others. i will definitely try to find some good charitble things in common like you guys did b/c that will connect us at least on THAT level spiritually. What’'s so confusing is that he’s sucha good spiritual person, but he has this position about organized religion. He thinks its the reason so many sects are formed to spread hatred for people not like them. I do want to know, if possible, whether you would have rather found someone with the same faith base as yourself b/c the other response I got and also many other responses to my question are telling me that it should not be done with the mizing of two different religious views in a marriage.

1ke, Thanks again for your input too. Its a totally different side of the coin and worth thinking about. I do want to please God but recently (before I met my fiance) I was struggling and didn’t practice my faith that often. It took a backburner to other things like school and work, but I feel like I’m getting stronger on my faith BECAUSE i’m wanting to help my fiance see how great my faith is.

I’m not the absolute traditional Catholic, b/c I believe that although I love my faith and I know it’s for me, I’m not sure that God would not allow Heaven to others who live their life as well as they can even though they refuse the Catholic Church. That’s how I see my husband. I want him to join me in this joy of faith, but i also know that he lives his life so well and he’s well on his way to Heaven.

i also am not sure that contraceptives such as condoms, that don’t endanger the life of the baby or the mother, are so bad. I know that teh church wants the family to be open to life, but i know that condoms are not perfect and if I use them knowing something could come of it and I welcome it, I don’t think it’s a problem. So we agree on that, and he would never want me to go on birth control. We also are strongly against abortion and things like divorce, so we do have some common ground to believe on.

but I see what your saying and it’s very wise. I need to think about this. That’s why I decided on three months, to think of everything and see him interacting with the faith and see if he will come to understand me (not convert or anything but just understand). if not, then I will have to take your advice and choose my religion b/c God is MY God and I can’t go against Him.

Again thanks for the input, Hope to hear more back soon! and if anyone else wants to add input, you’re more than welcome.


#7

I’d strongly recommend that he read C.S. Lewis’ “Surprised by Joy”. It’s an excellent read and in Lewis he may find somebody he can sympathize with. The book describes Lewis’ own journey from childhood faith through disbelief and back to faith, and given Lewis’ own impressive intellectual achievements it’s hard to dismiss his story as that of a dimwit.

And invite him to spend some time on these forums, discussing his beliefs. He may find answers that he was not expecting. Of course, the resident atheists here will be pitching their own ideas to him at the same time. :wink:


#8

Wow I just saw the two other responses after I posted my response.

Erbo, that sounds like a great suggestion. I know the first month we were dating, I was telling him about my faith and we tried to debate over the proof of existence of God from Thomas Aquinas. He was very intrigued by it and wanted to go to Borders and buy it with me so we could go over it together. I don’t know what happened since then, maybe we were too busy or whatever, but hopefully I can get him back to that and we can discuss this.

rrp, wow that hits home with the resentment. I told him that I want him to understand me and not just “go along with it” b/c if that happens, then he may grow resentment towards me for teaching the children the faith if our children end up being very religious. He’s arguing that he is afraid his children may not respect their dad b/c he isn’t the same faith and that raising them in a faith is predisposing them to believe in it instead of giving them an open mind. hmmmm this is alot to think about, butyou guys are great with all your views. Thank you soooo much!


#9

the activity on this thread is amazing! You guys are on top of things! :slight_smile:

VociMike, that’s an excellent suggestion. I’ll see if maybe he’s interested on talking about issues he has problems with the faith on here, b.c the knowlegde and enthusiasm on this site is alreayd impressing me from day one! Also, thanks for the book tip, it reminds me of a book i’m reading now called Rebuilding a Lost Faith by John Stoddard. I’ll have to look up the CS Lewis book. I’m finding more and more that CS Lewis is the way to go!


#10

By the way, consider getting the book Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West. This book explains, in very easy language, the Church’s teaching regarding the Sacrament of Marriage.

It presents it in the context of Theology of the Body, which is a way of looking at important Catholic teachings. Theology of the Body was developed by Pope John Paul II and is a truly revolutionary way of understanding why the Church says what is does about sex, contraception, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Marriage, Jesus and so on. This book will help you to understand that the Church is just not making rules, but that the “rules” make a whole lot of sense.

With Theology of the Body, you can even undertstand why God created in us the capacity for romantic love.

You can get that book here.

Here is a good article which summarizes Theology of the Body.
catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0109.html

Also, consider looking at these related web sites.
theologyofthebody.net/
tobia.info/
christopherwest.com/


#11

By his thinking, raising them without faith would then be disposing them to not believing. Why is that OK (in his mind) if the other isn’t?


#12

To yourview1, in response to your question: would it have been easier to have found someone with the same faith as me? Absolutely, BUT that’s not who I fell in love with and I was never known to taking the easy road.

My family was not thrilled that my future wife wasn’t Catholic or that she wouldn’t convert. They wanted her to fit into this “mold” and she refused. It was a difficult time for us those first 2 years.

My wife has a very high moral standards and excellent work ethic. She taught me about organic foods and nature. Our personalities are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but when it comes to morals I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. And we share the belief with regards to family and children. We do have a high regard for each other’s beliefs.

We can offer suggestions and discuss our experiences on this forum. But keep in mind that what might work for one person, may not work for another. You have to decide what is best for you and follow your heart while still keeping your faith.

Agnostics don’t deny the existence of God. They are open to the possibilities. They just need someone to show them the way, without being pushy or demanding.

To share another example: St. Monica’s son, St. Augustine, led a sinful and immoral life before his religious conversion. And he’s the most quoted saint the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

I hope this was helpful.


#13

Awesome links and references, rpp. Christopher West is coming up alot in my discussions on this board and also recently by my friend, so i’ll definitely check him out. I have a ton of homework to do! :stuck_out_tongue:

VociMike, awesome point, I’ll be sure to bring it up next time we talk about it. Even in his case, his parents raised their children without religion and all the children never became religious. Is that predisposing them to not believe?

and last but definitely not least, paul you are great! I brought up your response with a Catholic friend I went out with today and he came up with a good point that goes along with what you said. He said When did a lifetime commitment with someone become something that had to be easy? and that’s it exactly. i do understand the other side of the argument that having similar religious backgrounds will reduce strife in that area, but I do love this man immensely and we balance each other out so perfectly and we help the other one become a better person everyday, so why should I give up all that to have an “easier” lifestyle? Besides, the majority of the Catholic guys I did meet prior to him used the faith as just a name and really didn’t follow through with it. Not to say there aren’t any out there, but I think you can find an amazing spouse in someone, no matter what religious background, as long as you have common ground as in how the children are raised and how you see marriage.

But i do need to discern and see if he is going to be able to get me closer to my faith or if it’ll be too much to bear BEFORE i get married. Thank you all so very much!

Also thank you to all that sent me emails, I love getting them and I hope to get them alot more on this issue, bc it is really making me see things so much clearer. :slight_smile:


#14

Awesome links and references, rpp. Christopher West is coming up alot in my discussions on this board and also recently by my friend, so i’ll definitely check him out. I have a ton of homework to do! :stuck_out_tongue:

VociMike, awesome point, I’ll be sure to bring it up next time we talk about it. Even in his case, his parents raised their children without religion and all the children never became religious. Is that predisposing them to not believe?

and last but definitely not least, paul you are great! I brought up your response with a Catholic friend I went out with today and he came up with a good point that goes along with what you said. He said When did a lifetime commitment with someone become something that had to be easy? and that’s it exactly. i do understand the other side of the argument that having similar religious backgrounds will reduce strife in that area, but I do love this man immensely and we balance each other out so perfectly and we help the other one become a better person everyday, so why should I give up all that to have an “easier” lifestyle? Besides, the majority of the Catholic guys I did meet prior to him used the faith as just a name and really didn’t follow through with it. Not to say there aren’t any out there, but I think you can find an amazing spouse in someone, no matter what religious background, as long as you have common ground as in how the children are raised and how you see marriage.

But i do need to discern and see if he is going to be able to get me closer to my faith or if it’ll be too much to bear BEFORE i get married. Thank you all so very much!

Also thank you to all that sent me emails, I love getting them and I hope to get them alot more on this issue, bc it is really making me see things so much clearer. :slight_smile:


#15

I can understand the other argument as well, and should be given equal consideration. After all, you are making a major commitment.

Let me throw this out in the open. Most of us can agree that God is active in our lives, and sometimes what happens to us in life, good or bad, happens for a reason though it’s not always clear to us.

Can you say that there isn’t a reason why God has brought you and your fiancee together? One could argue that God may use you to help bring your fiancee to the Church, and increase your faith by providing a challenge.

When Jesus started his public life, he didn’t limit himself to those of the Jewish faith. He sought out others and led by example. Nope, it wasn’t easy.

I wish you all the best with your decision.


#16

Everyone gave great advice on here. I’ll just add, to what your friend said, Yourview1:

Although it is ideal to be married to the person of the same faith, people for whatever reason do end up marrying those of other faith or no faith. Sometimes, if a couple truly feels called to each other, I believe that it might be because God has as special purpose for each of them. Perhaps it might be for one to bring the other closer to God and eventually to the faith. If they weren’t married, that may not happen.

I saw this within my own family. (I’ll keep it brief.) My grandmother married a non-practicing Lutheran. Ideally, it probably wasn’t the best in terms of mixing religions, but they were both young 16 and 18/19 and very much in love. They both knew that there was no one else. But my grandmother was and has always been very devout and my grandfather agreed to raising the children Catholic, attending Catholic school, no contraception, attending mass, etc. Also the priests who finally convalidated the marriage, (they eloped, but never consummated until after the convalidation 2 years later - away in the Pacific WWII) were very supportive of the two of them at their first parish. I think that really helped.

It took 50 years of marriage, but through my grandmother’s prayers and example, right before he passed away he wanted to become Catholic and was going to begin RCIA classes. Although he didn’t have a chance for the official full conversion as he died suddenly, he was converted in his heart. Had they not met or married, he may have never come to this point.

So, if you have been really praying over this (and I’m sure you have), can truly separate what God is telling you and what your heart is telling you, and you still receiving this calling to make a union with your fiance, perhaps this is God’s plan for you and for him. Even with two Catholic spouses, we are called to bring each other closer to God and the faith. It’s no different when the marriage is “mixed”. God bless.


#17

Thanks so much paul and sara. I was thinking in my head the same thing. I feel deep within my heart that this turn of events was meant for a reason to help me return to a closer state in my faith and also to bring my fiance closer to a faith I want him so much to share.

Last night, I laid everything on the table, even bringing up NFP and how i was reconsidering my decision on it. I told him that I was weak in my faith when I first met him and maybe a little angry at it too. I told him I was sorry I gave him a wrong impression of the church, but these past few weeks have made it so much clearer to me that this church is FAR LESS judgemental than I made it seem to be and in fact, is the most loving, intelligient, and caring institution I know.

Before this conversation, I prayed the Memorare nine times asking both Mary and Mother Teresa to intercede for me, bc I felt that if I kept all these beliefs inside and he continued to disagree, we would surely break up. I needed a small miracle last night.

And God answered my prayers as well as all the prayers you have all given me. He asked me what was on my mind and I was given the courage to tell him everything that was on my mind and even some things that were bothering me subconsciously that i didn’t even think of bringing up before. I felt as though the Holy Spirit was just flowing through me, getting everything off my chest without hurting him or coming off as judgemental or forceful.

I talked for two hours with him just listening. and then i told him to just absorb what i said for the night without any of us responding b/c I Even had to absorb it myself b/c i said things that I didn’t even realize was there.

Thanks be to God. He wrote me in the afternoon saying “I love you and i’m determined to fix things with you.” amoung other things but its a start to listening to what I have to say and us being able to discuss these things. thanks so much!


#18

It sounds like you had a really good and important conversation. I think many here are also pleased to hear that there are some stirrings within you that are leading you to learn more about the what the Church really teaches.

You have been flooded with information and suggestions from this thread. I hope you will able to read at least some of the material. You have much to consider and pray about.

I will also add that I will be praying for you.

In the meantime, may God grant you His peace.


closed #19

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