I've been lurking here for many years and this is my first post here so please bear with me. I have found that this is a place where true Catholics and Christians reside that is willing to offer God-loving advice and guidance and I hope I am not disappointed. I seek the truth of Christ and not to be judged.
Let's start from the beginning...
I'm a convert to the Catholic faith, actually going though RCIA twice before finally entering into full communion in 2008. I grew up Pentecostal with some Baptist overtones, so I had a very strong foundation to who Christ was and his importance in my life thanks to my mother which made the decision to become Catholic easier. I have found such joy and peace in living the true faith of Christ and have not regretted the decision a single day in my life. There has been some challenges in my life but over all, I have stuck to the beliefs of the Catholic faith though I do question them at times.
I'm a teacher by profession and just completed my second year at a wonderful catholic school in NM. Unfortunately the school is now closed, which will bring me back to Ohio temporarily until I find new employment. I have a increased desire to continue in Catholic schools if anything because my freedom of expression is fully exercised there. I love living the faith in the vocation God has set for me and I love modeling Christ to my students everyday. I always wish to be a witness to them and would not do anything to have them thinking that the faith I live is not the true faith.
Which brings me to my concern. I feel myself falling away from the faith I chose and have found peace in as of late. Most of it stems from some questionable activity I engaged in with my fiance that now looking back on it, was sinful in nature.
I'm currently engaged to a wonderful, baptized Catholic (we're due to marry on 6/14/14). Unfortunately, he did not go any further in his formation due to a priest abusing him years ago. Since then, he's had a bitter feeling about religion in general, but is still a spiritual person. We agree on most everything and had mostly all the major talks that any religious catholic person needs to have with their future spouse (the kids WILL be raised Catholic, there will be NO sex before marriage, and he will not hinder me from living out my faith, divorce is NOT an option). The problem is, his views on sexuality and itmatcy are different from mine, mainly because I grew up in such a religious background.
He feels it is alright that we engage in behavior that displays intimacy without having sex. I'm slowly beginning to realize that this may not be the best course of action. I am worried about the marriage and what it could lead to. I'm more concerned about myself because we are all sinners and we can all be tempted. I don't want to put myself in that situation.
Well, I did engage in some questionable activity with him while I was with him a few weeks ago that I now regret. I thought that was what I wanted, but then came to the realization recently that it wasn't. Now I wish to do right by Christ in preparing for this marriage. I haven't been in confession in quite sometime (which is unlike me), haven't prayed, and I feel I have let evil thoughts enter my mind and taint what should be a spiritual and beautiful preparation for the both of us.
Now that I'm moving back to the area, I thought it best to start looking for a job in Iowa where he lives as I want to be in a stable position for the next 8-10 years and not have to worry about moving twice in one year. I'm actually up for a position in his hometown (prayers for good out come :) ) which requires the teaching of Religion in addition to Social Studies (my certification). With me wanting to move to Iowa, my fiance has found a house that is convenient for both of us (if I do get this job) and across the street from the parish for which I wish to join.
Yes, I know this means I would be entering a co-habitation situation, something that I'm not sure that I want to do now. We talked about it briefly in the past, but I never outlined my true feelings or spiritual beliefs behind it because I didn't want him to think I was "preaching" to him or cause strife. Since we are engaged and and planning the wedding, met with the priest, set the date, etc. I want to know if this is still not the right thing to do. My other big concern is, if I do get the job, I put myself in a serious dilemma as I strongly believe you live what you teach and teaching religion for me is living by all the Catholic teachings, even the ones I'm not sure about. I would hate for my students to see me as a hippocrate. But, we've been in a long-distance relationship for two years and I want to take this step simply because we've been apart (slightly wrong feeling I know).
So my questions are as follows:
How do I tell my fiance, in christian love, that I want to be chaste until the wedding? What are the things we can do while we prepare for the wedding and marriage?
How do I get back on the right track as far as my faith is concerned? I have never been much of a prayer, as much as I love the rosary and Liturgy of the Hours.
Can I live with my fiance knowing full well that we are getting married and plan on remaining abstinent until the wedding?
Am I over thinking this entirely?
Thanks for your answers and God Bless you all! :)