Greetings in Our Risen Lord!
I come from an Indian background and I was born and raised in a devout Hindu family, but after much prayer and reflection, I truly felt that God was calling me to become a Catholic Christian. So after going through RCIA, I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church four years ago. Since then, I feel that I have been incredibly blessed to be able to receive the Sacraments and to follow Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Nearly three years ago during my time in college, I met an awesome Hindu girl who is absolutely amazing in every respect (beautiful, smart, funny, caring, etc). Given our similar Indian-American backgrounds and shared experiences, our friendship naturally grew into a relationship, and today we are both very much in love. We are now seriously considering marriage. She has a deep respect for the Church’s emphasis on family values and social justice, and she is 100% supportive of my desire to raise any future children Catholic. She agrees that we must raise the children in one faith (to avoid confusion and to provide strong moral values), and she is okay with the kids being baptized, etc. Her parents are also supportive of all of this, and have even said that for the sake of peace/unity of the family (and for the sake of “convenience”), she might need to convert to Catholicism herself later on in life. She has come to Mass a few times with me (work schedules make it difficult for more frequent church visits). She states that the Mass is so different from her Hindu cultural/religious upbringing that as of right now, she does not relate or feel called to convert to Christianity. She states that she would like to learn more about Christianity, since she knows how important my faith is to me, and for the sake of raising any future children Catholic. But, understandably, she does not feel comfortable converting to the Faith herself right now, because she states she does not know much about it, and she feels comfortable with what she knows (i.e. her Hindu beliefs). I love her with all my heart as she is, and if it is in God’s will, I do not want her to convert simply because of convenience (or worse yet… any “pressure” from me) but rather from her own journey of self-discovery guided by the Holy Spirit.
In addition, since we both are Hindus by birth, we both would like to teach the great Hindu epics (Ramayana, Mahabaratha, etc.) to our future children not so much in a religious light, but instead for the moral values they impart, and also because it is part of our ancient culture and heritage. But in all matters of faith, we both have agreed to raise the children as Catholics.
When I talk to a few of my Catholic friends, they mention that I should not go ahead with this marriage because they cite St. Paul’s words that we should not be “unequally yoked with unbelievers,” and that although the Church tolerates disparity of cult marriages, the Church advises her children to seriously AVOID such situations at all costs due to the grave spiritual dangers that such marriages possess. I have been told that I am going against God’s will for my life, and that my soul is in mortal danger if I were to go ahead and marry this girl, since Catholics are not supposed to date (let alone marry) non-Catholics. For obvious reasons, these words bother me tremendously, because I feel like I’m torn by my faith on one hand and my love for this girl on the other, and ultimately, I do not want to do anything that would offend Jesus or that is against His plan for my life. I know that God grants me the free will to choose, but I’m nervous to make that choice because 1) this is such an important decision, and 2) I want to make sure that this is a step in the right direction. Therefore, I was wondering if you all have any advise for me in either direction (to marry or not to marry), and to please explain your thoughts. If you are in an interfaith marriage yourself, please share your experiences as well.
Ultimately, I just want to be a faithful disciple, a good husband, and a good father. I just pray that God grants me light, the ability to hear Him, and the courage to follow.
Thank you very much for your time and for your responses. Blessings to all.