Considering Marrying a Protestant

Here is my situation. My girlfriend is a Born Again Christian. I try asking how to research her faith, she tells me to read the bible. I have found this to be very frustrating. I admire her Zeal for God/Jesus and cannot help but think what a great mother she will someday be.

As with most Protestants, she has difficulty understanding Marian Doctrines, and cannot see how praying to Mary makes any sense, she feels that Mary cannot even hear our prayers. I understand her concern however I don’t agree, but I am trying to be respectful to her on this.

Now comes the issue of raising kids. She understands that I will not change my faith and that I am actually getting stronger, but she also understands that for us to get married and start a future, we have to come into agreement. Here is what we have come up with, and tell me if that makes any sense to anyone.

We have tentatively agreed that we will be married in a Catholic Church, and the kids will get the Catholic Sacraments, this was her compromise as she has now come to accept the sacraments as beautiful (though she still views as symbolic, Eucharist, etc). My compromise would have to be to teach them not to pray to saints and not to pray to Mary.

Now, before everyone jumps on me on this, I know it’s not exactly right. My theory is that as we live together, and my wife see’s me praying the Rosary, continuing to teach her about the faith, hopefully getting her into the RCIA program just so she can learn, not so she can convert. When it comes to weekly Mass, we would go to the Catholic Church one week, and the next to her church (non-denominational) however that same week we will also be attending the Catholic Church on the Saturday. When it comes to school, maybe a private public school and rely on our teaching for their religious education.

I love this woman, she has many amazing qualities, she has just been steered as a protestant because this is the way she was raised, and I know this because I see it in her mother (who is also a fantastic woman). I feel that by doing what we are with our compromises, that I am leaving this in God’s hands, and that maybe someday she will come home even though she doesn’t even realize that Catholicism is coming home for everyone.

What are some problems I may face in the future that maybe I haven’t thought of.

I also posted this in the Family life section.

Here is my situation. My girlfriend is a Born Again Christian. I try asking how to research her faith, she tells me to read the bible. I have found this to be very frustrating. I admire her Zeal for God/Jesus and cannot help but think what a great mother she will someday be.

As with most Protestants, she has difficulty understanding Marian Doctrines, and cannot see how praying to Mary makes any sense, she feels that Mary cannot even hear our prayers. I understand her concern however I don’t agree, but I am trying to be respectful to her on this.

Now comes the issue of raising kids. She understands that I will not change my faith and that I am actually getting stronger, but she also understands that for us to get married and start a future, we have to come into agreement. Here is what we have come up with, and tell me if that makes any sense to anyone.

We have tentatively agreed that we will be married in a Catholic Church, and the kids will get the Catholic Sacraments, this was her compromise as she has now come to accept the sacraments as beautiful (though she still views as symbolic, Eucharist, etc). My compromise would have to be to teach them not to pray to saints and not to pray to Mary.

Now, before everyone jumps on me on this, I know it’s not exactly right. My theory is that as we live together, and my wife see’s me praying the Rosary, continuing to teach her about the faith, hopefully getting her into the RCIA program just so she can learn, not so she can convert. When it comes to weekly Mass, we would go to the Catholic Church one week, and the next to her church (non-denominational) however that same week we will also be attending the Catholic Church on the Saturday. When it comes to school, maybe a private public school and rely on our teaching for their religious education.

I love this woman, she has many amazing qualities, she has just been steered as a protestant because this is the way she was raised, and I know this because I see it in her mother (who is also a fantastic woman). I feel that by doing what we are with our compromises, that I am leaving this in God’s hands, and that maybe someday she will come home even though she doesn’t even realize that Catholicism is coming home for everyone.

What are some problems I may face in the future that maybe I haven’t thought of.

ask her to read “born fundamentalist, born again catholic” by david currie. even if she is not “fundamentalist” it will speak to her. mr. currie wrote the book as an open letter to his family explaining why he crossed the tiber. it is gentle, loving, accurate, scriptural and powerful. you agree to read anything she chooses in return.

I have a couple other books, the ones from Dave Armstrong Biblical Evidence for Catholicism and the ones from Karl Keating Catholicism and Fundamentalism. Are those any good?

i married a souther baptist 26+ years ago… she’s still southern baptist… doesn’t say much for me does it?.. i say leave her alone about her faith and practice yours faithfully…

i can promise you a few things… you will have altercations over the faith thing… you can’t get away from it no matter how politically correct that you think you are… i know of what i speak…

but if you love him/her… Peace be with you… :thumbsup:

[quote=go Leafs go]I have a couple other books, the ones from Dave Armstrong Biblical Evidence for Catholicism and the ones from Karl Keating Catholicism and Fundamentalism. Are those any good?
[/quote]

I have the same book… it started more fights… a good book, but don’t read before bed… :thumbsup:

I think you need to decide what you love more. This woman or your Catholic Faith.

You cannot compromise any part of the Faith with your children. You would be lying to God when you have your children baptized. Are you willing to do that for any woman? Your gonna make the promise before God when your children are baptized that you will raise them in the Faith, but you’ll basically have your fingers crossed behind your back because you don’t really plan to do that.

I’ve been where you are. My husband is a Baptist and we struggled with these issues. I loved him with everything I had, but I put my foot down and told him I will not compromise my Faith for him. I would be married in the Church and my kids would be raised Catholic, PERIOD. I would not marry him until he was able to accept that, and I was more than willing to give him up for the Faith. We are happily married now and he is supportive of the kids Catholic upbringing. It took prayer on my part to get where I’m at now. Without the grace of God, my husband would have NEVER been able to accept this.

We are Catholic. There is no compromising that fact. If you think you can raise your kids Catholic and leave out a very important part of your faith, you’ll end up with kids who reject the entire package. Or worse, you’ll end up with “cafeteria catholic” kids. Is that what you want?

You are willing to deny your children the benefits of praying the rosary and intercessory prayer?

What happens when they (future children) ask about it, what are you going to tell them, what is she going to tell them?

What if they want to pray the rosary or want to ask for intercessory prayers from the saints is she going to disallow this? What happens if she decides there’s something else she doesn’t care for within the teachings of the Church? Are you going to be allowed to teach them about purgatory?

How are you going to explain it when they hear at Church (and even Catholic sunday school…first communion classes etc) about the saints and Mary?

I think it’s unrealistic to think you can make this kind of agreement, and expect that you are going to raise your children as Catholics but yet deny them certain aspects of the faith.

SV

Rather than making a promise not to “pray to the saints” nor to “pray to Mary,” it would make more sense to explain that we don’t pray TO them, we pray THROUGH them.

Does your girlfriend ever ask a friend or relative to pray for her special intention? That’s all you’re doing when you ask a saint, or the Blessed Mother, to present your petition to Our Lord. You’re asking a holy person, known to be in heaven, to present your prayer request to God.

Geez, a lot to think about. I’m torn as I will not be living my faith. I don’t think we are going wrong either by teaching the kids praying only to God, even though I know the benefits of praying to others who in turn offer my prayers up to God.

[quote=Paul W]Rather than making a promise not to “pray to the saints” nor to “pray to Mary,” it would make more sense to explain that we don’t pray TO them, we pray THROUGH them.

Does your girlfriend ever ask a friend or relative to pray for her special intention? That’s all you’re doing when you ask a saint, or the Blessed Mother, to present your petition to Our Lord. You’re asking a holy person, known to be in heaven, to present your prayer request to God.
[/quote]

Difference is she feels that these people are dead and though they live in Heaven cannot hear our prayers, only God can. I’ve tried explaining otherwise but I guess I’m not very good at expalining it.

[quote=St Veronica]You are willing to deny your children the benefits of praying the rosary and intercessory prayer?

What happens when they (future children) ask about it, what are you going to tell them, what is she going to tell them?

What if they want to pray the rosary or want to ask for intercessory prayers from the saints is she going to disallow this? What happens if she decides there’s something else she doesn’t care for within the teachings of the Church? Are you going to be allowed to teach them about purgatory?

How are you going to explain it when they hear at Church (and even Catholic sunday school…first communion classes etc) about the saints and Mary?

I think it’s unrealistic to think you can make this kind of agreement, and expect that you are going to raise your children as Catholics but yet deny them certain aspects of the faith.

SV
[/quote]

Thanks, I appreciate it, lots to think about I guess eh.

There’s a lot to cover here.

[quote=go Leafs go] My girlfriend is a Born Again Christian.
[/quote]

Wonderful, if you’re a baptized Catholic you’re “born again” too. We just don’t say born again Christian since it is redundant. One cannot be “born again” and not be a Christian, nor can one be Christian and not be “born again”. They are the same. So saying you’re “born again Christian” is the same as saying you’re a “born again, born again” or a “Christian, Christian”. It is an artificial term used to segregate Christians

[quote=go Leafs go] I try asking how to research her faith, she tells me to read the bible. I have found this to be very frustrating.
[/quote]

Reason is, if she is typical protestant, she follows things not in the bible, and disregards things, which are in Scripture.

[quote=go Leafs go] I admire her Zeal for God/Jesus and cannot help but think what a great mother she will someday be.
[/quote]

Wonderful, she’ll probably make a wonderful Catholic once she learns her preconceptions about the Church are incorrect.

[quote=go Leafs go] As with most Protestants, she has difficulty understanding Marian Doctrines, and cannot see how praying to Mary makes any sense, she feels that Mary cannot even hear our prayers. I understand her concern however I don’t agree, but I am trying to be respectful to her on this.
[/quote]

You’d rather be disrespectful to your mother? She doesn’t understand our view of saints, a common protestant problem. When the reformers removed several books from their Scripture they removed a lot of Christian teaching, saints, purgatory, divorce, it goes on and on.
First, I would learn about the Catholic faith as must as humanly possible, read and study the CCC, Scripture (from the Catholic bible), research why we do things the way we do. After you have a real good grasp on your own faith lead her to the faith. I would not marry someone who isn’t Catholic; your faith will hold you together in a lot of life’s trials.

[quote=go Leafs go] My compromise would have to be to teach them not to pray to saints and not to pray to Mary.
[/quote]

Definitely not. I don’t think you appreciate the gift God has given you in Mary and the saints. You need to learn before you try to teach her. She needs to be the same faith, I know many multi faith families work, but many do not work.

[quote=go Leafs go] hopefully getting her into the RCIA program just so she can learn, not so she can convert.
[/quote]

You’ve got the wrong goals.

If we did agree to raise them fully Catholic, how would I explain to the kids that Mommy doesn’t take Communion (because she can’t), or say the Rosary (because she won’t) without making her seem inadequate.

I must admit, that I don’t know of a Catholic girl that has a zeal for God as this one does, and she happens to be Protestant, this is my dillemma. I know she is still seeking truth, I believe that with me she will find truth in time and that it’s my duty as a Catholic to see to it that she hears and see’s the truth.

[quote=go Leafs go]Here is my situation. My girlfriend is a Born Again Christian. I try asking how to research her faith, she tells me to read the bible. I have found this to be very frustrating. I admire her Zeal for God/Jesus and cannot help but think what a great mother she will someday be…
[/quote]

Despite how much you may love the girl, I would not do this. I have known more than 1 marriage that has self-destructed over exactly this issue. Most people who are serious about their faith will not be able to handle the extra pressures this puts on a marriage.

Marry someone who agrees with your worldview and you will be much happier. o not do so is to add a burden to your life which you will be paying for for a long time.

ken

Dear GoLeafsGo:

I have married a Protestant (Baptist) man. I have been Catholic most of my life - catholic school, etc. I never imagined that my faith would EVER get in the way of anything! In the beginning of our marriage, I was not strong in my faith at all. I did manage to get my husband to agree to bring up our child as catholic, we even started the annulment process on his previous marriage (he had been married to a Catholic and been married in the Catholic Church and had twin sons from that marriage that were baptized Catholic but were going to church with my protestant husband! Consequently, they are now Protestant. Confused yet?!). :whacky:

Anyway, you can see that we definitely have a mixed family! My husband does not say much about me and my son practicing our catholic faith - he just disagrees with it vehemently and lets me know when we have “discussions”. Unfortunately, we have agreed to disagree and we don’t discuss it at all - which saddens me. I will tell you that it can and probably will lead to a strained relationship in this area.

The goods news is we’ve been together for 20 years now and have managed to weather many, many storms! You will be sad that she will not participate with you in the sacraments, you will be sad that she will not understand the beauty of our faith and all it has to offer, you will be sad that she will not understand (or will not see) all the biblical references there are to our faith, etc. She will probably refuse to see any of this. :crying:

But…all is not lost, :dancing: just be aware of the possible/probable pitfalls, you’ll have to work “extra-special hard” to make this work.

Hope all works out for you and the one you love!

[quote=go Leafs go]If we did agree to raise them fully Catholic, how would I explain to the kids that Mommy doesn’t take Communion (because she can’t), or say the Rosary (because she won’t) without making her seem inadequate.

I must admit, that I don’t know of a Catholic girl that has a zeal for God as this one does, and she happens to be Protestant, this is my dillemma. I know she is still seeking truth, I believe that with me she will find truth in time and that it’s my duty as a Catholic to see to it that she hears and see’s the truth.
[/quote]

That’s a tough situation. I definately recommend alot of sincere discussion with your girlfriend/fiancee about these issues and alot of prayer as well.

Depending on their ages it will be hard to explain why mommy doesn’t do X. You will have to figure out ‘age appropriate’ responses. When they get older it will be more challenging because you don’t want to create the idea that their mom is ‘lessor’.

Have you discussed birth control with your girlfriend/fiancee? Is she accepting of using NFP?

I think it will be hard to base a relationship on ‘what if’ there are no guarantees she will ever convert and you have to be willing to accept that.

Have you tried going thru some of these issues and explaining the real beliefs of the Church as opposed to any misconceptions she may have?

Will pray!

SV

To reiterate what some others have said–don’t marry until she is Catholic. To go into the sacrament of marriage wanting to change your spouse is unrealistic and would only lead to frustration and pain. It is hard, but the choice to marry must not be made based on affection alone. There are many fatastic faithful Catholic young women out there who would make great wifes. Pray Pray pray–talk to her about the profession of faith–the Communion of Saints means that these people are still part of our community and so can “hear” us. Yes–get her to a good RCIA program–or just get her some Scott Hahn books–or Suprised by Truth–Rome Sweet Home–or any number of other books that tell the conversion stories of protestants. I say–do all you can to convert her, but don’t marry until she does. Or decide that it’s time to let go.

I’ll pray for you–Allison

[quote=go Leafs go]If we did agree to raise them fully Catholic, how would I explain to the kids that Mommy doesn’t take Communion (because she can’t), or say the Rosary (because she won’t) without making her seem inadequate.

I must admit, that I don’t know of a Catholic girl that has a zeal for God as this one does, and she happens to be Protestant, this is my dillemma. I know she is still seeking truth, I believe that with me she will find truth in time and that it’s my duty as a Catholic to see to it that she hears and see’s the truth.
[/quote]

Yes, it is your duty - BUT - you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink! I thought the same about my Protestant husband and he refuses to see or understand anything about my faith. He says he does understand, he’s “studied the catholic faith” (!!?) and he thinks we are all dead wrong! And nothing will change his mind. He thinks he knows but he has all the misconceptions that most Protestants do and will not allow me to clarify any of them - I have tried! He will not see! Believe it or not, he does, occasionally, go to Mass with me and has been there when my son made his First Communion and Confirmation. He is, at least, supportive when we are involved. He just won’t discuss it with me!

You’ ll just explain that Mommy is a different religion, that she doesn’t agree with praying to Mary, etc. Just say that she doesn’t believe as you do. I’ve had to face that issue myself and it was really not a problem - don’t worry much about that one. Be concerned more about your relationship with your girlfriend/wife. This will not be easy!

I would say that you can be fully compliant with her request to teach them to not pray TO the Saints, as this is the wording in the prayers, but not exactly the path or the mechanism of how it works.

You are not “praying to a Saint” any more than you are “praying to” anyone else whom you ask to offer a prayer for a cause of yours. You are simply speaking the words of an intercessory request to have that Saint pray for you. Your words are not a request to have the Saint do something directly for you.

The Saint cannot help you; they can pray to God for God to help you. The request to God is the prayer; the request to the Saint is something else, I think.

FInd a priest or an apologist who can draw you a picture of what intercession truly is. Once she understands it, she may not object so much.

I don’t believe that you should compromise your Faith with regard to your children. You will not like yourself very much when the children are 20 if you do.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.