Dating a Lukewarm Catholic?

He and I have been together a year and have even discussed the future to some length including some day getting married, having a family, etc. We’re both practicing Catholics. Recently, a discussion came up about homosexuality. I staunchly affirm the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and neither support the union of persons with SSA nor the opportunity for same sex couples to adopt children. He has since told me that he was afraid of my reaction but went ahead and revealed that he doesn’t see anything wrong with same sex couples adopting children or getting “married.”

I was, well, bitterly disappointed. I will say, I was worried something like this would come up because his family background has always seemed a bit “liberally-Catholic” for lack of better term. However, in the time that we’ve been together, I’ve seen improvements in his faith life and I’ve tried to help him get to know the teachings of the Church better. I’m afraid of what this new development means for our relationship. Do I leave him? Is this an overreaction if I break it off after all this time? Do I stay and continue to pray for his conversion in this belief? Do I try to acknowledge his points and then explain why the Church teaches the way it does? (I do feel as though ignorance is a large part of this.)

Hoping you guys will have some advice or maybe personal stories to share! No matter what advice you end up leaving, I beg you please pray for him.

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Everything else was fine and you’re considering ending the relationship over this? I think you need to examine where those feelings are coming from.

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My wife and I don’t agree on all such things either, and I have to tell you it is not a deal breaker. She is not political about it. It’s just that she personally knows gay people and has a great deal of love and respect for them. Her faith is more of the heart. My faith is more of the head. That’s one reason why we should be married.

So, apart from his lack of orthodoxy, is he a good Christian man?

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Yes, it’s problematic because there’s no such thing as moral principles that are completely separate/isolated from each other. Believing something about a certain thing means there’s more beneath the surface. What this says is that his concept of marriage is rooted more in the idea of adult companionship than in it is in being a sacrament. If he feels this way about same-sex marriage, it’s doubtful that he conforms to the Church on contraception either, and so this is something that will be very relevant when you’re married and living together. As the father of the family, these ideas will inevitably be transferred to any children as well. Even if a spouse isn’t vocal about their views, they have a way of making an impression either way, and since there is widespread conditioning of fictional ideas of marriage in society, without a strong rooting in the home, it’s very unlikely any future children won’t get swept away with pop culture.

This doesn’t mean marriage with him is impossible but your apprehensions are rational, valid, and real. Most people will try to convince you otherwise and that it’s not a concern, and they will cause serious harm in the process, which is why it is important to have open discussion about this and include other people in the dialogue, such as a priest. Divorce is widespread in society and spousal disagreement over family values is a major component of it.

Peace.

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Well, if you’ve helped his faith life in other areas, maybe you can help him in this area as well?

One thing though: more and more families are facing this issue because more homosexual family members are “coming out”, becoming more open about this situation and openly going through with same-sex “marriage”. Is it possible he has family members or close friends that are homosexual? Do you? Either way, if/when the invitation to such an event comes to you after marriage, you two will need to be on the same page so you can back each other up and give a united front when declining the invitation and raising your children and instilling orthodox Catholic values in them.

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Any of the above could be reasonable reactions. I agree you’ve got a red flag here. I certainly think this is something to be concerned about, for the reasons @TK421 noted, especially contraception and child-rearing. But you’ve seen improvements in his faith life already. You may well be able to bring him to a deeper and more solid Catholic faith.

As far as personal stories go, I’m going to continue to straddle the fence.

Personally, I am pretty strict on this compatibility-of-beliefs stuff. If I were single again, I don’t think I’d even consider dating a non-Catholic or even a lukewarm Catholic. I want a sacramental marriage that’s genuinely Catholic and I tend to think people don’t often change their core beliefs.

Now, on the other hand, my wife has disproven everything I just said in the last paragraph. When we first dated, I was essentially a secular atheist and I railed against the Church’s teaching on human sexuality all the time. I was so hard on her, I don’t know how she put up with me! :confounded: But in the end, she converted me and I conformed my beliefs to the Church.

I doubt that helps, but that’s my experience with it! My wife would say “keep praying for him, keep working on him, and trust that, if he’s the right one for you, then God will bring him around” :smiley:

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There’s a difference between calling it “union” and “marriage”. The latter being a sacrament for Catholics. There’s plenty of people “getting together” (union) and “marrying” with neither being sacramental - So the issue here is more about homosexuality than about two people entering an agreement.

This is not only moral but also political since it’s up for vote or referendum in many countries. The polemic won’t be over anytime soon.

Here I’d say a difference in opinion about one article of doctrine is a bit lighthearted a motive depending on the nature of your relationship (in fact, ending a good relationship over one single thing seems:“insert-adjectives-here”). You may notice the issue doesn’t apply to you both directly, that one year might not be enough time to adjust or mature an opinion. And, both conversion and intellectual opinion take a long time to mature.

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I should say, on this your wife took what I consider the the catholic way of building a relationship - to her merit. And I would assume your shortcomings weren’t of an “impossible and unworkable” nature.

This seems almost utilitarian in picking a spouse -meaning you’re intolerant towards difference. A few things will be non-negotiable, as for the rest it’s a catholic thing to work with the other person. Although, I’ll admit, there’s plenty of pragmatic wisdom and prudence in preferring a good catholic - in proportion to the spirit of discarding a person who isn’t of your faith or belief.

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Indeed, there is more underlying. But I wouldn’t assume anything except lack of formation regarding the underlying philosophical principals. It is, however, urgent to address such principals, the sooner the better, to allow the other party time to mature their ideas.

Guard that those you talk with about this aren’t good Catholics.

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Only you can decide whether this is a “deal breaker” for you. Give him points for being honest and saying his views during the relationship/ prior to the engagement or wedding, even though he knew you would react badly.

As someone who agrees more or less with your boyfriend’s view, I wouldn’t be breaking up with him over this myself, but if it bothers you to the point where you are making an upset/ fearful thread about it, then that tells me it is a big deal for you and you may want to go find someone else who agrees with and supports your view. And if you’re bothered about having put in a year and a half’s worth of time on this before the difference in opinion came to life, you may want to ask the next guy for his opinion on this subject (and on any other hot button issues) on the second or third date so you can decide whether to go forward or not without wasting a lot of your time.

This to me is similar to relationships where one person finds out the other person has a totally different political view from themselves, or a Republican dating a Democrat. It depends on how strongly each person is invested in their own viewpoint. Some people who don’t care all that much about politics just say, “Eh, we differ” or make jokes about cancelling out each other’s votes and then move on. Other people take such differences much more seriously and end the relationship over them.

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My husband and I weren’t evenly yoked when we first got married, he was more liberal and I was the conservative one.
We had some tense discussions about issues, but we were able to make it work.
He’s now a lot more conservative.

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We shouldn’t assume this. Her wording didn’t explain if he actually disagrees with the church or if they just disagree as a couple about how a secular government should approach the subject. I just don’t understand why he is being cast as lukewarm over this when all clues in their dating life up to this point had him painted as practicing.

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Having been married for 14 years all I can say is that you will never agree on everything. As Tis_Bearself points out it is the honesty he showed you before marriage that is key. I don’t think you’re fully seeing the importance of that, you can’t make a person that honest, but you might be able to change his position. I’d understand better if it was something like abortion for you, but we are likely talking about theoreticals for people that want to love each other in a way you find invalid. Have you considered that there are likely other things he doesn’t agree with you on but is willing to let them be part of your reasonable world view.?

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As someone with SSA who’s about to begin the process of entering the Church I think you’re being too harsh on him for the disagreement over gay unions. I say gay unions because a union itself is a separate thing to marriage, which is considered sacred by the Church.

You may change his mind on the matter, or you may not. I do think however that you shouldn’t let one disagreement completely destroy what could be a solid relationship or marriage. Does he disagree with the Church’s teaching on marriage? Or does he perhaps think that outside the realm of Church that some people should be able to form secular unions?

Like I said, I think there’s a difference between a Union and a marriage.

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Well, I assume you guys need to be on the same page if you ever have a son or daughter who ‘comes out’ in the future. You don’t have to agree on everything in the exact way, but you guys need to present a united front.

LGBT issues aside, what else? Abortion? Contraception? I can’t imagine someone being lax on LGBT but would follow the church faithfully on other issues regarding sexuality.

Better to focus on the issues that you two would definitely face after marriage imo

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This wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me.

My husband and I disagree on a great many things, yet I can still recognize that he is a good and decent man who loves God and answers the call to lay down his life for his family every single day. We have been together for 14 years.

I agree with those who say that you should reflect on what is really at issue here for you. If everything was wonderful and now everything is crashing down because of this, I really just wonder if there is not something else at the root of it.

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Well, I wasn’t Catholic, had no issues with same sex marriage, and was on the fence about abortion when my husband married me. I still had no hesitation in not using contraception and using NFP. As a matter of fact, living that out is a lot of what brought me to the Church and changed my opinions on SSM and abortion.

It is possible for people to be willing to avoid contraception without being 100% on every other Catholic doctrine regarding sexuality.

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Regarding the original post, only you can say if this is a dealbreaker for you. If it is, do not continue with the relationship assuming that one day he will change his opinion to one that you prefer.

By the same token, if you happen to find and fall in love with someone who has the exact same opinions as you about everything that’s not a dealbreaker, don’t assume that will stay the same either. People tend to change (for better or worse) over time.

In short, figure out what your true non-negotiables are and find ways to live with the rest.

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This is so very true. I am a much much different person than I was all those years ago when I got married. My beliefs and ideals have changed drastically.

You are married forever that means that as a couple you have to have some agility. You have to be able to talk about and adapt to change. You have to be able to negotiate work arounds to things that would have been dealbreakers before marriage.

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It’s possible that he’ll change his mind, but I don’t think being in a relationship with the goal of changing the person is a good idea.

That said, you don’t have to agree with your partner on everything, provided you can disagree respectfully and have a good natured discussion.

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