Do I want to be married?


#1

Hello,
There are so many layers to this issue that I want advice on, I'm just going to unpack them from the oldest issue to the most recent twists.

I have been in a long-distance relationship with this guy (we're both practicing Catholics) for over three years. I fell in love with him mainly because I feel so comfortable around him. It just feels like home. I'm also attracted to some of his traits. Our relationship has been continuous the entire three years. We've been faithful to each other. We started out seeing each other once a month, but since he has moved to the other side of the country, I've only been seeing him once every 3-4 months. Things have been pretty good. Usually, when we have a disagreement, he gets his way, but I'm usually not bitter about that. We're polar opposites in many things. I'm liberal, he's conservative. I'm a theology student, he couldn't care less about analyzing his faith (he's Catholic because he was born into it). My view of the future is that I want to travel the world and try to make the world a better place, his desire is to have a white picket fence and as many children as he can afford.

So, this past May we got engaged. I said yes because we had been planning to get married pretty much since our first date. I still feel at home with him.

Since we got engaged, I've been thinking more seriously about marrying him. Do I really want to marry someone who is so...unlike me? I know the rest of my life will have to conform to his ideals (he doesn't compromise well). Am I willing to give up my whole identity simply because being with him feels like home?

I have heard that when you're trying to discern something, whatever it is that makes you feel most free is God's will. Well, to be honest, when I thought earlier this week that I was going to go through with it and leave him, that was the best sleep I got in a while.

To add a complication to all of this, there is a first year seminarian at my school that I think I'm falling for. He and I do seem to have the same desires for the future, there seems to be more overlap between our worldviews. He has taken simple vows with his order, but not solemn vows. We haven't been on a date, I haven't shared with him my feelings, because given the fact I'm engaged to be married and he's basically engaged to the Church, I don't think either of those things would be appropriate. Besides, I've only known him for three weeks, so I can't say anything definitive yet except that I fell really guilty for having feelings like this for another man, especially another man who is a novitiate.

Please help me.


#2

Its not a question of if you want to be married, you're not ready to get married. You shouldn't be having feelings for another man while being engaged to someone else. There should be no question at that point that you should even continue the engagement. Its not fair to the guy you're engaged to, its not fair to yourself and it certainly isn't fair to any additional man you are developing feelings for. There is no way to sugarcoat this situation, you need to talk to your fiance and do it ASAP.


#3

I don't know if you have been praying about this situation, but somehow, the downward spiral of my problems with my fiance feeding into my crush on the seminarian feeding into my problems with my fiance feeding into....and so on has frayed and calmed down a bit. We're still not there yet, but it's no where near as pressing and painful of a situation as it was when I made the initial post. Thank you so much for your advice and support.


#4

I really think you need to take some time with this situation. It sounds very much like you are not ready to make the commitment to marriage. If it felt so great to you at first, why the sudden change when you are engaged? Do you have a spiritual director or confessor with whom you can discuss your concerns? It would sound like you are fearful that is not going to work out and that's not a good way to go into a marriage. Just because you have differing views, however, doesn't mean you wouldn't make a great couple. It's all about teamwork and building a relationship together. All couples have differing opinions, but what is most important is the faith that you have in your relationship. Without that, the marriage will most likely have problems. That is why divorce is so prevalent these days, because people are too lazy to work on their problems. They just seek the easy way out. You go into a marriage with a commitment to spend the rest of your lives together.

The part that worries me the most is the fact that you have feelings for a seminarian. Like the other poster said, you are in a commitment to be married now. This must be a sure thing otherwise you need to break off the engagement until you two can work out your problems.

I will pray for you as I pray for all women and men discerning marriage. I hope you find the peace of God in your heart soon. God bless.


#5

Given enough time, all things work themselves out if you don’t make a decision first. But you have to play fair - your fiance now has his life planned around you, and you are having feelings elsewhere and confusion. You need to tell your fiance about your confusion even if you can’t tell him yes/no about marriage. He should have the knowledge he needs to decide if he’ll wait awhile for you, or move on. You are LYING BY OMISSION by keeping this from him, and that’s a sin. Being as how you’re engaged, maybe it’s a mortal sin as well.
I don’t know.


#6

At the risk of sounding judgmental, you're not ready for marriage.....yet. That's the bad news. The good news is that you have time to either fully commit to the man you're engaged to, or break it off.

May seem a bit sarcastic,, (don't intend to) but your situation is exactly why most dioceses in the U.S. require a six month Marriage Preparation period. Does this make you a bad person? Certainly not. It simply means you have to make some tough calls.

The blessing here is, you don't have to make these decisions, or face your situation alone. If you don't have a Spiritual Director, you still should be able to speak in confidence to a Priest or a Deacon.

I'm not too concerned about philosophical or political differences between you and your fiance. They can make a marriage more interesting, even fun. There is absolutely no requirement that you agree on everything. Unity in/of faith is vitally important though, IMHO.

Your attraction to the young man in the Novitiate can be described as "natural", but it must be dealt with. Again, some time spent in prayer, in conference with a Priest or Deacon can help you resolve this problem.,and it must be resolved.

I'm praying that you can resolve this situation, and continue to serve Our Lord.


#7

Thing is are YOU willing to compromise? Do you want to see if your life will take a different turn...are you willing to go down that path and see whats in store for you? He doesn't sound like someone you should marry. You sound like you are a pretty level headed woman and you know what you want out of life. Now with this new guy in your life...who knows. He hasn't taken any vows yet. I met several brothers through my years...getting ready to go into the priesthood...out of the 5 Ive met 3 are now happily married and have children...1 loves the single live and the other is now a priest. So look at it as him testing the waters...it may not be his calling to be a priest...who knows. I wouldn't marry someone who I wasn't completely sure about 100% I will tell you it is a lot of hard work. I love and adore my husband and he is my best friend but our first 5 years of marriage, for me, were the longest hardest years of my life. He came from an abusive home...no real love, neglected by his parents. Him and I are also very much opposite. I loved to be around him and people. He felt smothered. I like to see people happy and make them happy...he would get really angry when he didn't get his way. I was very timid and very reserved...never really argued. He would yell, fight, throw things...and make me cry. Fast forward to now...I have a tougher skin. I'm no longer timid...I fight back, never hitting, never throwing but I can say hurtful things that make him stop in his tracks. Then he tells me "Your not the woman I married. You used to be nice" I tell him "You made me this way." However that is rare now that we do fight...if we fight its cause of something like money...and that is also something we don't really fight about anymore. He has become a much more calm...I tamed the wild cat in him hahaha but again...it was a lot of stress, hard work and lots and lots of tears. I almost left him several times. If your willing to do all that work, the maybe go for it...but sounds to me like you want what you want...so my real advice...is don't marry him...end the engagement and let it be.


#8

Thinkin' we lost the OP. :(

~Liza


#9

When you describe your initial reaction to your fiance you said he made you feel 'just like home'. That sounds nice if your home of origin was something you really want to duplicate in your adult life.

Did your parents (or other important adults in your life) demonstrate an inability to compromise as you say your fiance does? If so, you'll be familiar with that pattern of behavior and know what to expect in a relationship with someone that behaves that way. Even though it is dysfunctional you'll feel comfortable around it.

Just because something feels familiar doesn't mean it is good. This guy may not be right for you now.


#10

Emilae,

I originally wrote you a three page answer but I've abridged it for your benefit.

If you have ambitions or feel a calling on your life, DO NOT ignore it and DO NOT do anything to jeopardize it until you have discerned and resolved in your own mind what it is. If you feel called to serve the poor, don't ignore it - the calling won't go away and you'll constantly wonder what "could have been". If you marry someone who doesn't share your calling, you're setting yourself up for a lifetime of struggle, conflict, disappointment, and sadness. I say this from experience. I would do anything to go back and be in your shoes and discern my calling when I was younger and had more choices. If you feel a calling, talk to as many people as you can about it, especially those who have followed the path that you think you are called to. Do you feel called to foreign teaching missions? Speak to as many foreign teaching missionaries as you can. Do you feel called to South American food distribution? Volunteer for a month at a south american food distribution organization. Do you feel called to a religious life? Visit a convent often and befriend the women there.

But most of all DO NOT continue this engagement unless you are 100% SURE of two things:

1) That you WANT to be married and to give your life 100% to your future husband and children

and

2) That you DO NOT WANT any of the things that marriage to this person and a large family would preclude.

Anything less would be an unfair, even hateful, act against yourself and everyone else involved.

Either choice will involve the loss of something that you hold dear. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you and your spouse can "make it work" if, in your hearts, you really want to live different lives and spend your time, money, and energy differently.

The fact that you're in a long distance relationship only strengthens my suspicion that you and your spouse have NOT resolved these issues. I'm not saying that you can't resolve them, but that as of right now, you HAVE NOT.

I have been engaged several times. Believe me there is NO OPPORTUNE OR EASY TIME to break an engagement but if you respect yourself and everyone around you, you must not gloss over the concerns that you have. All three times, I spent a lot of time apart from my girlfriend/fiancee thinking that once we got married we would be together and things would resolve themselves. But the fact that you're apart now says something about your affections, priorities, and purposes. Believe me, none of those engagements ended well (one ended at the altar on the day of the wedding, one ended in divorce, and the third - well, my poor wife and I have suffered a lot for the compromises we made along the way). I am trying very hard to be a good husband and father and remain faithful to Jesus and my calling, but it would have been so much better if I had put my mission first and evaluated potential spouses and/or careers against it. I also would have cultivated relationships with priests, missionaries, religious, and also older professionals in the private sector. No matter what you do, you are likely to spend hundreds of thousands of hours working and earn millions of dollars over your lifetime. Don't look back at it on your deathbed thinking "I spent it all on things that I neither enjoyed nor cared about".

One final warning, once you get engaged life goes on auto pilot. That is why it is SUPER important to get your heart, mind, and life in order and to fully understand yourself, your spouse, your calling, and the implications of your marriage decision before becoming engaged. If you are not sure you MUST put the brakes on now. Don't end up like me! I never intended to lose 20 years of my life - my entire youth! - in careers and relationships that were neither satisfying nor meaningful.

You mentioned another man who has caught your eye. My advice would be, be friendly with this person but otherwise forget about him. You, your spouse, and your Lord have some straightening out to do and a fourth party would utterly confuse and already confusing situation.

Good luck with everything. I hope and pray that God will help you to understand everything that is happening and to make the right choices. The right choice might be marriage, but marriage must be wholehearted. You'll sacrifice/give up just as much being married as you would being a single missionary, and both paths are acceptable to God. But don't put yourself in a situation where you resent the sacrifices required because you didn't think it through or seek God's blessing.

Best wishes,

Anonymous (and at times, utterly disobedient) Christian


#11

I may reply in more than one post, as I don't want to forget my thoughts.
1 - I do not believe that the same person should always win every time there is an argument. Although, I cannot say that even with six years of marriage, we yet understand everything about arguing fairly.

2 - Ask yourself, "How old am I?" It is not right that you would be required to completely transform your life to match him completely. I believe that yes, before marriage, we are individuals, and even after marraige, we do not lose our individuality. This is especially important, like if the other could in some way display marks of being controlling or manipulative. If you feel you have to totally shift your life to match his views and ideas now, I think it would be good to ask yourself, "What will it be like after marrying?"

3 - Long distance relationships can be very hard, as I have heard so many people say.

4 - I was engaged to someone many years ago, and I did "pull out" perhaps less than two months before the wedding. If you feel now that you slept better after thinking about canceling the engagement, then perhaps it is something you need to pray about further. Also, do not be afraid to talk to family members who may have more experience. It is not a matter of allowing family to tell you what to do, but to "bounce things off them" or to talk to other Catholic friends. Or, even, talk to a priest. I would like to suggest that if you two would like to consider a good marriage prep, consider a weekend Catholic Engaged Encounter - one where both of you could like meet somewhere in the middle. Sometimes such a weekend helps to open up the grace of God and the Holy Spirit to help both persons to see what needs to be seen about each other.


#12
  • It is actually a year now, that you need to know the person prior to marriage. The Church understands how important this is. When I met my husband, it was like something "caught" in his eyes, like there was a communication between our very souls. It is just plain indescribable. After having canceled the wedding years ago, I prayed so many years, that there would be some way I would know. What I felt, never occurred when I met the other guy. Neither of us is perfect, and no one is perfect, so life is not always easy. Love takes work and time; love takes patience and prayer; marriage is longer than a day of a wedding; marriage is a lifetime.
  • A crush can be just emotions talking, and that was something you felt with the seminarian, which I am sure, made you feel very bad as you mentioned. Also, remember too, that any canidate of a religious order is given instruction on how to handle such matters. As a novice, he did not join the order so recently, but possibly more than a couple years ago. Prior to that, he must have corresponded with them, and visited them for special occasions, retreats, etc. A thing to remember, too, is that anyone "in novitiate" is still a candidate in an order. His vows do carry weight, and again, he knows how to handle issues that may arise that he was trained for. A novice by definition, means someone who is just beginning, just trying out. In years gone by, novitiate could be described as the time of engagement to Jesus, or to the church, in which the candidate takes time apart from the community. Novices did not interact as much with persons outside the convent or monastery, nor did they interact with others in the community. They lived set apart, and often enough, their own schedule. WIth changes in time and need for education, there are novices of orders at colleges and universities. Keep faith in God, and ask God to help you with any future diffiuclties here. I also believe crushes can be stronger at different times, and run with our emotions. And, for sure, yes, pray for the seminarian. I do have to admit that there is nothing wrong with being a friend to a seminarian, and so on. But, I know you have to make your choice here, as it is a delicate issue. Trust and pray to Mary, Queen of Apostles, who took care of the first "Novices of the Church!" She is the Mother of all vocations.

#13

Another point - my mother told me years ago when I considered marrying "the other guy" that engagement is the best it will get. After marriage, all courtiesies, kindnesses, etc, go out the window. She also said, "You need a man who will worship the ground you walk on!" My husband worshipped the ground I walked on before we married, yes. And, with physical factors that have hit me, his "stuff" and my "stuff" we are looking for a good couple's counselor. I got back to a support group, that I am benefitting greatly from, too as my growing up was no picnic. So, as we marry, we bring all of our lives together! When we first got married, we went out every weekend, he often bought me roses, etc, etc. Financial hardship hits, and those things become harder and more like impossible to happen. But, there has to be that which is more precious than $$$$$$ to hold us together!

Another point, I remember my mother always said, too, that it is better to have a man who practices the same way you do. My father had to convert to Catholicism to marry my mother back at that time. However, her marriage did fail, so she does not have a lot to say about surviving marriage. So far, we are pretty close to being married longer than her and Dad. After they separated, dad never went to church. Once, he told me that to him, it was more meaningful to spend time outside, like fishing in the boat, than to spend time in the church. So, it is so important and so nice to have your husband with you in the pew, even when possible engaged.

One other note - there was a parish dinner that had prizes that we bought tickets for. I did not put any tickets into the Marriage Encounter basket, as I thought we were not married long enough. Well, my husband did, and we won the basket. Some of those things which we learned on that weekend, have still remained with us. We decided to do it as a special trip away, and it happened to be an interfaith Marriage Encounter, about two years after we were married. Well, now I believe when we can afford it, we are ready to go again, to the Catholic Worldwide Marriage Encounter. That's why I encourage you and any other couples, to definitely go to a Worldwide Engaged Encounter. It is a very good experience!

Our marriage has been a particular challenge, so Mom says, and difficult to get away financially. But, as I do talk to others and hear on the news, many people are not getting away for vacation. It is so imoprtant to more than anything else, PRAY that God sends you the person you will marry, to pray that the person God will send you will be ready for marriage, and that you meet each other! And, it can happen when you least expect.

Oh, yes, I do agree with the other post that it is true that many people who were in formation or in religious vocations went and became very happily married people. However, too, depending upon how long the person has been in, those factors will always be there with the person, which may make he or she all the more a stronger Catholic, and a very good person to marry! But, please don't take me wrong. I am not saying it is OK to make someone leave! That all is in God's hands. It is an amazing thing. It is like the person who is a candiadate needs to ask and seek God's plan for his or her life, which can be a difficult thing. Also, back many years ago, there was not as much pre-formation before entering an order or priesthood. Today, there is much more to it, and it is for the good.


#14

I got married in 2003 because it just seemed practical, my family liked her, but I did have reservations. 7years and 2 kids later my wife left me. I was 110% committed both in mind and actions. But something I finally realized and was willing to admit to myself only after she left me was that my heart was never fully there. I care about her, especially with her being the mother of my kids, but was never madly in love w/ her. Even though I was angry at her at first for leaving me, true love was all she was really looking for.
He might not handle it well if you back out of the engagement, but if there are doubts the most loving, selfless thing for him would be to not marry him. My wife would have really been less likely to have had an affair if we were emotionally close. We've always gotten along as friends, but we are too different to be able to connect to each other. We ran into alot of arguments because we really do not agree on alot of important topics like parenting, church, etc. It made it just much easier for our lives to go in different directions too. I've just started RCIA and she hates religion. It's hard for us to even respect each others choices let alone love each other.


#15

Hi! I don't know if this information helps any but when I was in grade school and being taught by the Sisters of Mercy our Religion teacher asked us what the only reason to marry someone was. We all had our answers....we love them, we want to have a family etc. The Sister told us our answers were predictable but wrong. She said there is only one reason to marry a person. That reason is that you love that person so much that you want to spend the rest of your life helping him or her save their immortal soul. If that is not why you are getting married then DON'T. I never forgot her comment. You sound like you have a lot of reservations. Maybe you had better travel before you settle down because if you are Catholic artificial birth control is out and that means unless their are medical issues you will be starting a family most likely although natural family planning is very successful. Once you have a family you have a career. Raising children and keeping a home is a full time job and requires all your time and attention if it is to be done right. If you are not ready to make sacrifices to make the marriage work don't go into it. I think the Sister was right. If you love someone their salvation should be your priority so you can be with them forever, not just in this world. You would truly be wanting the absolute best for them. Their Eternal Salvation. The greatest thing we can want for anyone.


#16

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