Engaged with doubts


#1

Hello,

I'm looking for some advice. I am a 27 year old Catholic male. I had been dating my girlfriend for a couple years before I decided to propose recently. Before I proposed, I took a while for discernment, and I ended up not really have a clear answer. In my discernment, I decided that it just did not feel right to break up with her, so the next step I made was to propose. Maybe that was a leap of faith; it is in the past at this point. However, now I have some doubts about the marriage, and I'm wondering if I should call it off or press onward. My doubts are not founded on anything substantial. We don't have any serious problems. I know she loves me a lot, and we will be a good Catholic couple. It might be my pride getting in the way, but I have felt that many times we do not connect very well. She was raised differently and I feel as though her values are often lacking. I'm not positive that I love her enough. I know there are multiple types of love: eros (romantic), philos (friendship), and agape (unconditional). I understand that agape is a choice, and in marriage we must strive to agape each other. I was romantically attracted to her when we started dating, but while she is still pretty, that seems to have faded away. I understand the "honeymoon" phase may have passed us by since we've been dating for years, but it is just a little depressing to me that I will choose to love her rather than feel it. Or should I assume that romantic feelings will return once we are engaging in marital relations and once we become closer through philos and agape? I'm just not as excited as I'd like to be about marrying this woman, and I find myself stressed out and wondering if there is someone better for me, and someone better for her that will love her more fully. We are now planning a winter wedding. One rule of discernment is to not make a commitment if you have doubts, so I'm trying to figure out if these doubts are serious enough that I should break her heart and call off the wedding.

Thanks for any advice.
Mike


#2

[quote="freshy, post:1, topic:254612"]
Hello,
y. I understand the "honeymoon" phase may have passed us by since we've been dating for years, but it is just a little depressing to me that I will choose to love her rather than feel it. Or Mike

[/quote]

why have you been dating a woman for years if you don't love her?
why would the honeymoon be over when it should not even have started yet, as you have never married her?
this story does not compute


#3

Hi Freshy,

It sounds like you are having serious doubts. I am kind of unsure why you proposed to her in the first place because from the way you write about it it sounds like you really weren't all that into it when you did it. I mean you said you discerned that you shouldn't break up so you decided to take a leap of faith and propose. That tells me that you were already having doubts about whether she was the one and it is almost like, "well I put in the time already,so I might as well just propose." If you go into this thing half heartedly or unsure you will not be happy because you will always doubt yourself on whether she is the one.

You really need to to talk with your priest and marriage counsolers to discern if what you are having is just cold feet or serious doubt. I suspect that you are having some serious doubts and you need to get these addressed immediately before things go too far. Remember once your are married it is for life. Take the time to truly discern what is what because this is a descion that will affect the both of you for the rest of your life.

Good luck.


#4

A priest once told me: [SIGN1]“There is only one thing you should feel when getting married: Joy!”[/SIGN1]
What do you feel?


#5

Marriage is one of the most important steps two people will ever take, and it is serious enough that I would think things through before getting married. Your doubts tell me maybe you're not sure if this person is the one or maybe you're just not ready for marriage. Even if you and your fiancee have made arrangements to get married this fall--it is never too late to change your mind. But once you sign on the dotted line of the marriage contract, you will be locked into a relationship for the rest of your life. So choose wisely. I'd like to offer you some thoughts and observations which may help you in making one of the biggest decisions of your life.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT--Having opposite personalities for instance can work out. A shy person who's dating an outoing person works as each person brings a different perspective to the relationship. But for a relationship to be successful, couples need to HAVE A SHARED VALUE SYSTEM. Different personalities aside, big differences in a person's value systems (beliefs about religion, raising kids, handling money, etc.) will just add stress to the relationship. So, while opposite personalities are okay, opposite value systems are not.

YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE. One of the reasons marriages involving young couples (in their early twenties, for eg. ) often fail, is that, because of their youth, each person is still growing and trying to figure themselves out. It is only after we have had different kinds of life experiences that we can begin to start to see ourselves. Time and our experiences will begin to reveal who we really are.

COMPATIBILITY IS EVERYTHING. The difference between being in love and being a friend is that love eventually fades while real friendships blossom and grow. It is better to be a friend who turns into "the one" than to be swept up in the idea of romantic love, which is fleeting. If more people approached marriage like they would finding a job or starting a business, there would be a higher success rate for marriages. Most individuals have little clue as to what marriage is about and so fail to find "the one", especially if they "fall in love". Having a person of the opposite sex as a friend first is key in finding that trustworthy and loving partner.

I WILL FOLLOW YOU. If you have thought over the matter seriously and still want to get married--I would ask you one final question. Hypothetically, if you had to leave family and friends and your well established job to follow your spouse to the other side of the world, could you do it? If there are any doubts in your mind, I would reconsider getting married, because marriage requires that kind of faith in the other person. You are basically entrusting your life into the hands of a stranger with the hope that everything will be okay. If there is even an ounce of doubt in your mind--this is not the person for you. I'm not trying to dissuade you from marriage--only to point out the warning signs along the way. But, should you find "the one" who makes you want to make that commitment-- know that marriage can be a blessed path to happiness and satisfaction in this life. But remember--to choose wisely.

God Bless


#6

[quote="freshy, post:1, topic:254612"]
Hello,

I'm looking for some advice. I am a 27 year old Catholic male. I had been dating my girlfriend for a couple years before I decided to propose recently. Before I proposed, I took a while for discernment, and I ended up not really have a clear answer. In my discernment, I decided that it just did not feel right to break up with her, so the next step I made was to propose. Maybe that was a leap of faith; it is in the past at this point. However, now I have some doubts about the marriage, and I'm wondering if I should call it off or press onward. My doubts are not founded on anything substantial. We don't have any serious problems. I know she loves me a lot, and we will be a good Catholic couple. It might be my pride getting in the way, but I have felt that many times we do not connect very well. She was raised differently and I feel as though her values are often lacking. I'm not positive that I love her enough. I know there are multiple types of love: eros (romantic), philos (friendship), and agape (unconditional). I understand that agape is a choice, and in marriage we must strive to agape each other. I was romantically attracted to her when we started dating, but while she is still pretty, that seems to have faded away. I understand the "honeymoon" phase may have passed us by since we've been dating for years, but it is just a little depressing to me that I will choose to love her rather than feel it. Or should I assume that romantic feelings will return once we are engaging in marital relations and once we become closer through philos and agape? I'm just not as excited as I'd like to be about marrying this woman, and I find myself stressed out and wondering if there is someone better for me, and someone better for her that will love her more fully. We are now planning a winter wedding. One rule of discernment is to not make a commitment if you have doubts, so I'm trying to figure out if these doubts are serious enough that I should break her heart and call off the wedding.

Thanks for any advice.
Mike

[/quote]

Mike,

There's a lot here and I suspect it's just the tip of the iceberg for you. I was once in a similar position and ended up making the wrong decision, so I can symphathise with you.

I probably don't need to mention the seriousness of marriage, or the depth of the commitment that you're considering, but this is a lifetime thing "under God". It should not be entered into lightly and if you have doubts now, that's not a good sign.

I'd like to talk a bit about your reasoning, though. Not connecting well can be just a thing you go through, something that you have to work on, or it could be systemic. If it's just happened of late, it might be more of the former. Differences in the way you were raised is also more of something you work through... it can even make things better and more interesting if managed well. I'm from Detroit and one of two children, my wife is Australian and one of 12, so we have plenty of differences in the way we were raised... and we're managing it well on the whole (we have our moments :)). What scared me more about what you said is that you believe your fiancee is lacking in values sometimes. I don't know the full situation, but it almost indicates a hint of lack of respect for her, and if that's the case, it's not a good thing to take into a marriage.

You mentioned the forms of love, and that indicates to me that you have a handle on the love aspect of the marriage. I once heard it expressed like this: erotic love is based on what the lover gets from the loved, friendly love has a mutual aspect (both give and get) and agape is loving and expecting nothing in return. In our fleshly state, eros (or romantic love) is most natural and what many equate with being "in love". Friendly love is possible, it takes more work though. Agape is a foriegn concept to us because it is of the spirit, it is the love God has for us. To agape someone requires choice, because we need always to choose the spirit and deny the flesh. So, if you want to truly love your wife as Christ loves the church, you will need to choose to do that every day.

Last thought: if there was one question that you could ask yourself about your fiancee to see if you should marry her, I think it would be this one: does she help you get closer to God, or does she lead you away from Him?

God bless you in your decision, I will pray for you!


#7

Thanks to all for your advice.

why have you been dating a woman for years if you don't love her?
why would the honeymoon be over when it should not even have started yet, as you have never married her?

When we started dating, we we're hardly good Catholics and fell into the trap of just living rather than discerning if it was right for us. Months turned into years. As for the honeymoon phase, I'm referring to the feeling of falling in love and being obsessed with someone, which often fades and/or turns into a deeper type of love as relationships progress.

If you go into this thing half heartedly or unsure you will not be happy because you will always doubt yourself on whether she is the one.

I agree that I can't go into this half-heartedly, which is why I'm here. Better late than never...

willofgods-- That is a good question. Definitely I feel joy as I look forward to certain aspects, but there's also that part of me that still wonders if there would be someone that I could find much greater joy with.

Hypothetically, if you had to leave family and friends and your well established job to follow your spouse to the other side of the world, could you do it?

My answer is no. I mentioned this same scenario to a priest I was discussing this with a couple weeks ago, and he said it didn't necessarily mean it wasn't meant to be.

I don't know the full situation, but it almost indicates a hint of lack of respect for her, and if that's the case, it's not a good thing to take into a marriage.
...
does she help you get closer to God, or does she lead you away from Him?

I believe you hit it on the head. While many of our values are compatible, there are some of hers that I just find lacking. Because of this, I definitely don't respect her as much as I should. She does help me get closer to God in the sense that I will have a clearer goal if we get married (lead my wife & family to God & set an example), and doesn't lead me away from God. However, I rarely feel as though she is inspiring me to live a more holy life by the way she lives, and it is usually me that takes on that role. I guess my question here though is, who am I to judge? She is always willing to correct herself once she understands.

Thanks again.
Mike


#8

[quote="freshy, post:7, topic:254612"]
Thanks to all for your advice.

When we started dating, we we're hardly good Catholics and fell into the trap of just living rather than discerning if it was right for us. Months turned into years. As for the honeymoon phase, I'm referring to the feeling of falling in love and being obsessed with someone, which often fades and/or turns into a deeper type of love as relationships progress.

I agree that I can't go into this half-heartedly, which is why I'm here. Better late than never...

willofgods-- That is a good question. Definitely I feel joy as I look forward to certain aspects, but there's also that part of me that still wonders if there would be someone that I could find much greater joy with.

My answer is no. I mentioned this same scenario to a priest I was discussing this with a couple weeks ago, and he said it didn't necessarily mean it wasn't meant to be.

I believe you hit it on the head. While many of our values are compatible, there are some of hers that I just find lacking. Because of this, I definitely don't respect her as much as I should. She does help me get closer to God in the sense that I will have a clearer goal if we get married (lead my wife & family to God & set an example), and doesn't lead me away from God. However, I rarely feel as though she is inspiring me to live a more holy life by the way she lives, and it is usually me that takes on that role. I guess my question here though is, who am I to judge? She is always willing to correct herself once she understands.

Thanks again.
Mike

[/quote]

Mike, you are called to love your wife as Christ loves the church. I'm sorry, but based on what you've said so far in this thread, I don't believe you are in a position to do that.

You are also called to be the spiritual head of your household. I believe you can do that, but remember, it is hard to bring people up in their faith, it is much more likely that the one weaker in the faith will bring the stronger down.

I'll reiterate my earlier comments on the seriousness of the commitment of marriage and strongly suggest you seek the Lord on this.


#9

Talk to your priest again. Read the book "Three to Marry" by Fulton Sheen. Also "For Better For Worse" by James Burtchaell. The pre-cana prep will help, but you may not want to start that until you feel better about the situation. Do you have a married friend who you trust who knows you both? Perhaps a conversation with him about what being married is really like may help.

Don't marry her in the hopes of 'fixing' her or with the sense that you are better than she is and must always correct her behavior.


#10

Although you may be able to stick it out and work towards goodness in a marriage, if her values are less than desirable, she may not follow your spiritual lead, and she may divorce you, and even take the children with her. Sounds like there may be alot of heartbreak down the road. I suggest you talk your concerns over with her, and maybe postpone the wedding date until you feel more sure of this being God’s will. Blessings!


#11

I pity the young woman.
How horrible to marry a man who is “uncertain” about her.


#12

[quote="catharina, post:11, topic:254612"]
I pity the young woman.
How horrible to marry a man who is "uncertain" about her.

[/quote]

Me too, especially because the man that is so uncertain about her has asked her to marry him.

OP, do yourself and your girlfriend a favor and end the engagement now. Be a man and set her free to find someone that will not have any doubts about her or her upbringing or her lack of values.

To be blunt, if you are not head over heals in love with the woman, from the tip of your head to the tips of your toes NOW, you can't expect anything to grow into a good Catholic marriage after the wedding ceremony. Everything you would ever want in a marriage has to be there in the relationship NOW, this very second, should have been there before you even proposed. The wedding is not going to magically give you all that you hope and want in the relationship.

If you love this woman, you need to be honest with her and tell her your doubts and at least put a hold on any wedding plans until you are 100% sure you two are meant to be married. You can't run from hurting her, because you already are by not being honest with her about your doubts. If you can't talk to her about this, you have no business getting married.


#13

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