I’ve been concerned with one thing for quite some time. I’m a Roman catholic, and though im not the most pious or knowledgeable person in the world when it comes to my religion, I feel that this matter is vital. My girlfriend and I are both two loving people that share a Christian faith, and we know that we have both found our “significant other” so to say, and that we are meant for each other, but there is one problem. Like i said im catholic and she is part of assemblies of God. One concern I have is that I want to have a traditional catholic wedding and I want it to be a sacrament. To my knowledge, i can marry a non-catholic but it wouldn’t be considered a sacrament. I’m not too knowing of all the rules or regulations when it comes to marriage in the catholic church,I don’t really know how to present this to her. She told me the other day that “she could never be catholic”. I just dont understand why some people think that catholicism is wrong or just dont want to become catholic. I feel she thinks that the catholic church may…focus on the wrong things or just may be too strict or that catholicism has its “quarks” and that its just not right for her. But I want us both to be part of this sacrament, i view marriage to be very important and wonderful and I would like her to be apart of that sacrament as well. I just don’t know what to say, because I’m not sure if she will even budge. I also want to raise my kids catholic. Though having kids is going to be awhile from now, I just know that i want to baptize them in the catholic church and im not sure what she would have to say about that. She feels that being baptized and joining a religion should be a “choice”. Any advice on this?
First of all, before marrying anyone you have to agree on the basics–what faith you will be and bring up your children in. It will be a constant source of division if you don’t.
Secondly, if you have a Catholic priest or deacon witness your marriage vows your marriage would be considered sacramental. Talk to your priest about it. And if you do decide to get married to your AoG gf, let her know that most parishes will not let couples marry there unless they go through the parish’s marriage preparation classes.
Thirdly, I think you ought to challenge your gf to prove the Catholic Church wrong. Give her the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read along with some good books for lay people on what the Church teaches and why. You will find several titles on this very website meant to do that very thing.
I agree with giving her a copy of the Catechism - but I will go a step further and recommend that you read it TOGETHER. You both need to learn about the Faith, not just your girlfriend.
If she is willing to marry you, then she should be willing to at least entertain why your Faith is so important to you. If she tunes you out on this, then think hard and long about your decision to spend the rest of your life with someone who refuses to share a fundamental part of who and what you are.
A mixed marriage can be good and it can also be extremely difficult and stressful on the marriage. Take time to BOTH learn about the Catholic Faith - you will only be a stronger couple in the long run if you can come to some agreement regarding your Faith, but ONLY if that comes from a well educated position, on both your parts.
Whether she’s catholic or not, I’m still going to love her as much as I do now. Furthermore, In reality I dont think she actually thinks that its “wrong”, I guess i just get that notion because I can be paranoid at times, or just quick to make assumptions. But yeah, thanks for the advice, I just really needed some form of advice. Cause religion is a touchy subject.
Communication is one of the main things in a marriage that make it successful (after a common faith, in my opinion). I am sure that you would always love her, regardless, that’s not anything I would ever question. I’m only concerned that if you don’t have a good understanding of this now, it may cause problems in your marriage later.
You yourself said that you are not the most knowledgable Catholic, so take this as an opportunity for both of you to learn your Fath. It will give you something to have great conversations about, and you can learn more about each other in the process.
Before you marry, sit down, look at your faith and hers (contrasting what she/AofG believes with the version from you/CCC is a good jumping-off point) and *decide what you are going to teach your children. *While you’re at it, decide when the children will be baptized, and where, and what if any participation by Catholic clergy she will tolerate in her marriage rites.
A Christian home cannot be a home that is in strife, let alone a house that is in strife over what it means to be Christian. You may have differing takes on that–there are as many different views of Jesus as there are viewers–but it must not be acrimonious.
It is pretty difficult to say “I love her, she loves me, we just can’t stand each other’s beliefs.” Friends can get by with that. For spouses, and especially for parents, it is a different story. You must at least have a mutual respect and some affection for those brothers and sisters in Christ who are in each denomination.
When we look down the road and talk about what your children are going to hear about the Catholic Church from their mother and what they are going to hear about her church from you, you see that this goes far beyond a petty difference covered by “love.” You need to make absolutely certain that the difference is covered by real love, the kind rooted in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the healing forgiveness of God.
Otherwise, you run such a great risk of having your marriage split or having your children abandon religion, that I would beg you to reconsider…and I say this as a Catholic woman married to a non-Catholic man. A mixed marriage is harder than it looks under the best of circumstances. Make sure you count the cost before you undertake to do it. There is no backing out later.
Just to give you some hope, I also said that I would never, ever in this lifetime, be a Catholic. Now look where I am! There is a stigma involved with being a Catholic, or with someone who converts. Many people thought I was brainwashed and/or weird. In actuality, I am more well-adjusted than ever before. I know what I believe in, and I know what is right and what is wrong based on Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterum. What other faith can claim that? I suggest you read Scott Hahn’s, Rome Sweet Home. It’s about a Presbyterian Minister who converted and later his wife did. Both were very, very anti-Catholic. It has good advice on how to approach your girlfriend as Scott did with his wife. He let her come to it and didn’t pressure her. It had to be a decision of her free-will.