Help! advice on my interfaith relationship


#1

I am Catholic, she is not…

Hello all, my name is Dan and I’m 24. I have been with my girlfriend for over two years now. I love her and she loves me, and things have been great between us until recently…

For the past few years, I have felt like I fell away somewhat from my faith…it is during this time that I met my girlfriend. The Catholic faith was not a big part of my life at the time.

Lately, I have opened my eyes and have seen and realized what I’ve done wrong, that I should repent for my wrongs, and that I should strive to lead a better life so as to make the Lord smile.

I told my girlfriend we could no longer have “relations”, and I’m sticking to it. It is something I can definately do without, but she cannot. I told her, “this has nothing at all to do with my love for you, I love you just the same and more.” I have gotten responses from her such as, “how could you do this to us?”, “how can you go out with me for two years and then drop this on me?”, and “we both know we’re going to get married anyways, and we’re in love, so it’s okay!” How do I answer these questions??? My response has been that “these are my beliefs,” and “it’s not right in His eyes,” but these answers are not sufficient. She does however accept my decision, but she doesn’t understand the “why” part of it.

I have yet to tell her that I also want our kids, if we do ever get married, to be raised Catholic. Her belief: the kids get the choice of when and when not to go to church. So basically, if they want it great, if they don’t, that’s fine too.

Also, I want to get married in the Catholic Church (she does not know this yet though, and I plan on telling her soon just don’t know how) I know that she does not want to get married in a church building. She wants to get married outdoors, “on a beach with sand in between my toes and the sound of the ocean.” Romantic? yes, very…but I don’t believe Catholic weddings can be held outside can they? My girlfriend is not of any religion nor goes to church, but she is from a protestant upbringing and does believe in God.

I’m in a state of confusion…I am NOT confused at all about my beliefs…what I’ve stated is what I will stick to…what I’m confused about is mine and my girlfriends’ relationship and where it goes from here. I love her very much, but I am determined to stick to my faith. What can I tell her about why we should stop “doing” that until we’re married? and about me wanting a Catholic wedding ceremony and raising our kids in the Church?

Thank you so much for reading my lengthy post.


#2

[quote=DanMan1982]I’m in a state of confusion…I am NOT confused at all about my beliefs…what I’ve stated is what I will stick to…what I’m confused about is mine and my girlfriends’ relationship and where it goes from here. I love her very much, but I am determined to stick to my faith. What can I tell her about why we should stop “doing” that until we’re married? and about me wanting a Catholic wedding ceremony and raising our kids in the Church?
[/quote]

Because you believe this is the truth and that following the teachings of the church makes you a better person and will make you a better husband.

One thing to you need to consider. You are having these problems now. They will only multiply if you get married. This is what Paul warned about in not being unequally yoked.

Time for a heart-to-heart. One thing that might help both of you is a marriage prep class throught the church. I went through it with my wife and I wasn’t a catholic.

Find a parish that offers a marriage prep inventory. It is a questionnaire you both fill out seperately. The results are then compared. It will surely reveal areas that you need to address before you get married. Take it immediately if you can. Also when a good marriage prep counselor will help explain to her why it is important for you to remain clean while you are getting ready for marriage.


#3

DanMan~

Hoorayy for you! You are doing the RIGHT THING! Stick to it.
As a woman ~ I just want to encourage you and tell you that if she is a good woman she will only admire you MORE for your leadership here.
You need to get her to understand that you want to remain pure because you honor her and want her to be pure.

Go to the top of this page and click on “Chastity”. It will take you to the pure love website. You will find a lot of answers for you and your girlfriend about how to live out this part of your life in holiness.

There need to be more men like you in the world. Be strong - you are doing the right thing.

Ridesawhitehorse ~


#4

[quote=ridesawhitehors]Hoorayy for you! You are doing the RIGHT THING! Stick to it.

There need to be more men like you in the world. Be strong - you are doing the right thing.

Ridesawhitehorse ~
[/quote]

**I 100% agree!!! **


**And I am speaking from your girlfriend’s perspective. (I was in almost the identical situation). **


Think of it like this:


**you have a teenager who wants to do something immoral…let’s say have their boyfriend/girlfriend stay overnight in the same bed. **


As a good Catholic parent you immediately say no. Your teen will whine and complain, call you unfair, and may even hate you for awhile.


** But when they grow up, and actually understand that you made that “unfair” decision to protect them and* not* to make them miserable, they will love you more for it and may even thank you.**


It is the same type of situation with your girlfriend. She cannot understand why you are being “unfair” and hurting her. But when she gets to the same spritual point on her journey that you are at now, she will understand.


** The only problem is that you may no longer be together. If you are not, she will look back on your relationship and thank you for being so strong and standing up for your beliefs in the face of such opposition. **


If you are still together, her love will only grow deeper as she comes to realize what a strong man you are and comes to admire such unwavering faith. She will respect you tremendously and put her complete trust in you as a husband and a father.


So, you need to stay strong. Either way it will pay off in the end.


Malia


#5

[quote=ridesawhitehors]DanMan~

Go to the top of this page and click on “Chastity”. It will take you to the pure love website. You will find a lot of answers for you and your girlfriend about how to live out this part of your life in holiness.

[/quote]

And while you are there, order Jason & Crystalina’s, “Romance without Regret.” It’s for teens, really, but will give you some good ideas about speaking on this issue.

You’ve received a lot of good advice. Let me tell you that marriage is hard work. Even when the two of you have the same faith. Not agreeing on these HUGE issues will be a strain. Work them out before you say, “I do” or consider whether the sex has made it impossible for you to truly discern is this relationship is meant to be your vocation.


#6

[quote=DanMan1982]II love her and she loves me,
[/quote]

If she loves you, is she willing to convert? Is she willing to put her sexual needs aside for your need to be holy? Maybe you two can join RCIA together. Just some thoughts.


#7

I told my girlfriend we could no longer have “relations”, and I’m sticking to it… She does however accept my decision, but she doesn’t understand the “why” part of it.

You can reply to the not having “relations” in several different ways. One, you can refer to the teachings of the church or you can take a totally practical approach and bring up suprise pregnancy and how you do not want to be a father until you are married. If you have not gone all the way but have only gotten overly friendly, you can tell her that it is way too tempting and don’t want to go too far and end up impregnating her. Even if you are taking “precautions”, precautions do have a failure rate. Does she want to be an unwed mother? Do you want to have to explain to your children why you weren’t married before they were conceived? There is a reason the church teaches what it does.

As far as this goes,

“we both know we’re going to get married anyways, and we’re in love, so it’s okay!”

I would respond that there are no guarantees until you both say I do. Have you formally proposed to her yet? Have you come clean about what you expect out of marriage in regards to living your faith? I can say from experience that if she loves you, she will be ok and you can move on together.

This sounds just like me when my husband and I were dating. He was the Catholic and I just believed in God from a Protestant perspective. This is an easy one. All you have to do is take charge of their faith formation. If you give them a firm foundation in the faith, then they will want to be a part of it. You can raise a child in the faith without forcing it on them.

Also, I want to get married in the Catholic Church (she does not know this yet though, and I plan on telling her soon just don’t know how)

You just have to stand up and be forceful about what you want. That is what my husband did. He let me know straight up that we were going to get married in the Catholic Church and that was just the way it was. That included all of the counseling and NFP classes that went along with it. I was very hesitant about it but this is what eventually laid the groundwork for my conversion. Sounds like she could be me when I was dating my husband. If she has a problem with this, then maybe you should rethink being together.

I’m in a state of confusion…I am NOT confused at all about my beliefs…what I’ve stated is what I will stick to…what I’m confused about is mine and my girlfriends’ relationship and where it goes from here. I love her very much, but I am determined to stick to my faith. What can I tell her about why we should stop “doing” that until we’re married? and about me wanting a Catholic wedding ceremony and raising our kids in the Church?

The first thing you might want to do is find a book for her about the basic teachings of the church. I wish I could think of one but it is too early in the morning. I bet others could recommend some good apologetics/basic teachings type books. Given the fact that your girlfriend doesn’t go to church but believes in God sounds like she might be fertile ground as far as teaching her about the Catholic Church. That is where I was when my husband and I were preparing to get married. I saw how important the Catholic Church was to him and knew not to rock the boat on that issue. You have to stand up for your faith and let her know that you love her but you cannot and will not compromise on this. My husband did this to me and I loved him so much that it did not matter. I found his firm resolve to be endearing. If he could love the church so much, maybe there is something to it. I didn’t necessarily like it all the time but that is just what I had to do. I am happy to report that I will be celebrating my one year anniversary as a Catholic this Easter and we have been married for almost 8 years. I don’t think my husband ever dreamed that I would convert because I was very much like you describe your girlfriend. Say a prayer and have that heart to heart talk before deciding how to progress. If you can’t do it by yourself, then set up a meeting with a priest.


#8

There are more important things than love when entering into a marriage. Your love for her might not be enough to make a holy sacramental marriage.
Two three issues:

  1. She must agree to rear the kids Catholic. But, keep in mind, unless she embraces the Catholic faith, the children may only receive a half-hearted education. Sometimes, after the first baby comes, the spouse regrets his agreement and refuses to allow the child to be baptised

  2. marital chastity. Both of you must agree to use only NFP to space your children. If abstinence is hard for her now, will she consent to have monthly times of abstinence.

  3. Is she open to children? This ties into marital chastity. Is she going to demand sterilization after a few kids? Is she open to God intervening and giving you a child even under perfect NFP practice?

Sorry to be the naysayer. I think you should consider letting her go.

God Bless you both.


#9

[quote=DanMan1982] I am Catholic, she is not…

Hello all, my name is Dan and I’m 24. I have been with my girlfriend for over two years now. I love her and she loves me, and things have been great between us until recently…
[/quote]

What I am going to say… you are not going to like. But, please consider it.

My first advice would be to stop trying to fit your faith and ideas of marriage into your relationship with her. Instead, examine and evaluate marriage and the faith and then see how and if she fits into those.

You need to look objectively at what is important in the practice of your faith and in marriage. Then, you need to evaluate how your current relationship fits into that.

You have been given the grace by God to wake up to this before you have made a committment to this woman in marriage. It may be that this wake up call was to alert you that she is not the one for you and that a Catholic spouse awaits you.

[quote=DanMan1982] For the past few years, I have felt like I fell away somewhat from my faith…it is during this time that I met my girlfriend. The Catholic faith was not a big part of my life at the time.

Lately, I have opened my eyes and have seen and realized what I’ve done wrong, that I should repent for my wrongs, and that I should strive to lead a better life so as to make the Lord smile.
[/quote]

This is good, and you should let nothing keep you from the Lord.

[quote=DanMan1982] I told my girlfriend we could no longer have “relations”, and I’m sticking to it. It is something I can definately do without, but she cannot.
[/quote]

Then she may not be the right one for you.

[quote=DanMan1982] I told her, “this has nothing at all to do with my love for you, I love you just the same and more.” I have gotten responses from her such as, “how could you do this to us?”, “how can you go out with me for two years and then drop this on me?”, and “we both know we’re going to get married anyways, and we’re in love, so it’s okay!”
[/quote]

All emotion, no logic. No, you do not “both know” you are getting married “anyway”. Dating, courtship are for the purpose of discerning marriage. What you are now discerning is that she is not on the same path as you-- and she may never be.

[quote=DanMan1982] How do I answer these questions??? My response has been that “these are my beliefs,” and “it’s not right in His eyes,” but these answers are not sufficient. She does however accept my decision, but she doesn’t understand the “why” part of it.
[/quote]

You could read the teachings of the church together. But, the main issue is not your beliefs but that she does not share them.

[quote=DanMan1982] I have yet to tell her that I also want our kids, if we do ever get married, to be raised Catholic. Her belief: the kids get the choice of when and when not to go to church. So basically, if they want it great, if they don’t, that’s fine too.
[/quote]

Yet another sign that she is definitely NOT someone you want to marry. That is not in keeping with the Sacramental nature of marriage and the responsible stewardship that parents have over their children.


#10

Again, this is a sign that she is not on the same path as you. Marriage does not mean the same thing to you as to her, nor does God. No, a Catholic wedding cannot be on a beach. But, even if you win the “battle” of where to have the wedding, you’ve lost so much more by marrying someone who does not share your faith, beliefs, and practice. You are asking for a lifetime of heartache.

[quote=DanMan1982] I’m in a state of confusion…I am NOT confused at all about my beliefs…what I’ve stated is what I will stick to…what I’m confused about is mine and my girlfriends’ relationship and where it goes from here.
[/quote]

You are young-- which is not to be patronizing, it’s merely a fact. I am ever so grateful that I did not marry the man who, similar to your girlfriend, did not have faith. I perservered and have found a wonderful, faithful, practicing Catholic man. You need to get your priorities in order: faith first… and then yes, that may lead to discontinuing this relationship. I think God has given you tremendous grace to see this now rather than later.

[quote=DanMan1982] I love her very much, but I am determined to stick to my faith. What can I tell her about why we should stop “doing” that until we’re married? and about me wanting a Catholic wedding ceremony and raising our kids in the Church?

[/quote]

Well, you can educate her on Catholic teaching. But, it may not be enough. And, I think you should stop thinking in terms of marriage with this girl. Instead, focus on the “must haves” and the “deal breakers” of a relationship that leads to marriage and then examine her in that light. Don’t compromise on your “must haves” or “deal breakers”. I think a “must have” is a shared faith.


#11

[quote=DanMan1982]I’m in a state of confusion…I am NOT confused at all about my beliefs…what I’ve stated is what I will stick to…what I’m confused about is mine and my girlfriends’ relationship and where it goes from here. I love her very much, but I am determined to stick to my faith. What can I tell her about why we should stop “doing” that until we’re married? and about me wanting a Catholic wedding ceremony and raising our kids in the Church?
[/quote]

The important thing is to be patient. Try to see things from her perspective: you’ve been together for two years, everything is going great, and then suddenly the rules change.

I imagine that she doesn’t have a problem with your beliefs per se, but the problem is how your beliefs will affect her. It will take time for her to learn how to cope with those beliefs.

Don’t do anything that violates your conscience.

Try to present these things as your personal beliefs and not as some archaic rules set down by some enormous, impersonal Church. I suspect she’ll have an easier time respecting your personal beliefs than what she perceives as some strange rules made up by (in the words of Ned Flanders) “some celibate Italian weirdo”.

If she’s willing to learn about the Church’s teachings (for informational purposes but not to convert her) through books or an RCIA program, that’s great. Don’t push too hard at this point.


#12

[quote=DanMan1982]I am Catholic, she is not…

Hello all, my name is Dan and I’m 24. I have been with my girlfriend for over two years now. I love her and she loves me, and things have been great between us until recently…
.
[/quote]

Ok first off i am going to say some things that nt everyone here will agree with at all but if they stop and actually read the entire post I am sure they will see what my meanings are…

you been with her 2 yrs? the love is there? the RESPECT?
is she your Best Friend? if you answer yes to these questions whats keeping you from committing now?

On that note I will address the Main issue that seems to be dwelling, you have been having relations with this woman all along, then suddenly decide to stop, and expect her to not question this? that not even realistic she has more than a right to question this.AND YOU OWE her a complete explanation, not just a because this is how i believe. let her know WHY you came to the decision you did, if its for the honorable intentions you say then explaining should not be a problem.

you stated in OP that there are many things yet to tell her, get off the fence and do the telling, Communication is the MOST important thing in a relationship, without it relationships will not last, quit being afraid to explain yourself, if the respect ,devotion,etc are there there is nothing to worry about.
her not being a Catholic has little to do with it I know lots on this board will disagree,but i have seen more both Catholic relationships fall apart than interfaith relationships, lots of fellow Catholics get a tad to rediculous in what they believe,others are total opposites.find out where you are.sit down have a nice dinner and long discussion about how you feel,how SHE feels,and what you both believe.ASK her to attend a mass with you,do not force it,just explain its good quality time spent together,
because thats how I started also attending Catholic ( actually any) church, My now fiance is Catholic but not confirmed, now we are in RCIA class together.
Maybe this will happen for you maybe it wont, more flies are caught with honey than with vinegar though.

as far as the wedding outdoors, why not compromise in an adult way, tell her that for your marriage to be “sacramental” it must be done in the church,and its the basic Church law. ( sometimes with a Bishops permission you can use other arrangements) however she wants the wedding of her dreams as well, so get married in your church ( small ceremony) then do up the big wedding outdoors, there are ways to please both of you if you use your head about it…

well I am going to end this “book” now good luck in your endeavors

                      John

#13

[quote=johntkd] as far as the wedding outdoors, why not compromise in an adult way, tell her that for your marriage to be “sacramental” it must be done in the church,and its the basic Church law. ( sometimes with a Bishops permission you can use other arrangements) however she wants the wedding of her dreams as well, so get married in your church ( small ceremony) then do up the big wedding outdoors, there are ways to please both of you if you use your head about it…

                      John

[/quote]

John, this is not an option for a Catholic. You may not have a Catholic wedding and then another wedding.


#14

Start with the Pure Love Club…

Go to THIS PAGE and listen to the Public High School talk.

Come back to this thread and let us know if you were motivated by that talk, whether or not you understood, agreed and longed for that type of relationship. If you have questions or concerns about the message ask us, we can help. Do you think your girlfriend would appreciate the talk and better understand where you’re coming from with regard to chastity?

Next, order Christopher West’s CD called “Marriage and the Eucharist” from THE MARY FOUNDATION. It’s free (you pay shipping only). It comes in the mail real quick. It’s a more adult view of what marriage means in the Catholic Church. Listen to it and come back to this thread to discuss it. Is that the marriage you seek? Would your girlfriend be open to listening to the CD? Would your girlfriend respond positively or negatively to our version of marriage?

If she’s still with you after those two presentations, take it to the next level…Visit the CROSSROAS INITIATIVE site to order and listen to Christopher West’s “Theology of the Body” CD (it’s $23.95). Ask yourself again, if THIS is the marriage you seek, and ask your girlfriend again, if this is the marriage she seeks.

If she says “No” at any point along the way, she just isn’t ready to learn the Truth yet and you may need to break off the relationship. But I’d prefer you break it off after she’s heard at least “Marriage and the Eucharist” because those words will reside in her memory for years to come. She may not long for that kind of marriage now, but after you’ve been apart for a couple of months and she has time to reflect on the message (perhaps even give her that CD) she may come to accept what the Church teaches and want to learn more. She may turn to you to help her, she may not. But at the very list you have postively affected her life in the name of Christ and for that you can always be at peace about your time with her.

If she says “Yes”, then imagine what a wonderful journey you two will be on as you prepare yourselves for marriage!


#15

Wow…

I did not realize I would receive so much advice and kind words. Everyone’s response has been truly helpful to me!

Something I failed to mention in my first post was that she says she feels “used,” because we mutually consented and shared a lot of emotion, feelings and intimacy, and that it is wrong of me to “take it away” from her.

I don’t want her to feel used. I know I didn’t use her, it wasn’t like that…I didn’t think “oh two years from now I’m going to tell her I want to stop doing this with her.” And she says its wrong to take it away from her…any advice on how to specically address these “used” feelings?

Thank you so much again.


#16

[quote=DanMan1982]I don’t want her to feel used. I know I didn’t use her, it wasn’t like that…I didn’t think “oh two years from now I’m going to tell her I want to stop doing this with her.” And she says its wrong to take it away from her…any advice on how to specically address these “used” feelings?

Thank you so much again.
[/quote]

You could turn that back around on her tell her you feel used because all that is important to her is sex. You are not the first to feel this way. Ask her to explor the faith with you. Journey together and learn together.

We are here if you need us. We are here if you don’t need us. Keep posting and have some fun.


#17

[quote=DanMan1982]Wow…

I Something I failed to mention in my first post was that she says she feels “used,” because we mutually consented and shared a lot of emotion, feelings and intimacy, and that it is wrong of me to “take it away” from her.

I don’t want her to feel used. I know I didn’t use her, it wasn’t like that…I didn’t think “oh two years from now I’m going to tell her I want to stop doing this with her.” And she says its wrong to take it away from her…any advice on how to specically address these “used” feelings?

.
[/quote]

Apologize to her. You did use her. You were intimate with her in a way only her husband should be. I know it was not your intent. You messed up. Beg her forgiveness. I’m sure you have all ready been to confession.

I think you both should attend a Christopher West seminar on Theology of the Body. www.christopherwest.com It sounds like to me her spiritual formation is way warped. It is not her fault. She has been formed by popular culture.

I know this is very difficult. Just remember you must consider your soul first. Now that you know God and his laws, you cannot turn back.

My brother had a strong conversion from a sinful life. He told his girlfriend that they had to be chaste. She said yes, but then pushed it. She got pregnant. He fell away from the faith and has not found his way back. (prayers!!) Nothing in this life is worth risking your soul.


#18

I can understand where your girlfriend would feel betrayed because you changed things midstream. I completely agree with the poster that says to turn this around on her. Do not be mean but ask her why sex is so important to her. You can share feelings, emotions, and intimacay without sex. If she thinks that this is the only way to share these things, then she is in for a rude awakening during marriage. There are times in a marriage that abstinence is necessary for a variety of reasons.

If you feel that this girl is the one for you, then why are you waiting to marry her. It sounds like you two need to do more communicating verbally and less physically. Tell her that you are serious about marrying her and want to spend more time talking. I know from experience that being physical before getting married interferes with your ability to talk and really get to know each other.

What about the wedding night? If you do not abstain now, then that will be a complete let down. Has she thought about what marriage means to her? You really need to sit down and have a heart to heart.


#19

There’s no easy way to say this, but then, there’s no easy solution, so I’ll just say it: You’re probably on a spiritual journey that she can’t accompany you on. You said “interfaith” problems, so I’m assuming she’s some kind of Christian. If so, if she’s saying things like “It’s okay, we know we’re getting married,” then you can bet your bottom dollar she hasn’t a clue about the spiritual life.

Having just unofficially ended an interfaith relationship with the theoretically perfect girl, one who is actually now becoming Catholic, I may not be the perfect advisor here, but then again, I do pay attention quite a bit. I think that if she keeps presenting the temptation, there’s your sign–move on. I’m sorry that you love her, but your priorities will be changing very soon, and I’m not optimistic for you.

Theoretically, there’s a reason for all this. Just pray for understanding.


#20

[quote=DanMan1982]Wow…

I did not realize I would receive so much advice and kind words. Everyone’s response has been truly helpful to me!

Something I failed to mention in my first post was that she says she feels “used,” because we mutually consented and shared a lot of emotion, feelings and intimacy, and that it is wrong of me to “take it away” from her.

I don’t want her to feel used. I know I didn’t use her, it wasn’t like that…I didn’t think “oh two years from now I’m going to tell her I want to stop doing this with her.” And she says its wrong to take it away from her…any advice on how to specically address these “used” feelings?

Thank you so much again.
[/quote]

You two used each other. It’s not wrong to stop. You are not the first people to do this, and you won’t (sadly) be the last.

As a woman, and once a young woman, I can tell you that she’s equating love with sex. It’s kind of like Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light/ Let Me Sleep On It” (except the girl in the song extracts the promise before the act).

You’ve gotten some great advice here. If you can phrase it to her so that she realizes you see beyond her as a sexual object, and as the possible future mother of your children and mate for life, she might feel more secure. You don’t want to be praying for the end of time to hurry up and arrive!!! (Check out the lyrics.)

Otherwise, go to confession, stick to your guns, and if she chooses to leave let her go.


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