To be quite honest, I think the problem is not knowing what you want before you go shopping for it so to speak. My dh was a Lutheran when I met him. I knew I would only ever marry a Catholic if I ever got married again. Before I ever dated I made up a list based on what I didn’t have from a past relationship and what I did have. First and foremost was since my faith was such a big part of my life, why would i not want to share that with a spouse?
I think the other problem is the ability of people to compartmentalize their lives. Their faith life does not carry over to their work and personal life. A true believer and a true Christian has to be able to integrate their faith into their entire life. I can’t work somewhere that has no moral values and feel good about myself. Yet we go out with people who have totally different morals and ideals from us…
Discerning it a lost art. Rather, act of faith. My list of must haves was relatively short, but it included things like: If he has a child, he has to be current in child support and he has to visit his child regularly. His faith has to be important to him. His moral values have to be compatible with mine. I thought I would only find this in a Catholic man so I just assumed non-Catholics were out.
Notice my list had nothing about physical attributes or income? Thats because in the grand scheme of things, how important is it? Sure we have to support ourselves, but doesn’t staying current on Child support kind of sound like fiscal responsibility?
Well, as I said earlier, dh was a Lutheran when I met him. He asked me out, I said no… he asked several times in fact, and I said no… but we talked, I learned about his dd and why he perceived his marriage had failed. I finally consented to dinner. I found out we held very similar values, even though he wasn’t Catholic. After dinner we talked more, and I invited him to my parish. He didn’t immediately recoil and and make some excuse he said yes!
For several months he went to his services at his church, then came to mass. Then I noticed he started just meeting me for mass but skipped his services unless he had his daughter. She had to go to services because she went to a Lutheran School. He went out a bought a book on Catholicism and read. When he had questions… then he asked. I think the turning point was going to a healing mass with me. I had just had back surgery and found the healing mass very comforting, but I would not go forward. He was touched by the reverence and the faith of the people. Without my knowing, he signed up for RCIA.
I don’t think it is wise to just say, Don’t marry outside your faith… There are relationships that have worked very well. I almost missed out on a great man that way… Honestly, my ex was Catholic when I met him and I thought that was good enough… he became a “Pagan high priest” after we had married…