Is inter-faith marriage crazy?


#1

I’m always reading posts about couples where one spouse isn’t Catholic. Am I the only one who thinks its crazy to marry a non-Catholic (or even a “cafeteria Catholic”)? Now, I’m a young single guy so I’m just throwing out what I’ve thought about the subject so I’d love enlightenment from the married folks out there! Who knows, I’m probably way off base.

If you can’t agree on he fundamental Truth, isn’t that a bad sign for future agreement and discord? Relationships involve a lot of compromise, but the faith is not compromisable, so doesn’t this create problems?

I imagine it would be better for the spiritual development of children if both parents were on the same page religiously. Wouldn’t it create some sort of dissonance for the children if Mommy and Daddy believe different things? Can you simply tell a child that what one parent believes is wrong? If it’s ok that one parent doesn’t believe something, wouldn’t that make it seem less important to a child?

Finally, I will love my wife with all my heart. I could not imagine just sitting back and allowing her to believe something that wasn’t true and that could be damaging to her soul. Respecting differences in faith, to me, would be indifference to her soul. I would feel I needed to do everything in my power to help her to the right path. Because I loved her so much, I think I would just be in total depression to know she is being led astray.

I mean, sure conversion is possible, but I would prefer this to happen before marriage. I’m not sure if a marriage should be the tool for evangelizing. That just doesn’t seem like it would make for a good family dynamic. And what if the person refuses to ever convert (for family reasons or otherwise)? Then what?

Anyway, it seems to me that marrying someone who’s not on the same page religiously is just a recipe for strife. Strangely enough, other differences I may have with a woman don’t really matter to me. There’s really not a whole lot I stand firm behind except for the teachings of the Church. I’m extremely flexible with pretty much everything else. Maybe I’m just a wierdo:whacky: .

I’d love to hear thoughts on this subject!


#2

God loves all His children the same. Problems will happen but with His grace they may be overcome.


#3

My husband (a cradle catholic) married me (an unbaptized person who believed in Chirst and thought herself Christian as labeled by the Church a Protestant)
I had agreed that if he wanted to raise the children Catholic then it would be up to him. I always held the belief that we all pretty much believed the same thing, except for the whold Mary and Saints thing. But then again I researched into my husbands faith and where did that get me? It got me on my way to baptism this Easter and full Communion with the Catholic church.
So now it will be both our jobs to raise our children Catholic.

I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to marry someone who wasn’t raised Catholic, because I wasn’t and my husband married me.
Who knows you may find the one God has chosen for you and she may not be Catholic.
If you find someone you feel is your chosen mate, then PRAY! God won’t lead you astray.


#4

Genesis,
You certainly raise good points and I think you are wise to think about this so thoroughly before marriage.

Surely, I agree with you that certain aspects of a marriage would be easier if both are Catholics to the “same degree”. (For example the idea of NFP.) And I say, the “same degree” because one who is a devout Catholic is still going to have struggles with someone who is a “cafeteria” Catholic.

I was born and raised a Catholic, fell away from the Church for much of my teen and young adult life and that is when I met my husband, who was a non-practicing Episcopalian. Had I met him today, when faith is an important part of my life, I’m sure I would’ve taken his religious status into some consideration.

But do I regret marrying him? Not at all. I just believe that now it is my duty to help him be the man God intended and to hopefully be there standing at his side someday as he enters fully into the Church. He attends mass with my daughter and I, and he frequently asks questions about the Catholic faith. I do my part and then count on God to take it the rest of the way. :slight_smile:


#5

I think it is crazy. Why invite trouble? As said in “Fiddler on the Roof” - a fish and a bird may fall in love, but, where would they make a home?


#6

I’m with you. I had to break off a friendship in high school because my Catholicism and her Southern Baptist beliefs were just too different. I can’t imagine marrying someone who doesn’t have the same faith as I do. My husband feels the same way.


#7

I was a fallen away Catholic when I married my husband (a Lutheran) 12 years ago, we did discuss that when we had kids they would be raised Catholic, well, low and behold, having that first child was a big eye opener for me and I fell to my knees and asked God to forgive me for not taking my faith far more seriously and I have taken it very seriously since. Is it easy being married to a non Catholic? No it is not, would I suggest it, No, I would not, I love my husband very much but life and marriage and raising children are hard enough and when your spouse is a different faith it can be harder, so of course I will love my husband and remain in my marriage (and pray that someday he will see the truth and become Catholic, hey one can pray) but I will hope and pray that my children marry someone who is Catholic, just to save them that extra burden. I hope this makes some sense. :slight_smile:


#8

No, you’re not crazy. Yes, I agree with you on the subject of dating and/or marrying a non-Catholic.


#9

dating and courtship, then engagement is supposed to be a time of growing intimacy, sharing thoughts, feelings, beliefs, baring your soul to the other person about what is most important to you, what drives you. Then you hit this roadblock when the most important thing to you, your relationship with God and His people, is alien to your partner. I fail to see how either denying a crucial part of your identity, expecting your partner to do so, or both of you compromising, or agreeing not to discuss something so integral to who you are, can possibly be the foundation for a fully loving, committed, accepting relationship. It would be like marrying some who says “I love and understand and accept everything about you except your left leg, you either have to cut it off or hide it so I never have to see it.”


#10

dear genesis,
here is the way i look at this issue. If God did not want me, a former Baptist, to marry my husband, a former Catholic, he would not have brought us together and enabled us to love each other. period. I look at faith and religion as two separate entities that are tightly entertwined with each other. two people can share a common faith, but yet be different religions. I think too many people get hung up on religious issues instead of focusing on the real issue at hand…our savior. As a result of us joining the Methodist Church, we have both grown closer to God. Our relationship with God (in my opinion) should be the number one priority, not where you worship, how you worship, who you worship with, etc.

If you dont think you could ever marry someone outside your faith, dont do it. thats fine. Its your right to set certain standards for what you hope to find in a mate. We all have ideas in our heads of what our spouse should be like. You say that you can not imagine sitting back and ‘allowing’ your future wife to believe differently than you do. Please keep in mind that no matter how hard you may try, you have no control over what others believe. (nevermind the fact that it will be hard for you to find a woman today that will put up with that kind of attitude)

Basically, I guess a person could say, “To each his own!” It works for some, but I’ve seen it end in divorce for others. If this could be a serious issue for you, please be totally honest with anyone you date. Let them know how you feel. Good luck!


#11

Well neither of us were particuliarly religious when we met and married, but we were are are very much in love. Like many people there’s nothing like holding your new baby to make you say “Oh Heaven HELP us!”:smiley: Long, winding path later and here I am: a Catholic home schooling mom of 7 so far w/ an awesome, supportive, attending hubby - who has not taken that step to join the Church with me.

I’m fairly certain the Lord will take care of us in the end - after all He brought me this far w/o me even helping!

fyi: forgive the type-o’s - baby in arms!


#12

I have seen inter-faith marriages last longer than marriages between cradle Catholics that promised in a Mass that their union in God would not be taken lightly. I feel that it is an individual matter. Some couples do quite well, while others suffer and either have a miserable life or divorce. But this is true also of same-faith couples. It takes a right attitude toward their beliefs, respecting the beliefs of their partner, and the right attitude toward marriage. Of course, this is easier said than done.

May God bless the family unit that is threatened today more than at any time in our existance

Deacon Tony


#13

Deacon Tony,

It’s true, it takes the right attitude, and perseverance. And prayer. And God’s grace. I’m married to a non-Catholic wife and we have six children. It’s tough, because she’s been anti-Catholic, but through some discussions, we are making progress on at least communicating.

Yes, things would be better if I had just married a Catholic woman in the first place. But, I was lukewarm in my faith at the time. I took the Church for granted–ho-hum. My faith has become sooooo much more important now that we have children, who, by the way, are not baptized in the church—how do you like that??

Yet, I realize that there are cradle Catholics who marry, and then divorce for other reasons of incompatibility. My wife and I love each other, and we are making progress on communicating.

One step at a time. Pray, don’t push, and let God do the heavy lifting.


#14

When I was married, The only thing Catholic about me was my baptism and a desire from God to be married by a priest. (In fact my conversation was along the lines of I am living with my fiance, I do not go to church, I don’t really have plans to attend, but I just don’t think I will feel married unless it is by a priest, but I am not sure why!)

We have now been married 17 years this March. He is the most wonderful husband in the world and I am so glad I met him when I did. Why? Because if I were unmarried today, with the knowledge I have today, I would walk away from a relationship that did not involve his conversion.

Not because my marriage has been difficult. He has been very supportive of raising the children Catholic, the kids and I going to church. He is a very loving, romantic, cooking, cleaning, supportive man.

But I do not believe when one has the knowledge of unequally yoked, one should then ignore it and get married because they are in love.

According to most of the posts I read of you, you have the knowledge, therefore you also have the responsibility to marry within the Catholic faith.

God Bless,
Maria


#15

I am with you as well. I am 26 years old and came back to the faith about 7 years ago.

**I say this with all due respect to those out there in interfaith marriages: ** I cannot see how a Catholic can marry a non-Catholic if they want to live their faith to the fullest and give their kids the best possibility of heaven.

To me it is simple logic and love of God. Why marry someone who can confuse children and not be an aid in your growth with God. Marriage is suppose to be an aid to salvation. How can a couple who cannot center on the Eucharist/Mass etc. be an aid to each other? They may aid each other in faith in Christ somewhat, but other than that they are hinderances to one another.

I’ve heard of people who were of different faiths and both devout in their separate churches. At times they even went to each other’s churches for the sake of unity. The kids went to the Catholic Church and all seemed well. The troubles came when they got older. No matter how much you try to tell the kid about the Catholic Faith, questions always burn inside of them:

If the Catholic Faith is so true and important why isn’t mom going?
It seems okay with Dad that Mom isn’t converted, or else he would’ve found a Catholic woman.

and on and on… These questions I have heard from people. The kid ends up being agnostic, atheist, and sometimes some obscure eastern religion. Practice and example speak louder than words and the example here is one of separation.

Knowing that our role as parents are to raise kids in the Catholic Faith and love one another to heaven, why endanger this at the outset?

I understand many of you out there married before serious about your Faith, in that case it is very understandable.


#16

Wow, I admire you. Many people in your situation would be defensive when someone says they don’t think interfaith marriage is a good thing to do. It is understandable that you married interfaith, because as you state you weren’t grounded in the faith yet. You seem to have found a great man that is willing to let the kids grow up Catholic (you are blessed). For those who know their faith while still courting, I would advise they don’t take that chance many aren’t as blessed as you. Still I think your kids will have to be taught VERY well, when they see their father isn’t going to Church.

God Bless


#17

[quote=chevalier]God loves all His children the same. Problems will happen but with His grace they may be overcome.
[/quote]

Well siad Chevalier. I am proof that an inter-faith marriage works. My husband and I just celebrated our 20th. He comes to church with us … our family, but hasn’t taken the step (yet). All in God’s timing.

I think it would be horrible, to not ever know my husband … who is of the Baptist Denomination. He has renounced it his faith … I am sure the Lord is walking right with him, because he is the best man (other than my dad) I know. And if I put labels on him, I woudn’t have married such an awesome man! God is so Good!

Mgeising


#18

[quote=Deacon Tony560]I have seen inter-faith marriages last longer than marriages between cradle Catholics that promised in a Mass that their union in God would not be taken lightly. I feel that it is an individual matter.
Deacon Tony
[/quote]

I fully understand where you are coming from, but I would have to disagree. I think the fact that there are many lukewarm Catholics who marry and divorce doesn’t support mixed-marriage as being a good option. Much like there are many Catholics practicing contraception and NOT DIVORCING, doesn’t mean contraception CAN BE a good option.

The fact that a Catholic marries a non-Catholic and they DON’T divorce doesn’t mean it doesn’t threaten the faith of the Catholic involved and the kids. The point isn’t just divorce, but rather the preservation of the Catholic Faith within the family.

I would consider myself a failure as a father even if my marriage lasted until death and my kids grew up non-Catholic due in large part to my mixed union.


#19

I think itepends on how God calls you to spread the faith.

Growing up I considered myself a ‘supposed to be’ (aka Cafeteria) Luthern - although never baptized. My husband comes from a strong line of Catholics (completed with bishops, nuns, priests, etc). If it wasn’t for him, I and our three children would not be Catholic, but probably of another Christian faith (at least that is what I always imagined - never thought I’d be a Catholic! LOL!!).

The funny thing is that none of his brothers or sisters married Catholics either, but we all ended up converting! Think of just how many people did they bring into the fold!

None of us in-laws were ever asked to convert. We all did so at our own pace. Now I am involved in Church ourtreach groups and even teach religious ed classes!

However, all this being said, if you feel strongly opposed to marrying a non-Catholic, don’t do it. We are all called to do God’s will in our special ways. Perhaps yours is just different than my husbands - not good or bad, right or wrong - just different.


#20

There is a huge assumption that the way in which you are raised influences your choice of religion. And yet many of you have converted to Catholicism in adulthood and so your upbringing was not Catholic.

Both my parents are Catholic. My mum was very devout, a Catechist and Catholic nursery school teacher. Although now she has passed away I remember her true and reverent love for the Lord and when she was ill her faith strengthened. Until recently, I am the only one of three children who could even be called a Christian in the loosest sense.

I currently do not go to Church as I am trying to find where God wants me. I have encouraged my younger sister (14yo) to read her Bible and pray that God works within her to put her on the right path.

My older brother (nearly 30) believes in God and Jesus but does not believe enough to be considered a Christian. I pray for him regularly that he re-commits to Christ as he did as a child.

The point I am making is that there are few children blessed with such a strong Catholic upbringing as we were/are. And yet none of us are practising Catholics. So whatever you teach your children about the faith you must remember it is YOUR faith, not theirs. You cannot force them to even believe in God and they will reach an age where they will intellectually challenge everything they have been taught.

Interfaith marriage outside of Christianity is certainly a very difficult marriage to maintain. But marriage to another Christian should emphasise the love you both share for Jesus Christ. That is what the children will relate to. My mum taught me much about Catholicism, but more importantly about God’s love. Thanks to her, I understand God’s love for me. Although my mother is probably horrified at my doubting the Catholic faith, she will understand I have my own path down which God is leading me


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