Mixed Marriage

My girlfriend and I are in our early and mid twenties. We have been together a while and have decided that we would like to get married. However, we are both practical people and feel no need to, and do not want to rush. We are simply talking about getting engaged right now and getting married in a couple years.

During one of our pre-engagement discussions is when our biggest hurdle arose. I thought she was OK with everything but I misunderstood.

I am Catholic, always have been. When I was about 18- 22 or so I was not practicing all that much but with age realized what was important in life and came back to my religion.

She is non-denominational. She does not so much have a problem with having a mixed wedding with co-officiants. I talked to the Diocese and it doesnt look to be a problem and her issue is not with having the marriage recognized in the Catholic Church. Her issue is with promising to have the children raised Catholic. She feels like (although she knows only I have to promise it) she is making a promise to a religion she does not believe in. She doesn’t agree with the way Catholics “do business”.

I would say that I do not always understand either. I would think that as long as you have two people that believe in God and accept Jesus as their savior and agree to teach their children such then God would be pleased. Isn’t that what really matters? I cannot marry someone if I am alienating them and calling their religion unsuitable for our kids. What practical way can I deal with this? I feel God put us together but why would He do that if we cannot be together?

I don’t have anything to say that you probably want to hear. This is why the Catholic Church prohibited mixed marriages in the past and still does although it requires a dispensation from your Bishop; which is nothing more than a formality these days.

You have some serious soul searching to do. This world is not forever but the next one is. Keep that in mind when you pray and think about it.

I’ll keep you in my prayers.

No, of course not.

Matthew 7 applies.

Fray Luis de Leon also put it well: “Notice that to be a good Christian it is not enough just to pray and fast and hear Mass; God must find you faithful, like another Job or Abraham, in times of tribulation” (Guide for Sinners, Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 21)

Ever think that God put you together so that you can bring her home to His Church?

Jesus only founded one Church. Historically, that Church existed for 1000 or so years as the ONLY Christian Church. Then, in 1054 A.D., the Orthodox split off. They retained Apostolic succession, however, and, therefore, all seven Sacraments. Only in 1517 A.D. did Protestantism get its start when an ex-Catholic priest, Martin Luther, split off. Since that time, it’s split into literally thousands of different little churches, including the ones that label themselves as “non-denominational.” :slight_smile:

As spouses, your job is to get each other to heaven. (to quote Fr Corapi). Get Scott Hahn’s book Rome Sweet Home and share it with your girlfriend. It is their story of conversion to the Catholic faith. Kimberly struggled with it for a long time.

Ask her what her objections are to the faith and then see if you can find the answers. Pray about it too, especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament. St Rita of Cascia is an amazing intercessor for that. She prayed for 20 years for the conversion of her husband.

If you love Jesus, yes, that’s what matters.

But here’s a Very Big Catch–you love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. If she is the kind of non-denom I’m familiar with, she thinks it’s just a cracker. That is a HUGE difference between you, and it trickles down into all sorts of smaller theological points. For example, we believe in infused grace and justification as a process, and receiving the Eucharist day after day, week after week, plays a big role in that. Most non-denom evangelical protestants believe that salvation happens poof! at one point in time, and we only get into Heaven because when God looks at us, He sees Jesus rather than our true selves. Big, big difference there, that plays out even in everyday life.

You’re also going to disagree about the timing of baptism. Do you want to deprive your children of the graces of that sacrament in infancy in order to keep the peace in your home?

If you don’t see the massive differences, it might be a good time to explore the Faith more.

Please excuse my presumption, but I hope you are living chastely. It raises a bit of a red flag when someone says they “feel no need to” get married.

During one of our pre-engagement discussions is when our biggest hurdle arose. I thought she was OK with everything but I misunderstood.

I am Catholic, always have been. When I was about 18- 22 or so I was not practicing all that much but with age realized what was important in life and came back to my religion.

She is non-denominational. She does not so much have a problem with having a mixed wedding with co-officiants. I talked to the Diocese and it doesnt look to be a problem and her issue is not with having the marriage recognized in the Catholic Church. Her issue is with promising to have the children raised Catholic. She feels like (although she knows only I have to promise it) she is making a promise to a religion she does not believe in. She doesn’t agree with the way Catholics “do business”.

Why co-officiants? If she is truly “non-denominational”, then she should have no problem with only a Catholic priest officiate.

I would say that I do not always understand either. I would think that as long as you have two people that believe in God and accept Jesus as their savior and agree to teach their children such then God would be pleased. Isn’t that what really matters?

But what does it “mean” to accept Jesus as your saviour? As a Catholic, I believe it means embracing everything that God has handed down to us through the Catholic Church, and nothing less.

I cannot marry someone if I am alienating them and calling their religion unsuitable for our kids. What practical way can I deal with this? I feel God put us together but why would He do that if we cannot be together?

I really believe that mixed marriages are a very bad idea.

don’t know what “being together means” but if it means cohabiting and claiming rights that belong only to marriage, you cannot delay, your soul is in jeopardy as is the health of your future relationship and you must either marry or separate. There is no other alternative. See your priest today and get pastoral counselling that is appropriate to your situation, and confide your marriage plans and follow his guidance on marriage preparation.

You are “Catholic and always have been.” You, not your gf, are bound therefore by Catholic canon law. You are obligated to marry another Catholic or to obtain permission for your bishop to marry a non-Catholic which will be granted only if there is no danger to your own faith and only so long as you, the Catholic partner, promise to raise your children as Catholic–not multi-denominational Christians. If your gf has a problem with “how the Church does business” she needs to reevaluate the idea of a lifelong commitment to life with a Catholic. The Church does business as Jesus directs through the Holy Spirit, not according to the personal preferences of human beings. You have no right to ask her to violate her conscience on these matters, nor has she the right to demand you change yours especially on the issue that is core to your identity.

No God is NOT satisfied with the “but I am a good person” attitude and “as long as I love other people I am okay” . Jesus commanded on the night before he suffered and died to redeem us from our sins “If you love Me you will keep My commandments.” He founded a Church to mediate the grace from his sacrifice and to hand on his teachings and commands. Catholics obey them, all of them.

I predict great trouble in the days ahead for the bride and groom. It truly sounds as if neither is ready to be married.

Without getting into the story of my own miserable marriage, let me say that this is much harder than it seems on the surface.

You have to decide what’s really important to you. Will you have to defend your practices? Will you have to fight to have your children Baptized? Once they’re Baptized, how will you raise them Catholic if the mother doesn’t like the way we “do business”? Will you end up compromising your beliefs?

We tend to believe that Love Conquers All, but it doesn’t. The best way to make a good marriage is to choose someone who believes the same things you do, has the same values you do, and has an upbringing as much like yours as possible. Remember marriages are one to a customer. If you make a mistake in your choice, you’ll have to live with it for a very long time. I’ve been alone for 22 years, and although it’s more peaceful than the constant fighting, it’s also very lonely.

There probably won’t be “co-officiants” since only one of them can receive the vows. You could get married in her church with the permission of the bishop’s office.

Her issue is with promising to have the children raised Catholic. She feels like (although she knows only I have to promise it) she is making a promise to a religion she does not believe in.

This is going to be problematic for the rest of your life if you decide to get married. Apparently everything you believe, she is going to undermine to the children. That could lead to animosity and hurt feelings. Our faith needs to come first. Remember the greatest commandment is to love God and the second is to love each other. Love of God must come first.

I would say that I do not always understand either. I would think that as long as you have two people that believe in God and accept Jesus as their savior and agree to teach their children such then God would be pleased. Isn’t that what really matters?

Can you marry someone who is asking you to reject what you hold dearest? What other beliefs, values, or principles will you have to sacrifice in the marriage?

I cannot marry someone if I am alienating them and calling their religion unsuitable for our kids. What practical way can I deal with this? I feel God put us together but why would He do that if we cannot be together?

And yet she is alienating you and calling your religion unsuitable for your children.

I’m not saying that these problems are unsolvable, but they need to be addressed if the marriage is going to work…

Mixed marriage. What is mixed between 2 Christians? The bigger sin is the division of denominations, and the problems that causes in the Church. God is bigger that Catholicism and Non-Denomination. Learn to work together in harmony.
ihaveavoice.com/christiancounseling-online/index.html

arullo123, I am in a similar situation. Been dating a girl who is Protestant since the beginning of College (we are in our early 20’s, she is in med school now). Would have been married already if we could come to terms with these conflicts and others that people have mentioned. Our 5 year relationship almost ended a couple of months ago with frustrations but we made the decision to keep trying and working on learned more. I have studied her church and that side of things tirelessly, but she is spending so much time with her studies in school and has less time to study Catholicism, which has become frustrating. I am meeting with her Pastor soon to have a friendly debate over some of the conflicts, as she sometimes gets upset and flustered when we try to discuss.

I’d be interested in hearing how you proceed in your situation, send me a pm if you want.

Lets keep this issue in a modern world.
Mixed marriage if you’s both love each other it is still a marriage well in my catholic faith that i know it teaches love for all and that includes love with in a mixed marriage.:slight_smile:

Is your relationship with God the most important thing in your life? If it’s not, you probably should get that straightened out before you get married. If it is, then going to mass and receiving Jesus is the most important part of your week, as is following His will daily. Of course, you’ll want to share all that with your children.

You’re talking about children. Let’s do that. How many do the two of you want to have? How will you space them? Does she like the idea of God’s ‘interference’ in your sexual relationship?

You’re Catholic but she doesn’t like the way the church does business. That’s like saying she loves you except for your left arm. But the arm’s a part of you, it keeps getting in the way.

I know several couples in mixed marriages. Only one couple is really happy. They’re unable to have children. They respect each other. Each is active in their own church. Even so, it’s something they can’t really share. With the other couples, the wives walk on eggshells when it comes to practicing their faith. They have to be so careful not to do anything that may make their husbands jealous of the time they spend at bible study, on the RCIA team, etc. One woman who left to become Methodist felt that she couldn’t ask her husband to stay home from golf for an hour with the toddler so that she could go to mass. That would have been unreasonable.

If you’re Catholic you love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. How can you share your heart and life with someone who thinks this is irrelevant?

Oh, there’s so much to think about here. Please work it out before you get married. And what the others said about being intimate before marriage, listen to them. If you put God first in your life and your wife does the same you have a much better chance of having your marriage work out well and having a happy life here as well as in eternity.

Your remark shows that you don’t understand what divides Christians and what can divide husband and wife in a mixed marriage.

Catholics believe that Jesus established the Catholic Church and that all Christians should be part of it. Non-Catholic Christians, such as yourself, disagree. You look at the Church as just another denomination, as good as all the others. Catholics see it as the body of Christ on earth.

Catholics see the Eucharist of the Catholic Church as Christ Himself. This is a central Catholic belief. Other Christians deny this.

Catholic teaching is that artificial contraception is intrinsically immoral, contrary to the natural law. It is a rare Protestant congregation that accepts this (although, by grace, some Protestant couples come to see this truth).

We can learn to accentuate what we have in common. We can work together in harmony. But marriage requires more than that. In marriage, two are to become one flesh. They are supposed to be an image of Christ and the Church.

What a very good point!

Don’t know if you are still here readings. Here goes.

I have been in a “mixed” marriage for 20 years. I was Southern Baptist, wife devoutly Catholic. I did not agree with how the Church “do business”. She did not agree with how Baptist “do business”. Regardless, we RESPECTED each other and our beliefs. Your girlfriend does not respect you or your beliefs. And you are willing to throw it all away for what? Love? Where is the love your girlfriend has for you? You do not present her having love for you? What other things in your life will she consider unsuitable? Will you then give that up also?

Our marriage worked, works and will work due to respect and love. I never tried to change her, she never tried to change me. I went to Mass with her and when she went to church with me, WE made efforts to ensure she made an earlier or later Sunday Mass or a Vigil Mass on Saturday. Even when I became a Southern Baptist Pastor, I made sure she was faithful. And I would attend with her when I could.

When I did not agree with infant baptism, I ensured our children were baptized in the Church. Then I rationalized for my wife’s piece of mind. I still remember our 1st child screaming through her baptism. She scream from the moment we entered the church until we left. As soon as the sun hit her face, she stopped screaming. I joking said, “guess she is a baptist after all.” We all had a great laugh, got hit by our Jewish “grandmother” in fake anger. The priest handed me a copy of the catechism saying, “guess you need this now. Where is the party!”

20 years after marriage, almost 17 since our first of 5 kids. All the children are baptized in the Church. 3 first communion, 2 confirmed. My spiritual journey has been from Baptist to Anglican to Catholic (once the ordinariate is setup).

All of that to say, if you or you girlfriend do not respect each other and their beliefs the marriage will be a failure. Do not continue by abandoning your faith and bring children into this mess. It will be harmful to them. It cause my children difficulties and my wife and I were respectful of each others beliefs.

My question, are you sure God did put you together? Are you trying to force something you feel you want while God is showing you a big warning sign? There were girls I dated and truly felt I loved prior to my wife. I thought we were brought together by God. I missed warning signs luckily others caught. My wife and I almost did not get married, until we learned to respect each other. I would advise not to get married until such time as your girlfriend can respect your beliefs. To do so would to ensure sadness in the family.

And get married in the Church. We did. Over half the congregation were Baptists and Methodist and no the church did not fall in and there were no lightning bolts from heaven. I was glad to have such a beautiful wedding. The ones I have seen or been the minister in the Baptist church pale to a beautiful Catholic wedding.

Fr. Mark

You have received some very good answers here. Fr. Mark having a very good view of it. I am the Catholic half of a mixed marriage. We have been married now 31 years and I foresee another 31 years God willing we both live that long.

I entered our marriage knowing he was not Catholic but I also entered it with much prayer and both of us with the understanding that it would be a Christ centered marriage. We have prayed together off and on throughout our marriage. Even two Catholics who marry can have difficulties in their marriage if they do not put Jesus in the center of their marriage.

Now having said all of this, may I suggest that the two of you look into doing an RCIA or similar class at a local Parish? It would be good for you to learn more about your Faith and for her to get an introduction and answers to her questions from a (hopefully) good source. It may very well be that God is asking you to choose Him over each other.

Brenda V.

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