mixed marriages


i am wondering if interreligious marriages work b/c I am interested in someone of a different faith.

A side note: Looking thru the old posts, I came across one where people were listing their ethnic heritages. I has always wondered…why do white people in america have multi-ethnic background (1/2 irish, 1/2 german, etc) is this common? i always though germans prefer germans, irish prefer irish, etc b/c asians are like that (chinese stay with chinese etc) just something i always wanted to know…


My parents did it for 10 years. Dad Lutheran, Mom Catholic until dad wanted to be Catholic (missing out on the childrens expereinces.) My own husband- Calvinist until last year! Now Catholic and excited to be the godfather of my cousin (his former relgion has no godparents.) It’s really tough though being different relgions. I’m the only one I know who went to a Catholic college and married a Calvinist there! But people do it – must be hard on the children – was for myself. Many questions and confusion for the children!

My faith is such a big part of my life! That being said, when I met my fiance, I told him I couldn’t consider marrying a non Catholic. He was Lutheran at the time. He attended mass with me and fell in love with the Catholic Church. After he went to RCIA and joined the church he proposed. I am so happy that we can share our faith together. One thing to remember, couples that pray together and share their faith with each other stay together. I figure I am marrying for keeps…I want to give my marriage the best chance of succeeding. As to your other question, most of us in America are mutts…we are a great mix of nationalities. I am Polish and German and my fiance is German and Seminole Indian. My sisters all married Irishmen, and my brother married an Italian. All were Catholic, that is more important than the nationality as we are all the body of Christ.

In America, the days when people lived in ethnic ghettos are gone, except maybe in New York I guess. Nobody pays any attention to ethnicity, at least among Caucasians. People pay more attention if a white marries a person of another race (I actually got a hate letter when I married a dark-skinned man), but even that is widely accepted.

My mom and dad were Episcopalian and Catholic respectively. It was kind of sad for us kids because we never all went to church as a family. Mostly I went with my mother, occasionally with my father.
Later they decided that Mom would “get” the girls and dad would “get” the boys, but it didn’t work very well. I’m the only one of us four still attending church.
I’d recommend you invite your friend to a Catholic mass and see what he says. Maybe he’ll love it. I think it’s very important to marry someone who respects your faith, because it ought to be the most important part of your life, and if you can’t share it with your spouse it’s very painful.

yeah i think it would be better if both spouses are the same religion. I think everyone with the exception of very few people want their marriages to last a lifetime. so i want to make the most rational decision but feelings get in the way. when you look at it, no one is going to be matched 100%…what do you think?

thanks for the info and keep posting.

also, i admire the unity white people have, i wish it was that way for asians. Unfortunately, asians pretty much stay within their sub-groups.

hey nina, i know what you mean about “staying in the subgroups”, but remember, white people have been mixing in the USA for a loooong time, and before that there was as much ethnic division among whites as there is now among asians, perhaps even worse.

give asians in the USA a few more generations, then they will be able to answer questions about ethnicity like other people in the USA: “uhhh, i dunno, a little of everything!”

i remember once in college i was dating a hindu indian girl, and i told my roommate “i don’t know if this will work out, she’s hindu, and i’m catholic.” (i’m white by the way). he was COMPLETELY mystified at this, he said “wait, you care about her religion more than about her race?! for most people it’s the other way around.”

it’s infinitely more important what someone believes than what they look like.

anyway, to advise you on your dating a non-catholic: is he open to learning about the faith? if no, then you must realize how difficult this path will be for you. it’s hard enough to be married without having to disagree about the fundamental meaning of the universe too.

Parents are always good at giving advice. Children are also good at thinking it’s irrelevant. Children have lots to learn. When I was a child my mother told me that marrying a catholic was not only the preferred choice, but the only choice. I thought she was being prejudice, and maybe to a degree she was, but now that I’m older I see more the wisdom in the ‘advice’ she was trying to give.

It will obviously be more difficult working with two different religions, especially eventually with children. Sometimes things that are difficult though are what we need to go through to learn different lessons God has in store for us. Nobody will know the best thing for you except for you.
I dont’ want to be the one who talks you out of something though, if you really love this person- God will help you work through it. However, if it were me and it was a new relationship and I had a choice between pursuing someone of my same religion or a different- I would choose my religion.

yeah it is strange to most people that you would care more about religion than race b/c people feel race is about how you look and religion can always change, i guess. everyone is different i suppose. but i think as long as the person is christian, the differences b/w denominations should not matter. it’s kinda like as long as you are white, it should not matter what ethnicity or nationality the person is.


i am wondering if interreligious marriages work b/c I am interested in someone of a different faith.

A side note: Looking thru the old posts, I came across one where people were listing their ethnic heritages. I has always wondered…why do white people in america have multi-ethnic background (1/2 irish, 1/2 german, etc) is this common? i always though germans prefer germans, irish prefer irish, etc b/c asians are like that (chinese stay with chinese etc) just something i always wanted to know…


My wife and I were both Catholics and married in the Catholic church. We had a great marriage until she left the Catholic church for an evangelical one. Our marriage has steadily headed downhill ever since. Marriage is hard enough as it is without having the same faith. Your faith should be the foundation of your marriage. If it isn’t, it is doomed to failure.

I am not from the US, not even from America, and I could probably trace some 10 ethinicities. I don’t think it’s just an American thing, although it’s probably more common over there.

As for interreligious marriages… don’t cast your net there. It’s already painful from the beginning of the relationship. You could live with the theological controversies but differences in moral principles are tough. Really tough.

Imagine having a non-Catholic boyfriend. The guy would talk sexy, making it difficult for both of you. He would ask you to do things you wouldn’t do and you would hear the eternal “why?” or he would think he weren’t attractive because you wouldn’t sleep with him. Even if you kept refusing, he would still think of you sexually and he wouldn’t see a problem in masturbating if some tension accumulated.

So here goes: premarital sex is wrong, masturbation is wrong, yes, you love him, yes he is attractive but no, you won’t sleep with him… yes, you are attracted sexually but you don’t want to act on it until marriage… no, touching is still too much… if you masturbate it means I lead you to sin and I can’t continue doing that, so we need to cool down… and so on and so forth.

Be careful who you fall in love with! There are numerous posts on these forums about mixed marriages going through difficulites regarding NFP, education of children, attending different churches etc. Marriage is hard enough w/o big differences in those areas. —KCT

in response to chevalier, you make good points. But be serious. I live in America, in this day and age it is hard to find someone who is the same religion. most people do not even believe in anything anymore.

it’s analgous to this…ok you said you have 10 or so european nationalities…ok…ideally, a german should be with a german, irish with an irish, etc…but the fact remains that that does not happen all the time, especially in america…your mother may be german, your dad may be irish, etc…do these relationships work? Yes? so the same goes for religious ones, i think…your mom may be catholic, your dad Protestant, etc…what do you think? is this kind of thinking correct??? Doe inter-european relationships work? then that means, interreligious relationships can work too??

btw, are you european? isn’t it more secular in europe??

I think there are some Protestant denominations that would be compatible in a marriage, but Catholicism does not “jell” with other faiths.

If you are truly serious and attached to your faith, I would advise against marrying a non-Catholic.

It will be hard with the children, unless your spouse has no faith, or practices no faith and supports your raising the children in your faith.

I married a non catholic, but I did not intend to raise my children in the church, so that was not an issue or sticking point for us.


Nina, ethnicities don’t affect your moral stance so much as religion does. You can live with some cultural differences, but moral differences are tougher than that. Let me give you an example: I had a Muslim ancestor of the Asian race some 400 years ago. The Asian traits are watered down and you won’t notice much except if you look on the eyes or cheekbones for a longer time. So some trace of the Asian race is there. But there is no Muslim part in me. No Orthodox part in me, either, even though some ancestors ages ago did follow that religion. Ethnicities blend together, religions don’t. But yeah, there is some similarity.

If speaking about secular countries, mine isn’t one. :wink: It’s Poland. The land of strong men who can drink. At least 90% citizens declare they are Catholic (doesn’t mean more than 40% goes to church on Sunday :rolleyes: ). The problem exists even here, however. About a half of unmarried people is sexually active. Find me a virgin among those who aren’t sexually active at the time being or someone who has gone to confession for that. When in a new environment, I make sure a debate on it starts soon and I say loud enough so that all females could hear that I agree with the Church’s teaching. Wonder why I’m single. :wink:


You have a right to be proud and excited about your faith. As do any children you may have. With a non-Catholic in the mix they are neutral at best and oppositional and confrontational at worst. Secular spouses don’t argue theology with you but get all bent out of shape that you want to be involved in the parish. You really are a nut to them to think that you and your kids have to go to Mass EVERY Sunday and don’t get them started on holy days or activities. Hypothetically there are ways to make it work, but don’t go out of your way to make it happen. Take it from my 11 1/2 years experience, it is unfair to both of you.

It is very hard, I know from experience. Except in my case I was the non-catholic trying to pull my husband from the church. We struggled with our marraige for 6 yrs, he even decided to come to church with me and the kids at a presbyterian church just so we could worship together. But non the less it was very hard. God is so good though. He made my heart start to change and brought me home to the Catholic church so my husband could come back and now we are raising our children strong Catholic too. I couldn’t be happier and my marriage couldn’t be better. I can be done having a mixed marriage, but there are a lot of trials. The other thing to keep in mind is when the children start comming they are going to wonder who is right faith wise, and they might worry about who will go to Heaven and who won’t. We deal with those types of question from our young ones because my side of the family is Lutheran. My six yr old wants to know why Grandma isn’t Catholic and why we can’t all follow the Church. Try explaining the reformation to a six yr old, but that’s another thread. Good luck and God Bless

I am a cradle catholic, as some have termed it in these forums, as is my husband. Here in lies the differences…after we were married i discovered he wanted me to be catholic, he wants our children to be catholic, but it was a nescesary thing to have to be one of the family and the group they belong to.

Now i am raising two small ones, ages 5 and 7 now, with a father that rolls his eyes at any mention of god. He will not attend church, or talk about it, he won’t even stop argueing with the children over why his plants on his nursery garden (farm) are doing so well. The kids say God supplied the rain, the earth and the sunshine. He says he watered them, so he is the one to thank.

That is as mixed as mixed can be…i think! :confused:

[quote=nina78]in response to chevalier, you make good points. But be serious. I live in America, in this day and age it is hard to find someone who is the same religion. most people do not even believe in anything anymore.

I don’t know how old you are, but there are plenty of places to meet like minded people. A solid Catholic college, young adults groups, Theology on Tap programs, catholic conferences etc. We know lots of faithful Catholic young people. —KCT

Well, before I dated anyone, I kinda kicked around the idea of how I felt about dating outside of Catholicism. My parents are both Catholic and I couldn’t really imagine them having separate faiths, so I always just saw this as the way I should do things. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I only want to marry inside Catholicism. As for race, I didn’t really care. However, interestingly enough, the girl I’m with now happens to have an ethnic background similar to mine: Irish and German (mostly, +other stuff)


I brough in my 40th BD without my 1st son at my side, we were inseperable. He died 16 months ago. He was the reason i got up every day, as he was terminally ill. You would neve know it to look, as his spirit was strong and faithful. He moved with a desperate apreciation of the daily gift of a sunrise. He wanted to be a teacher, teach Drama and Religion…at his own High School. He wanted to help others become inspired with life, follow their hearts and dreams. He wanted them to know that there would always be someone who believed they could do it…him! He also knew of the plight of his younger siblings (5 & 6 now) and the nescesity of keeping them spiritually grounded. My husband works a terrible amount of hours and my son was never asked, he parented them as if they were his own. They were extensions of him, and it pains me to know that in the long run, they will not remember his daily smiles and virtues he implimented into their moments. The day before he died, he was so worn down - hospitalized, but expecting to go home. Jokingly he said so many times, “Now you know when we get home after a few days, we will have our hands full…they will be saying no, stomping their feet and…well he will of wiped out most of our progress in the last few months…so make sure you are firm ma, don’t give in…make them love life, reach for it with God on their sleves…i want them to have the oportunity to know their selves enough to reach for the stars , if that is what they want…Right Ma…Are you listening to me?” Well with a tear in my eyes i said, i hear everything sweetheart, you know that you are more of a Father than their own, i love your heart, they are so blessed to have you be a part of their lives!

Who would have known that less than 12 hours latter, he would pass away with his Homeward Bound T-shirt on listing some scripture on it about going home to the Lord, saying to me (although flatlined for over 30 min. at the time), “It’s ok Ma, i’ll be alright!”

Now i am in a Marriage that has me without a partner due to the hours he keeps, the lac of interest, and all alone…with a sense of being in a hole i can not get out of. Love and devotion, as well as the true belief in the prommise before the Lord, that i will stay-unless they are in danger. They are not, as i have been quite frank with my girls about God and my belief system. They honestly tutor him…and i am glad for it, as he at least will sit long enough to listen, and smile at their debth. With me, he walks before i say a word.

Strange to say it, but i feel like i have lost my best friend, partner and confidaunt…as well as my son!

When i think of where he is, i smile, it is beautiful, he can breath, run, and Fly as his sisters believe! The sad part is the life i can not get a grip on…i still jump at times thinking i have to pick him up from school. There is such great debth in the void i feel!

I am aware of many outlets, and i thank you for your desire to lead hope into my days for me. I can not get out very much, and was hoping to reach people regardless…so this will be my new spiritual link…it is something i just can not loose!

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