My boyfriend won't let us raise our future children in the church

Hi there,
I usually google things relating to my problems for solutions, but for the first time, I couldn’t find anything that quite fit my situation.
My boyfriend and I have been together for about 10 months now. We have been best friends for almost 3 years, while crushing on each other ever since :). We have been living together for about three months. I am a Catholic. I’m not as devout as I should be, but I have an unbreakable faith and I believe in and love God with all of my heart.
My boyfriend likes to call himself an “agnostic atheist”. This is fine with me. I have respect for people of all religions. I don’t argue or debate or push my religion on anyone. However, when I get married, no matter who I marry, I plan on baptizing my children, bringing them to church with me, and putting them in Sunday school.
Our relationship is solid. Neither of us have ever had any reason not to trust each other. We inspire each other, play and make each other laugh all of the time, are physically crazy about each other, and have just about everything else in common. Living with him has been absolute heaven… but there’s just one problem we have.
I know it isn’t 100% going to come true, though I’d like it to, but we have often discussed getting married in a few years. In fact I can’t imagine being with anyone else. He is literally the man of my dreams. We both really want kids, and we basically act married now. But he thinks that my religion, or rather the belief in God or anything supernatural at all is unhealthy. For one, he doesn’t want to do with whole Santa Clause/Easter bunny thing. That’s something I’ve always looked forward to do for my kids. He thinks it will encourage them to believe in magic and not be logical. He doesn’t want to put our future kids in Sunday school. He says I can take them to church if I let him tell them what he believes. Normally I would compromise, but I know just what he will say to our children.
He often goes onto certain websites and debates- rather starts fights with other Christians or those who believe in God and the bible. He does this in front of me. I try not to look, but when he’s not home I get curious and google. He dares Christians to come up with any evidence at all. Some of them have some, but of course, he’ll never accept it. He subtlety insults everyone he debates with and tries to belittle them and make them feel uneducated and weak. They can hold their own, but when they do, he gets nastier and nastier. The things he calls them and the condescending way he speaks to them hurts my feelings. I believe in the same things, after all. He claims that the people he debates with aren’t like Catholics, but does it matter when he is debating the existence of Jesus and validity of the Bible?
I have no plans to convince him, as it cannot be done. All I can do is pray. But if he plans on telling the kids that mom is crazy and they don’t have to get up early on Sundays and they don’t have to take the time out of their fun lives to pray, and that can take the easy way out because the religion telling them to do these things is false, I would end up hating him.
Everything else is perfect. I know he is my soul mate, but I feel this slowly eating away at us, and I have insisted that we wait a few years to talk about it, because I am happy and I’m afraid I’ll end up leaving him if the conversation gets too far, but somehow it keeps coming up.
I’m not willing to bend on how I’m going to raise my future kids. But neither is he.
Any advice?
Thanks so much!

Sorry to tell you this, but if you truly plan to stay steadfast in your faith, and your boyfriend will not change his position than the relationship is not going to work. You are going to be better off in the long run to end things now and find someone whose beliefs are in line with your own.

Actually, you have more than one problem. The first one is that you shouldn’t be living together.

I know it isn’t 100% going to come true, though I’d like it to, but we have often discussed getting married in a few years. In fact I can’t imagine being with anyone else. He is literally the man of my dreams. We both really want kids, and we basically act married now. But he thinks that my religion, or rather the belief in God or anything supernatural at all is unhealthy. For one, he doesn’t want to do with whole Santa Clause/Easter bunny thing. That’s something I’ve always looked forward to do for my kids. He thinks it will encourage them to believe in magic and not be logical. He doesn’t want to put our future kids in Sunday school. He says I can take them to church if I let him tell them what he believes. Normally I would compromise, but I know just what he will say to our children.
He often goes onto certain websites and debates- rather starts fights with other Christians or those who believe in God and the bible. He does this in front of me. I try not to look, but when he’s not home I get curious and google. He dares Christians to come up with any evidence at all. Some of them have some, but of course, he’ll never accept it. He subtlety insults everyone he debates with and tries to belittle them and make them feel uneducated and weak. They can hold their own, but when they do, he gets nastier and nastier. The things he calls them and the condescending way he speaks to them hurts my feelings. I believe in the same things, after all. He claims that the people he debates with aren’t like Catholics, but does it matter when he is debating the existence of Jesus and validity of the Bible?

This is how the man of your dreams behaves?

I have no plans to convince him, as it cannot be done. All I can do is pray. But if he plans on telling the kids that mom is crazy and they don’t have to get up early on Sundays and they don’t have to take the time out of their fun lives to pray, and that can take the easy way out because the religion telling them to do these things is false, I would end up hating him.
Everything else is perfect. I know he is my soul mate, but I feel this slowly eating away at us, and I have insisted that we wait a few years to talk about it, because I am happy and I’m afraid I’ll end up leaving him if the conversation gets too far, but somehow it keeps coming up.
I’m not willing to bend on how I’m going to raise my future kids. But neither is he.
Any advice?
Thanks so much!

No, everything else isn’t perfect. Not at all. Not even close.

You mean your ex-boyfriend?? :smiley:

You should not be shacking up with this guy. Time to get real. What happens if you get pregnant? He’s not your “soul mate,” dear. Your “soul mate” would be another Catholic who could help you get to heaven. You put the cart before the horse by having sex with him before marriage. So when are you going to talk about this issue? When you have 2 unbaptized kids?

BING! BING! BING! BING! You win the kewpie doll!

I don’t know if you’re going to wind up hating him or not, but you are getting all ready to take out a long-term mortgage on a world of hurt. It is hard enough to raise children Catholic when their non-Catholic parent is fully supportive–meaning, he doesn’t believe what the Church teaches is a lie, never tells his children that any part of Catholicism is false, always joins in family prayer, and always supports his family in meeting their religious obligations–but don’t ever try it with anyone, Catholic or not, who is hostile towards the faith. I know women who go through this, and it is a daily struggle for them. No, they don’t hate their husbands, but they do hate the awful predicament that they’re in. It kills them that their husbands hate the faith or resent the real practice of it.

I would also advise that you choose your husband based on how he treats people that he doesn’t know and who can’t do anything for him. The worst brings out the worst, and every marriage goes through better and worse. Don’t marry someone who is verbally abusive to other people or who treats others with condescension, even over the internet. When your marriage is at a low point, you two spouses will be in line to get each other’s worst treatment. Likewise, when your families have a spat, your families will show each other their worst sides. Marry someone whose standards will ensure that will never dip below the level of common decency. You will never live to regret it.

There are atheists married to Catholics who do not stand in the way of the rest of their home being Catholic, but your boyfriend is not going to be one of them. On top of that, he has a nasty side that will eventually get around to pointing itself at you. (I’m over 50, I’ve seen some relationships come and go, I’m not making this up from theory!) It will be hard, but it is time to strike out on your own for something better.

This, absolutely.

It’s a dealbreaker. Move on.

Bananas,

God bless you for wanting to bring your children into the Church! While the previous responses may not have been worded in the most charitable manner, there is some truth in what they say. But, I want you to know that what I say is meant with complete love and joy for your desire , and although it may not be what you want to hear, it is meant out of true love for you as a person seeking Gods love.

First, you say you know Gods love. Well God wants your total, complete happiness, and this means a marriage based on two people whose goal it is to bring each other to heaven. Believe me , after a failed marriage of my own, I cant say how important I believe this is. You and your boyfriend may care deeply for one another, and I thought I had that too. What is more important is that two people love the Lord deeply and more than anything else. This is not to say he is absolutely the wrong person. Since he is the father of your children it is so important that he be your husband. This is the problem that happens when we do things opposite to Gods plan. But this is where you are. So what to do now?

I think you should first ask him that if he truly loves you he will at least hear you out about why God and the Church are so important to you, and that you would at least ask that he consider what you are saying. Secondly, you need to ask that he shows respect for your beliefs and consequently the Church , which means allowing you to raise the children in the Church. Ultimately, I don’t think he has to convert tomorrow but he has to at least show you respect and allow you to raise the children accordingly. If he cannot show you respect in this area, what other areas will he fail to show you respect? Secondly, you should come to understand why the Church, why Jesus would oppose couple living together without marriage. It is really for our own good, your own happiness. I know he’s going to think your nuts, but please trust me from my experience, if you truly love the faith of the Church, you will seek and follow Her wisdom.

You can assure him that he has nothing to fear. Your growth in faith, including how you raise your children will only make you love him more and deeper. You may not agree with how he lives his life, but you only grow to care more and more about him. You state that this is eating at you. That’s because you have opened your heart to Christ, and he is calling you to follow him completely and I am so happy for you! But it will get tough for a while, but eventually, if you truly come to follow Christ completely, your husband will not be able to resist you and Christ. In other words, become a good Christian, a good Catholic, a saint. So ultimately, the answer is to pray, follow Christ’s commandments and let yourself grow closer in the Lord and your boyfriend will show his true colors . You will then know the truth about him and what you have. But more importantly you will be who God wants you to be. I pray that your boyfriend will see Christ’s love from you that he too will want to be what God has planned for him!

God bless you, you have my prayers!

Kids that grow up with parents of differing faiths often end up thinking all religions are the same, feeling conflicted about God and the points were the religions differ, or simply not taking a religion at all (just being “meh” about it). If faith is important to you then this is a big deal.

I wouldn’t tell you to straight-up dump him but you have to reach a point where you would be comfortable with anything your man would say and do with your children. If this is not the case with your bf then you have some serious choices to make about whether to continue the relationship.

As for living together, it’s against church teaching to live together so if you really take you faith seriously you need to think about that part of the situation as well.

I would end up hating him.
Everything else is perfect. I know he is my soul mate

Does not compute. People don’t hate their soul mates.

I don’t think he loves you. He wants you to change; he cannot accept you the way you are because of your religion. If he rejects something fundamental and deeply important to you, goes out of his way to ridicule it (to the point of seeking out people online who hold your beliefs to mock them), then does he really value you? He may value things about you, but I don’t think he really values you as a whole person. My advice is to find someone who does, because there are plenty out there. You shouldn’t have to put up with this.

I agree that it’s a deal breaker.

Listen, the man you date and marry does not have to be Catholic. That in itself is not the deal breaker. If he is unwilling to allow you to raise the children in the Church, that is the deal breaker. Why would you want to marry and make babies with a man who will withhold your children’s salvation? How could that even be a consideration?

no ,it isn’t .solid is married.living together outside of marriage is shacking up

I’ll take a shack on a rock over a castle built on sand.

Please don’t do this. Cohabitation with someone to whom you are not married only leads to bad consequences in the future marriage. Trust me, I know from committing that same mistake myself.

I don’t think you really want to marry someone who is not open to you or your future children practicing your faith fully, or even at all. I am in a mixed marriage myself and believe me it is tough even when the non-catholic spouse DOES agree to let you raise the children catholic. Don’t get yourself permanently stuck in this situation. Mixed faith marriages can work, but they take a lot of extra work. You must have a fiancee who is willing to let you practice your faith and have your children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith. You don’t have that right now.

You need to start looking elsewhere. It is going to be hard, but trust me, it will be for the best and later you will be thankful you did.

I will say some prayers for you too.

The mistake is in thinking that those are the only two choices you have.

I will pray for your situation!

Well, since you’re the one who put it out there, here’s my opinion. You’re not as strong in your faith as you claim if you’re willing to break the Lord’s commandment against fornication so blatantly as to move in with this man. Not only are you risking your soul and his and setting up a scandal for those around you but also a terrible example to set for your future kids.

Marriage is not just a choice, it is a vocation. If your vocation truly is to be married than you need to discern your choice of the husband who will share this vocation with you.

One of the roles of a husband and wife is to get one another to heaven. While you seem to be willing to do this for him by praying for him he’s certainly not going to do this for you in any willing way. Your role as parents, together, will be the same - to bring your children up to get to heaven. Again, he is not willing to do this.

This man is definitely not discerning a vocation - is he even willing to be married in a church? Is he willing to follow the church’s teachings on contraception? Are you?

You’ve asked for advice. My advice is stop having sex with this man right now, and to move out as soon as possible, then go and make a good confession and return to the sacraments of the Church. Find a good Catholic man who will support your desires to raise your children in the Catholic Church.

You will be in my prayers.

Respect for people of all religions is nice, but when it comes to marriage and religion you both had better be on the same page! As to NOT pushing religion on anyone, you then state that no matter who you marry, you will raise them Catholic. If you marry a confessed agnostic atheist, you would have to push your religion on him by default.

Solid is only an appearance in this case.

You are not wiling to bend on how to raise your children as Christians yet your boyfriend is against Christianity in general:

“He dares Christians to come up with any evidence at all. Some of them have some, but of course, he’ll never accept it. He subtlety insults everyone he debates with and tries to belittle them and make them feel uneducated and weak. They can hold their own, but when they do, he gets nastier and nastier. The things he calls them and the condescending way he speaks to them hurts my feelings. I believe in the same things, after all. He claims that the people he debates with aren’t like Catholics, but does it matter when he is debating the existence of Jesus and validity of the Bible?”

This is a GIANT red flag for any pre marriage counseling!

Oh, my goodness, yes, people very often do find themselves hating their “soul mates”. Why? Because “soul mate” is the recognition of the place you have given to a person, a place earned by how you have interacted with them in time, but projected out over a lifetime. When that person fails to live out what you have projected that they would, when they betray the expectations you put on them, oh, you bet that hatred is a very likely emotional response. I don’t mean the moral choice to want them to suffer an ill fate, I don’t mean the moral choice to deny them charity. I mean the emotion recoil and counter-reaction at finding that someone to whom you had given the keys to your center has betrayed you and betrayed the trust you put in them and made themselves the sworn enemy (in word but more often in action) of something or someone under your protection. The emotional fury that can come out of that kind of violation (or perceived violation, if the projection was none of their doing) is terrible and violent, more terrible and violent than you could feel for anyone who was a stranger to your heart. There is no fury like the fury of being struck by an arrow that purposefully came from behind your own lines. (Honestly, I think this is the origin of the jealousy and fury that lead to the Crucifixion. Who but a respected rabbi would have gotten an attack like that from a group of Bible scholars?)

I think perhaps the boyfriend is not aware that there are ways of attacking a line of logic that is also an attack on the dignity of the person. It is his lack of understanding or his lack of caring about how people are to be treated, even when they are thought to be on the wrong side of an intellectual question that has an objectively knowable answer, that concerns me the most. How you treat someone you think is wrong is a very important indication of how you will treat everyone, sooner or later.

That’s not the point. The point is that I will take anything built on (The) Rock over anything built on anything else.

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