I’ve been dating a Protestant for well over a year. She’s a wonderful woman. We love each other dearly, and get along remarkably well. We both feel very blessed to have each other in our lives, and feel that God has put us together. However, me being Catholic has been a bit of a roadblock for her, as she grew up in a very devout Protestant household (where Catholics aren’t thought of very highly.) Her father once remarked to her that if she were to ever marry a Catholic, he wouldn’t attend her wedding. I think this has haunted her for a while, especially now that her father has passed away.
Luckily, my girlfriend is open-minded and even has some Catholic tendencies, however, she isn’t about to reconcile with the Catholic Church anytime soon. Surprisingly, we do tend to see eye-to-eye on many religious issues, but she’ll be quick to point out that she doesn’t agree on certain Catholic beliefs, as she wasn’t raised this way.
When we first started dating, I was definitely a cradle Catholic, and much more in tune with my spiritual side rather than the Biblical or religious aspect. She would begin to question me regarding my Catholic faith (i.e., “Why do Catholics pray to saints?”, “Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest instead of God?”, “Why do Catholics think good works will earn them Salvation?” etc.) All legitimate questions, unfortunately, I didn’t really have educated or official church answers, so my answers were based on personal beliefs. But her questions led me to research about Catholic and Protestant differences, as I wasn’t really sure what she believed and why she didn’t believe certain things I did. And I also needed to find out why I believed what I did.
I have spent most of this year researching and reading several apologetic books along with Scripture, to the point that it has become a bit of an obsesion and a major part of my life. It has deepend my faith, and led me to the conclusion that the ancient Church of Christ is indeed the one true Church of God. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to really share much of my discoveries and joy with her, due to our differences in faith (for fear that it may end up in an ugly heated debate.) Although, just a few nights ago I did bring up Salvation, and surprisingly, she actually agreed with my views. While I was on a roll, I also brought up the early reformers and how they removed 7 books from the OT, so that the Bible could fit their views on faith. And how Martin Luther even added the word “alone” following “faith”, and wanted to omit the Book of James all together. She was in shock and disbelief to learn this.
For her, it has always been very important that when she marries, her spouse be an integral part of her religious life (e.g., go to church with her.) At first, I used to think (as a solution) that we could simply alternate between both our churches, but when I proposed this idea to her, she wanted no part of it. Once, she even remarked that if we were to get married, our children would not be raised Catholic! In the past, she has gotten me to attend her church and a small group, but I never felt quite at “home”. Even though I met some really nice people there. However, now that I’ve grown closer to my faith, I want no part of a Protestant Church.
I don’t know how to break this to her. And perhaps I’d be wise not to, as the subject hasn’t come up in a while, and recently she has expressed openess to attending a Catholic Church. I never really thought of converting her to Catholicism, as it was never my intent, but now I think I’d really prefer this. I’ve hinted at wanting her to read some apologist books written by former Fundamentalist and Protestants, as this could be a real bridge between our faiths.
I’m not sure what to do. There’s a part of me that wishes to confront her about this, but fears losing her. And there’s another part of me that thinks I should just let her be and if the Holy Spirit pushes her towards Catholicism, then so be it.
Bless all of you who made it this far!
I apologize for having written so much, but I think I really needed to get this off my shoulders. But more importantly, how do you all feel about this, and what are your thoughts and advice?