My non-Catholic relationship, I need help!

Hey guys. I love reading this site, but for the first time I need some help.

Just some background, my girlfriend and I have been dating about a year and a half. I myself am a devout Catholic, she is, a Protestant preacher’s daughter who, like myself, seems un-moveable in her faith.

For the first year or so of our relationship, it is what I would define as “almost perfect”. We loved each other, and we disagreed on religion but we never dicussed it.

Then I deployed to Iraq. While there, as many do, I grew in my faith so much. And upon my recent return, it appears she has to. We seem to of grown apart because of our differences, instead of into understanding as it seemed before.

As her and I have discussed religion before, the topic came up again. Only this time we were both very defensive and she became so hot-headed as to say some hateful things about the Catholic church. (I was shocked! This girl has always been an angel. To hear her say ANYTHING hateful or mean almost made me faint!). I didn’t know how to respond, so I just shut up and she felt horrible. From then on it was apparent that we had some things to talk about.

That was a few weeks ago. Last night she asks me if we are going to “talk”. I knew what she meant. I was trying to avoid it for as long as possible just to stay happy, but I was just pretending. God had become the most important thing to me, but losing her still made me feel like throwing up.

So, next weekend when I come home, we plan to talk. I understand Protestant views having studied them (I even wanted to be one for a while in Iraq because I saw this coming!), but in the end I knew the truth, and I can’t be anything but Catholic. However, I she doesn’t know much about Catholic beliefs except what her father has told her. (I feel he is kind of an anti-Catholic, though not openly). So of course all she knows is that she disagrees with the Catholic church.

My hope for next week is to try and show her our standpoint on things, but my fear is it will turn into a heated debate. But I don’t know what else to do for this “talk”. I can only pray that if I show her the truth, she will see where I am coming from. But at the same time, I can’t forsee this ending any other way than breakup. Unless of course, God does move her soul that night.

I am really just looking for advice of what to do, or say to her. I just don’t know. If nothing else, please keep her and I in your prayers this upcoming week. I feel like next weekend will be one of those ones that takes a while to recover from.

Adam

I will keep you in my prayers as you work through your differences, perhaps you can introduce her to this site and she can ask the apologetics her questions, if she is really open to the truth. I know people like her too, they are fine as long as my Catholic beliefs aren’t in the conversation, as soon as they are, all hell breaks loose (which is good that it’s breaking loose, but I don’t like the feeling that it’s breaking loose all over me.) :stuck_out_tongue: It’s like this huge attack all at once from all sides, there you are blindsided and blasted. You are innocently and honestly answering their questions and bam! The attack. Like they had a battle plan in place all along, trying to ensnare you. Always makes me wonder, “do they stay up at night and plan these things”? Wouldn’t their time be better spent reading the early Church Father’s or something?

You said she is protestant. What demonination? I will be happy to help you if I can. In any way I can. It sometimes helps to have the view of a former protestant like me. I was raised baptist and studied and attended many different churches. I was methodist for many years as an adult and studied methodist doctrine extensitvely. She may be much closer to the Church than either of you may be aware. It would be helpful to know some of her issues and her demoninational background.

It is often better to meet the protestant where they are and gently pull them to the Truth. My prayers are with you.

[quote=Aesq]You said she is protestant. What demonination? I will be happy to help you if I can. In any way I can. It sometimes helps to have the view of a former protestant like me. I was raised baptist and studied and attended many different churches. I was methodist for many years as an adult and studied methodist doctrine extensitvely. She may be much closer to the Church than either of you may be aware. It would be helpful to know some of her issues and her demoninational background.
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She is “Christian Missionary Alliance”. Mostly a small sect that seems to be influced largly by Baptists.

[quote=Aesq]It is often better to meet the protestant where they are and gently pull them to the Truth. My prayers are with you.
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Explain what you mean? I am just not sure how to do that at this point.

[quote=Unfinished]She is “Christian Missionary Alliance”. Mostly a small sect that seems to be influced largly by Baptists.

Explain what you mean? I am just not sure how to do that at this point.
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What I mean is that you need to learn what she really believes. She may not really know herself. Get her to explain her beliefs to you. If she attacks the Church in doing so then point out to her that attacking someone else’s belief is not explaining her own. Once she explains her belief then you can then show her how the belief she is proclaiming is rooted in the Catholic Church or is self refuting.

Baptists can be difficult. They tend to have very limited understanding of the Catholic Church but believe that they do understand the Church. This makes the process of making them understand what the Church actually believes difficult. You will have to show her Church doctrine and even then you may hear “well that may be what the Church says but that is not what the people believe.” Of course that is assuming that she will be willing to see what the Church teaches. Baptists also tend to be very anti-Catholic even without realizing it themselves.

You do not have an impossible task. I was baptist. It may be a lot of work. You will have to be very very cool headed. The Church will be attacked during these conversations. Expect that. If you do not expect that it will be harder to keep cool. I see that I am not being really helpful so far but I am happy to help any way I can.

If I may ask Aesq, you say you were Baptist. What really did it for you? Were there always doubts in your heart or did someone say something one day that made it click?

Last night she seemed pretty content to say “I will NOT be Catholic”. Maybe it just isn’t meant to be, but you still gotta try, right? I just think it is from misunderstanding what the Catholic Church is about, like you said.

She is willing to hear me out though, this much she has said. So I am praying there is hope, even if it seems slim. But I just don’t have any idea of what to say, because this may be a one shot deal and I don’t want to go in unprepared.

I am a Baptist and married to a Catholic, so if you are interested I can give you a little perspective from the protestant side. (I have also told this story on other threads, so if you want to search for my other posts, you might find that helpful as well)

My husband grew in his faith after we were married. (otherwise, I fear, we would have never married to begin with…that would have been a huge mistake on my part)

But Basically, since I was a very devout Baptist, there was no way I was willing to have anything to do with the Catholic church. Amazingly enough after 2 years, I have an entire new perspective of the Catholic Chruch. I have (almost) no problem raising our son Catholic, and while I don’t feel I’m being called to convert, I am not saying it won’t happen sometime in the future.
Your situation is a little different because you aren’t married, so you can just “walk away” if that is what you decide to do. (obviously it won’t be quite that simple…) However, if you do try to stick it out, I have to warn you, I don’t think it will be an overnight thing, or something that happens over the weekend.
This forum has help me a lot. You might mention it to her, so she can just snoop around. I snooped for about 8 months before I ever got a screen name. But the 2 biggest things that helped with my understanding was 1. My husband learned the scriptures (something I had him beat on by leaps and bounds when we first married) And for every arguement we had, he had a scripture to back up his arguement. Unfortunately, sometimes scriptures come down to interpretation, which doesn’t solve anything since your girlfriend probably won’t recognize the Authority of the Church. (but it will get her thinking…at least it did me. And 2nd, My husband set the best example for being a Catholic, when he decided Catholcism was the full truth, he jump in head first. He went to Mass every DAY, stopped eating meat on Fridays, started going to Confesson, etc etc… And while he never shoved any of this in my face, lets just say, it didn’t go unnoticed. All that had a profound effect on me. My husband is a brilliant man, I knew if he was that convienced of his belief, there must be something to it. To this day, I still have things to figure out, but my views of the Catholic church have changed dramatically.

Of course, what is working for me, my not work for her…but I just wanted to let you know that what may look like an impossible situation over the next few weeks, may not be so impossible of the next few years. (then again maybe it will)

You might have to decide if the relationship is worth years of effort in hopes she will come to an understanding of the Catholic church but risk the chance of continuing with this relationship only to have it dissolve after years of hope.

This is just my opinion, I hope it helped a little.

RyanL’s Wife

It’s not a one hot deal. Don’t try to convert her, leave that up to the Holy Spirit. Just be prepared to explain to her what Catholics REALLY believe. Don’t be afraid to tell her you’ll have to go back and research something either. You don’t have to have all of the answers. You just have to be willing to look for them.

Here are some of my favorite online resources:

catholic.com/library/anti_catholicism.asp
newadvent.org/
scripturecatholic.com/
christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/comm1.html
katoliko.com/catholicbible.htm
chnetwork.org/scotthconv.htm
katoliko.com/rock.htm
catholictradition.blogspot.com/
catholicapologetics.net/

[quote=Unfinished]If I may ask Aesq, you say you were Baptist. What really did it for you? Were there always doubts in your heart or did someone say something one day that made it click?

It was really a progressive thing for me. The more I learned about the doctrines of different churches the more I was pulled toward the Catholic Church. It was really a many year thing for me. My former spouse was very anti-catholic and I did not convert until after I was divorced. There was no one incident for me. For me it was the more I learned the more I knew the Church was correct.

Last night she seemed pretty content to say “I will NOT be Catholic”. Maybe it just isn’t meant to be, but you still gotta try, right? I just think it is from misunderstanding what the Catholic Church is about, like you said.

You can not be in a hurry about this. You just need to just go slow and explain when she has a misconception about the Church.

She is willing to hear me out though, this much she has said. So I am praying there is hope, even if it seems slim. But I just don’t have any idea of what to say, because this may be a one shot deal and I don’t want to go in unprepared.
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Have hope. Pray. I do not believe it will be a one shot deal. I was not only raised baptist I went to a private baptist school for 8 years and I am now Catholic. Do not forget to respect her at all times. Stay cool. And again pray.

It’s hard to come to grips with the reality of your situation. It seems to me that you are fighting a battle that does not have to be fought. No matter what you say at this point you are going to get in arguments. She has the same passion for her faith that you have for the truth. It may be necessary to back off. Please, don’t ever compromise your values. Have you ever considered that she is not the one? Breaking up is going to hurt and coming home from over sea’s only brings out your emotions that much more. You said that you wanted to show her “our” stand points on things; it sounds like her Father has a lot of influence on her decision. Sometimes the enemy will attack us from people we love but this should never discourage you from the truth. Stand firm in the truth.
Backing off and tell her that you need sometime to think about things. You are just getting home from a war! You need to get back in the civilian way and that takes time but at the same time coming home to this situation is frustrating. Take a step back.
Oh yes….thanks for your service.

Ron
www.chicagocatholic.net

I’d suggest you listen to or read the convertion story of Kimberly Hahn (the wife of the popular Catholic author and theologian Scott Hahn.) Her dad is a Protestant minister, and her husband’s conversion to Catholicim caused significant challenges in her marriage. Her struggles with Catholicism might give you an idea of the pain your girlfriend is going through if the two of you are growing apart as you both individually grow in faith.

If you are considering marriage, I wish to share that I found interdenominational marriage to be much more difficult than many people led me to believe. (Picture living through the Reformation.) When I married my husband he was Protestant, and I was Catholic. We got along okay for a while, but when I was pregnant with our first child it got tough. We didn’t argue, and neither tried to convert the other; we simply faced many challenges. Within a year after I had our first child, I stopped going to the Catholic Church and started attending his church. I was away for several years. I grew in my faith, eventually came back to the Catholic Church, and my husband converted shortly after that. But it was a very difficult road. It broke my parents’ heart when I was away from the Church. His parents make remarks now and then, and he faces occassional conflicts with some of his extended family. I think being the only Catholic from his side of the family is lonely for him.

Thank you for your service to our country. I know this must be a great difficulty for you, and I’ll say a prayer.

Since you are only dating I think you need to respect her and be her friend but this is not a gal to marry. A pastor’s daughter brings extra issues. Christian and Missionary Alliance churches don’t baptize babies, what will you do? They probably do not consider you a Christian can you even be married to her without converting from their point of view?

This is not something that will get better. Ryan’s wife is the exception. My wife and I are married 12 years and religion has been our cross to bear. The couples I know from both are churches don’t present a rosy picture.

Those of us in these situations need to make it work just like a widow can raise her kids alone it is not an endorsement for unwed motherhood.

Hi Unfinished,
I know this must be a tough time for you right now. It is not a comfortable feeling when you are torn between the love of your faith and the love of your girlfriend. I think you will have to make this decision from a lot of prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you to not only speak the truth, but also do it in a way that will touch your girlfriend’s heart. I don’t feel that having a mixed marriage is totally impossible, but I have heard it also requires some extra effort. If you are seriously considering marriage, you need at ask yourself questions like how will you manage your family size? NFP or birth control? Also, when children arrive, which religion will they learn and practice? Will it bother you if you if they were raised other than Catholic? I married another Catholic, but even though you would think we would be of one mind in our Catholic beliefs, we even disagree on some things. No matter what, continue to pray for her that she will be enlightened to the truth. Conversions do happen (and a lot of times it’s a result of someone else praying for them)! A book that I heard was good (although I never actually read it yet) is called, “Surprised by Truth.” You may want to look into it. Depending on how comfortable you feel about the situation, maybe you would want to show her the book. Also, I recently was told about Saint Rita who is the patron for conversion. ivory.lm.com/~strita/strita.html#Novena. Good luck with your situation. I will say a prayer for you.

By the way, thank you for your service in the war. We are glad you returned safely and that God has strengthened you in your faith along the way.

You are in a spiritually unyoked relationship and they’re not recommended for good reasons (some of which you are painfully discovering). I can speak from personal experience. I am currently in a spiritually mismatched marriage and it has been a painful situation for my wife and I. I reverted back to the Catholic faith nearly six years ago and my wife is non-practicing - this has caused us unforseen difficulties. However, our situation is different from yours by the fact that we both were non-practicing when we first married and for many years after that. You are not married yet and knew at the start of your relationship the differences that you had in faith traditions. You have a tough choice to make and I know from your words that you deeply love your girlfriend and that’s what makes what I’m going to say next so tough. I wouldn’t make your girlfriend your own “conversion project” and it doesn’t sound like she’s anywhere near to being open towards Catholicism. As painful as this is, my frank advice would be to break off the relationship and ultimately look for someone who shares your faith equally - believe me, it will save you alot of long-term grief (although not short-term) and will strengthen any spiritually yoked relationship you do eventually have. I wish I could offer a more gentle recommendation. You’ll be in my prayers.

You know, when I was in RCIA a few years back, of the 15 or so adults in my class, 12 were there because they were led to the faith through their spouses who were cradle Catholics. The other one was engaged to a Catholic. They attended RCIA together, and I would say his faith grew and developed just as much hers did. I think interfaith relationships can work if people stay respectful and work on their communication. I guess now is a time you can be testing the waters to see if this would work.

Just in case anyone was wondering… about an hour ago this girl and I broke up. Last weekend we spoke about her beliefs, then last night I showed her some Catholic beliefs.

Then tonight she broke up with me. I am a mess to say the least. ha.

The seeds were planted. Unless the Holy Spirit shows her the truth…someone let me know where I can find a good Catholic girl.

Thanks for all the advice and prayer guys and gals.

I’m sorry Unfinished :frowning:

I’ve had that happen, and it’s always helped, for me, to keep that person in my prayers.

[quote=Unfinished]Just in case anyone was wondering… about an hour ago this girl and I broke up. Last weekend we spoke about her beliefs, then last night I showed her some Catholic beliefs.

Then tonight she broke up with me. I am a mess to say the least. ha.

The seeds were planted. Unless the Holy Spirit shows her the truth…someone let me know where I can find a good Catholic girl.

Thanks for all the advice and prayer guys and gals.
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My brother is in a very similar situation with a similar outcome. They broke up last week. I started reading your thread hoping there were some answers you found.

My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry.

[quote=Unfinished]Just in case anyone was wondering… about an hour ago this girl and I broke up. Last weekend we spoke about her beliefs, then last night I showed her some Catholic beliefs.

Then tonight she broke up with me. I am a mess to say the least. ha.

The seeds were planted. Unless the Holy Spirit shows her the truth…someone** let me know where I can find a good Catholic girl.**

Thanks for all the advice and prayer guys and gals.
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I’m sorry for the pain you are feeling, and will pray for you throughout my day today. I confess, however, that I always breathe a sigh of relief when I hear of someone choosing their Catholic faith over a girlfriend/boyfriend.

We are only on this earth a short time. If you are called to share your life with someone in the vocation of marriage, should it not be with someone who will help you grow in your faith & eventually, hopefully, gain heaven?

Here’s a place you might look: www.avemariasingles.com. It’s where I met my good Catholic guy, now my husband. There is also this website, by the founder of AveMaria Singles: roadtocana.com/index.cfm that has a lot of good resources for those discerning Catholic marriage.

God bless you, Unfinished!

StephanieC.

[quote=RyanL’s Wife]I am a Baptist and married to a Catholic, so if you are interested I can give you a little perspective from the protestant side. (I have also told this story on other threads, so if you want to search for my other posts, you might find that helpful as well)

My husband grew in his faith after we were married. (otherwise, I fear, we would have never married to begin with…that would have been a huge mistake on my part)

But Basically, since I was a very devout Baptist, there was no way I was willing to have anything to do with the Catholic church. Amazingly enough after 2 years, I have an entire new perspective of the Catholic Chruch. I have (almost) no problem raising our son Catholic, and while I don’t feel I’m being called to convert, I am not saying it won’t happen sometime in the future.
Your situation is a little different because you aren’t married, so you can just “walk away” if that is what you decide to do. (obviously it won’t be quite that simple…) However, if you do try to stick it out, I have to warn you, I don’t think it will be an overnight thing, or something that happens over the weekend.
This forum has help me a lot. You might mention it to her, so she can just snoop around. I snooped for about 8 months before I ever got a screen name. But the 2 biggest things that helped with my understanding was 1. My husband learned the scriptures (something I had him beat on by leaps and bounds when we first married) And for every arguement we had, he had a scripture to back up his arguement. Unfortunately, sometimes scriptures come down to interpretation, which doesn’t solve anything since your girlfriend probably won’t recognize the Authority of the Church. (but it will get her thinking…at least it did me. And 2nd, My husband set the best example for being a Catholic, when he decided Catholcism was the full truth, he jump in head first. He went to Mass every DAY, stopped eating meat on Fridays, started going to Confesson, etc etc… And while he never shoved any of this in my face, lets just say, it didn’t go unnoticed. All that had a profound effect on me. My husband is a brilliant man, I knew if he was that convienced of his belief, there must be something to it. To this day, I still have things to figure out, but my views of the Catholic church have changed dramatically.

Of course, what is working for me, my not work for her…but I just wanted to let you know that what may look like an impossible situation over the next few weeks, may not be so impossible of the next few years. (then again maybe it will)

You might have to decide if the relationship is worth years of effort in hopes she will come to an understanding of the Catholic church but risk the chance of continuing with this relationship only to have it dissolve after years of hope.

This is just my opinion, I hope it helped a little.

RyanL’s Wife
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Your husband is NOT the only one the Holy Spirit is working on - and you are an incredibly Holy woman. thank you for giving me some hope for what I am doing with my life and for some hope I have for a brother of mine who has left the Church.

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