My thoughts on marrying a non-believer


Does this mean that, had you believed in God, you would not marry, due to conflict of interest?



The opportunity to evangelise is not a rationale for a marriage. Of course, it may be a fine thing to do if the marriage is already a given, though it may also become a source of aggravation and frustration for one or both parties!

Regarding your own childhood circumstances, this was forced upon you, not a choice, as you now face as an adult. That you feel, you’ve turned out “ok” says nothing more than “I believe it can work”. It is not an endorsement or recommendation.

Kitty, your threads would be so much more interesting if you engaged in the conversation a little…



That could be very true. But it does not mean the marriage won’t work out. If the two people are very compatible in every other area of life, they still can work out the relationship with the believer standing firm on her faith and the non-believer respecting the believer’s faith. The believer has lot of prayer to do for the conversion of the non-believer. It will be a very long suffering. And yes, it would be lonely.



That it could work out is not disputed or in debate.

The question is…other things being equal, is this arrangement (typically) a help or a hindrance to a successful marriage?



I am not sure I understand your question? What I mean is if the couple hold same moral value, same theory about handling finance, same family value, come from similar background, etc… All these should help to have a successful marriage.



Agreed, and to this list, we can add “the same faith / religious beliefs and values”. Unfortunately, they don’t share this one, so that may work against success.



I think they need to weigh in. Faith issue could definitely be an obstacle, but it depends on how they handle it. It does not have to be an issue to fail the marriage. I have seen some couples started with one believer and one non-believer, and the non-believer eventually converted after so many years. Each case is individual, only the couple could decide.



Kitty, I am sorry to say but you are way off. The Bible is clear, do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. In the OT, the Jewish people were commanded not to intermarry. Marriage is not the time for evangelization. It is the time to share in common faith and together with your spouse, raise your children in it. All you need to do is read the family section or prayer requests on CAF from those who married a non-Catholic and read what kinds of problems they really have, especially with children. Marriage is tough enough for everyone and you do not need to add a major difference like this into the mix. It doesn’t work that way and you need to listen to those who have been married and know.



I *am *married to a non-believer. He was baptized, as a baby, but has never claimed any religion.

When we married, I was not a practicing Catholic and we married outside of the Church. We have since had our marriage convalidated.

We have been married over 20 years.

So what kind of life do we have?

We practice NFP, I have way to many health problems to have more children. When we make plans for the weekend, we also make plans for Mass. In addition to something personal, our family does or gives up something for Lent. We leave our Christmas tree and decorations up until after Feast of the Epiphany. Our entire family doesn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent.

So what do I think about your post and thoughts.

1)Capital letters are our friends.
2) You have started posts about NFP that shows you do not understand the teaching of the Catholic Church. That will be a problem. If you don’t understand it, how do you expect your non-Catholic spouse to understand it?
3) You started this thread and others with questions but you never return to the threads. Why?
4) Just from what I have read in your posts, you have a lot of growing up to do before marriage. And I would recommend that you marry someone very strong in the Catholic faith.



i want to make replies but i’m generally not comfortable putting all my ideas on the internet. yes, even though i have been immersed in catholicism my entire life i’m not an expert about the topics i’ve been asking questions about. i am open to life but i’ve never met a guy who is. i am almost 30, and yes due to various factors i have “growing up to do.” (don’t we all.) while i am not bent on marrying a non christian, i am not convinced that marrying a catholic is a panacea, so neither do i believe that marrying a non christian will be terrible. i have seen plenty of woe and mess come from families where both parents were catholic.



I have another observation that hasn’t been addressed in any of the previous posts. Too many (especially women) get caught up in rescue dating. The thinking usually is this, if and when we marry, he will stop either drinking or doing drugs or going out with the boys or will start going to church or etc and so on. The saying is women marry men thinking they will change and men marry women thinking that they won’t. Your implication in your post is that your good Christian example will cause him to believe in God an convert. That is totally unknown of what the future holds, but if you are intent on practicing your faith and are serious about it you need to date and find someone with that same commitment and not hope for it after you are married.



I don’t think I turned out “ok” I was trying to say that I turned out Catholic even with no one being serious about it except my mother. Again, I am not getting married tomorrow these are just things I’m thinking about.



Bad idea. I could hardly trust a non-believer let alone marry one! You get one shot at marriage so make it count.



The suggestion is finding someone with the “same” commitment to being Catholic. I’m not sure what messes or problems you see in other Catholic marriages you know about but a devout Catholic marrying a non-devout Catholic would have the same problems. If you are serious then find a serious Catholic. A non-Chrisitian or even a devout Protestant isn’t the answer either. A devout protestant is going to want to participate in their Church so then you would have conflicts there especially with children and how they are going to be raised and what theology is taught at home. There are currently two threads on CAF that are recent, one is from a Catholic man who married a Protestant and now the wife is upset now about not receiving communion at Mass. The other is by a Catholic women who married a nice protestant husband and is now whining that he isn’t as interested in Catholic things as she is. These are reality of marrying a non-Catholic. I am sure at 30 you feel the pressure of marrying and starting a family but even marrying because your bio clock is ticking isn’t a reason to compromise and think all will work out in the end especially with children in the middle. The last CAF thread that really was heart breaking was from a Catholic women who was married to an atheist and was upset that her 11 year old son didn’t want to go to Church anymore and wanted to be like his atheist dad. Is that what you want?



I’m a Catholic convert, from atheism. My husband is still an atheist, as is our adult daughter who we raised as an atheist.

Our home runs the length of religious discussion. Your hypothetical children will experience the same. So while you are immersing them in Catholicism, your husband will be immersing them in atheism. What are you going to do? Ban your husband from speaking his mind?

I think you have a naive, idyllic idea about the future, which is sweet, but not very practical. :slight_smile:

Beyond that, a Catholic married to a non-Catholic should not receive communion. A difficult place for someone who has the intention of immersing their children in Catholicism, when you, yourself, are not immersed.



Why would you say that?



Sorry, I should have been clearer in my thought there.

IF the OP is not being married by a priest, they should not receive communion.



If the Op is not being married by a priest AND doesn’t have dispensation to do so, THEN they shouldn’t receive Communion. It is best to speak to your priest about this.

Sorry, that is very different than what you said.

I don’t mean to pick on you, but it seems that many people have some crazy ideas about marriage and the Church. I just want everyone to be clear on Church teaching.



Eh, well, people are going to do what they’re going to do, regardless of Church teaching (is my experience).



I don’t think anyone could disagree with you - nothing is as certain as any of these statements. The odds just favour a happy, successful outcome (marriage) when more alignment exists between the parties, rather than less.


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