Non-catholic Man need help with deep love for Catholic Woman


#1

Hello, I have been dating a deeply catholic woman for over 3 years now. I myself am not catholic or religious for that matter. We have reached the point in our relationship were decisions need to be made. We have been talking and trying to work thru our religious differences amongst other problems, but it is difficult. She made the decision that she could not marry me and our relationship has ended. The love, desire and happiness is there but she needs a Catholic man for a husband. Needless to say i am utterly crushed. I myself was raised catholic and went to a catholic school for a few years when i was younger, by the desire of my grandparents but my mother/father never enforced any catholic teachings. I feel that my intial catholic upbringing help mold me into the person i am today and its teachings are important, but as of now i am not religious i would say more agnostic and find religion hard to embrace to any extreme. My love for my girlfriend urges me to to explore the catholic faith, but im not sure if i can embrace it fully as she has. Losing her is to much to bear, and i am willing to sacrifice to give her what she needs so we may spend a lifetime togther. How would one begin exporation of the catholic faith without being overwhelmed? Is it possible to attend a chruch and speak directly with a preist there?


#2

[quote=Cdean]Hello, I have been dating a deeply catholic woman for over 3 years now. I myself am not catholic or religious for that matter. We have reached the point in our relationship were decisions need to be made. We have been talking and trying to work thru our religious differences amongst other problems, but it is difficult. She made the decision that she could not marry me and our relationship has ended. The love, desire and happiness is there but she needs a Catholic man for a husband. Needless to say i am utterly crushed. I myself was raised catholic and went to a catholic school for a few years when i was younger, by the desire of my grandparents but my mother/father never enforced any catholic teachings. I feel that my intial catholic upbringing help mold me into the person i am today and its teachings are important, but as of now i am not religious i would say more agnostic and find religion hard to embrace to any extreme. My love for my girlfriend urges me to to explore the catholic faith, but im not sure if i can embrace it fully as she has. Losing her is to much to bear, and i am willing to sacrifice to give her what she needs so we may spend a lifetime togther. How would one begin exporation of the catholic faith without being overwhelmed? Is it possible to attend a chruch and speak directly with a preist there?
[/quote]

I would highly suggest calling your local parish and speaking with a priest. They will not talk down to you or pressure you. They will have a conversation with you and minister to you where you are.


#3

[quote=Cdean]Hello, I have been dating a deeply catholic woman for over 3 years now. I myself am not catholic or religious for that matter. We have reached the point in our relationship were decisions need to be made. We have been talking and trying to work thru our religious differences amongst other problems, but it is difficult. She made the decision that she could not marry me and our relationship has ended. The love, desire and happiness is there but she needs a Catholic man for a husband. Needless to say i am utterly crushed. I myself was raised catholic and went to a catholic school for a few years when i was younger, by the desire of my grandparents but my mother/father never enforced any catholic teachings. I feel that my intial catholic upbringing help mold me into the person i am today and its teachings are important, but as of now i am not religious i would say more agnostic and find religion hard to embrace to any extreme. My love for my girlfriend urges me to to explore the catholic faith, but im not sure if i can embrace it fully as she has. Losing her is to much to bear, and i am willing to sacrifice to give her what she needs so we may spend a lifetime togther. How would one begin exporation of the catholic faith without being overwhelmed? Is it possible to attend a chruch and speak directly with a preist there?
[/quote]

I would search out two sources. One, I’d find a friend or acquaintance that you know to be a religious, practicing Catholic and probe them on their faith. It will help you understand your loved one’s willingness to place her faith and relationship with God over her relationship with you. You’ll come to understand that it is because of her love for God and His love for you that she is able to love anybody else, especially as deeply as required for husband and wife.

Secondly, after you’ve done the former (or possibly concurrently), I’d search out a Priest who could you explain to you the theological underpinnings of your wife’s decision to part ways with you. He’ll probably also inform you based on his experience of the challenges faced in marriages w/ a non-religious person and a faithful Catholic and their propensity to fail at a greater rate than marriages where both include God in their covenent of matrimony.


#4

As for exploring your Catholic Faith, read all the articles at Catholic.com and if you are not a big reader, listen to some conversion stories (I suggest Scott Hahn and Tim Staples).

You can listen to some conversion stories for free here…
ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=-6892289&T1=the+journey+home

Look around at the titles and look for headings that say revert or convert from secularism. These stories may speak to you more directly, although I think all the stories are informative (especially those people who used to be Baptist or Jehova Witness, because they get into what one religion teaches compared to the other).

It is important that you only become Catholic because it is what you want to do, not because it is what you think someone else wants you to do. You say that this woman is a devoted Catholic and she probably wants someone who is passionate about Faith also.


#5

Orionthehunter–
This guy isn’t married. He dated a Catholic girl for three years and fell in love and it seems they broke it off because he’s not Catholic and she wants to marry a Catholic guy–Right Cdean?


#6

[quote=beckyann2597]Orionthehunter–
This guy isn’t married. He dated a Catholic girl for three years and fell in love and it seems they broke it off because he’s not Catholic and she wants to marry a Catholic guy–Right Cdean?
[/quote]

OOPS. Becky is correct. I inadvertently referred to her as “wife” in my post. I meant to say “loved one.”


#7

Along with the good advise of everyone here, I just wanted to say that being a Catholic doesn’t mean you have to have the same spirituality as your girlfriend. If she loves praying the rosary, that’s fine, but you don’t have to. If she wants to do Morning and Evening Prayer and constantly quotes the Saints writings, that’s fine, but you don’t have to.

All that is required is that you believe in the Creed, attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation (of which there are only a handful), go to confession once a year, and live a moral life. You don’t have to understand all the teachings of the Church. Most people don’t and couldn’t. That’s for the pope and others like him to worry about. What is asked is that you give the consent of your will to live as the Church prescribes, and believe me, it isn’t at all hard to do. :wink:


#8

[quote=beckyann2597]Orionthehunter–
This guy isn’t married. He dated a Catholic girl for three years and fell in love and it seems they broke it off because he’s not Catholic and she wants to marry a Catholic guy–Right Cdean?
[/quote]

that is correct, and i thank everybody for there input so far


#9

I started with the book Catholicism for Dummies. Then I started attending mass regularly, reading all kinds of things online and ended up in RCIA. You might grow to really love it, like I did. :smiley:


#10

[quote=mari319]I started with the book Catholicism for Dummies. Then I started attending mass regularly, reading all kinds of things online and ended up in RCIA. You might grow to really love it, like I did. :smiley:
[/quote]

I second that!! It is a wonderful book and it just sooooo happens that CA forums has it for sale.

shop.catholic.com/cgi-local/SoftCart.exe/online-store/scstore/p-R2484.html?L+scstore+mjfj0060ffcc80cc+1145612734


#11

Cdean,

Here’s what you need to do. You need to find yourself a good source to learn what it actually is that the Church teaches. Not what some Baptist minister says the Catholic Church teaches, and not what some dissident priest says the Catholic Church teaches, but what the real Catholic Church really teaches. Once you have that, you can decide to take it or leave it.

Interestingly, much of what the Catholic Church teaches follows the same rules that basic acedamia teaches to discern the truth. Find multiple sources, and weigh the credibility of the sources. Simple as that.

Get yourself a Catechism of The Catholic Church (CCC). This will be a handy reference to weed out the baloney. For example: you may come across a title, The Idiots Guide To Catholicism that seems to water down the Church’s teaching on abortion. A quick check with the CCC will show in no uncertain terms. Then you can bet that The Idiots Guide is probably not giving you a truthful picture of the Catholic Church. Then pick up Catholicism For Dummies, and check it against the CCC. After checking several of “the usual topics” you can assess how well a source teaches Catholicism. The usual topics being - homosexuality, contraception, women priests, abortion, Mary as virgin and maybe a few others that Catholics get criticized for.

The CCC by itself won’t help you understand WHY the Church teaches what it teaches. That’s what all the other authors do. The CCC simply states clearly what the Church teaches, that way you can check various sources.


#12

CDean,
I thought I would give you my perspective. Six years ago I met a very nice Lutheran man. I never intended on dating him but he was very persistant. OK, I though I would keep it very casual, I liked spending time with him but in my heart I knew I would never marry a man who wasn’t Catholic again. Yes I was married before and so was he. My first marriage was devastaing to me because my ex told me many lies, among them was the lie that he was Catholic. Even back then it was important to me. The reason it is important to me is simple; My faith is the biggest part of who I am, if I can’t fully share this with a spouse, it wouldn’t be fair to either one of us. Anyway, as I was dating the Lutheran man, he started attending mass with me on weekends when he had his daughter and on the other weekends he picked up his daughter and took her to the Lutheran church because she was required to attend 50% of the time to go to her Lutheran grade school and her mother wasn’t taking her. Anyway, once he understood how important my faith was to me he realized that I would never marry him as a Lutheran, he asked me about it and I confirmed this is how I felt. I did tell him that I would never want him to convert just for me, and if he were ever to convert he would have to be doing it for himself. I introduced him to a few books and some of my Catholic friends, and let it go. After about a year of contemplating it, he decided to convert. He went through RCIA and became Catholic, I made sure it was for him and not for me…He waited another 3 years to propose to me and another year of getting annulments so we could get married. We finally married last August, and he has been a great example of a Catholic husband! I couldn’t be happier with my husband! With a Catholic husband, I don’t have to worry about the battle of birth control vs NFP, holydays and Sunday obligations aren’t a problem either. The other thing I insisted on was for us to pray together. Couples that pray together have under a 1% divorce rate. Marriage to a Catholic is a sacrament, it means that we truly believe in the covenant between a man, a woman, and God in a marriage. If you love this woman enough you will come to understand that the spouse is supposed to help the other spouse find salvation. If you aren’t too keen on this responsibility, maybe you shouldn’t marry anyone let alone a Catholic woman.


#13

Consider also listening in to Catholic radio. If it is not broadcast in your area, you can listen online to relevantradio.com for example. Or AveMaria radio as well. You will learn many things about our faith just be tuning in…Pray on it as well.


#14

And now for something completely different…

Give it up.

Emotions are making you do things that you will regret/cause greater problems later on.

True love is pure.

She has seen you for who you are and has rejected you.

That is reality.

You had three years to seek religion and chose not to.

That is your right.

Now that she dumped you, you seek to find God? Her God?

Is that really a good reason?

Things to think about…

Good Luck,
Ronin


#15

Something to think about -

I am deeply Catholic and commited to my faith. When I met my husband, he was raised baptist and he believed in God but didn’t really go to his church regularly, etc.

When we became serious and talked about marriage, I made it clear that I would always be Catholic, and that any children would be Catholic.

I asked him if he would be willing to attend Mass with us so the children would experience this as a family, and I asked him if he would make the sign of the cross when we prayed together as a family, again, so the children would expereince unity as a family.

Lucky for me, he agreed to these things.

The reason he agreed is b/c he respected my faith even though he wasn’t Catholic.

I never pushed or pressured him in anyway to become Catholic. I think b/c he always respected my faith. We never discussed differing beliefs or anything. I also knew that if he converted, it would have to be b/c he wanted to and b/c of his relationship with God. Not from my nagging!!

We have been married for 17 years now, children and 10 and 12. Husband converted about 6 years ago - but it was completely on his own. Up until then, he was wonderful about going along with all things Catholic even though he wasn’t.

So, do you love her and respect her faith enough to “go along” with what she wants without converting? (Unless and until, of course, you are ready to do so)

Would this be enough for her?


#16

My wife often prayed that I would convert because it was the only thing we didn’t share in our marriage. I was agnostic but raised Christian. I had been going to Mass for years. When I told her I wanted to join the Church, she cried for joy. Now we have everything. She should not give up on you because that is like saying there is no hope for you. It took St. Augustine years to convert and look what he did.

If you are agnostic then you don’t reject God, you’re just not sure. Get books such as Mere Christianity (CS Lewis) and Orthodoxy (Chesterton) and explore the reasons why you don’t love God. Then promise (and mean it) to live as a Catholic. It might be the best thing for both of you.


#17

Dear Cdean,

First I want to say that I think it is commendable that you came here and shared yourself and your concerns with us. Obviously this has been a very difficult time for you. I would encourage you to go easy on your girlfriend. She sounds like she has a very strong faith and that is the core of her life, and understandably she wants a husband that will support and nurture that. She must have had very strong feelings for you or she would’ve given up sooner.

Having said that, I can see her point though. Many marriages were the couple does not share that bond end up in ruin. My husband’s first marriage ended because of several reasons, that being one.

Your decision to join the church should be based on your desire to know truth and Christ’s Church. I would encourage you to join an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) at your local Catholic Church. These classes offer you a chance to study the Church and discover the faith on your own with help of a sponsor. I would suggest as an earlier poster did that you get someone from the faith that you can have as your sponsor to talk with you and help, but not the girlfriend. This needs to be your decision, not based on whether she will come back. It has to be something you want to own for yourself.

My husband had been baptized in the Lutheran Church in his twenties, but his wife did not support the choice. His marriage was already deteriorating at the time, and I think he thought that would help, only she wasn’t on the same page. The marriage ended. When we met, I knew right away that we would have a long haul. As our relationship deepened we had to have some heart to heart talks because I had walked away from the Church once and I had recently come home and was uncomfortable going to the Lutheran Church. I wanted us to both be on the same page though. He wasn’t dead set on the Lutheran Church just wanted that foundation in marriage. He began attending Mass and eventually told me he wanted to take the RCIA classes. He applied for his annulment and eventually he was confirm and we were married in Church. Our faith walks are very different, his has grown immensley though. But it has been his faith journey, I’ve supported him but never forced him. After 14 years of marriage we have finally started praying together:) Keep up your journey to truth…and regardless of what happens with this girl, know that Christ loves you so much and He will lead you in all truth and will take you on the journey of your life!! Which may or may not include this woman. I’ll be praying for you.


#18

I, too, had a Catholic girlfriend whom I deeply loved, leave me because I wasn’t Catholic. We were apart for about 3 years. I then had a real, true, evangelical “born again” experience, and she began to take an interest in me once again. We were married in 1980. A few years after our wedding, I read Karl Keating’s “Catholicism and Fundamentalism,” and it completele cemented me back into the Catholic faith I had known in gradeschool. Approaching our 26th wedding annivesary, we are both faithfully and authentically Catholic, and happier than ever before. I gave up some pride in admitting I was a sinner who needed Jesus, but look what I gained! Blessings many times over. My only regret is not coming back to the faith sooner. If it can work for someone like me, it can work for you.


#19

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.