Relationship advice


#1

I've been in a relationship for the past 7 months with a woman. It happens to be the first relationship I have ever been in, due to the fact I tend to be more shy and reserved. Anyway, we get along well, get each others humor, and are able to talk more than I thought was possible. We do have habits that annoy each other some quite a bit, but they don't arise often, and I know I have been a great source of help and strength for her. The thing is her faith, she is Catholic, but she has issues with some ares of the Catholic church and I can't really do anything to help her with those, like women not being priests. It isn't any of the big things like the Eucharist or abortion. But she also doesn't seem to have a strong drive to grow in her faith either, she works all day sunday and is more apt to sleep in then go to church. Although as our relationship has progressed she has attended Mass more regularly.

We started dating in January, and prior to that I had been very strong in my faith and actively engaging in it, winter break caused me to lose all my prayer habits and then due to laziness I never picked them up again. But now I am begining to rebuild those habits and that relationship with God, in large part due to reading some of the threads on this site. I want to have that close relationship with God again and seek out his will, but I digress. Everynow and then her attitude/ current level of faith will frustrate me, because she doesn't seem to try that hard, and she doesn't seem to get some of it. I guess it frustrates me because If I get married I want a very strong Catholic base and want God to be in the fore front of the relationship and I'm not sure if that would be possible without me becoming ever more frustrated by the differences in our levels of faith. But every now and then she does try and make an effort but it tends to be short lived. My plan at the moment is to continue to work on my relationship with God and building up my prayer life and hopefully that will help clarify God's will. And I will be able to go from there.

I guess part of what I want to know, is if having a large difference in levels of committment to seeking God causes any problems in marriage or if it's just unfounded concern. I care a lot about her and that obviously makes things more difficult but I just wanted some input from other Catholics.

Thanks for any help you can offer


#2

[quote="nicreap, post:1, topic:209753"]
I've been in a relationship for the past 7 months with a woman. It happens to be the first relationship I have ever been in, due to the fact I tend to be more shy and reserved. Perhaps you will find in time that you will became more confident and outgoing. Happens all the time! :D

The thing is her faith, she is Catholic, but she has issues with some ares of the Catholic church and I can't really do anything to help her with those, like women not being priests. It isn't any of the big things like the Eucharist or abortion. But she also doesn't seem to have a strong drive to grow in her faith either, she works all day sunday and is more apt to sleep in then go to church. Although as our relationship has progressed she has attended Mass more regularly. You cannot give her the drive unfortunately. Nor would you really be happy with her going to mass "for you." That isn't a good reason for anyone to go... However, as she continues to go, she may learn to appreciate, like and someday love going to mass. I don't know how old you are, but has she made her communion and confirmation? Do you know how she was raised? Meaning--did her family go to mass every week? That can affect a person's level of "commitment." (Not to say it can't change, it's just that she is what she was raised with, for now, or she may have rejected her faith as a teen.)

We started dating in January, and prior to that I had been very strong in my faith and actively engaging in it, winter break caused me to lose all my prayer habits and then due to laziness I never picked them up again. Sometimes, being with someone that is not a mass attender makes us become lazy ourselves...But now I am begining to rebuild those habits and that relationship with God, in large part due to reading some of the threads on this site. :thumbsup: I want to have that close relationship with God again and seek out his will, but I digress. You can have that relationship again if you make the decision to. If you have not been to confession, now would be a good time!

Everynow and then her attitude/ current level of faith will frustrate me, because she doesn't seem to try that hard, and she doesn't seem to get some of it.

I guess it frustrates me because If I get married I want a very strong Catholic base and want God to be in the fore front of the relationship and I'm not sure if that would be possible without me becoming ever more frustrated by the differences in our levels of faith. But every now and then she does try and make an effort but it tends to be short lived

My plan at the moment is to continue to work on my relationship with God and building up my prayer life and hopefully that will help clarify God's will. And I will be able to go from there. That sounds like an excellent plan...

I guess part of what I want to know, is if having a large difference in levels of commitment to seeking God causes any problems in marriage or if it's just unfounded concern. The part that I highlighted in blue above is what I see as the answer to your own question. It is already causing you concern at this point. It will not get better on it's own and if she is unwilling or unable to share the same faith level as you, it will be a problem. It is NOT an unfounded concern. You will see many threads where these problems crop up on many different levels. And you will hear from people that were able to overcome them too! Everyone's story is different, we all bring our own experience to the table... I care a lot about her and that obviously makes things more difficult but I just wanted some input from other Catholics.

Thanks for any help you can offer

[/quote]

May God bless you and guide you as you grow in faith. :)


#3

Yes, "a large difference in levels of committment to seeking God" will cause problems in marriage.

Jesus himself - was annoyed by people who failed to progress out of a lukewarm attitude toward Him. :)

You're wise to be concerned. It might take 15 to 20 years and possibly never for your girlfriend to reconcile with the Church and papal authority.

Marry your equal, not the gal who you need to change. :thumbsup:


#4

[quote="nicreap, post:1, topic:209753"]
I've been in a relationship for the past 7 months with a woman. It happens to be the first relationship I have ever been in, due to the fact I tend to be more shy and reserved. Anyway, we get along well, get each others humor, and are able to talk more than I thought was possible. We do have habits that annoy each other some quite a bit, but they don't arise often, and I know I have been a great source of help and strength for her. The thing is her faith, she is Catholic, but she has issues with some ares of the Catholic church and I can't really do anything to help her with those, like women not being priests. It isn't any of the big things like the Eucharist or abortion. But she also doesn't seem to have a strong drive to grow in her faith either, she works all day sunday and is more apt to sleep in then go to church. Although as our relationship has progressed she has attended Mass more regularly.

We started dating in January, and prior to that I had been very strong in my faith and actively engaging in it, winter break caused me to lose all my prayer habits and then due to laziness I never picked them up again. But now I am begining to rebuild those habits and that relationship with God, in large part due to reading some of the threads on this site. I want to have that close relationship with God again and seek out his will, but I digress. Everynow and then her attitude/ current level of faith will frustrate me, because she doesn't seem to try that hard, and she doesn't seem to get some of it. I guess it frustrates me because If I get married I want a very strong Catholic base and want God to be in the fore front of the relationship and I'm not sure if that would be possible without me becoming ever more frustrated by the differences in our levels of faith. But every now and then she does try and make an effort but it tends to be short lived. My plan at the moment is to continue to work on my relationship with God and building up my prayer life and hopefully that will help clarify God's will. And I will be able to go from there.

I guess part of what I want to know, is if having a large difference in levels of committment to seeking God causes any problems in marriage or if it's just unfounded concern. I care a lot about her and that obviously makes things more difficult but I just wanted some input from other Catholics.

Thanks for any help you can offer

[/quote]

Yes, having large diff. in levels of commitment will cause problems. However, people mature and change. that's what dating is for. she will either increase in her walk with the Lord and continue growing in faith or decrease. i'd give it some more time to see before getting married.


#5

The best business advice I’ve ever received - also applies to mate selection:

Hire the best person for the job!

:smiley:


#6

[quote="nicreap, post:1, topic:209753"]
I guess part of what I want to know, is if having a large difference in levels of committment to seeking God causes any problems in marriage or if it's just unfounded concern.

[/quote]

When my husband and I married, we didn't seem to be in vastly different parts of our faith journey. A few years into our marriage, he confided that he wasn't even sure anymore that God existed. I was devastated. So I prayed for him. Since I have been pregnant and/or nursing between now and the day he told me, I haven't been able to fast for him, but I offer up as much of my physical and emotional pain as I possibly can. Several months ago, he stopped attending Mass, so I stepped up the prayer (and my eight-month pregnant self ended up kneeling on the hard non-carpeted floor for what felt like an eternity after receiving the Eucharist at Mass). I didn't tell him of my efforts until June of this year, after he started going to Mass again. He even rediscovered an old crucifix on a rosary that belonged to his grandmother that he liked, and had me put the crucifix on a chain for him to always wear around his neck.

We still aren't in the same place along our faith journeys. He tells me he admires where I'm at, and that he wishes he could be there with me. Prayer and time will take care of that, I'm certain. I long for the day to come, when he tells me, "Honey, pray with me." It will come, I know it.

I guess my point was, that even if you start your relationship at the same point in your journeys, it doesn't mean you'll continue to grow at the same rate. Ask God to reveal His will for you and this girl, and pray, pray, pray.


#7

No, I don’t agree that having different levels of faith will cause problems.UNLESS, it’s such an issue for you that you allow it to do so… OR things like: she prevents you from practicing as you know is best, or prevents children from being raised Catholic…

This based on my personal n=1, I’m Catholic, DH is not. We have a great marriage. 14 years so far! For whatever reason, God sent me a Soul Mate that is not Catholic. Being raised Catholic, going to Catholic school, and living in a community with lots of Catholics, I just never met any that I connected with on any other level. He’s respectful of my faith and practice. Although he’s not Catholic, he doesn’t hold any particular Anti-Catholic sentiment. He also has an open ear to anything about my faith I feel compelled to share. He has stood by through our children’s Sacraments, just as concerned and excited as I, with more to come.

So, for example, because only One God Parent must be Catholic, I chose my Sister. The other God Parent I left to DH to choose between his Very Christian (but NOT CAtholic) best friend, or My Catholic cousin. He understands the reasoning why, for example, his sister can not be a God Parent (although she took it hard for some reason.)

So, really, the only things I think can interferre is if your partner feels you should abandon your faith for any variety of reasons, causing friction, or you to do so… Or you feel superior to her, and treat her as such. In either of those cases, it will be a bad match.

Otherwise, with work, it can work. But you have to want it to.

Best,


#8

[quote="Truly_Beloved, post:6, topic:209753"]
When my husband and I married, we didn't seem to be in vastly different parts of our faith journey. A few years into our marriage, he confided that he wasn't even sure anymore that God existed. I was devastated. So I prayed for him. Since I have been pregnant and/or nursing between now and the day he told me, I haven't been able to fast for him, but I offer up as much of my physical and emotional pain as I possibly can. Several months ago, he stopped attending Mass, so I stepped up the prayer (and my eight-month pregnant self ended up kneeling on the hard non-carpeted floor for what felt like an eternity after receiving the Eucharist at Mass). I didn't tell him of my efforts until June of this year, after he started going to Mass again. He even rediscovered an old crucifix on a rosary that belonged to his grandmother that he liked, and had me put the crucifix on a chain for him to always wear around his neck.

We still aren't in the same place along our faith journeys. He tells me he admires where I'm at, and that he wishes he could be there with me. Prayer and time will take care of that, I'm certain. I long for the day to come, when he tells me, "Honey, pray with me." It will come, I know it.

I guess my point was, that even if you start your relationship at the same point in your journeys, it doesn't mean you'll continue to grow at the same rate. Ask God to reveal His will for you and this girl, and pray, pray, pray.

[/quote]

What a beautiful story...Thanks so much for sharing it! :)


#9

Since you are not married and not living together (right?), I don’t see why you can’t just keep going being yourself, let her be herself, and see how it ends up. I once had this issue in a relationship, and it pushed us further apart. But this was long before I was married, and I did not fight against the pull of what was obviously going on (different value systems emerging). But there are plenty of working couples of different levels of faith. It depends on how much of a team effort you expect faith to be. That is for you to decide, or feel your way into…


#10

[quote="nicreap, post:1, topic:209753"]
I've been in a relationship for the past 7 months with a woman. It happens to be the first relationship I have ever been in, due to the fact I tend to be more shy and reserved. Anyway, we get along well, get each others humor, and are able to talk more than I thought was possible. We do have habits that annoy each other some quite a bit, but they don't arise often, and I know I have been a great source of help and strength for her. The thing is her faith, she is Catholic, but she has issues with some ares of the Catholic church and I can't really do anything to help her with those, like women not being priests. It isn't any of the big things like the Eucharist or abortion. But she also doesn't seem to have a strong drive to grow in her faith either, she works all day sunday and is more apt to sleep in then go to church. Although as our relationship has progressed she has attended Mass more regularly.

We started dating in January, and prior to that I had been very strong in my faith and actively engaging in it, winter break caused me to lose all my prayer habits and then due to laziness I never picked them up again. But now I am begining to rebuild those habits and that relationship with God, in large part due to reading some of the threads on this site. I want to have that close relationship with God again and seek out his will, but I digress. Everynow and then her attitude/ current level of faith will frustrate me, because she doesn't seem to try that hard, and she doesn't seem to get some of it. I guess it frustrates me because If I get married I want a very strong Catholic base and want God to be in the fore front of the relationship and I'm not sure if that would be possible without me becoming ever more frustrated by the differences in our levels of faith. But every now and then she does try and make an effort but it tends to be short lived. My plan at the moment is to continue to work on my relationship with God and building up my prayer life and hopefully that will help clarify God's will. And I will be able to go from there.

I guess part of what I want to know, is if having a large difference in levels of committment to seeking God causes any problems in marriage or if it's just unfounded concern. I care a lot about her and that obviously makes things more difficult but I just wanted some input from other Catholics.

Thanks for any help you can offer

[/quote]

Since you don't live together (right?), just see how it goes. If you find that your faith has to be a team effort with a partner, then you may have trouble. If you find that it can be one of your separate values, then it will likely not be. Your gut will tell you when the time comes....


#11

My husband is also Catholic but does not practice at all, and we do not have any problems. I first thought as you, I almost broke up with him over the issue but he never stepped in to stop me from doing what I needed to do to build my relationship with God. Being religous is one of the attributes that my dh loves about me. And I figure if I can help him even a little to get closer to God then I will be happy.


#12

[quote="larkin31, post:10, topic:209753"]
Since you don't live together (right?), just see how it goes. If you find that your faith has to be a team effort with a partner, then you may have trouble. If you find that it can be one of your separate values, then it will likely not be. Your gut will tell you when the time comes....

[/quote]

No, we don't live together. I'm 21 and am going to college in the same town she lives, well with her parents a least, in for going ot college.


#13

"You cannot give her the drive unfortunately. Nor would you really be happy with her going to mass "for you." That isn't a good reason for anyone to go... However, as she continues to go, she may learn to appreciate, like and someday love going to mass. I don't know how old you are, but has she made her communion and confirmation? Do you know how she was raised? Meaning--did her family go to mass every week? That can affect a person's level of "commitment." (Not to say it can't change, it's just that she is what she was raised with, for now, or she may have rejected her faith as a teen.) "

She is 22, she had her confirmation and I know her mother goes to Mass every week, so I assume she did as well when younger.

Thanks all of you for your input, I appreciate it. Like I said I don't plan on making any decisions anytime soon, I want to improve my relationship with God first and then see how things are/ look.


#14

Nicreap, do some research of your own on the issues your gf has a problem with, such as the Catholic ban on woman priests. Tell your gf what you have learned. If she is willing to listen, you might be able to resolve those issues with her that she currently criticizes about the Catholic Church. However, if she would happen to be obstinate, still criticizing the Catholic Church, but at the same time unwilling to learn and unwilling to try to understand why the Catholic Church teaches what it teaches, that would be a bad sign.

This is not only about the doctrines of the Catholic Church. Someone who is not very motivated to find out stuff on her own, but has a good personality, and is willing to at least listen to you and be persuaded with logical, sound advice, can still be a good mate. On the other hand, if she is stubborn, obstinate, and critical of things she doesn't know about and unwilling to learn about, if this happens regarding Church issues, you can expect it to also happen later in other areas of life, such as finances, raising of children, decisions regarding where to live, what house to buy, and so on. And trust me, you don't want a wife who's stubborn and obstinate.


#15

Nicreap,

Explaining the Church’s stand on women priests will probably not help her at this particular juncture. I’m saying that because at one time I didn’t understand what the harm was in women priests.

Instead, start by looking within the Catholic Church at the base theology of the organization Women Priests and Call to Action. Look at which causes woman priests stand for and who they are willing to co-op with.

Look into Protestant denominations, particularly the Episcopal and the ELCA. Read about women priest theology and their practices within those churches and in their seminaries.

Once you and she understand the theology of women priests, she Might be able to understand theology in the Catholic Church concerning the male priesthood.


#16

[quote="Joseph_L_Varga, post:14, topic:209753"]
Someone who is not very motivated to find out stuff on her own, but has a good personality, and is willing to at least listen to you and be persuaded with logical, sound advice, can still be a good mate. On the other hand, if she is stubborn, obstinate, and critical of things she doesn't know about and unwilling to learn about, if this happens regarding Church issues, you can expect it to also happen later in other areas of life, such as finances, raising of children, decisions regarding where to live, what house to buy, and so on.

[/quote]

:yup:


#17

Well, St. Monica’s husband was a pagan. He eventually converted due to her example. She was a big help to her son, too. :slight_smile:

I guess it depends. If your girl is going to try to block you from appropriate devotions, or if she will want the kids raised in a secular fashion, those things could be problems. But if she’s merely lukewarm herself and respects your level of faith, then you certainly have material there you can work with if you want to do that work.

If you marry her, her spiritual life is partly your moral responsibility inasmuch as you have to encourage her and pray for her and provide a good example. So you’re taking on an extra load in that case. It’s just one factor that goes into the deliberation of whether she’s the right girl for you.


#18

Hi there,
Just from how you discribed yourself, it sounds like you have let a lot of yourself slip as far as practicing your faith (not praying,etc., like you used to). So maybe you don’t come across to her as being that committed to your religion either.

She’s still young and a lot of young people tend to drop their faith for a while, then pick it back up when they marry or have kids. You need to ask her if she were to marry, would she want it done in the church? You need to ask her if she had children would she want them baptised? You need to ask if she had children would she want the whole family to go to church as a unit, or the father go with the children alone? Just ask questions and you can judge from her answers where she’s at in her commitment to the faith. If she answers like this is a temporary thing, I think her faith will pick up again. If she is pretty adament that all this isn’t important, I think this is where she stands and it will never be important to her.

So, If all this isn’t important to her, then would you be prepared to take your children to church every week by yourself?

The excuses people come up to stop going to church are so ignorant " I’m not going to go to church anymore because I think women should be able to be priests", or “I’m not going anymore because I think priests should be able to be married”, or "I don’t like our priest, so I stopped going to church"or, “they stopperd saying it in Latin so I’m not going anymore”. How amazing! So Jesus dying on the cross for us is only important or only counts if we agree with everything, And if we don’t, then that invalidates everything else?
That is about as smart as saying that you have to agree with EVERYTHING your spouse does, or you have to get a divorce. So if your husband changes the part in his hair to the other side, then it’s o.k. to divorce him because now you don’t agree with him on everything because you don’t like it. Or your wife changes political parties, and you don’t agree, so you divorce her because you no longer agree with everything. The Faith is the Faith. You might not agree with all the church rules, but you don’t throw the Faith out with the bath water!

My Granmother used to repeat an old saying about weddings, “people walk up the isle with their eyes half closed, but back down the isle with their eyes wide open”. Take a good hard look at this woman, and see who she really is, not who you want her to be.
Be wise.


#19

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