Relationship between Catholic and none catholic


#1

Hi

My g/friend is a fairly strict Catholic and religion has never been a part of my life. Is there any hope for us? If we were to remain together can she continue to follow her beliefs and be with somone who doesn’t think that they can ever truely be part of the relgion, is this even possible?.

I care so much for her, shes the best thing that ever happened to me, and i’d love to truely belive in the things she believes. But i just don’t, i mean, how on earth can a person change their lifelong views overnight.

I just don’t get why religion has to come between two people.

Andy


#2

I can try to explain. :slight_smile:

Religion… well, I wouldn’t like to speak about religion in general. I don’t believe all religions are equal, so it’s hard to speak of any religion the same as the one I believe to contain the true message. We don’t believe Christianity should divide people… in fact, it’s a religion soaked with a desire for unity. “Love each other as I have loved you.” Sometimes, however, as much as we love someone, a relationship is complicated by matters on which we differ and especially a romantic relationship. Imagine, abortion, contraception, other things. We say it’s murder, the other person it’s a right. We want to raise children in chastity, the other person believes the children should be free to have sex once they’re 16 or something. And then arguments about contraception. I don’t wish that on anyone.

Another reason is that faith is a huge part of someone’s life - the relationship with God is the basic relationship in a Christian’s life, so if that one is not shared with someone we love the most among mortals, it can be painful. Additionally, one cares a lot for the other’s salvation and following or rejecting the faith has a lot of bearing on it. It could be a source of great stress, pain and suffering for someone Catholic to see his or her spouse daily doing something we believe offends God… and also harms that person.

You say you’d like to believe what she does, but no one changes his beliefs overnight. That’s right, it doesn’t happen through our normal, human means, and pretending is not the right way to go. You need to be honest. You need to keep your integrity. And you seem an honest man. At the same time, as you say you’d like to believe what she does, maybe learn more about these beliefs? Maybe go somewhere where you will be explained things in a considerate, charitable manner? Someone who will answer your questions. A book that will detail some answers. A Catholic should be happy that you ask and not concentrating on the fact it doesn’t go beyond asking (for now at least). :slight_smile:

Good luck on your journey and hope you’ll have your questions answered. I hesitate to use a, “God doesn’t want,” statement, since I don’t know how it’ll make you feel, but God doesn’t wany any coercion - He wants a willing heart. Now, in order not to make this too long… :wink:


#3

It all depends on the person, but to tell you the truth, a relationship with someone who doesn’t believe in God the same way you do is very hard. I’m Catholic and I married a Jehovah’s Witness. I believe Jesus is both God and human, the Son of God. He believes Jesus is Michael the archangel, but the son of God… he’s a god to the JWs.

If you were to marry this person, will the children be raised Catholic? Are you going to let her practice her faith? Will you respect her beliefs? If you cannot answer those questions, then it won’t work. If you truly believe and can commit to allowing her to practice her faith the way she’s supposed to and follow the Church’s teachings, then it MIGHT work.

My husband and I have had MANY problems because of the religious differences. The only way we’ve been able to get past it is because we don’t talk about religion. Our belief systems are too different, and if we try and talk about the differences, one or the other gets offended and arguments begin.

I know they can work, but it takes A LOT of work, pain and suffering. If you’re not planning to marry this girl, I don’t see the point in wondering this. If you plan to marry her, then be prepared to have a Catholic wedding, to raise your children Catholic and to respect her faith. That’s all I can think about right now. I wish you the best.


#4

Andy,

Why would you want to marry someone with whom you do not share a central value and belief?

Marriage is very hard even when two people DO share common values and beliefs. You need to determine what your vision for a marriage is, and then find someone who SHARES that vision.

How can you share a vision for your life and family when you differ in such a fundamental way-- we aren’t talking about what color to paint the living room, we are talking about a core value system.

As a Catholic, she has a duty to raise her children Catholic and practice her faith fully. I don’t think that is truly possible in a household where the husband is of no religion. Even if you didn’t purposely undermine her faith with the children you would do so unintentionally because you would not be an example to them in the area of religion-- “why doesn’t Daddy go to Church?”

Because, for a believer, your faith informs EVERYTHING you are and everything you do. The beliefs inform your choices, values, opinions, and actions.

Your lack of belief does the same for you.

When you do not share the same worldview, beliefs, and values you will be in continual conflict.


#5

Hi

Chevalier –

Thanks for the reply. Yes, all the things you mention especially in your first paragraph are many of the problems I have. I’ve been told I’m a good guy and the type most women looking for a relationship would want ……… however I guess that doesn’t apply to religious women.

Another problem I have believing in religion is the number or them that exist. I mean, if Catholics are correct with their views, then are you basically saying Muslim, Islam is wrong? Obviously if I asked a Muslim their view though they would say Catholics are wrong !!!

As you say, I can’t truly change my beliefs overnight. But I’m scared I never will which I feel puts a lot of pressure on me. After all I care for this womans feelings immensely. Should I continue things in the hope I become to believe and truly accept her religion, I have no idea how long this will take. What if in 2, 3, 4 years time I decide I just can’t accept it. I’ll cause both of us a great deal of upset and don’t feel as though I can take that risk of hurting her, I think the best thing for me would to be to end things now so we are both free to find someone who shares out beliefs.

I suppose another concern I have is whether she will ever find someone. Here in England I’m aware that devout Catholics are low in number meaning she’ll have difficulty finding the partner she would so love to have. I’m also aware shes had few boyfriends and all have broken up with her since they were also none religious and decided they couldn’t accept her beliefs.

1ke -

‘Why would you want to marry someone with whom you do not share a central value and belief?’

I don’t know, I don’t understand religion, I guess I fail to see how much of an important aspect of her life it is

‘why doesn’t Daddy go to Church?"’

Yes, this is one of the concerns I have and one of the reasons I think it maybe best if I break up with her.

Andy


#6

In so far as two things can’t be the opposite of each other and both correct at the same time, they’re wrong. On some things they’re wrong, on some others they’re misguided, on some they’re right but they don’t differ from what the Catholic Church believes. But we don’t believe we’re right on everything because we’re so wise. We believe that Jesus was son of God, came and died for us to save us from our sins and left us teaching which is true. From this point, we can’t go on and make changes in the deposit of faith, nor can we make it relative and say oh perhaps someone else is right or maybe we both are.

As you say, I can’t truly change my beliefs overnight. But I’m scared I never will which I feel puts a lot of pressure on me. After all I care for this womans feelings immensely. Should I continue things in the hope I become to believe and truly accept her religion, I have no idea how long this will take. What if in 2, 3, 4 years time I decide I just can’t accept it. I’ll cause both of us a great deal of upset and don’t feel as though I can take that risk of hurting her, I think the best thing for me would to be to end things now so we are both free to find someone who shares out beliefs.

That’s a question I can’t answer because firstly, I don’t know both of you enough, secondly, I don’t have that kind of knowledge or ability to make such judgements. What I can tell you is that you should convert if you believe it’s true, or learn more about it if you’re not sure yet… pretending for the sake of pleasing her or her parents won’t work - it has to be between God and you. Tell her you can’t predict the future and can’t make any promises, there is a risk that you will never convert.

I suppose another concern I have is whether she will ever find someone. Here in England I’m aware that devout Catholics are low in number meaning she’ll have difficulty finding the partner she would so love to have.

Well, what’s between you and her is one thing, what-ifs are another. I’m not saying you should both disregard other possibilities. But you shouldn’t base a relationship on being the best one can find for the current moment, or the best she can “realistically” have.

I’m also aware shes had few boyfriends and all have broken up with her since they were also none religious and decided they couldn’t accept her beliefs.

That’s a tough part of being Catholic for sure. I’ve had that happen to me too.

Hope you don’t mind if I address some of the answers you give to 1ke?

I don’t know, I don’t understand religion, I guess I fail to see how much of an important aspect of her life it is

Possible, but you’re looking and you reserve room for such a possibility. That’s more than I’ve seen in most people being in your situation. I think I’m more comfortable talking about faith than religion. Her faith and relationship with God must be the most important thing in her life. Acting on the faith also - doing what we are taught to, participating in the life of the Church, performing acts of religious practice. But it doesn’t work the same way as if we one day came up with some ideas about the supernatural and decided to set up a number of rules that we’ll follow, plus a schedule of gatherings. In other words, we don’t work like a made-up cult. It’s not as if a diet were becoming the most important thing in our live, or as if we made a crucial issue of a singular philosophical concern and centred our lives around it. Perhaps talk to her about what her faith is in her life? I’m pretty sure you’ll quickly notice it’s not the same as with cults or dodgy ideologies, where you’d be expected to swallow a set of bizarre rules that someone made up.

‘why doesn’t Daddy go to Church?"’

Yes, this is one of the concerns I have and one of the reasons I think it maybe best if I break up with her.

Andy

Talk to her. I’m sorry to hear about your pain. I hope it turns out the best for both of you - together or separately. People have managed to have successful marriages in such circumstances, but many others have not. I can’t tell you which way to go. Both of you will need to think a lot about it and she will need to pray. Since you’re considering breaking up with her so as not to hurt her, you’re prepared to tell her there is no pressure from you and her happiness is more important to you than whether she will be with you or not. Clumsy advice on my part, but as much as I wish I could help more, this is all I can come up with.


#7

Andy,

Have you been to Mass? I think if you can make the commitment to regularly attend Mass for a while, you will come to understand. You have a beautiful sacrificial quality to your love for this woman, and I am inclined to believe that you are disposed to understand our faith.

You might also want to take a look at the Catechism and see what the Church teaches about other religions and those with no religion. I think it would help you a lot to understand.


#8

Andy, first of all its a pleasure to meet someone in a similar situation as myself. I too am hugely in love with a girl who is a very strong catholic, and though I see there could be a god, i see no need to worship, adore or obey without question. Different viewpoints, and indeed one that gets me in trouble often, albeit in the fun way that can only be had when two people love one another enough.

My advice, as a non-religious person. Take the religion out of it for one second and presume her actions and thoughts are the way they are because she has thought long and hard and thats the way she feels. Would you still love her, even if she wanted to raise any possible children to be chaste till marriage, to be kind and respectful, and to leave sunday mornings free just to reflect on the world?

Its an admirable thing surely? Catholics who follow the rules are charming, loveable, well behaved and easy to get along with. The religion may help with this, so why argue with it?

I know you may feel occasionally as though you have no power in the relationship, that you are a third partner (and the one with the least imput at that) but if you love her, and you clearly do, then a little leniency towards her views should be easy. And in return you get to show her the fun, borderline sinful but within the bounds of reason lifestyle we heathens live every day.

The only difficult part about being with a catholic is the part before marriage. After that it gets really, REALLY fun.

Just my views. May be a bit scrambled, but I hope it helps. Don’t dump her for a difference of opinion, and when…if…the arguments start just turn it into a debate, don’t get riled up and agree to disagree. Makes life so simple.


#9

No, I don’t mean her, I mean YOU. Why would YOU want to share your life with someone who does not share YOUR world view-- someone who you cannot understand at the core of her being?

I agree, you do not understand how important it is. It’s not an aspect of her life, it IS her life. Your faith isn’t outside of you, it’s inside of you. It forms who you are and how you approach every aspect of your life-- the same way your lack of religion informs your decision making process, who you are, what you believe, how you orient your life.

Again, at its basic level it’s about having a SHARED vision, regardless of what that vision is. If you truly don’t share her worldview, and won’t share it with your own children-- I don’t know, I’d feel like an outsider in my own home. I suppose that is why many people who do marry outside their faith end up on here posting about their SO’s bitterness towards their faith.

It would be very sad if you eventually resented her and vice versa.

That is why I strongly believe in marrying within one’s faith-- regardless of what it is.


#10

And to give you the Catholic viewpoint *.

He’s right. We don’t always agree on everything. But we’re both people who like a debate and we both lay down the cards when we talk. I can see his viewpoint on many occasions and then offer my own. We either find some common ground in which both are satisfied, agree to disagree and debate again later, or he allows the Catholic view if it’s important. And for that I am very grateful and often tell him such-- I can’t compromise my Catholic beliefs and he knows this. We’ve made it work so far and hopefully it’ll continue for some time from now.

So to answer your first few questions, there is hope and she won’t have to be less of a Catholic. Yes, the Catholic promises to raise the children Catholic and I can understand how that would be harsh to the non-Catholic. But there’s nothing that can be done to compromise that. It doesn’t mean the non-Catholic is out of the children’s lives, of course not. In a backwards way I can see it as a help. I’m a better Catholic after debating with someone who isn’t Catholic and I have to dig up answers, than after I talk to a Catholic who doesn’t challenge.

“Go debate daddy and see if you can get him to think like a Catholic,” seems almost a fun excersize to me. Not that I’m advocating the whole family gang up on the father, but both the children will learn from looking up answers and the father will from listening to his children.

I don’t think religion does have to come between people. I think it can be worked out with mutual respect and love, where both parties understand that there will be sacrifices and hardships and more than one debate. But they don’t have to turn into fights if there’s an understanding to it all and there’s a underline of love in talking about religion to the other.*


#11

Aside from the child rearing aspects of it, andy, I think that not being able to share something with great zeal and piety together as a couple, can cause some angst in most relationships, where one person is following ‘a’ religion and the other is following ‘b’ religion. (or any religion) My husband and I are cradle Catholics, and he even has some ‘issues’ with our RCC, so I can imagine if he was a non Catholic, how it might be.

I have always known that sharing my faith would be very important to me. There would be a hole I think, if I went my separate way on Sunday to my church, and he went to his. Over time, that hole might grow bigger, if I get involved with a ministry at my parish, for example, and my husband were to stay behind.

It’s probably easier to date/marry someone who is of your same religion, than to not. Easier meaning less angst and turmoil within the marriage. Just my 2 cents. :slight_smile:

(However, I have also seen people convert to Catholicism in my family; I actually encourage such conversations before the marriage talk begins, if you find yourself getting more serious with someone)


#12

You would rather give up “the best thing that ever happened to you” rather than work at your differences? How old are you Andy? How long is life-long? If you are sincere in your words, you need to give her beliefs a chance. Why does this conversion have to happen overnight?


#13

Seriously. I think he should be going to RCIA to find out exactly what it is that she believes.


#14

Mixed marriages are tough. The more serious the believer the tougher it will be. This may be a good time to reflect within yourself to think about your faith. If you are not interested in exploring then follow that thought and examine how life would be Sunday after Sunday evening after evening. Add children to the mix. You are not a bad person for not being Catholic but you need to to consider your happiness, hers and any future children. If you are still dating I would explore these issues and part company if you are not on he same spiritual page. I am married to a Protestant for 14 years. Having a Catholic wedding and raising the children Catholic sounded like things would be fine. Neither of us is very happy with our religion situation. Take the time and both of you think it through.


#15

I am one of those who believe that marriage is tough enough for two people not to be on the same plate. I believe that on issues of faith, its safer if the two of you agree. I agree with Jwlynas but I don’t think that the problem is only with premarital sex. Really one major thing that was of concern to me back then is the issue of family planning. A devote protestant sees nothing wrong with artificial contraceptive but a catholic does. Sex is fundamental in marriage so how do you even get sorted. It’s a sin if a catholic miss mass on Sunday for no just cause but not for a devote none catholic.

Andy, the good thing is that it’s not as if you believe in a particular faith and she in another, you have no belief at all. By coming to this site, it is a demonstration of how much you love her, even your wondering if she will get another person if you leave is all part of your loving her, my advice is, step this love up and see if you can also believe. Don’t rule out the possibility. God be with you (even if you don’t believe lol)


#16

Andy, while I wasn’t anti-religion, I was never, ever planing on becoming Catholic… Glad I did and there are many here with a similar history.

Ask yourself: What is it that you value about this girl?
Why do so many people have a faith, and I do not?
Is what you value about this person there because she is Catholic?

No, conversion is not fast. It took me years. But what prompted me to look into becoming Catholic is the memories of the great Catholic families and girlfriends that I knew.

My suggestion is for you to go to Mass with her. Ask her questions. Read up on the faith. Figure out where you want to go with YOUR life, independent of your relationship with her. It’s not easy to be Catholic. But to many of us, well worth it!

Good luck to you!


#17

I am catholic ,my wife was born lutheran is now catholic we live together as catholic over 35 years i fail to see the problem . sorry:)


#18

Why dont you give it a month or so. Lets say during lent. Go to church with her, see what the Catholic Church does at lent. I PROMISE you one thing, You will get something deep deep inside of you that you didnt know that exists. Its a feeling of hope, love, and respect for Jesus you have never had before. The worst thing that could happen is you will see and appreciate why she has the faith she has. And if you love her now you will really love her then. Lent is early this year. Give it a try. Stations of the Cross is awesome. You can get on such a level with Christ that you wont believe. And then you will understand why we love the Blessed Mother so much. You will see what she went thru. Try it.


#19

Grace. It happened to me.


#20

Amen to that! Usually there is a loved one that the Spirit works through to assist you in that conversion.


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.