Selective about nothing?

I’m in a situation where I’m not sure if I’m being too hard and selective or if my doubts are justified. Been dating an older gentlemen for almost a year now, actually. Very respectful, family man, successful, kind, generous, great values…everything I am seeking in a partner character wise (I don’t care of the physical: ethnicity, height, etc). I’ve always been an equal opportunity dater if the gentlemen meets the above requirements. So that all sounds great but he is not a Catholic, or even Christian man. In fact he knows little to nothing about God or faith, which saddens me greatly actually. I can’t imagine going through my entire life with a potential husband whom–would go to church with me for the sake of making me happy–but wouldn’t be “into it”. So I’m troubled. I don’t know if I should try to convert this man or if I am wasting my time…I certainly don’t want to shove religion down someone’s throat, but I love my faith deeply and definitely try to educate him on things, but this man follows science almost blindly that it is frustrating. I know relationships are difficult as it is in the day and age, so part of me thinks I am being too harsh, but the other part no so much. I am just scared of making a mistake either way.
Yes, I’m aware people have worse problems, but this forum has been so helpful to me over the years and truly my only outlet where I can get insightful Christian feedback. Los Angeles isnt the most conservative State, unfortunately.

It astonishes me how men (mid-life crisis?) openly admit during charity events or at social gatherings that they have a mistress or girlfriend on the side. Makes me sick really. They express it so openly and even exchange stories. They seem shocked when ***I’m ***offended, so I know good men are hard to find.
Is there anyone involved in an interfaith relationship/marriage (or lack therefore) that can provide advice? I’m still in my 20s so I value the wisdom that comes with age. Hopefully it can help me. Even prayers at this point. I just don’t like wasting people’s time when both parties could just move on…or advance. When I talk about God and how much I love Him, my partner doesn’t understand. It’s not his fault, I suppose. You can’t blame someone who was never taught these things but at times I don’t know if he is that open to learn. Stubborn older men tend to not change. IDK…

My husband wasn’t really “into it” when we started dating, but came to chuch with me anyway. We both grew in our faith because of it. DH was raised Catholic, though, so I think that helped. Why not ask your boyfriend to come and see where things lead?

Married a very long time, and he is still not “into it.” A wonderful person, but the trade-off you’re concerned about is real. Count the cost before you jump in, and do not jump in unless you are willing to take him as he is, or better, or worse. That is the bargain.

Don’t “settle” because there is no one in LA. That is not faithful and it is also unfair to whoever you marry. It is insulting to marry someone you are “settling” for. Yes, everyone has drawbacks, but you ought to be positively choosing him. Ask the Lord for a husband, if it is His will, and then discern in prayer about anyone you consider. Do not under any circumstances ignore a disquiet in your heart that prayer arouses rather than mollifies. After all–what kind of a sign that you ought to keep looking do you* want*, if not that?

I visit LA a fair bit b/c I have family in LA. Every time I go I see lots of men at Mass. So perhaps you need to make friendships at Church and seek introductions to Catholic men. Go on a Catholic website and seek to meet Catholic men that way, there are surely some “good ones” available in one of the nation’s largest metro areasut perhaps you need to look in Catholic places for them.

Marriage to a non believer is not something I can recommend.

You can’t convert someone, only the Holy Spirit can do that.

What you can do is provide a shining example of faith that he will be affected by in his relationship to you.


Does he support you in your faith?
Would he be willing to get married in the church?
Raise the kids in the church?

These are questions that you need to ask, if you are getting serious.

My husband “announced” that “he didn’t believe” in all “of this” months before we were going to get married. (Ironically, about a year after he converted into the RCC - I wasn’t a Catholic yet).

However, we got married anyway and he’s always been supportive of my faith, regardless of his “faith status” (for lack of a better term). Like your guy, mine had a secular upbringing. For mine, it was his friends that taught him about Jesus and led him into the church.

There are trade-offs when you date a guy who doesn’t come from a strong Christian/Catholic background.

I don’t share a lot of my spiritual life with my husband because he’s simply not interested, but he’s been supportive of my becoming a Catholic and encourages me to be the best Catholic I can be. However, I’ve had to work at building my own Catholic network outside of our mutual Catholic friends.

A lot of people will tell you that you shouldn’t settle, but the thing is that sometimes “good enough” is really the person you should be with, not “Mr. Perfect”. It really depends on your priorities. Do you want a huge family - well, female fertility is different than male fertility and that has a huge impact on things if you wait until your 30’s to have kids. That’s just being realistic. Is it really a priority that he share your faith or can you live with the fact that he’s just not going to be as interested in the faith as you are?

(I’ve got a lot of people praying for my husband - and I know that it’s having an impact on his life).

Still, I’ve accepted that my husband just isn’t “that guy”. I wish that he was more like his sponsor (they are BFF’s), but they grew up in two totally different worlds/lifestyles.

His BFF had the traditional Catholic family (and they are very close). He went to Catholic schools and has never left the faith - even in college. My husband, well, his upbringing was secular and very chaotic. He had a lot of struggles and hardly any support system at all. It makes a lot of sense that my husband would have a hard time trusting in an invisible God, given that he never had a great relationship with his Earthly father.

I love it when my husband goes to mass with me, but it’s not something he goes out of his way to do.

Let me ask you this: would your rather have the Catholic guy who goes through the motions of being Catholic out of obligation and doesn’t really care when push comes to shove, or the guy who isn’t Catholic, but will respect you and your choice to BE a Catholic (and respects that you expect a Catholic wedding/to raise the kids Catholic)?

I’m really just trying to give you some things to think about. Interfaith marriage can be really lonely at times for the partner who loves Jesus and “works at it”. However, there’s always going to be differences between you and your partner, so if it isn’t on the faith issue, then they are going to be other issues you disagree about and have to compromise on. It’s really just part of being married. Accepting the whole person, not just the parts that you like.

If you think it is difficult now, wait for the kids to come…assuming he doesnt insist on artificial birth control being used. Even if actual events turn out different you need to consider decision wise that if you do get married and have kids, some will likely follow the father and have no faith. You might be able to convert him but that effort could easily lead you to frustration if he is stubborn and set in his beliefs.

I can’t recommend getting serious with someone who doesn’t share a faith…ANY Christian faith. It’s just too hard. People think (erroneously) that this doesn’t matter so long as they are “good people”.
Once you marry, you are a family. People readily say that married couple should agree on finances, where to live, what kind of job, who works, who doesn’t work fulltime etc. But they don’t seem to think that their interior and spiritual lives matter that much. :shrug:
In times of trial, believe me, you will want to be with someone who will turn to God with you, not just sit back and let you do the heavy lifting in terms of prayer.
My late husband said he’d never get in the way of raising the children Catholic. But it was such hard work explaining to the kids why daddy cursed 24-7, why he didn’t think twice about being mean or verbally abusive and all that because he was highly educated. They finally understood that he had little moral culpability, so it didn’t matter to him. We just needed to get over it. Never any “I’m sorry”. Never any understanding.
Long story short, you can have all the street smarts and book learning and worldly experience and travel, but if your heart doesn’t turn to God in your life? You’re not a great mate.
Seek out practicing Catholic men, or at least churched men. Life’s hard enough.

The way you have described this relationship doesn’t sound very good, RWM. What is its foundation built upon? Forgive me if I’m misreading,but it sounds like the things you have in common aren’t the things that really matter.

There are many good men in L.A. Some of them are affluent, but many of them are not. I know that the model lifestyle surrounds you with people of a higher economic strata, but if you truly want to meet the right man, you may need to consider men outside that world. That doesn’t mean they can’t be well-educated, well-traveled, etc. In fact, one of my good Christian friends works for a not-for-profit in L.A. and has multiple Master’s Degrees from top flight schools, and is extensively well-traveled. And he’s single! (Just sayin’ ;))

I’ve lived in LA … the ruling culture is shallow, ultra liberal, extremely secular, so politically correct it’s painful to watch, etc. That said, there do exist conservative Catholic men of character there. A lot of them though it doesn’t seem that way as they get lost in the massive population of the area. They don’t hang out in the most visible places, they are mostly not found at Catholic singles events, but they’re around. I found myself dating non-Catholic women as I never found any interest from the available women in my parishes. I don’t know what they were looking for, I just know I wasn’t it. So the difficulty of Catholic men and women finding each other goes both ways. I think it’s harder in LA than most places, but that’s just my subjective opinion…

Regarding differences in faith, marriage is a difficult enough venture as it is so those of different faiths bring fundamentally different core values to their marriage. If those core values don’t permit some flexibility, that can be a source of the kind of conflict that can crash a marriage.

Hmmm, yes. Thank you for all the stories. I’m happy some marriages have worked out. He is supportive when it comes to me being involved with my faith. I mean, he knew that coming into the relationship and supports when I go off on spiritual retreats and that Sundays are reserved for The Lord first. We actually do talk about religion a lot but he has a really hard to grasping the concept. Ironically though, except when we talk about his father that passed a few years prior and I ask him if he doesn’t believe in Heaven or God, he doesn’t feel that one day he will be reunited with his dad? At that he says 'IDK, maybe I will change my mind before death because my dad was saying some odd things before he died. Idk". Christians believe we will see our loved ones again if we live good, decent lives. At that he is very pensive. But other peculiarities–since he is such a man of science, he refuses to believe that there are scientists in the Church. As if it has to be all or nothing. I believe in science also and all that glorious stuff about the universe, but our Creator created that universe so…that’s where we banter again. Not angry banter, mind you.

Oh, and for the person who mentioned getting involved in my Church, I am actually quite involved in my parish and it has helped meet friendly people and friends, but nothing romantic. The problem is there are very few single people in the Church (mostly families or the elderly), even couples will attend together.

Not only are there scientists in the Church, but the Church herself employs scientists:

“The scientist’s condition as a sentinel in the modern world, as one who is the first to glimpse the enormous complexity together with the marvelous harmony of reality, makes him a privileged witness of the plausibility of religion, a man capable of showing how the admission of transcendence, far from harming the autonomy and the ends of research, rather stimulates it to continually surpass itself in an experience of self-transcendence which reveals the human mystery”.
Pope John Paul II, 7/17/85.

For me, sharing my faith was my #1 “requirement” for a potential partner. Like you, I valued character more than physical appearance, but for me character was not complete without faith. I knew I would need the support when raising a family (and I have needed it) and without that I could not commit my life to someone.

I agree with this. My protestant husband came to mass with me every Sunday for the year we were dating and the first 7 years of our marriage. He also attended prayer meetings, a retreat, and dinners with my Deacon friend. I thought he was enjoying himself and making baby-steps towards conversion. But now he does not come with me anymore. To any of those things. For whatever reason, he still doesn’t believe, and his beliefs are going more protestant than ever.

At least in my situation my husband is still a practicing Christian, though sadly not Catholic. He still agrees to no contraception or birth control in our marital relations. He allows me to practice my Catholic Faith openly and freely. And in my situation there are no children. We are infertile and our only child died. I don’t know how hard this would have been with children, it’s more than I can handle as it is sometimes. There is lots of loneliness, emptiness, pain, lack of fulfillment. It’s not fun to attend mass by yourself week after week.

10 years ago I was not going to mass alone, I didn’t dream that things would get worse, only better. I thought I could gently lead him home, but it didn’t “work” and most likely never will. :frowning:

Do yourself a favor and wait for a good Catholic man. :thumbsup:

Yes, at least your husband is still a Christian.
I suppose I just keep trying to justify all the other great qualities he has. Integrity, family man, values, morals, kindness, success, respectful (those are all hard to find in any man or woman) just no religious connection. What if I do find a man who shares my Catholic faith but lacks integrity or doesn’t understand the importance of family, etc?
I am just so confused, my friends. I do not want to hurt this man who has done nothing wrong by prematurely ending a potentially well-matched relationship, but how can I move forward when some of you have explained your stories and your men have not changed after many years of marriage. Is the marriage a happy one or (as I would naturally assume), do you harbor a little resentment or regret about nothing having an equally yoked spiritual partner?

Why not find a man who shares your Catholic faith and who has integrity and values family? Everyone should have a few non-negotiables when looking for someone to marry. Make those three things essential in your search for a partner: 1) a practicing Catholic, 2) good moral character, 3) and believes in the importance of family. Most other things, such as appearance, hobbies, ethnicity, etc. are not overly important, but those three traits are vital. (While I believe it is sometimes workable for a Catholic to marry a devout fellow Christian who is not Catholic, there are too many serious problems with the prospect of marrying someone who has no real faith at all.)

I think, when moving forward on this and/or other prospects in the future, you should carefully consider what you really desire in marriage and in a husband and father to your children. What is the purpose of Catholic marriage? How would having a non-believing father affect your children? Are you okay with trying to pass on the faith to your children alone or mostly alone? Would you rather have a husband (and father to your children) that loves Jesus and our Catholic faith and models that faith to his family, or someone who is at best, “okay” with you and the children practicing the Catholic faith?

I wasn’t a Christian even when we married. I had at one point floated to my then-fiancee the idea of refusing to get married out of solidarity with homosexuals who couldn’t marry! 3 years after getting married, I decided it would be easier for me to be the same religion, so I decided to become Catholic, not really believing in it. I was a theology major in college, but I just didn’t believe it. Then, once I opened up to the idea of becoming Catholic (really, once I opened my heart to the Holy Spirit), everything changed…

What about this–tell him that you see a future with him, but will not marry him (or continue in the relationship) unless he agrees to go through RCIA with you. He does not have to join the Church at the end, but he needs to be willing to spend some substantial time learning about something you believe so deeply in. There are plenty of men of science who are ardent Catholics and have resources for you–one of the frequent priests on Catholic Answers has a PHD from Harvard in neuroscience! Then make sure your RCIA program is good and vibrant, if not, maybe choose something similar.

Having been in both an interfaith and same-faith marriage (to the same woman!), I cannot recommend an interfaith marriage unless the non-Catholic spouse has a profound respect for your faith. As in, will attend mass every week with you and the children. Some couples are able to make it work with less than that, but I recommend strongly against it. Rearing young children in the faith is hard enough with both spouses committed to the goal–I can’t imagine doing it with one spouse who is anything less than cooperative.

Its not a resentment about the person. I certainly don’t resent my husband, he’s a wonderful man. But I do resent my priorities not being as straight as they should have been. My husband makes a good husband and he would make a great father too. But a good husband and father alone does not a good Christian marriage make. God makes marriage for His purposes. He wants the spouses to help each other make it to heaven, and bear forth Christians for his Church and Kingdom in heaven.

Yes, the earthly purpose of marriage has been well satisfied in our marriage (save us not being able to have children.) However, will my husband help me make it to heaven? Or am I having to help myself more than not. Can I as a Catholic somehow help my Protestant husband make it to heaven? Or will he have to rely more on himself and his church for that. Many children from mixed denomination or mixed faith marriages often wind up choosing no faith. Seeing it as a source of strife and contention growing up in a mixed faith home, they tend to push it away altogether.

So can a mixed marriage fulfill God’s plan for marriage? To help the spouses make it to heaven and to bear Christians for His Church on earth and Heaven in the life to come? It could, yes, and sometimes miracles happen. But too often they don’t. And its a difficult, lonely journey to heaven on your own. Just some things to think about.

From Gary Chapman’s Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.

Our view of spirituality greatly influences the way we lead our lives.

Therefore, when couples are contemplating marriage, religion needs to be near the top of the list in matters that need to be discussed. The question is, “Are our spiritual beliefs compatible?” or, “Are we marching to the beat of the same drummer?” Few things have the potential for causing marital conflict more than divergent spiritual views. That is why most world religions encourage their adherents to marry within their own religious tradition. In the Christian faith, the scriptures admonish, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” These are cogent questions and the wise couple will not avoid them. (p. 117)

To marry simply because you are “in love” and to ignore the implications of these spiritual differences are signs of immaturity. (p. 120)

For many dating couples, spirituality is an unexplored topic. They simply assume that this area of life will take care of itself after marriage. Others who openly discuss matters of spirituality often ignore the warning signs. They are so in love with each other, enjoy being with each other, and can see themselves making each other happy for the rest of their lives, and they close their eyes to huge differences in their views of spirituality. (p. 122)

Because our religious beliefs affect all of life, it is very important that we explore the foundation of spiritual compatibility before we make the commitment to marriage. (p. 123)

I have been trying to find someone with all the qualities, but as anyone can imagine, finding someone who carries all the traits that you are looking for (there can be more but these are the most important to me)–in no particular order: Good values, family oriented, integrity/morals, financially secure, and Christian.
Of course I would want a man who is kind, educated, well mannered, intelligent, cultured, etc…but those things are negotiable in comparison to the “Top 5”. The physical appearance or race I could care less. Now out of those 5 qualities I have dated men that have 3/5 and even 4/5 but to get all 5 is tough. And I’m not an unreasonable person, I just don’t know where to give/budge. I may be in my 20s but I’m trying to approach this with a long term plan. Prayers for enlightenment would be nice.

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