There was a stretch in my life where I thought;
- I would only date a Catholic.
- I would date a woman who liked sports and games.
- I would date a woman who was extroverted like myself.
A small list, but manageable. Shouldn’t be too hard to find someone meeting those requirements. A few years ago, I met someone who was not any of those three, and decided to try a relationship anyway.
This same woman had her own “list”:
- If she got married, it wouldn’t be until her 30’
- She would not date a Catholic.
- She did wanted someone bilingual (she herself was English/French).
- Someone educated.
- Someone “cultured”
- Someone from a large city.
- Physically healthy.
- Mentally healthy.
- Not unemployed.
- Financially stable.
- Not homeless.
- Didn’t come from a broken/abusive home.
Outside of the first bullet point (YMMV on that one), the second list seems reasonable, yes? Yet within the first month of us dating, how many of those did I meet?
I was in my 20’s. I’m from a small town in rural Ontario, definitely not “cultured”. I have a two year college diploma. (not a university degree). I only spoke one language, and I had an peculiar rural accent/dialect. My father abused me, and was divorced/married multiple times. I had an untreated anxiety disorder, an untreated eating disorder, and many physical health concerns. Within the first month we dated I became unemployed, I had little money in the bank. And I became homeless.
Inexplicably, she gave it a shot anyway. Because we both realized that were compatible in multiple areas, and helping each other grow as people and in holiness. Even in a secular mindset, the idea is that you partner with someone because the two of you can propel each other further than you can by yourself. It didn’t matter she wasn’t Catholic/I was Catholic, what mattered is we made each other greater.
Additionally, we all have core values that may not be theological. She understood that certain “events” happened which shaped my attitude and values before coming to Christ, and respected those. She recognized that due to my background that I had some “issues” which cause me to be a certain way; she respected that and was understanding.
We’ve been married since 2008, and now have a seven year old son. She also converted to Catholicism before we got engaged, although I was planning on marrying her regardless.
You might not be able to handle having a non-Catholic spouse. And that’s fine! At the end of the day, whoever you are with needs to lead you to holiness and the path to Sainthood, and not move you away from the Catholic faith - regardless if they are Catholic or not. And they need to be aligned and understand your core values, some of which may be not theological in nature.
If someone needs to be Catholic for that to happen to you, so be it. But don’t close doors unilaterally, you never know whom God’s preferential will wants you to be with.
If I did that, I’d be out a wife and kid, and be missing such tremendous personal and spiritual growth from being with her. And I’d like to think likewise from her perspective (me helping her).