The Rise and Fall of Interfaith Marriages


#1

washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/04/AR2010060402011.html?hpid=opinionsbox1


#2

I thought that this article was interesting as well:

cnn.com/2010/LIVING/personal/06/03/spiritual.but.not.religious/?hpt=C1


#3

I'm a bit disappointed in the Washington Post article, because I think it overgeneralizes.

I agree that its best to marry within one's own religion. However, I think this only matters for persons with strong or moderate religious beliefs, and the percentage of people who can be described as that seems on the wane. This increase in weakly held religious beliefs may account for the rise of mixed-religious marriages - religion is not considered important by the couple.

The article mentions a study which says that mixed-religion marriages are much more likely to end in divorce, but I am not sure that religious differences are the cause of the increased divorce rate. Rather, it may be that persons in such marriages place less value on tradition, and see less reason to stay in a marriage in which they are unhappy.


#4

Bah. I'm an Atheist, my wifes a Catholic. Works great. Unfortunately for me, the kids are being brought up Catholic and I've agreed to allow it. However, when they're older and they approach me with questions, I'll answer honestly.


#5

"But the effects on the marriages themselves can be tragic -- it is an open secret among academics that tsk-tsking grandmothers may be right. According to calculations based on the American Religious Identification Survey of 2001, people who had been in mixed-religion marriages were three times more likely to be divorced or separated than those who were in same-religion marriages."

I tell my kids all the time, only date catholics so you only marry a catholic. Call it an overgeneralization, but it is simply a matter of odds. Mixed marriages have good results and have bad results and a lot of them have a lot of difficulty. Too many basic differences that have to be resolved, contraception being a major issue no one wantds to talk about.


#6

This will probably offend a bunch of people but, I guess I don't get it.

People are worried that they have similar interests, like the same color and music, want to decorate the living room in the same style and retire in the same sunny place, yet shared faith is not something that matters??:shrug::confused:

As someone who was raised in a dual religion home, I'd never ever ever ever consider marrying outside my faith. I experienced firsthand how disjointed it makes a family FOREVER and how confused the children become, regardless of promises for them to be raised by one parents faith.

I'll never forget mom my saying, during the time she was seeking an annulment from her marriage to my dad, "I get it now", about why it was a bad idea to marry outside the faith. I wish more people would 'get it', for the kids sake.


#7

I think it is less about the religion itself and more about the beliefs the two people hold.

My husband is ELCA. I'm Catholic. We're both devout in our beliefs, but he and I agree on important things like birth control (or lack thereof), the importance of raising our kids Catholic, etc etc. He's a fairly traditional person whose issues with the Catholic Church are pretty limited.

I'd rather be married to a devout Protestant than a lukewarm Catholic. I've dated lukewarm Catholics, and we bumped heads over more issues than my husband and I ever have. How would you explain those types of differences to children? My husband is the only person I ever dated who didn't believe in using any birth control other than NFP (just as an example).


#8

[quote="financemom, post:7, topic:200952"]
I think it is less about the religion itself and more about the beliefs the two people hold.

My husband is ELCA. I'm Catholic. We're both devout in our beliefs, but he and I agree on important things like birth control (or lack thereof), the importance of raising our kids Catholic, etc etc. He's a fairly traditional person whose issues with the Catholic Church are pretty limited.

I'd rather be married to a devout Protestant than a lukewarm Catholic. I've dated lukewarm Catholics, and we bumped heads over more issues than my husband and I ever have. How would you explain those types of differences to children? My husband is the only person I ever dated who didn't believe in using any birth control other than NFP (just as an example).

[/quote]

Before marriage, you need to ask yourself: "Is this person going to make my growth in faith harder or easier? What effect am I going to have on his(her) spiritual life? Just in general, will we help each other grow or not?" As the pastor of our current parish puts it, marriage isn't just about raising a family. It is about getting each other into heaven.

The second question to ask is this: "Is this person going to make parenting harder or easier?" Include passing your faith on to your children in that equation.

I married a baptised non-Catholic. He had been given essentially no religious upbringing, but he valued religion and wanted our kids to be raised in mine, since he had none to give them. Nevertheless, he had been instilled with many virtues, like compassion, generosity, honesty, honor for his parents, loyalty towards his family, reverence, and many other qualities, qualities that men with the benefit of a Catholic education aren't likely to pick up later, if they haven't taken hold by young adulthood.

My husband has always been a gem. I could not ask more of him in terms of helping me and our sons in growth of our faith. Still, it is not easy being the only religious "expert" in the home. It is not easy having most of that leadership role. All I can say is that if he were a Catholic and lukewarm, it would be a *lot *worse. I went to a Catholic High School, and there were some wonderful guys that would have made splendid, devout Catholic husbands. Unfortunately, the only one that wasn't a relative or wasn't intimidated because my grades were better than his was a neighbor in my class who seemed too much like my brother to date. The others, quite frankly, would probably have made my spiritual life and duties as a Christian mother harder, not easier. At that point in their lives, their faith was not a very high priority for them. When choosing spouses, a change for the better over the course of life, while it can happen, is not the way to bet.

A friend of mine is fond of the old saying: "Don't marry for wealth. Hang around rich people, and marry for love." Would that we took that advice when it comes to the riches of faith. Perhaps if I had attended a Catholic university, I'd have run into more Catholics who didn't share my family tree, but that is another story, and too long to go into here.


#9

[quote="shannyk, post:6, topic:200952"]
This will probably offend a bunch of people but, I guess I don't get it.

People are worried that they have similar interests, like the same color and music, want to decorate the living room in the same style and retire in the same sunny place, yet shared faith is not something that matters??:shrug::confused:

As someone who was raised in a dual religion home, I'd never ever ever ever consider marrying outside my faith. I experienced firsthand how disjointed it makes a family FOREVER and how confused the children become, regardless of promises for them to be raised by one parents faith.

I'll never forget mom my saying, during the time she was seeking an annulment from her marriage to my dad, "I get it now", about why it was a bad idea to marry outside the faith. I wish more people would 'get it', for the kids sake.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: My nieces and nephews who were raised in a Catholic/Muslim household have the most troubling time with faith and God. But I also agree with others who state that it's about the fundamental world views. My brother and sister-in-law are both Catholic but they weren't married in the Church (nor have had their marriage convalidated), they don't attend mass and there is no talk about CCD for their children. Actually, our dad has no problem being very vocal about his displeasure with this, and in actuality, I think it bothers my sister-in-law because she has mentioned about wanting to go to mass, she just wants my brother to lead the way (he says that he doesn't need to go because Jesus is sitting beside him in the car). It probably is a combination of both, having faith and accepting and practicing all the teachings of the faith.


#10

We're in a mixed marriage. I'm Catholic, my husband is Protestant. I believe it's better than being alone. Catholic men just never liked or accepted me. :shrug:

My husband is a better "catholic" than many "catholics." He's at mass every Sunday, takes me to confession, makes sure I'm keeping up my faith. We pray together daily and share all that we have in common. Can't say that about some "catholic" men, now, can ya? :o

It may not be God's ordaining will, but God does permit these marriages. He allows the couple to marry even in the Catholic Church. And when they are between two Christians (protestant or catholic or one of each), they are even raised to the beauty of a Sacrament! If God allows it to become a Sacrament, surely it can't be as bad as some make it out to be. Might not be the ultimate ideal, but it's obviously still highly thought of by God. When I say this I am speaking solely of inter-Christian marriages. Inter-faith marriages are a whole separate issue.


#11

anyone notice that people who are either not in a relationship or are married to a catholic are all saying that catholics MUST marry other Catholics.

then there are others who are Catholic, married to a non-Catholic Christian who say it's good to marry a Catholic or good non-Catholic Christian person. but they of course warn that no one should ever marry a non-Christian under any circumstances!

then you have people who marry non-Chrsitians who say as long as the person is good and has good values, then it is ok to marry them.

I see a lot of ego-centrism. people are just saynig what they did is the best.


#12

[quote="phil8888, post:11, topic:200952"]
anyone notice that people who are either not in a relationship or are married to a catholic are all saying that catholics MUST marry other Catholics.

then there are others who are Catholic, married to a non-Catholic Christian who say it's good to marry a Catholic or good non-Catholic Christian person. but they of course warn that no one should ever marry a non-Christian under any circumstances!

then you have people who marry non-Chrsitians who say as long as the person is good and has good values, then it is ok to marry them.

I see a lot of ego-centrism. people are just saynig what they did is the best.

[/quote]

I didn't say my answer was best. Obviously a Catholic marrying a Catholic is best and the ideal. But not everyone is blessed with that gift. The Church understands this, and in her mercy has allowed us to marry non-Catholic Christians. Again, not the ideal, but it is an allowance. And an allowance that is raised to the same and equal Sacramental level as a Catholic-Catholic marriage.

Marrying a non-Christian isn't a Sacrament, so can't even be compared on the same level. It is permitted in some circumstances with a dispensation from the Bishop, but it is a natural marriage, and non-sacramental.


#13

I'm a Catholic married to a Hindu & can't imagine my life without my husband! He isn't exactly the most devout Hindu & I'm not the perfect Catholic, but we have definite respect for each others' beliefs. He actually went to Catholic school as a kid in India.


#14

[quote="financemom, post:7, topic:200952"]
I'd rather be married to a devout Protestant than a lukewarm Catholic.

[/quote]

This is a false dichotomy.

A Catholic has more choices than between devout Protestants and lukewarm Catholics.

Given these two choices, I would not marry either one.

The correct choice of a spouse for a Catholic is another faithful Catholic.


#15

[quote="phil8888, post:11, topic:200952"]
people are just saynig what they did is the best.

[/quote]

No Phil.

The Church clearly teaches on this. People do not want to *accept *what the Church teaches.


#16

[quote="1ke, post:14, topic:200952"]
This is a false dichotomy.

A Catholic has more choices than between devout Protestants and lukewarm Catholics.

Given these two choices, I would not marry either one.

The correct choice of a spouse for a Catholic is another faithful Catholic.

[/quote]

I didn't mean to imply those were the only two choices.

I was explicitly talking about my experience.


#17

[quote="1ke, post:14, topic:200952"]
This is a false dichotomy.

A Catholic has more choices than between devout Protestants and lukewarm Catholics.

Given these two choices, I would not marry either one.

The correct choice of a spouse for a Catholic is another faithful Catholic.

[/quote]

You would remain single, all alone for the rest of your life, when the Church permits these marriages? I know it's not the ideal, but it is permitted. Surely St. Monica couldn't be that wrong. :shrug: You will say undoubtedly that St. Monica had no choice but to marry a non-catholic. Well I don't either. I cannot support myself due to physical and mental health issues. Should I have remained under my non-catholic parents roof for the rest of my life instead? :confused:


#18

[quote="1ke, post:15, topic:200952"]
No Phil.

The Church clearly teaches on this. People do not want to *accept *what the Church teaches.

[/quote]

I accepted what the Church teaches. It is best to marry a Catholic, but it is permissible to marry a non-Catholic Christian as long as you are married by a priest in the Catholic church. :shrug:


#19

[quote="prolifewife, post:17, topic:200952"]
You would remain single, all alone for the rest of your life, when the Church permits these marriages?

[/quote]

Yep. I absolutely would.

The Church permits it, but only reluctantly. IMHO, they shouldn't be allowed at all.

If you read what many Popes have written on the subject they echo my sentiments.

[quote="prolifewife, post:17, topic:200952"]
Surely St. Monica couldn't be that wrong. :shrug: You will say undoubtedly that St. Monica had no choice but to marry a non-catholic.

[/quote]

We don't know under what circumstances Monica married a pagan.

[quote="prolifewife, post:17, topic:200952"]
Well I don't either. I cannot support myself due to physical and mental health issues. Should I have remained under my non-catholic parents roof for the rest of my life instead? :confused:

[/quote]

The purpose of marriage is not financial support.

I will not say what you should or should not have done. That is not my place. I am saying that I vehemently disagree with the nonchalance with which mixed marriages are treated today.


#20

[quote="prolifewife, post:17, topic:200952"]
You would remain single, all alone for the rest of your life, when the Church permits these marriages? I know it's not the ideal, but it is permitted. Surely St. Monica couldn't be that wrong. :shrug: You will say undoubtedly that St. Monica had no choice but to marry a non-catholic. Well I don't either. I cannot support myself due to physical and mental health issues. Should I have remained under my non-catholic parents roof for the rest of my life instead? :confused:

[/quote]

Being single is NOT "all alone"...

I am single, and I absolutely would prefer to remain such a way if I did not meet someone that is a faithful Catholic.

Being Catholic--- understanding what the Eucharist is is pertinent in understanding what marriage is... I've been to the TOB institute, and knowing what I know now, I could never ever share in the marital act without my husband knowing what I know it means... To be thinking I was receiving something that he didn't even know he was supposed to be communicating. ... ugh...it just makes me shudder.


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