Those of you in multi-faith marriages. .


Another thread got me thinking. . .

Are you or were you in a multi-faith (or interfaith) marriage? What did you do to make it work? What happened when it didn’t work? Did either you or your spouse convert to the other spouse’s faith practice, or another faith practice entirely, or no faith practice at all? And how did you agree to raise your children (if any)?

I was just wondering; it has to be extremely hard, I’d imagine. . .




Great book on the topic:

When Only One Converts
by Lynn Nordhagen
Our Sunday Visitor press: 2001

Lots of great stories of mixed marriages and how each couple (or family) dealt with the situation – sometimes ending well, sometimes not.

From the back of the book:

What happens when the two most important relationships in your life seem to be on a collision course? How can you be obedient to God when obedience threatens your marriage vows? Can you love God if it means hurting the one you love most on earth?

Many couples have walked this path. Fifteen of them share their stories in When Only One Converts. Author Lynn Nodhagen offers stories, not only to the Catholic (or soon-to-be Catholic), but also to the spouses who are not becoming Catholic, praying that they may gain insight and hope, recognizing that this can be, for them also, a time of discovery and growth in the Christian life.

Endorsements are by Patrick Madrid, Mark Shea, Kristine Franklin, and others. Example:

At long last, a book for the converts who go it alone. The writers are honest about the grief and frustration of living with a spouse who can’t or won’t “get it.” And they are refreshingly transparent about their own shortcomings, insensitivities, and even sins. Despite the pain that each one of these individuals has experienced, hope in the love of Jesus and trust in the power of His grace are the melody and harmony of this book. (Kristine Franklin)



It is a difficult challenge. But the only thing I can say is to never give up hope. I converted last year after 3 years of opposition from my wife, but she eventually gave me her blessing. But now she attends Mass at times with me and my son and my prayers are for her to see the light of the Catholic Church and for us to be united in faith. Hope is the only thing that keeps me optimistic, and sometimes that is barely enough. I just pray every day and devote my rosery intentions to my wife coming to the Catholic faith.


I think it could be hard, depending on the couple. If a devout Catholic married (for example) a devout Southern Baptist, or if a lukewarm Catholic married a devout anything else, it could be bad.

My husband and I will celebrate our 5th anniversary in May. I’m a devout Catholic; he was raised in the Congregational church (in fact, his grandfather was a minister) but is somewhat fallen away at this point. He’s known from the get-go that my faith is non-negotiable. Even the wedding was as such- it had to be in my parish and with full dispensation by the archdiocese. He knows that I would be happy if he converted but that I will never force him, and in turn, I will not be led away from the Church. On occasion he will attend Mass with me, and on some things such as abortion, divorce, in vitro fertilization, etc. he lines up with the Catholic position rather than that of his childhood church. I think that his personal attitude on contraception leans more to the Protestant side, but before we found out that we are infertile, he had no problem with NFP. If we are ever so blessed as to adopt children, again, he knew before we married that raising the children as Catholics is another non-negotiable. He likes the priests and people at our current parish so I think he would be very supportive and involved if our kids were raised in a similar parish.


I am. I am Catholic and my husband is a Baptist-raised Agnostic

What did you do to make it work?

Patience and lots of prayers to St. Monica

What happened when it didn’t work?

Still married. Newlyweds- 8 months on Christmas

Did either you or your spouse convert to the other spouse’s faith practice, or another faith practice entirely, or no faith practice at all?

I am waiting and praying. He goes to Church with my occasionally, but he is working through his own dark night of the soul right now.

And how did you agree to raise your children (if any)?

My daughter is the child of a previous relationship. He knew and understood that she would be raised Catholic. He also knows and understands that our future children will be Catholic as well.
On a side note- he did have to agree to raising the children Catholic before we got married.

I was just wondering; it has to be extremely hard, I’d imagine. .

You have no idea.


My sister married outside of our faith, and to be honest it was and is hard. She did convert, as she felt it would be impossible to raise children in a home of two faiths. I think it worked out for the kids as they seem pretty grounded in their beliefs. I do think it would have been difficult for the children if mommy or daddy didn’t fundementally have the same belief system they had. As for my sister, I think had she studied the faith she is now, and coverted for herself and then married and raised children as that faith, it would have been better than the way it is now.


When my ex and I got married, we were the same religion. We were both atheists. (Well, she was more atheist/agnostic).

When I became Catholic (sudden miraculous conversion) she kicked me out of the bedroom when I went to Mass for the first time. She filed for divorce a few months after my confirmation because I had become a Christian.


When we married we were both Catholics. We were married in the Old Roman Catholic Church. Now, I am Jewish (a return to my childhood faith) and he is still Catholic, though he doesn’t go to Mass at all.

So far it has not been hard. We’ve been married for 10 years and have 1 beautiful daughter. She was Christened in the Episcopalian Church, which I tried out prior to my return to Judaism. As for her upbringing, I am determined to show her both faiths, Christianity and Judaism in all their glory. So she has seen a Seder and a Christmas Eve Mass (ahem, I took her to this), a sun-rise Easter Mass (same) and a Purim celebration. She will hopefully learn enough Hebrew to read a Torah scroll and also be able to list the 7 Sacraments and what they mean. Someday she may have to choose one or the other (or perhaps she’ll pick a third option) but for now we have managed to create a culture that has both elements running through it.


It sounds like that is going to be one confused little girl. :confused:


My wife’s mother was a Jehovah’s witness when we got married and I come from a Catholic family. We were married at 19 years old and neither one of us were particularly well grounded in our faiths. I did insist that our kids would be raised Catholic and she agreed. Then steps in my mother in law who convinced my wife to take up studying with the Jehovah’s witness or she would be lost in armageddon. My wife abliged and set us on a collision course ever since. Being poor equipped to defend my faith, I avoided confrontations with my wife and my inlaws in order to keep peace. My wife and I have 3 boys and 1 girl and none of them have been baptized. I chose to wait out my wife’s stubborness thinking that over time she would come around. Big mistake… Other than our differences in our faiths, we really do have a very loving marriage. She does celebrate the holidays with me which is a big no no in her faith but she does it for me and the kids. We give each other the space we need to practice our faiths but it is still painful not to be able to come to table of the lord as a united family in christ. I think that in order to make it work, both have to submit to each others spiritual walk, even if one choses the other path in the fork of the road.


So when are you getting your kiddies baptized?


He doesn’t say how old they are but if they’re over the age of 7 it’s no longer his decision but theirs.




I know this may not sound very good but I do not understand how anyone who is a devout Catholic who incorporates their entire faith in their daily lives, can be OK with marrying a non-Catholic. I myself have and have had feelings for a non-Catholic man and it is tough. But I still cannot comprehend the idea that some Catholics do not seem to express a fierce aversion to any heresy that might come about in their household as a result of marrying a non-Catholic. For me, Catholicism and Protestantism do not feel like the same faith, but different faiths. And NO, simply believing in the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior is NOT enough to make them the same “faith.” Both cannot be true, and one should hate heresy (not the heretic - but heresy). Heretical versions of Christianity should not be respected.


That’s okay, I don’t always understand others’ relationships and I certainly don’t always expect others to understand ours. From my personal experience and that observed of close friends and family, better to marry a respectful agnostic or Protestant who is open to being educated in true Church doctrine than a lukewarm Catholic who insistently believes and propagates false doctrines or a Catholic-in-name-only (obviously IF there is an option of a devout Catholic, that is the best). Some “in name only” Catholics are the least respectful toward the Church of anyone I’ve met, especially those who think that they’ve learned all about the Church, have really learned a pack of lies, and refuse to hear the truth. I’ve seen heartbreak in marriages where the devout spouse assumed that having a baptized Catholic partner was enough to ensure a lack of differences in faith. I married a man raised as a Protestant; I know where he’s coming from and made sure of this before we were married. I know that we were raised with doctrinal differences, yet I also know that he wasn’t taught a pack of lies about the Catholic church- in fact, he wasn’t taught much of anything about the Catholic faith, and is thus open to learning the truth. Someone who marries a man because he was baptized/raised Catholic, yet doesn’t bother to find out his true beliefs before marriage (or is lied to, as sometimes happens), is often in for a very rude awakening when it comes time to have or raise children, donate to the Church, have family prayer life, etc.


My wife and I have been married for almost 18 years. My boys are 16, 10, 6, and my daughter is 3. I had a son from a previous relationship but she decided to go her own way. My wife raised my son as her own and sacraficed for him as her own. Needless to say I sarted out very young. He was baptized as a baby and is now married with a daughter. Some may say that we shouldn’t have had 4 kids being in this multi-religon marriage. It didn’t start out that way however and I was pretty naive about the situation when it began. When my wife first told me that she would be studying with the Jehovah’s witnesses I really thought she was doing it to pacify her mother because she told me before we got married that she didn’t believe in it. And ofcouse, as often happens, having children complicates the situation. My wife is a loving woman, raises our children at home while I work and we agree or compromise on many things that come along in daily life. True, she did go down a different path in our spritual walk but she is still my wife. Throughout our marriage I felt gods call to draw closer to him through the church. I have responded by studying scripture, learning to defend the faith, attending mass more often by myself and preparing for the day when I can speak to my wife on these spiritual matters of such importance. The problem is that if she ever came to the conclusion that her faith was wrong, she will lose her relationship with her family. As JW they are taught to disassociate themselves from others completely who leave their faith, even family members. I know my wife well enough to know that this would devistate her. This has prevented me from truely trying to get her to see the errors of her faith.


I just wanted to say that I feel a bit bad about the tone that I said my previous statements in, but I guess it stems from disagreements that I have with a nondenominational friend, and I feel bitter about these disagreements because she is attempting to evangelize me and I just don’t like it. She thinks most Catholics are not Christians and I take offense to that, and that is the root of my previous post.

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