Would you date / begin a relationship with a non-Catholic?


#1

I’ve never had a girlfriend before. But 1 criteria for me, is if I do have a girlfriend then she has to be a Catholic. My main reason - I wouldn’t want to marry someone who isn’t Catholic, because then we’d have all sorts of disagreements because my religion is so important to me, and also, she wouldn’t be a good example to any children we had who I’d be trying to bring up Catholic. Even if she co-operated with me, they would probably wonder why she didn’t go to church, and etc. And I’m not gonna take the chance that it could all work out ok, or that she would convert - neither of those is likely to happen. And since I don’t want to marry a non-Catholic, well there’s no point beginning a relationship in the first place if I know that we are just going to break up somewhere down the track which would be upsetting for both of us.

My friends don’t agree with my reasoning, in 2 areas. Firstly, they say that a lot of other Christians are so similar to us anyway that I could get along well with any of them because we share the same values. That actually doesn’t fit with my past experience of hanging out with other Christians though. The other thing they say is that you can have a relationship even if you don’t think it will end in marriage, as plenty of people will have a relationship for fun or for the experience or whatever and then end it on good terms.

What do you think? Do you have the same criteria for who you would and wouldn’t try to begin a relationship with (if you’re not already married, that is)?


#2

You’re a wise young person to have these considerations in mind. Since your faith is very important to you, no, I would not begin relationship with a non-Catholic. I did not marry a Catholic (both times, go figure) and my faith has been a bone of contention in the marraiges (especially the first one). On the other hand, my sister stuck to her guns and married a Catholic. They don’t argue about their faith - they just deal with their different annoying personality traits! LOL


#3

My opinion is that you are right and they are wrong. As the Bible says, “Be not unequally yoked”. Having a difference of religion in the marriage would make it extremely hard. Especially if one or both are seriously practicing their faith. It’s just not worth it to go down that road.

I too had the same rule regarding dating only Catholics. Some people thought that was harsh, or gave me examples of mixed marriage couples that worked, or thought I was excluding nice people. Well, that is their opinion and what they would do. I stuck to what I thought was right for me and am now married to a wonderful Catholic man who practices his faith and wants to be involved in our children’s lives, and who believes as I do regarding Church teaching, etc. It’s just a wonderful bond when you share your religion.

As a Convert, I guess I felt particularly strong about it. I found the Truth and I did not want to spend my married life battling over it, rather I wanted to spend my life sharing it.

I don’t know how old you are, but if you are 18+ and want to find solid, Catholic people, I recommend www.avemariasingles.com – that’s where I met my husband.


#4

Thanks for your support in my decision. It was my dad who first suggested this idea to me and it made a lot of sense.

As for avemaria, I can’t help feel sometimes that there’s something not quite right about online dating. I guess mostly because of its reputation, and a Catholic site wouldn’t be like those others then. I don’t know really, I’ve never tried it before. Anyway, for now not having a credit card would stop me using it. I’m still young (just turned 20 the other day) so still plently of time to look around.


#5

[quote=Flopfoot]I’ve never had a girlfriend before. But 1 criteria for me, is if I do have a girlfriend then she has to be a Catholic. My main reason - I wouldn’t want to marry someone who isn’t Catholic, because then we’d have all sorts of disagreements because my religion is so important to me, and also, she wouldn’t be a good example to any children we had who I’d be trying to bring up Catholic. Even if she co-operated with me, they would probably wonder why she didn’t go to church, and etc. And I’m not gonna take the chance that it could all work out ok, or that she would convert - neither of those is likely to happen. And since I don’t want to marry a non-Catholic, well there’s no point beginning a relationship in the first place if I know that we are just going to break up somewhere down the track which would be upsetting for both of us.

My friends don’t agree with my reasoning, in 2 areas. Firstly, they say that a lot of other Christians are so similar to us anyway that I could get along well with any of them because we share the same values. That actually doesn’t fit with my past experience of hanging out with other Christians though.
[/quote]

I’m glad my fiance didn’t have that attitude when we first started dating. At that time I ws vehemently against converting and told her no way. I was the same way when we got engaged last Thanksgiving. Here I am now, over a year and a half after we first met, and I’m in RCIA. So you never know.


#6

[quote=wabrams]I’m glad my fiance didn’t have that attitude when we first started dating. At that time I ws vehemently against converting and told her no way. I was the same way when we got engaged last Thanksgiving. Here I am now, over a year and a half after we first met, and I’m in RCIA. So you never know.
[/quote]

While there will always be exceptions like yours which are so wonderful to hear… they aren’t the norm I’m sure. I think that there are enough problems that need to be worked out in a marrage without adding the whole religion thing so my advice for Flapfoot would be to find a nice Catholic girl.

I would bet that you wabrams will offer the same advice for your children someday. As a convert myself, I know that I will.

Blessings,
CM


#7

I am probably not setting a very good example to others…I would prefer a Catholic, yes, but I am open to any others. I already know that it would cause difficulty, but sometimes that’s what we’re called to do (not that I’m saying I’m called to do so). I’ve never had a boyfriend, and have set “high” standards (which would include the raising of any children would be in the Church. There are other things, but this would be the most important, because it’s one that would involve more than us two, it would involve children), and if they can’t comply, then I couldn’t go on in that relationship. There is also that chance that they could convert, and we all know what that means…“One more for the good guys”! :slight_smile:
In a simple answer: Yes, I would be open to dating/ beginning a relationship with a non-Catholic.


#8

[quote=Flopfoot]I’ve never had a girlfriend before. But 1 criteria for me, is if I do have a girlfriend then she has to be a Catholic…

My friends don’t agree with my reasoning, in 2 areas. Firstly, they say that a lot of other Christians are so similar to us anyway that I could get along well with any of them because we share the same values…The other thing they say is that you can have a relationship even if you don’t think it will end in marriage, as plenty of people will have a relationship for fun or for the experience or whatever and then end it on good terms.

[/quote]

I can’t speak much to dating other Christians, as everyone I’ve dated has been a nominal christian at best. I can say that I fell for the “date for fun” idea, it’s wrong.

In my experience if you are not going to marry someone (and know this) it is stupid to get into a exclusive relationship with that person. Once I did my hormones would go haywire and I would start thinking that maybe it would work out, that we were “meant” for each other. In the end the relationship ended when we didn’t feel like staying in it anymore. So it was a lot of emotional trauma for the experience of learning how to quit when you are no longer amused. Sounds like great practice for a marriage :frowning:

It seem you would gain more experience for marriage by learning to live with your family and how to develop strong friendships. I’m not married, but I think what might help me the most was my experience in college when living in the same room with random people and eventually becoming friends :smiley:


#9

First I should say that I do not think your thoughts on marriage are wrong. I could never marry a non-Catholic, and even now, when I see my fiance fall in matters of faith, I cry and pray a lot. You cannot love someone without caring about their spiritual welfare! Yes, it would be too heart-wrenching for me to marry a non-Catholic.

Now, having said that, I think you are setting very narrow standards that may get in the way of both relationships that can help you grow and relationships that could grow into the real thing.

As far as dating goes, I think that finding an open-minded Christian is the most important thing. By open-minded, I mean someone earnestly seeking to find Christ without an unfavorable predisposition against the Church. I think it was almost as tough of a task winning my apathetic, craddle Catholic fiance to the Church as with any open-minded, earnest Protestant.

I guess, I’m saying that don’t automatically dismiss a relationship with someone just because they might be “too much work” to win over to the Church. Even if it doesn’t result in marriage, you learn so much about yourself and relationships!

But love really does motivate evangelization! You fight so much harder to win the soul of one you love for the Church. True, in the end you may suffer heartache for not having won them over and thus you can’t marry them, but you can’t let fear overwhelm your choices when trying to find love.

Ok, that last line sounded more sappy than I would like so I shall bid the forums goodnight.


#10

Being in a mixed marriage for 12 years to a nominal Presbyterian I would recommend against dating a non-Catholic. Just like you would not date a person who is divorced and not free to marry avoid non-Catholics. It is not that they are bad people but that your life will be much more joyous having a common faith to share with the kids. If you fall in love with a non-Catholic despite your rule you can make it work but call every Catholic girl you know before you marry a non-Catholic.

Issues that come up are pre-marital sex, contraception, church attendance on Sundays, church attendance on holidays, children, regular involvement in church activities(adoration, Knights of Columbus etc.). Differences in religion also mask other problems in the relationship.

Good luck finding a nice Catholic girl.


#11

:twocents: From experience I can tell you that it is wise to date and marry within your own faith. I am a convert and I married a non Catholic 2 years after my conversion. I was naive enough to think that it would not matter but I was WRONG. We have been married for almost 13 years and have 5 children but the pain and heartache it has caused from him not being Catholic. HUGE fights when I get pregnant, talking about sterilization, etc… Not to mention taking the kids to Mass by myself except for baptisms, first communions and the occasional urge to go on his own voalition (like once every couple of years). I really do feel sometimes, that I should have waited for a Catholic man. I wish I would have known… But hindsight is 20/20. My oldest is 16 and I hope that he follows what I have taught him in this regard. I let my children know that it is much better to stick w/fellow Catholics. Not that thier lives will be problem free. We all are still human but how nice it would be to be on the same page with your spouse on at least most big issues.


#12

I recommend you stay within your faith. Take this advice from someone who continues to have conflicts with his protestant wife over lots of issues.You will have plenty of disagreements, big and small, in marriage. Don’t start out with a weak foundation - differences over basic faith issues.


#13

I am the same.
I would never have dated someone who was not a Catholic.


#14

If you feel called to date someone who is already Catholic, stick to your guns. Some people are able to have a great interfaith relationship and a great interfaith marriage. Sometimes this can lead to conversion, and other times it may not.

I had very much the same attitude as Firebug. I preferred Catholic, but met a nice Methodist young man who was open to Catholicism… at first. We dated for 3 years, and he became increasingly hostile to the Catholic faith. After I dumped him, he advised me never to date a non-Catholic again, but I had already made that decision anyway. Now I have a wonderful Catholic fiance who is worlds better for me and to me.

You see, part of a relationship is accepting a person for who and where they are. Since the faith of your potential wife is important to you, you owe it to each woman you date to make sure she meets this key criteria before putting her through a relationship that must end in her conversion before it ends in marriage. Talk to HappyCatholic01 if you want his personal experience, or just read his thread.


#15

[quote=Flopfoot]I’ve never had a girlfriend before. But 1 criteria for me, is if I do have a girlfriend then she has to be a Catholic. My main reason - I wouldn’t want to marry someone who isn’t Catholic, because then we’d have all sorts of disagreements because my religion is so important to me, and also, she wouldn’t be a good example to any children we had who I’d be trying to bring up Catholic. Even if she co-operated with me, they would probably wonder why she didn’t go to church, and etc. And I’m not gonna take the chance that it could all work out ok, or that she would convert - neither of those is likely to happen. And since I don’t want to marry a non-Catholic, well there’s no point beginning a relationship in the first place if I know that we are just going to break up somewhere down the track which would be upsetting for both of us.

My friends don’t agree with my reasoning, in 2 areas. Firstly, they say that a lot of other Christians are so similar to us anyway that I could get along well with any of them because we share the same values. That actually doesn’t fit with my past experience of hanging out with other Christians though. The other thing they say is that you can have a relationship even if you don’t think it will end in marriage, as plenty of people will have a relationship for fun or for the experience or whatever and then end it on good terms.

What do you think? Do you have the same criteria for who you would and wouldn’t try to begin a relationship with (if you’re not already married, that is)?
[/quote]

  1. why was I not this smart when I was in my 20’s.
  2. to answer your question, no, I would not start a relationship today with a man who did not share my faith. My reasons are because I have gone through many of the problems you have outlined as wanting to avoid. Experience has taught me that to settle for less than what I know is right and good is to give into fear, and fear and faith cannot peacefully co-exist.

#16

Now a story from the other side. But first, let me say that this is not the norm. Most “mixed” couples have lots of problems.
On the 27th of this month I will have been married 14 years. My husband is not Catholic. In fact, he is what I call “nothing.” He does not practice any religion.
When our son was small right up until last Sunday, my husband gets our son ready for church. I am sure that he will do it next Sunday too. He lunches with the parish priest. He attended our son’s baptism and first communion. He also went to the church when our son’s class made their first confession. Due to my medical issues, we practice NFP, to avoid pregnancy. He goes to the social functions of the church. And he knows how important it is for me and our son to attend church EVERY Sunday.
I am glad that I dated someone that isn’t Catholic. I have a wonderful opportunity to witness to him everyday.
On that note, you must decide what you are going to do. I made my decision about my life. You must make them about yours.


#17

Nope sure wouldn’t, but finding a nice Catholic girl is pretty tough nowadays…maybe thats why I have been single my entire college career…or maybe I just smell or something.


#18

Hey man, I was adament about dating only Catholic girls a few years ago.

Then, after getting burned by Catholic girls who ended up being less than “Catholic”, I decided I’d simply start out looking for someone who had the qualities I otherwise wanted, then worry about the religion issue.

In the end, I got burned, since it was really too important to me. My thread is here, feel free to read :

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=74690

I say, if you know it is that important to you (and from most interfaith couples I have spoken to, IT WILL BE THAT IMPORTANT one day if it isn;t now…), stick to your guns.

I spent 22 months with someone in my late twenties, and in the end, ended up with nothing but heartache. And I was told from day one that she would become Catholic if we stayed together and decided to get married. Don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself it doesn’t matter, since to you, it does, and IT WILL eventually.

And although there are success stories and conversions, they are still the exception, not the rule. Play the odds, and look for what you really want in your heart. That’s my advice! :thumbsup:


#19

In my teens my flatmates set me up with a date (he took me to a rugby game). In talking I found out he was separated from his wife and I explained why I couldn’t go out with him again. My next date was with a Catholic guy who married me 33 years ago next month.

I have advised my kids to choose someone of their own Faith as it makes it easier, marriage these days is hard enough why make it harder.

My grandfather was from a non-Catholic background although he didn’t attend his Church. He totally supported Grandma, did odd jobs at the Convent etc and converted on his deathbed. (So did my great-grandfather) The rest of his family were so upset that he died a Catholic they have ostracised us ever since.

For females especially, if you marry a non-Catholic who has a strong faith in another denomination or religion, it is likely that he will want to be head of the family and bring his children up in his beliefs no matter what he may have said before the marriage.


#20

I’m with MaryJK on this one. My husband isn’t Catholic, he’s a Christian, but not a practicing one in the sense that he didn’t have a home church when we began dating. He is completely supportive of my faith–and is happy to raise our (future, hoping!!) children Catholic. Right now he comes to Mass with me occasionally, about a third of the time. He says that once we have kids, it’s only right for the whole family to go to church together as much as possible, so he will go full time. I’d love for him to become Catholic, so I pray and leave that up to God.

So, what I’m saying is, listen to God in your dating choices. I hope a good Catholic girl comes along for you–that would certainly be the easiest thing. But, if you find yourself in a position similar to mine; knowing two weeks in that this is the man I am meant to marry (well, substitute woman, but you get my drift :slight_smile: ) don’t ignore that feeling. I’m greatful that I didn’t make being a Catholic a prerequisite b/c I’d have missed out on a wonderful, enriching relationship.


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.