Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.
Tobias and Sarah's story is from the Book of Tobit, and his journey is guided by Saint Raphael.
Learn More: Tobias & Sarah as led by Saint Raphael
Jerry, yes, that's the flipside I worry about. Or rather, I'm not so much worried about losing my own Faith (although it is a real concern for the obvious reasons), but I'm way more concerned about raising kids in a mixed household. It would be my responsibility as the mother to make sure that my kids are strong in their Faith, and grow up to be responsible, strong Catholics. If there wasn't the correct emphasis on religion from my spouse, that job could be much more difficult, especially in the teenage years: "Oh, well, Dad doesn't care that much about religion, so why should I?" type of response. For this reason, I think it would be difficult for me to build a long-term relationship with a non-Catholic because there are just too many variables, but I know that every time I think I have a plan, God will surprise me with a twist, so I'm definitely not closing my mind or heart to the possibility of a mixed marriage. No matter how much I'd really like to avoid that decision, God's Will be done in all things.
Yes, raising the children in the faith is very much a valid concern, as well. Even when the non-Catholic parent agrees to allow the children to be raised in and practice the faith, often it does not turn out that way.
Regarding your comment concerning "emphasis on religion from my spouse" -- Keep in mind that a spouse whose emphasis is on the wrong religion may present far more hurdles than one who ignores religion.
Haha, guess I should have said: emphasis on the Catholic religion. I can't even imagine how tempestuous a relationship would be if I was with a fervent member of another religion. ;) And like I said, I think it would be a very long shot for me and a non-Catholic, just because there is so much I would have to be sure of before I would make that committment: willingness to convert (or at least conform), support/lead family prayer, attend religious functions, participate/support Catholic education for kids, probably more... Can't give up Faith in others though; like I've said, I've seen it work. But no rose-colored glasses, I've also seen it fail. Ultimately it comes down to God's Blessing: if it's right, it will be; if it's not right, it won't work, and I pray He would give me the grace and assistance to discern before it's too late.
The shared faith journey may be present at the beginning of the relationship, making the relationship run more smoothly, however there is a great likelihood that your "faith journey" may take you in different directions over the course of your marriage. What are you going to do then?
Joan, it sounds as if you & I had similar experiences with husbands who after some time just turned away from being the men of faith they were. It's just so hard to tell how a relationship will progress. I look wistfully at those couples who have been married a number of years & seem to still be in love with each other, those who are sitting next to each other in the pew during Mass. I want to know their secret is to staying faithful to each other & to their faith! Realistically, all relationships can be so different depending on life circumstances & on the individuals themselves. Keep praying for each other & with each other on a daily basis could be the secret or at least part of it. It's certainly something to ponder because we cannot see down that road.
For those who are still seeking the spouse God has intended for them...have you found that a shared faith journey is the most important factor in your relationship? I am speaking in terms of both you and the person with whom you have a relationship being at the same, or a similar point, in your "walk" with the Lord. Of course, I'm not totally discounting the physical aspects of the person, since those add to their attractiveness. But did you find their most attractive aspect to be the fact that they are as deep in the practice of their faith as you are? I'd like to hear your takes!
I do find that attractive. I am starting to learn that , God-willing, if God sends me the man He wants for me , that this man will also be a strong spiritual leader for the family. Am I getting too ahead of myself? hahaha But you know, you see those characteristics anyway before you cross the bridge with him.
Carol, yes, I've seen mixed marriages where the spouse has converted. I know it's possible, and if that's God's Plan for me or any of us here, I pray we will have the strength and fortitude to endure and bring Him greater glory. But my spouse would need to be open to doing religious activities for me, just like I would be open to doing things for him. I see it as a two-way street, and if he's not comfortable with my religion, I don't think we would ever get anywhere with a relationship, much less make it to marriage.
1. The Catholic spouse becomes lazy in the faith, they accept things like contraception, get a bit slack with Mass attendance, and can sometimes even convert over to the non-catholic's faith.
2. Both spouses end up compromising so much that both end up essentially agnostic, with no faith or practice. Both these first two are complete disasters when children are involved. Especially if you have Catholic and a non-Christian faith. I know a Catholic who married a Hindu. So on Sunday they'd hear about how there is only one God and that to worship any others can damn you to Hell, and then when they visited their Hindu family they would worship multiple gods. In the end, the couple's religious practices just taperd into nothing.
3. Or the rarest of the rare, and I"ve seen it only happen once in my large pool of examples, the non-catholic spouse converts. In the case I knwo of it was really moot because she was going to convert before she married.
It really, really, really isn't enough for the non-catholic spouse to par-take in your religious activities, especially when kids get involved. What happens when Protestant dad who goes to Mass with wifey and the kids is asked by kids what he thinks about contraception, what he thinks about Our Lady, what he thinks about the Eucharist. Does he lie to the kids, does he simply defer to you, does he tell them the truth and confuse the kids further?
And when I say I have a wide example to take note of, think my entire family as having mixed marriages, there is one cousin who married a Catholic, and that was primarily because they met as Catholic lay Missionaries on a work in Africa. My aunty converted, but was already planning too, everyone else who married protestants and non-catholics, well, their faith really isn't a shining example to the world they live in.
There's a reason the Church teaches caution in mixed marriages, we would all do well to heed it.
Christine, you are talking about how equal is your yoke.
First, does he have all the sacraments? That is important.
Regardless of his non-practicing family, does HE go to mass every Sunday, and consider it a mortal sin to miss mass?
Is he (for want of a better short hand way of saying it) 7/7? Is he aware of what the creed means, and what the Church teaches us?
So far, it sounds okay to me.
I am the most Catholic person in my family and I hope I am not judged by the fact that my sister left the Church.
Judge him on his own beliefs and faith, not his family's.
I would play some Catholic game together and find out what he doesn't know about. BEcause that could be an indication of how much "work" you would have ahead of you.
I firmly feel that Catholic women need to concerned about "missionary dating"--dating a guy who is not a believer, or not a Catholic or not a "good" Catholic, and try to DRAG him along into the faith. That is a disaster waiting to happen. It works out maybe 1 in 100 times. he will seem to be with the program, and then you marry, and he won't go to church, wants to use contraception, etc.
Hi Pat! Thank you for your insight.
Yes, this young man is one who has received all the Sacraments, and he takes his faith journey very seriously. It was how he came to be a member of a community in the Neo-Catechumenal Way (they "walk" in obedience to the Catholic Church and Her teachings, no heterodoxy). In fact, as another poster said, the young man is slightly ahead of me in his practice of the Catholic faith; for example, he is more diligent in praying the Divine Office and attending daily Mass, but our common goal is to live Christian lives obedient to Christ and His commandments.
Jerry makes an excellent point. I have relatives who have married outside of the Catholic faith, and they have fallen out of practice (to varying degrees). If, God willing, I am called to marry and raise a family, my desire is to teach my children to place their trust completely in Him and set an example for them with a faith that is alive and spreads the seeds that produce spiritual fruit. I pray that God might bring me and the man He has chosen to be my future husband together through shared beliefs and a common spiritual journey.
Naomi, I definitely hear what you're saying, and I can't disagree with any of it. I'm by no means an endorser of mixed marriages; I too think they're a disaster in the making, but I'm not going to question God's Will on that point. I too know quite a few mixed marriages; perhaps I've been more fortunate, but I know of five spouses that have converted (one of those couples is my godparents), two spouses that were raised half-Catholic and came over the rest of the way, and I believe only two where the Catholic spouse became lax (haven't been married long enough to stop practicing altogether, so don't know if that's on the horizon). Ironically, the children from the five conversions are all very strong in their Faith, of the half-conversions some of the children have fallen away, and the two lax only have very young children so don't know about them. I really believe it all depends on the circumstances; I think your experiences are probably more typical than mine, but clearly something was working for mine lol.