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Interdenominational marriage question

Discussion in 'Christian Advice' started by Catholic Wife, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. Catholic Wife

    Catholic Wife Senior Veteran

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    I have a family member who is Catholic. She has been dating a man who is an evangelical-type protestant. Two years ago, they almost broke up because of the differences in their faiths (mainly, he isn't comfortable at all with going to a Catholic church with her). As a matter of fact, he left during the first part of our wedding mass because he didn't want to have any part of a Catholic mass.

    A couple of months ago, they announced their engagement. She's recently called and emailed me in distress. She is miserable because she feels that she has to give up being Catholic just so she can marry this man. She's 35 and terrified that she will never find another man, that she will never get married and never have children. This seems to scare her more than giving up her faith.

    She has asked me my opinion as to what she should do. My first, "gut" reaction is that she shouldn't even marry this man because the religious differences will end up causing too much conflict in their marriage. My next (and very Catholic) response is that she shouldn't give up her religious beliefs for anyone - not even her soon to be husband. If she insists on marrying him, he needs to accept her Catholic faith and learn to deal with it. I feel that if she marries him, she needs to continue going to mass and practicing her Catholic faith and insist that the children be raised Catholic (as we Catholics are encouraged to do - again, this isnt' up for debate here).

    My main concerns are that she is giving up Jesus in the Eucharist (that is our belief, please don't knock it as this is not up for debate in this thread), that any children won't be allowed to be baptised as infants (another of our beliefs and also not up for debate here), and that he won't be there for the funeral masses when our family members die.



    My question is:
    Since she keeps calling me in distress, should I voice my concerns to her before she gets married, or should I keep my mouth shut and let her live her own life, no matter how much pain it's causing her?
     
  2. mina

    mina Brown Eyed girl

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    I don't know much about Catholics or the Catholic faith. But I think it's hard when you have something that is important to you and you start dating someone that isn't comfortable with it from the get go. I think that only leads to problems. I think that if they are both Christians (They both have a personal active relationship with Jesus Christ as their savior) then they can make it work, but both have to sit down and really talk about how to make it work and be willing to compromise. I don't see denomination being a big deal breaking hurdle in a relationship- I wouldn't be comfortable with a man I loved and was in a long term relationship with saying I had to be Catholic or Baptist or Episcapalian or whatever or else he couldn't marry me. I would appreciate it if we both talked about it and were willing to reach a point of agreement-if we were both believers. In my opinion if you have been dating someone for a while and are at the point of engagement, then you know about where they stand and if you can live with it or not. I mean why date someone for a long time and get engaged to someone that you didn't want to marry? I think you should voice your concerns and if she is still determined to marry him I would suggest to her that they go to premarital counseling so they can talk about thier differences and how to handles them with a counselour.
     
  3. Elijah2

    Elijah2 No weapons formed against me will prosper.

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    It's sad when the Bible says about being "unequally yoked with unbelievers", and sadly man came along and made a "Way of Life" into a tradition.

    Once you start debating religions you begin to do the enemy's work. Satan loves to put a Catholic and Protestant together because he knows that he has a great chance of destroying their marriage.

    All religions have rituality, and it's all MAN controlled, such as "traditions of men", see Col. 2:8. Many talk about being a Christian, but really have they ever thought about being a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Now for that marriage to survive, is that they really need to know where they stand with our Lord Jesus Christ, and not with the leadership of a church or their relations.

    To give that marriage a go, I suggest that one Sunday they go to the Catholic church, and next Sunday they go to the Protestant church. Now if they are not agreeable then the marriage will fail.

    Remember when we marry we are making vows with our Lord Jesus Christ, and sadly I am under the belief that the Catholic vows are more or another man-made vows, and not Christ-centred vows.

    I don't know anything about Catholic beliefs and rituality, but I have attended many service in Catholic churches, and I can understand if you are a born-again Christian why many may feel that way.

    Now, I am only here to help.

    And the answer is to the question, "Where do they stand with our Lord Jesus Christ?"
     
  4. Jesus-is-the-1

    Jesus-is-the-1 Got no doubt, boss

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    I would definitely voice your concerns to her.
     
  5. bliz

    bliz Contributor

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    If she is in this much distress, they should not get married.

    That said, many Catholic/Protestant couples happily find homes in some Protestant churches, Episcopalian and Lutheran are two common choices. Have they explored such an option?

    Have they had any premarital counseling? If he feels this strongly about a mass, does he accept her as a Christian? They have a lot of issues to work out before they marry.
     
  6. Catholic Wife

    Catholic Wife Senior Veteran

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    This is my concern. I don't know that they should get married because of their religious differences.

    They haven't tried other churches. She doesn't really want to give up being Catholic, but he won't go to any church that he feels has any sort of "manmade traditions", such as Lutheran or Episcopalian. Basically, it's looking like she has to convert to the way he practices his faith and abandon hers if she wants to be married.

    I know they've talked to his pastor, but her fiance wouldn't consent to talk to her priest (another thing I have issues with). And I know he accepts her and the rest of our family as Christians because he sees that we have a personal relationship with Christ. I'm afraid to go to their wedding because I know I'll be very tempted to stand up and voice my concerns when the pastor asks if anyone objects, etc.
     
  7. bliz

    bliz Contributor

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    I don't know how to break it to him, but any church he attends is filled with manmade traditions!

    It sounds like she must convert and do things his way if there is to be a marriage. In which case, I'd be willing to bet that all things must be done his way. This is simply not a good foundation for marriage.

    If she really wants a child, I vote for dropping the jerk and adopting. If she is upset now, marriage life with this guy will only make her more upset.
     
  8. Catholic Wife

    Catholic Wife Senior Veteran

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    Please don't call him names. He's not a jerk, just convicted that his religious views are right and hers are wrong.

     
  9. ephraimanesti

    ephraimanesti Senior Veteran

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    MY DEAR SISTER,

    Just a few thoughts on your Post:


    This man's walking out in the middle of a Wedding Mass, to me shows a high degree of intolerance and also premeditation--as if he were trying to make a point by doing this. After all, he knew what the service was going to be before he agreed to attend. Why would he agree to go and then make a point of walking out in the middle?


    Perhaps you could gently remind her of our Lord's words:

    "ANYONE WHO LOVES HIS FATHER OR MOTHER MORE THAN ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME; ANYONE WHO LOVES HIS SON OR DAUGHTER MORE THAN ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME." (Matthew 10:37)

    She MUST NOT GIVE UP HERE FAITH! It is not a question of which belief system is "right"--perhaps they both are--the question has to do with what she believes in her heart is true. To go against her inner beliefs would be a disaster for her spiritually. As Saint Paul writes,
    "EVERYTHING THAT DOES NOT COME FROM FAITH IS SIN." (Romans 14:23)


    i would agree with you that she should not give up her religious beliefs for anyone or any reason. To do so would be spiritual suicide, especially in view of the fact that the Euchrist is so important to her faith and not available within the Protestant belief system. Also, the issue with the religious nurture of children can destroy a marriage in and of itself--not to mention what it will do to the children's faith in God. i am not sure that it greatly matters to God whether the children are raised Catholic or Protestant, but there must be a prior agree from both parties how this will be handled. Arguing and fighting over this issue after the fact will destroy all concerned--including the marriage. i speak from experience in this regard.


    Your concerns are most valid and i hope you can bring your sister to share them.

    Might i share personal stuff? i am Eastern Orthodox, my wife and children are Evangelical Protestants. We all love the Lord and worship Him in our own ways, according to our own beliefs. At the time of our marriage, i, too, was Roman Catholic. We were married in a Catholic Ceromony, the children were Baptised Roman Catholic, and i and the children went to Mass together while my wife went to her Church. When the children came of age to make their own choices--about age 12 if i recall correctly--they opted to join their mother. They have since fanned out and found their own Protestant faith communities so, in effect, we have 4 people going to 4 different Churches. We occasionally go to Church together, either they with me or i with them. Loving the Lord, i think, is more important than fighting over how this should be expressed. BUT THERE MUST BE AGREEMENT PRIOR TO MARRIAGE TO BE SURE THE MATTER IS SETTLED AHEAD OF TIME!

    It is, perhaps, regretable that there could not be unity in our family regarding belief systems, but enforced unity is too spiritually destructive to be considered an option, as it is a direct violation of our God-given freewill.

    This has continued for many years without any damage to anyone's faith or any strife within the family.


    YOU MUST VOICE YOUR CONCERNS--LOUDLY AND CLEARLY! If you do not, you will be a party to a most destructive--for all concerned, but perhaps mainly for the children caught in the middle--disaster.

    Your sister and her intended badly need pre-marital counseling--idealy both with her Priest and with his Pastor. THIS ISSUE NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED LONG BEFORE MARRIAGE CAN EVEN BE CONTEMPLATED! Urge them to follow through on this!


    A BOND-SLAVE OF CHRIST,
    ephraim
     
    Catholic Wife likes this.
  10. mina

    mina Brown Eyed girl

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    hmmm well i don't think it's all his fault from what you have posted. It sounds like she wants him to join her church or else b/c she thinks her relgious convictions are right and his are wrong, also. Marriage is about compromise. They both have to be willing to come up with a solution or else it will not work and there will be many problems. If they are not willing and committed to each other and finding a common ground, they definitely should not get married.
     
  11. LilLamb219

    LilLamb219 The Lamb is gone. Supporter

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    He walked out on the mass which should have been a big clue to her right then and there...what an offensive thing to do to her and YOU, her friend. He doesn't respect Catholics and he will only voice his resentment of them further along within the marriage. She will not be happy with this type of guy for a husband.

    I'd definitely speak with her about this. There's a big reason that she's coming to you in distress...she wants someone to help her through this and give her guidance. She's scared and feeling lonely but that's no reason to marry someone who doesn't even respect what she believes...that will be an even lonelier marriage :(
     
  12. Catholic Wife

    Catholic Wife Senior Veteran

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    She has never asked him to become Catholic. She would just like for him to come to mass with her once in a while. Is that so unreasonable??? He's only been to mass once in the 4.5 years they've been together. He even left our wedding mass about 1/3 of the way through. What wil he do when someone in our family dies? Refuse to go to their funeral because it will be a funeral mass??? :confused: If he won't show support for the family for a wedding, will he be there in times of crisis?
     
  13. mina

    mina Brown Eyed girl

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    thanks for clearing it up. I thought that it seemed she was from your original post. They need to communicate about it. Like I said before if they can't reach some sort of agreement they are going to have lots of problems. What attracted them to each other in the first place? did they not take into consideration their different beliefs when they begin dating or when it became serious?
     
  14. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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    It really depends on the people involved, and he sounds like he needs to take a more mature approach to this. I'd love for the two of them to find happiness as my parents did - my dad was Catholic, my mom was not. He was well on the way to being Protestant anyway, if not there completely. To make a long story short, they married, he became officially Protestant, and our family gets along fine with my dad's side of the family which is still Catholic. We'll even go to dinners that the Catholic church puts on with them, and he was with us when we went to see our cousins get baptized and receive first communion. Family is family first with us, as is a wedding and a funeral. It's a wedding and a funeral first, and the fact that it's Catholic is second - even though he won't go to a Sunday mass unless there's a family thing like that going on. This is really the way it ought to be done - religious solidarity in the immediate family, love for the extended family that transcends doctrinal differences.
     
  15. bliz

    bliz Contributor

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    It was not my intent to be offensive. I'm sorry.

    It just seems that he is not willing to flex, adjust or try anything in order to make this work. How can he respect her and her religious views when it is anathama for him to sit quietly through mass? What will he tell their children about their mother's religious views?
     
  16. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

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  17. hsilgne

    hsilgne New Member

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    You should talk to her before they marry.