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Friday, August 28, 2015

Do Mixed Faith Marriages Work?

Dear Bro Jo,

So right now I am dating an incredible man, who is sweet and kind and treats me wonderfully. The only problem is he is Catholic (which is fine) but he wants to raise his children Catholic and I want to raise my children LDS... but I love him.

And he loves me.

And he is the only person in my life that has always treated me well and has not abused and used me in any way.

I can't imagine my life without him... we are getting quite serious and I am the one out of the two of us who is least willing to compromise... and I am unsure what to do.

On an awkward side note my best friend whom I once cared about greatly comes home from his mission soon and at one point wanted to date and see what happened. But that was before I met my boyfriend.

People are telling me to wait for the missionary to come home, but with my feelings for my boyfriend I cannot imagine dating anyone else.

I don’t know what to do... for someone who used to not believe in love, and questions her faith in marriage it is hard to accept any affection, I know I’m in love and I cannot help but think that God would want this for me, because I am happy and actually believing in love and thinking I could be happy and that I won’t be abused again..

I don't know what I should do.

Or how I should handle it.

If I should compromise which honestly I am inclined to do so, or if I... it would hurt so much to end things, I love him.

Please help,

- Conflicted




Dear Conflicted,

I have no doubt that the man you're currently dating is a wonderful man.

To say that he's the only man that you could ever love, the only man who could ever love you, the only man who would never abuse you . . . while I understand your background and perspective, the thing is that's just not true.

Mixed faith marriage can be very, very difficult.

Each person must go in expecting that the other will never compromise and never change their beliefs, and each has to understand that there will be extra difficulty, extra pressure, and that children will compound everything.

Further, you both need to understand that your children will likely be confused, may choose one of your faiths over the other one, that you'll need to support them in that choice, and that they may choose neither.

For your part you'll need to accept that you'll have no priesthood in the home, and you may never get Sealed for Time and All Eternity; not to your husband OR your children.

And from his perspective he'll have to make some sacrifices, too. 

You two have A LOT to resolve.

Things like: how will we handle Church attendance?

Will we go to Saturday Night Mass and the LDS Block on Sunday?

Will you each go to each other's services? (I think you should, btw)

Will the kids be baptized as infants in the Catholic Church, and then baptized at 8 in the LDS Faith? 

Will you explain to them that the reason you think they need to do that is because you believe that the priest that baptized them as infants didn't really hold the priesthood and therefore wasn't authorized to baptize?

Will they be confirmed members of the LDS Faith at 8 and then go through confirmation classes as 16-year old Catholics?

Will your children go to Catechism classes or YM/YW?

What about scouts?

Will your sons be both alter boys and LDS deacons?  (Can that even be done?)

Will you be married by your Bishop or his Priest?

Or are you going to agree to disagree and do the Justice of the Peace thing?

I guess what I'm saying is, love is great, but there's so much more to being married and raising a family than that. I think you two need to have a very long talk.

And, if you haven't already, you need to be attending all of the meetings that come along with each other's faith - for at least a couple months (One weekend does not an understanding make.)

You both need to get pretty educated on what the other half thinks.

And I think all of that needs to happen before anybody agrees to marry anybody else.

It can be done.

But it's not done often very successfully.

And it takes, as I said, A LOT of extra work.

That's why I tell people that once they're marrying age they should only date within their own faith, regardless of what that faith is.

So, yeah, you may want to consider dating the RM, at least a few times (if you're both still interested) when he comes home.

And, depending on your commitment to your current boyfriend, that may mean that you need to break up for a while.

Unless, I guess, he's okay with you dating some other guy while you're both still a couple . . .

That would be weird.

So . . . talk.

Be Mature enough to set aside your emotions for one long conversation and talk about the practicality of what you're both considering.

And pray.

I sincerely wish you both the best. And I'd love to know how things work out.

Best,

- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Beth said...

“Marriage is more than your love for each other. … In your love you see only your two selves in the world, but in marriage you are a link in the chain of the generations, which God causes to come and to pass away to his glory, and calls into his kingdom. In your love you see only the heaven of your own happiness, but in marriage you are placed at a post of responsibility towards the world and mankind." Dietrich Bonhoeffer