Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm not f*ing catholic!

Dear ESB-

So my question deals with our wedding but also the future in general.  I am not one of those girls who has always dreamed about my wedding and has everything down to a T, but I did know I wanted to get married outside and I didn’t want to have a religious ceremony.  Enter my fiancé who happens to come from a large catholic family.  When we got engaged it was just assumed by everyone in his family that we would have a catholic wedding, even though they know I am not catholic.  Even family members who eloped were then pressured to have a catholic wedding afterwards.  Shortly after getting engaged, I agreed to have a catholic wedding  (I was still in the dreaminess of being engaged and feeling generous), which I have come to regret.  A catholic wedding is not that important to my husband but is very important to his family, a nonreligious ceremony is very important to me. I feel resentful because my fiancé has pressed for what is more important to his family than important to me.

Fast forward, I am now thinking about the future since part of getting married in a catholic church is agreeing to raise your kids catholic.  I know his parents are going to ask we baptize our kids and raise them catholic and then send them to catholic school, I feel like fiancé will side with what is important to them and not to me and I will come off like a frigid bitch.  Even though kids are far off into the future this concerns me since I have always wanted to educate my kids about different religions and let them make a choice that best suits them.  What really gets under my skin is recently we were lectured about how we should really go to catholic church more often and I wanted to say “I’m not f*ing catholic!”

My fiancé says I should concentrate on the present and not the future.  I say it would be stupid to get married without looking at our future.  I am just afraid I will always have to take a back seat to him and his family.  I almost get the sense they feel entitled to have things go their way or their way is the only way.  I guess I am not really sure what I am asking but has anyone else experienced and had things worked out, any recommendations?  Should we work this out before we get married, should I have something in the prenup?  Should I just suck it up and give in. I have no clue.

-Nonreligious bride

Ps. I should mention we have talked about this many times with no resolution. Me basically stating what I want and him stating "I guess we will wait and see"


You have got to work this out before you get married.

If your FH is not willing to stand up for you now, good fucking luck getting him to stand up for you five years from now.

(Photo by Wendy Bevan for Marie Claire Italia via TaHe via Fashion Gone Rogue)


  1. Two words: premarital counseling. Sounds like you guys could use a third party to help you work through these issues. NOT a priest.

  2. What esb said. For sure. You have to work it out first. If that means premarital counseling (non-religious), then do it. It'll be better for you both in the long run.

  3. Absolutely you need to figure this out now. That's totally not cool that he's not siding with you - or even trying to find some sort of middle ground.

    I know this probably sounds a bit cliché, but the wedding is WAY more about the bride than the groom. If my wife wanted something altered for our wedding, I would have moved heaven and earth to make it happen.

    It sounds a whole lot like he's being lazy and not having the chats he needs to have with his family - aka, about your desire to have a non-religious wedding. Either that, or he really doesn't take your desires seriously.

    Pre-marital counseling is an EXCELLENT idea.

  4. WORK IT OUT NOW. I'm serious. Religious families can sometimes be overbearing and majorly self righteous, but really if you stand up for yourself and your beliefs to your husband and in laws you'll be hella happier in the end.

  5. This could also be a case where religion is actually more important to the groom than he originally thought. He might be thinking down the line that he DOES want to raise the kids catholic. This is why I'm not a fan of inter-religious marriages (or religious-non religious marriages), NOT because one religion is better than the other, but because it can create conflict and a lack of compatibility. I BIG, not little, thing that the couple does NOT have in common.

  6. As a product of the Catholic church, I don't think I can comment on this question without offending anyone who is a practicing Catholic, except to say GET THE EFFING COUNSELING.

    And know what kind of institution you are agreeing to have your potential children be a part of. Know the church and the pope's official stances on human rights, reproductive rights, and AIDS in Africa.

  7. Coming from the other side (being a religious bride with a non-relgious groom), I agree with what everyone else has said. This needs to be worked out NOW. For our upcoming wedding, we've comprimsed and have both relgious and non-religious elements in the service and though I know my family would prefer a more relgious service, they've accepted what we've chosen. And I completely see where you're coming from about future children. It's something that needs to be talked about and you need to come to an agreement on. Otherwise you'll never know where you stand.

  8. You HAVE to work this out now. Coming from a very religious family myself, I remember how hard this was. One of the biggest things that getting married does is that it creates a NEW family. I'm convinced the whole wedding planning process is society's secret way to force you to stand up for YOUR new family and to figure out what is important and best for your new family. This is the start of your family. Things like religious preference and how you raise your children are fundamental cornerstones of your family. Don't let someone else's family (which is really what your in-laws are) dictate what your family believes. Besides, what's the point of going through a Catholic wedding if it's just for show anyway? The point to religious weddings are the meaning and belief within them. If you don't believe, doesn't that make it worse than having a ceremony that means something to you?

  9. Ditto to all of the above. All these issues will most likely come up in the future. If you're having a Catholic ceremony- engaged encounter may be a good setting work out your problems- our priest even sent us to a premarital counselor that wasn't afflicated with the church.
    His family seems a lot like mine, and I've seen a lot of the scenarios you've mentioned play out in other relationships (pressure to convert/have a catholic ceremony) and it helps to have a partner who will back you up. Trust your instincts and don't give in.

  10. As a former Catholic, I totally understand what kind of a position and wall you are up against. Staunchly Catholic families think there is no other right way than the Catholic way.

    As for your future husband who does not want to think about the future — you must impress upon him that unless he does not have an intention of making your marriage last, this issue needs to be dealt with before you guys get married. It's easy to put things off for now, only to realize down the line that your differences are irrevocable. As difficult and uncomfortable as dealing with this issue is, it will set the tone for any other future issue that relates to this one.

    If he insists that the future is not worth thinking and discussing, I'd be very hesitant to commit.

  11. i definitely agree that you have to talk about it...but since you agreed so hastily, maybe it's your job to set expectations with the family, once you work this out with your Hubby-Elect and what not. tough pill to swallow, but if they're nosy and meddling and you send him in your stead, it won't be pretty.

  12. I agree with the other posters - you need to stand up for yourself NOW, not later. Maybe that means being clear with them that a Catholic wedding in no way suggests you will baptize your children or send them to Catholic school. If everything you say gets glossed over, maybe your parents could help and approach his parents in a different manner? I know my family wouldn't be too happy if I had to get married in a Catholic church (they are Jewish). Counseling sounds like a great idea. A not so great idea: Make a T-shirt that says 'I am NOT FUCKING CATHOLIC', although I would be tempted anyway if I were you. Don't let people push you around. It's not their wedding. Have you thought about eloping?

    Good Luck with everything and I hope something works out.

  13. Aren't you obligated to attend counseling in the church for at least a year before the wedding? I agree with the others that you should seek counseling outside of the church, but at least the mandatory Catholic training could be a good starting point for you standing up for what you want and believe in...

  14. To be married in a Catholic church I think you must be Catholic..that means going through a bunch of other sacraments you may not believe in (baptism, communion, confession). This definitely needs sorting out now! Good luck.

  15. @Anonymous: Would you like to read a suggestion to make a T-Shirt with 'I am NOT FUCKING JEWISH' here on the web???

    besides that: Ladies, I love your advice and agree whole-heartedly.

  16. I'm sorry but @caseyfriday I need to call bs on your statement that "the wedding is WAY more about the bride than the groom". Yes, it does sound totally cliché, and not at all true in my own experience.

  17. ESB is right. Your fiance is under a LOT of pressure from his family (I know, I've been there too), but if he's ready to be your husband, he should have the backbone to stand up to his family. Or like Anon above said, it could be that religion is more important to him than he's letting on. Either way, this spells HUGE problems for the future.

  18. @Ashley, what religious and nonreligious elements are you incorporating in your ceremony? I'm curious because I'm in the same situation as you.

  19. This might sound a bit harsh but I say don't marry him. Non-religious and Catholic don't go well together. I've seen it happen before. If you think it's tough going against his family now, just wait. It's only going to get worse.

    Good luck!

  20. I agree you definitely need to talk about this – we talked about raising future children Jewish within the first 6 months of dating because it means a lot to his parents (he's Jewish, I'm not, but go to lovely low-key services with him twice a month). We talked it through again before the wedding, and I'm still happy with that decision. I appreciate having talked about it with my husband thoroughly and knowing what the "ground rules" are, both his and his religion's, while also establishing some of my own (ie yes 5 kids would be awesome and exciting but let's see how the first one goes, ok?)

    If it takes a third party / counselor to get your fiance to talk about this, I agree, do it. Waiting and seeing will probably lead to more stress down the road.

  21. 1. You need to discuss this ASAP. Preferrably with a counselor (that is unbiased. IE doesn't know yall and isn't catholic)

    2. You need to prepare yourself for the fact that he may be unwilling to (ever) stand up to his family for you on the issue of catholicism. And you'll have to decide what that means for you in regards to yalls future.

    But, like ESB said, if he won't stand up for you now, theres no way in hell you could ever expect him to do so in the future.
    And do you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone like that?

  22. @esb huge props for the wendy bevan her...that is all.

  23. As a former Catholic who didn't have the Catholic wedding that my parents desperately wanted me to have, I can understand why your fiance wants to avoid dealing with it. But seriously, he absofuckinglutely has to right now.

    Now, I will tell you that there are a few different varieties of Catholics, some for whom it's a cultural thing where maybe the wedding is important but the rest of it they can look the other way. But for the true believers, the pressure to convert, to baptize any children, to go to church, etc. will never ever stop.

    So, you and your fiance need to figure out where you stand as a couple. Does he still consider himself to be Catholic? (Does he ever go to church or do anything to practice his faith?) Does he want to baptize his children and raise them Catholic? Does he see a point where he will ever be able to stand up to his parents and openly disagree with them? If the wedding isn't the line in the sand, what will be? You should also be aware that disagreeing with his family on religion could have very serious consequences for him, so be compassionate, and recognize that if he is willing to stand up for you, it is likely to be effing difficult for him.

    This is important stuff. And serious stuff. And if he doesn't actually see that then you have a big problem. So yes to premarital counseling. Also, if you do the Catholic pre-Cana stuff, be completely honest with the priests and other counselor/mentor type people, because while they are going to be coming at it from a Catholic perspective, most of them are smart, caring, compassionate people who are really trying to help couples sort things out before they get married, and they will be on your side in the sense that they will advocate working things out before you get married.

  24. Poster here..thanks for everyone's advice! As many of you mentioned we are doing premaritial counseling through the church but have also considered regular, unbiased counseling since I really think the premaritial counseling would side with my fiance on these issues! Many of you also brought up the thought that he may be more religious than he leads on, which now that i think about it could certainly be true. Thanks again everyone I will bring up counseling tonight. feel free to give me any more advice you have. I should add we are getting married in the church and its getting to close to our wedding to change that aspect of it.

  25. I'm from a very traditional Catholic extended family, but my immediate fam and I are not Catholic. It was a HUGE deal when my parents sat my Grandparents down and explained that we were not going to continue practicing Catholicism and that their kids (my brother and me) would not be attending Catholic school. We were like literally afraid our G-parents would cut us out of the will (they didn't...but they were NOT happy.)

    So, I totally understand the family pressure/drama surrounding religion. But you guys need to do what's right for the two of you. And I seriously agree that this needs to be worked out, stat. Pre-marital council is a great idea. My husband and I did it, and it was an immense help with these types of questions and issues.

    We got married in an outdoor ceremony with spiritual elements that jive with our personal beliefs. The pastor who married us has known both of us for a long, long time and we met four times before the wedding. We spoke very in-depth about the sort of messages we wanted him to get across during the ceremony, and he did a FANTASTIC job.

    Afterward, agnostic AND staunch Catholic guests alike told us they truly felt a power/love/presence during the ceremony. This was because our pastor was speaking to the true hearts of who we are and what we were promising to each other. Everyone, no matter their religious background, found our ceremony to be really special and meaningful.

    What I'm trying to say is that you should be working with the person who is marrying you to tailor the ceremony to be a true reflection of the two of you, and the type of relationship you seek to have together. The person who marries you- whether its a priest in a church or a friend in a non-religious ceremony- should have a VERY intimate understanding of the two of you. I think you will find that your wedding ceremony is bigger than where it happens. It will be SO special and meaningful if it's true to you two.

  26. And I should add that my G-parents were included in those guests who thought our ceremony was great! Be true to you two and make sure whoever marries you knows your hearts!!

  27. You have to approach it the right way ... You can't expect him to pick you over his family (or coworkers or friends or etc) every single time you disagree. Disagreements in beliefs like this can be good for a relationship... opposing viewpoints that respect each other enough to discuss and accept can make a relationship really strong.

    If he's feeling the pressure from his family and he's feeling the heat from you over this touchy subject, is it really all that surprising that he shut down over it? A wedding is about creating a baby family, yes, but it's also about the community around that baby family. The people who got the two of you to this point are important in their own ways. This sounds like you really need to have good, honest, open conversations with your fiance AND even maybe some members of his family. You might better understand why it's so important to them to have a Catholic ceremony and they might better understand why it's important to you to NOT have a Catholic ceremony.

    I'm a one-million-percent non-religious bride marrying into the Catholic church, btw, so I totally understand. There was no way in HELL I would've put myself through that pre-cana crap without fully understanding WHY it was so important to my fiance and his family. Ultimately it was my fiance's decision that HE wanted the Catholic ceremony, which was a decision I was WAY more comfortable with... rather than his crazy mother dictating everything. (Whoops, did I just say that?) I hear you. Some days I just want to hollar, "I'm not f'cking catholic!"

  28. This is not a casual choice. Don't let someone else make it for you.

    It's nobody's business what you believe or don't believe.

    I find it horrific that people experience this kind of pressure from family and loved ones. But I'm also sad that you're happy to put up with a wedding in church if you're not religious. I don't get it. The whole 'married in the name of god' when you don't believe in god? Doesn't it devalue the ceremony for you?

    Just a thought.

    And children. The Catholic church ain't a safe place for children. Sorry. Nasty but true.

  29. Definitely figure it out now.

    I am non-religious and the fiance's family are Catholic (he's Irish). I wouldn't feel married if we just had a religious ceremony because I think they are more about God than about the couple. His family wouldn't consider him married if we weren't married in the church, and it would be very strange to him to not be married in a church, even though he doesn't go anymore.

    We are having a civil ceremony first, and then having a religious ceremony in Ireland a couple of weeks later. It is the best compromise we could come up with that will involve both sides.

    Another thing is that we have just done pre-marital counselling as required by the church, but none of what we talked about was related to religion, and even for a couple that communicates really well, we still learned a lot.

    Hope you sort it out :)

  30. Keep this in mind, too:

    You DON'T have to both be Catholic to have a Catholic ceremony, but you a. cannot have a full mass (well you can, if you get the local bishop's blessing, which often involves writing a fat check), and 2. you are required to promise as part of the ceremony that you baptize and raise your kids Catholic. If you renege, it's grounds for annulment.

    Obviously, that doesn't matter in that you'll still be legally married, but you need to be OK with lying to the priest. Are you OK with that?

    Aside from that, I've been in your situation with my ex (not this issue specifically, but the scenario could be similarly applied), and your fh falls into one of two categories:

    1. He doesn't want to deal with his overbearing family, so he's not expressing your needs/wants/etc. because he doesn't have the energy to stand up for the two of you as a couple over something he views as "no big deal."
    2. He actually wants all of this stuff, but doesn't want to deal with the fallout with YOU for actually admitting to it, and is hoping that you'll change your mind and "come around."

    I don't know your fiance, but based on his "why do we need to talk about the future now" stance, I'm betting money he's in the second category. My ex used to dodge in a similar way, and when I finally forced the discussion, it turns out it's because he thought I would "come around" to his way of thinking. It's the primary reason why he's an ex now - not because he dodged, mind you, but because, for me, it was an irreconcilable difference.

    Good luck - I hope you guys can work through this.

    Oh, and as someone who was raised Catholic but is not practicing now (for the reasons Anon 2 stated above), "raising your kids Catholic" doesn't necessarily mean you can't expose them to other faiths, etc., like you want to do. There are a lot of GOOD things that Catholic teachings can do for kids - love thy neighbor, the Golden Rule, etc. - and you can teach other morals at home.

  31. YES, what ESB said. You and he are the new family unit, not he and his natal family.

  32. I think the real issue here is whether or not you and your fiance have the same, or even compatible views on religion, an what that means for the future of your relationship especially regarding children. No matter where the ceremony takes place, this has to be addressed before you get married, in fact I think it should have been addressed before you were even engaged.

  33. uhhh i hope someone has already brought this up but i'm too lazy to read the comments:

    you can't get married in a catholic church if you're not catholic, haven't been baptized, had your first communion, and whatever the thing is you go through when you're 14 or so and you get the second middle name... the name of which is slipping my mind now as i skipped that part

  34. and the anon writing about kids is effing ignorant

  35. I have a bit of a different view on the situation.

    1. You say you are not "catholic", but are you religious/spiritual? If you remove the label does it bother you that the ceremony is conducted by a priest and in the "eyes of God"?

    2. You acknowledge that Catholicism is important to his family, and you agreed when it was initially brought up - I wouldn't stick up for you to my family either if you already agreed... It's just making me/us go back on our word.
    *It's my personal opinion that if it was SO important, then you wouldn't have conceded in the first place.

    3. Pick your battles... As much as you are celebrating becoming husband and wife, you are also supposed to be rejoicing in becoming a part of a second family. This is important to them and obviously to the Husband to be as well - Is it worth disappointing them?
    *Now don't get me wrong - I did NOT get married in a catholic church (and both our families are Catholic) but we made it known from the very beginning that I am neither spiritual/religious or Catholic... We did however allow for our family priest to bless our union at our reception dinner out of respect to our Catholic families. And I don't regret it one bit - the content was universal and beautiful.

    4. Lastly, I think marriage counseling would be super helpful, like many of the other posters. a) Perhaps you are being a bit too demanding/selfish b) Perhaps your fiance isn't considering your needs... And maybe it's a little of both, but you guys should figure it out before you are married.

    ** And I completely disagree that the Catholic Church isn't a safe place for children - that's ridiculous and I suspect comes from someone who has had very superficial involvement with the religion. I was raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, and have ultimately stepped away from it's practice - not because it was detrimental to me in any way... In fact, I think it had quite the opposite effect on my childhood - however as an adult, I have chosen to have a different belief system.

  36. @ a couple of the Anons: differences in faith do not mean that a marriage cannot work. It only means that you should figure out how important a one-religion (or no-religion) household is to you BEFORE you commit to marrying each other. However, from my point of view, you can't help who you love, and if you actually, truly love your future spouse, his/her religion shouldn't matter. Yes, it makes things a little more complicated - I'm marrying a Jewish man and I was raised Presbyterian, so I know from experience - but it's totally worth it in the long run.

  37. Coming someone who really detests the Catholic church for all the obvious reasons, lets not get into its horrible decisions (understatement) regarding children and political statements and keep it focused on the couple.

  38. I'm married to Chau, who posted above. We lucked out in that we're both Catholic, but we've witnessed situations similar to the poster's. Working this out beforehand is key, I think, just because it's important for two people committing to a shared life to be on the same page—especially on issues like the character of the ceremony and, later on, how you'll raise your children.

    Your decision has to take both your non-religious status seriously and your partner's Catholic beliefs seriously. Talk it out, with a counselor if necessary. There's always a place for conversation and compromise (and to round out the C's, common sense): X shouldn't just unbendingly declare an opposition to a Catholic ceremony/etc. but neither should Y just automatically impose a Catholic ceremony on X. The decision must ultimately center on the couple—not the beliefs of an extended family. I feel that coercing someone into conversion makes no sense, and that the same goes for observing rituals/practices/sacraments that you don't believe in.

    My heart goes out to other commenters who seem to have had terrible experiences with the Church/Catholic families. Even the most well-meaning can forget what should be central to their faith: compassion, patience, charity, sympathy, etc. Whoever said that children aren't safe in the church: though the Church has certainly dropped the ball, that's still really unfair and totally unsupported by the facts. I should also add that the Church isn't the Pope; it's worth noting that thousands upon thousands work for the poor and sick on the Church's behalf (think of Catholic Relief Services, or our non-Catholic president who worked on the Campaign for Human Development in Chicago). Don't let conservative cartoons totally distort your picture of this far from monolithic faith.

  39. Your FH needs to grow a backbone and have an opinion, for God's sake.


    A counselor affiliated with the Church? Yeah, right.

  40. this is a huge issue that should be sorted out before you get married. no wait and see about it. you are starting a family with your fiance and you and your needs come before his family. if you set a precedent that his family gets their way over you you're going to end up resentful and then divorced. sorry. it's the truth.

  41. Uhh..."dropped the ball?" Is that really the best choice of words? I'm with you in that thousands of people do wonderful things in the name of the Catholic church, but the leaders of the church decided to protect their image instead of innocent children. Yes that Anon made an ignorant generalization, but I have no clue what facts can defend the church and Cardinal Ratzinger's decisions. No one "dropped the ball," they made informed and conscious decisions. I'm happy that you have found balance in your life with your religion, but the actions of the leaders of the church have earned them harsh criticism.

  42. Kind of in a similar situation myself, except the hubby is siding with me. But we still want to please everyone... so, civil ceremony in the courthouse, and then having a Catholic "blessing" (which happens to be with a priest who is in my family, so he's super cool and relaxed about everything.)

    If you have to have a Catholic wedding (and I know that sometimes, you just have to go along with things to keep the peace), find a badass priest. They're out there, I swear. My best friends where married by an openly gay priest, who talked THEM out of doing the eucharist at their wedding ceremony.

  43. Chiming in to say, that yes you MUST get this sorted out now. I also think your future husband is probably more Catholic than he is letting one. Possibly he can't really visualise bringing up non-Catholic children or a non-Catholic wedding and is hoping that if he dodges the question for long enough, you'll give in.

    I also noted that in your follow-up comment, you say you are having the Catholic counselling and it is now too close to the wedding to change it from a Catholic one.

    Nonsense. You CAN delay the wedding, while you sort all this out. It is far, far too important not to. If you are not happy with a Catholic ceremony, you must put your foot down now. Your wedding is about you and your husband, as equal partners. If you feel strongly that you neither want a Catholic wedding, nor Catholic children, you need to put a stop to this now and reach a compromise. Do you really want to promise, during your wedding, that you will bring up your children in the Catholic Church? Because, even if you are happy lying about this, believe me, your in-laws and your husband will bring it up. 'But you promised, in your vows etc etc'

    You and your husband need to think very, very hard about what your deal-breakers are. You have some difficult conversations ahead of you, but you need to have them, for the good of your future marriage and future family.

  44. Shit, Blogger ate my comment. It's just as well, it was unnecessarily wordy.

    PEOPLE. Yes, you CAN get married in the Catholic Church if one partner has not been confirmed. You can't have a full Wedding Mass (and, actually, even then exceptions can be made). HOWEVER, the priest marrying you will usually make you promise, (sometimes before all, during the ceremony, but if not certainly during Pre-Cana) to raise your kids Catholic.

    A lot of couples - even ones who ARE eligible for the full wedding mass - opt to do the liturgy-only ceremony as it is about 30 min compared to 1 1/2 hours, and has the added bonus of not making your non-Catholic guests uncomfortable/confused during Communion.

    Also, can we please stop with the ignorant comments about sexual abuse in the Church? Yes, the Church was wrong wrong wrong wrong in how they handled everything, start to finish and now, and even wrongER that they have been remiss in actually apologizing properly for this, HOWEVER pedophiles are attracted to situations that give them easy access to children, and priesthood was the last safe bastion. The former policies did probably make the Church an unsafe place for children 20-30 years ago, but in 2011? I don't think the OP (or anyone else) has as much to worry about.

  45. Yeah, ESB hit the nail on the head here: this is SO not about the wedding. It's not even really about religion, not at the core of it. Big, huge, enormous red flags go off in my head when I hear statements like "my fiance won't stand up for me to his family." My skin is crawling. You NEED to work this out. Now. Put the wedding plans on hold. Get a non-religious counselor along with the religious one. Speak up. And tell him that this is SO not about him being Catholic. It's about the two of you being a *team,* which is what marriage is all about. Like ESB said, this will not get easier over time. It will get one billion times harder after you are married.

    And if you and your fiance are not willing/cannot have difficult conversations with each other, good luck having difficult convos with his family/your family. @caseyfriday and I had several of those, one of which included defending to his family our decision to not invite a pretty prominent family member to the wedding. We had to be on the same page for family members to hear us at all. Outside people will try to make the wedding about them, and you need to stand up as a couple and fight together for what you want. It's good practice for later. That said, this Dear ESB has little to do with the wedding and everything to do with communicating and him *standing up for you.*

  46. As someone who does not agree with the teachings of the Catholic church nor in the vows I'd have to make if I got married in a Catholic cermony I, personally, wouldn't want my marriage to begin on a bunch of lies.
    Good luck,

  47. What has me aghast here is the fiance's and his family's general lack of respect for the bride's beliefs. Your lack of religious belief can be just as deeply rooted and emotionally involved as someone else's faith. If they can't respect your personal faith (or lack thereof), what WILL they respect?

  48. "I feel like fiancé will side with what is important to them and not to me"

    Don't marry this man right now. Once you are married and eventually having kids the whole family power dynamic goes nuts- if he isn't backing you up now it will get 1000X worse once there are kids involved. I do not know what I would do if my husband and I were not a untied front when it comes to our kid (to be) and our families.

  49. Set ground rules! And make it clear to the family what they are and get it done now. If you are willing to get married in the church, that is a big bargaining point - a huge concession to them. But make it clear up front that it doesn't mean you'll be attending mass weekly, or sending future children to catholic school (unless you guys talk it out and want to do those things).

    Here's the thing - this is going to keep coming up, over and over again throughout your marriage. It's better to take a stand with the family now.

    And yes, counseling. An unbiased person to lead you through these discussions.

  50. Sorry if I'm repeating some of the points above - there's a lot of comments to read!

    I'm a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic. You do NOT need to be Catholic to marry your Catholic husband in a Catholic Church. You also do NOT need to agree that you will raise them Catholic - the technical agreement is that you will not impede your husband from baptizing and raising them in the Catholic faith (a subtle distinction, but still important). I can see why you would have a problem with that, even though it's not as harsh as saying that you have to actively be involved in teaching them a religion you do not believe.

    I can understand your frustration. Catholic mothers are extremely over-bearing (I know, I have one), and Catholic boys tend to have a hard time standing up to them. He needs to be more worried about you than his family's wishes, though, and if he doesn't there's a big problem. My Catholic mother tore apart my brother's marriage by trying to control things and my brother was not good about setting up boundaries.

    The other thing to consider, however, is that if his family is super Catholic, they might not attend the wedding if it's not in a Catholic church. This sounds horrible and I completely disagree with Catholics that shun weddings for this reason, but it could explain why your husband is being a wimp about confronting his family. He might be afraid of being shunned. My mother did not attend her own son's wedding because she raised him Catholic and he refused to get married in a Catholic church because he no longer practices his faith. Because this is an issue for people raised Catholic, sometimes they pretend to be Catholic just to get through the wedding without a fuss. I know, this sounds terrible, but it's not uncommon.

    Even though I am still a practicing Catholic, I think that it's dishonest for people to have a religious ceremony if they don't hold those beliefs. Religion is deeply personal and if it doesn't reflect one's beliefs, then it's empty and simply to please others. It sounds like your husband is still trying to please his family so that they have the same image of him as when he was young - which I have done in the past. Eventually I realized that I could never have a real relationship or an adult relationship with my parents if I just pretended to be the person they wanted me to be. If I disagree with my parents, I tell them even if I know they won't like it. I also told my mother that she needs to back off trying to shove religion down my throat (which Catholic mothers do even when their children DO practice religion), because I would never have the faith of a fully developed adult if my mother was always nagging me into being religious.

    I don't know if this is helpful or disheartening. I wish you the best of luck and give you my sincerest empathy for your situation. I have to deal with a Catholic mother, so I know it must be even more difficult to have a Catholic mother-in-law!

  51. P.S. I think you should go to both a non-religious and a religious counselor (like a priest), because there's no such thing as a non-bias counselor. My friends had a similar problem and went to a counselor who was biased against religion and debated with the religious groom for the entire session instead of addressing the couple's problem. You have to be VERY careful about the priest you ask for counseling, but there are many understanding priests out there.

    Also, one of the agreements I have with my non-Catholic, non-religious husband is that we get married in a Catholic church but we are not having the full mass. Many priests support this decision because if one person (bride or groom) cannot receive the eucharist, the full mass doesn't reflect the unity of the couple. It also cuts the one hour long ceremony (which many non-Catholics find way too long) in half! Thirty minutes isn't too bad. My husband and I are also having a deacon marry us instead of a priest. The deacon is a family friend who is married and has children - which I think is less intimidating than a priest. I also made sure that my husband really likes the deacon, so that he feels comfortable with the person who is consecrating our marriage. I am also not using religious music in the ceremony. I am using all instrumental music. That way no one feels pressured to sing "Ave Maria" or something that is at odds with their own beliefs.

    Those are a few of the ways that I am trying to make the religious ceremony more palatable for my non-Catholic husband and his family.

  52. I have a huge problem with the term 'non-religious', it seems to imply the lack of belief. Like you're just a blank slate without much conviction either way and should concede to the person who does have a belief. This may not be the case for the OP, but for me this couldn't be further from the truth. I 100% strongly believe that there is no god. I believe that as much or more strongly than any person practicing any religion. That should not offend anyone any more than their believe should offend me. But there is no way that my conceding to get married in a religious ceremony is any less of a concession than it would be had it been the other way around. If you do feel even half as strongly as I do you really need to discuss this before the wedding, and don't let anyone try and convince you that belief in a religion is any more valid or important than a belief in none.

  53. On topic: This is stuff that needs to be figured out before you even get engaged. I think this is probably not going to work out. Eh.

    Off topic: Wow, the Catholic Church is not a safe place for kids? Wow. Fucking bigots. Did you know that pedophilia is statistically less prevalent among Catholic priests than other religious ministers, and among the general population? Did you know that kids are FAR more likely to be raped by their dad or their grandpa than by someone outside their family?

    I guess you won't be leaving your baby alone with your husband? Let me say it again. Fucking. Bigots.

  54. Can we stop telling this bride that her marriage is going to fail because you read a few paragraphs about it on the internet?!?! Jesus Christ people, if you don't have anything helpful to say, stfu.

    @Bride, I agree with esb & others: counseling, and soon, is a good idea.

  55. I love it when ignorant people make sweeping generalizations about entire groups of people... in this case a bunch of "informed" bloggers that make statements about a religion they know little to nothing about. Instead sit on their ass, watch CSPAN, jump on their soap box and condemn an entire religion because of the actions of a few corrupt and sick people.

    I'm not even a practicing Catholic, but that kind of idiocy only perpetuates more lies and resentment.

    STFU morons.

  56. I know this post was written in 2011 I still hope that you are still blogging because I am going through this right now. My fiance's father is disapproving our marriage because I do not want a Catholic wedding. I myself have always dreamed of an outdoor wedding and never in a church.