Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mixed Marriages

I've been thinking a lot lately about mixed marriages. I haven't posted on it because I've been a tad afraid of offending someone, somewhere.  Now feels right.  NB:  It is not my intention to offend anyone.  If I do so, it is unintentional.

In the Catholic faith, ours will be a mixed marriage.  Since *B* is not baptized in any Christian church, this also means that our marriage will not be a sacrament for me. When we first met, I had pretty much given up on any kind of church, Christian or not.  I didn't care, then, what he believed in. Yes, I knew he was really into communing with nature as a form of spiritual satisfaction.

When we first talked about getting married, it was a pretty secular proposition.  As plans firmed up, I realized that I wanted to get married in a Catholic church.  I had done everything else thus far, I might as well.  So we found a priest, and we talked about the three questions we will have to agree to in order to be married in the church:  we have to be faithful to each other, believe that marriage is for life, and raise our children in the church.  He also told us that we needed to go through some kind of marriage class (standard procedure).  We had heard bad things about the group sessions, so we chose the sponsor couple route.

At the same time, I had been developing in what I tentatively call my faith.  I'm still a tad nervous and hesitant.  But I wanted *B* to be exposed to the church, so we started going to Mass shortly after our first sponsor couple meeting.  We've now been going just about two months.

I know that I feel better since we started going.  I at least partially attribute my departure from therapy to feeling more fulfilled after attending church.

In the beginning, it made us stronger.  We would go, and make the drive home, feeling happy and restored.  Believe it or not, it soon started causing a bit of a rift between me and *B*.  I started to try to teach *B* some of the things that would happen in Mass.  The sign of the cross, what to say.  He felt...attacked for lack of a better word.  At least he was there, he thought.  True, so I tried to back off.  I just wanted to help.  Then he'd ask questions, trying to better understand.  And I'd excitedly answer them.  I ate them up.  I came to find myself desperately wanting him to become Catholic.  I've never really cared before.  The worst part is, I don't exactly know why I want this so.

Part of it is tradition.  My family is all Catholic, and I don't really see another religion being possible or desirable.  Part of it is that I want the classic idea of the Catholic family:

Despite what reality may be, I imagine a Catholic family to be one in which the kids are try their best, are respectful, and have complete faith (at least while they're young).  I know that what I'm going for is not necessarily based in religion, but when I see it, I feel a tug.

Regardless, *B* says he likes going to church.  He's even going to Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) to learn about Catholicism, though he's pretty certain he won't be baptized.  He has no problem bringing our kids up Catholic and even being a source of answers for them when they have questions about the church.  

So what's my problem?  I have no answer for that.  I also can't answer a number of *B*'s questions.  It hasn't bothered me so much that I have some doubts about major tenets of the church.  It does bother *B* that he has the same concerns.  Why would he be baptized in a church with which he doesn't at least mostly agree?  But then again, if he's going to church, participating in church activities, why not go full in and hope that you figure it out along the way?  In the midst of this, I question what tenuous grip I have on being Catholic.  Ugh, right now it's the blind leading the blind.

Though I'm sure I know the answer to this question:  is there any easy way to figure all this out?


  1. Do you want to raise your kids (and yourself) to be accurately worshiping the God of Christ and following Christ's footsteps? or do you just like the "idea" of being "Catholic"? because from what you wrote, it seems you like the tradition of "Catholic" more than the service and worship to God.

    If you want to serve the same God that Christ did, then study with Jehovah's Witnesses, they will teach you the truth about the bible.

    Submitted with love and respect:
    One who found the truth that Christ taught.

  2. See, that's the problem. I can wrap my head around God. I get God. He is everywhere, in all of us. I've read all the arguments for God in philosophy, and I can go for that.

    I'm also all for service. I like the social justice aspect of Catholicism. I like serving the community at large. It's one of the reasons I left my research lab to become a teacher.

    I just have a hard time rationalizing Jesus. Yes, I know that one doesn't rationalize Jesus, but I can't seem to accept the idea without some kind of reasoning. I would like to be Christian (Catholic tendencies aside for the moment), I just can't get my head around it. I agree that he was brilliant, and that what he said revolutionized the world. I just can't get past the divinity part. Any pointers would be nice.

    I'm well aware that I'm Catholic because of the rites rather than the tenets of the church. We used to joke that *B* was spiritual but not religious, and I was religious but not spiritual. Sad, but true. It is my hope that I can be both spiritual and religious as I travel on my way through life.

  3. first I will submit that Jesus being divine doesn't make him God. divine means god-like and we are also commanded to be "god-like" (someday we will be, YAY!) We simply strive to stay on that 'narrow road'.

    I sincerely meant what I stated. Years ago, my son was brand new (lol) and I had been studying the bible already for years but felt that urge (like you do it seems) to worship God WITH like minded ones. A 'RELIGION' to call 'home'. So I made the 'rounds' and went to all kinds of denominations and even talked to Catholics (was raised a Lutheran). I had discovered some bible truths during my own personal study of God's word which I feel are absolute truths from God. These are teachings I refused to compromise on. In my pursuit to find a 'religion' to fit me, I also made a remarkable discovery: I had to learn to do "it" God's way. I also began to study with Jehovah's Witnesses. And yes, I questioned everything cause I had 'heard' so much about them.....which mostly boiled down to everyone saying "anyone but them!" But as I studied and questioned and picked apart everything they were trying to show me from God's word, I found truth. And harmony within scripture. Yeah, they do DO things very differently and more "simple" and don't have 'rituals' or 'rites' but what they teach is all based on God's word and I found that was what was important.

    I hope you find your path (and it's the one Christ talked about -that narrow road). Peace!

  4. I've thought a lot about my faith in the past few years, and while my background is different from yours, here is one thought that's kept me going. It's in the Book of Mormon, in Alma 32:26–43. It compares faith to a seed, something that you have to plant inside yourself, and water and tend, and one day it will bear fruit. It talks about experimenting upon the word—basically, taking God's word and living it and finding out for yourself whether it's true.

    My favorite part in the passage is in verse 27, where it says, "even if you can no more than desire to believe. Sometimes I feel like I have to have perfect faith right from the beginning, but right here God says that even if you only want to believe, it's enough to start out with. (Sorry, I know this passage probably won't hold the same truth for you, since I believe this book to be true and you probably don't, but it's what came to mind for me.)

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that just wanting to believe in Jesus Christ is exactly the right place to start. For me, a logical next step might be to choose some of his teachings to live by—and find out what happens.

  5. I may not agree with all things Mormon (though I love self-reliance, I must say), I have no problem with reading things like the Book of Mormon to gain insight. Why cut myself off from a resource? Whether God wrote it in his own hand, someone was divinely inspired, or an ordinary human had great ideas, I'm up for reading it. I will check that passage out.

    After all, one of my favorite sayings about faith comes from the movie Dogma of all places:

    “He said that faith is like a glass of water. When you're young, the glass is small, and it's easy to fill up. But the older you get, the bigger the glass gets, and the same amount of liquid doesn't fill it anymore. Periodically, the glass has to be refilled.”

  6. That's a great quote, and so true! I find that I can't go too long without "filling my glass."