My Advice to Catholic Parents: Don’t Let Your Kids Date Non-Catholics

October 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I know, this is hardly revolutionary or unique advice, but I was recently asked about this issue by a young Catholic man who called my radio show. He had been dating a devoutly Presbyterian girl, and her father didn’t like it one bit that the guy was Catholic.
I think my response to his “what do I do now?” question may have surprise him. (It apparently surprised and even dismayed a few of my listeners, judging from some of the e-mails that came in after that show.)
My basic premise, which I advert to in this audio segment is that, more often than not, mixed marriages (i.e., when a Catholic marries a non-Catholic) are a recipe for serious problems down the road in that marriage. My advice to Catholic parents is, teach your children well the importance of finding a devoutly Catholic spouse. Eventually, if you haven’t taught them this maxim and they, as a result, do not act on it, you will very likely see problems springing up in your extended family due to your sons and daughters being, in a certain sense, unequally yoked with non-Catholics. Word to the wise. Take a listen . . . .

What do you think of this post?
  • interesting (76)
  • cool (23)
  • funny (14)
  • wow (17)
  • pshaw! (44)

Enter the Conversation...

101 Responses to “My Advice to Catholic Parents: Don’t Let Your Kids Date Non-Catholics”
  1. Emmanuel says:

    The Catholic Church IS OBVIOUSLY OBSTINATE about raising every fruit of marriage in the Catholic doctrine. This is rather selfish in a mixed marriage if I would say.

    What would be the say of the non-catholic partner (especially a committed one) on the spiritual well-being of the children (especially in line with his faith)? How convenient would it be for the non-catholic partner to support the spouse in raising the children as expected by the church? This can be a very potent source of strive in the family.

    Divergence in religious beliefs can be a serious ‘strife generator’ in the home. Peaceful home is important in having smooth relationship with God. We can always avoid serving God in conflicting home atmosphere: not having the hearts of the couple as one.

    So, I’ll go with the advice, let everyone marry a partner who can resonate with his faith: catholics marry catholics, protestants marry protestants.
    GOD BLESS OUR HOMES. May we not all miss the marriage supper of the Lamp. JESUS REMAINS THE LORD FOREVER!

  2. Tony says:

    My Aunt a catholic active in the Newman society in college, was married to a non catholic a protestant my grandmother was upset about it, but being he was a nice guy she accepted him, well before the of both of them passing away my grandmother passed away he became an atheist, he was cremated and had his ashes spread with no protestant service and guess what my aunt she passed away was not a practicing catholic also was cremated and had her ashes spread.

  3. Alex McLean says:

    Coming from a Catholic mother and a Protestant father and having just attended my sister’s wedding less than two months ago I have to say that your stance is absolute garbage. My parents were both military children and my father was an Air Force officer and they made their marriage work through with two kids in one of the hardest situations to have a successful relationship: a military family. Through deployments, moving, changing schools, states, even going to other countries my parents have kept their marriage going through a fire almost no one could possibly understand who does not serve. I saw the willing sacrifice and mutual respect they had in their relationships and others of my family and God intended them to be together above and beyond anything the church may have thought. In fact the priest almost refused to do the wedding even after all the paperwork but no one was going to stop my grandfather from making sure his son married the woman he loved, especially not when he was a USMC Col. veteran of three wars on a USMC barracks and the father of the bride was a Air Force veteran of the same wars. My parents have been married for over 36 years now, raised two kids, and I wouldn’t trade the life I had for any other on this planet. Were there tough times? Yes. Arguments at times? Yes. But they are still together and will be till they both are welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven.

  4. APC Carrier says:

    For every catholic dating a non-catholic there is a catholic from the opposite sex unavailable to find a catholic for marriage.

    It is the reality of things.

    That is a reason sticky enough to close lines and refuse to date non-catholics.

    On top of that, only the Catholic Church has a solid position against contraception; which means that if you date a non-catholic you are likely to face quarreling over the use of condoms (in the best case scenario).

    Finally, Father Chad Ripperger (in his conference “Our Lady ‘s view of Our time) explains that he worked as deacon in a divorce court with a nun. Both observed that less than 5% of divorces are between two catholics, that the numbers skyrocket among protestants who divorce to marry a catholic, and the middle place belongs to protestants divorcing from catholics.

    • Magda says:

      Get real- fact is most Catholics do use contraception whether they marry Catholics or non-Catholics and whether they use them for medical reasons or contraceptive reasons- that’s a reality&most Catholic women do not discuss their contraceptive/family planning methods nor sex lives with their parish priests and that’s not a lie&I certainly know if I was married I would never discuss my family planning methods with a priest- I would just smile if the priest would offer me NFP advice- I know I will never use NFP- but the priest doesn’t need to know that. I am not sexually active and I am on the pill for endometriosis- my parish priest doesn’t know that I am on the pill or that I have endometriosis- frankly my medical history and treatment plants are not of his business- PRIESTS are not Jesus Christ& I don’t have a personal relationship with my parish priest, but with Jesus Christ and in the end Christ can only make me righteous before God on judgement day not any Parish Priest. Also, I have no desire to get off of the mini pill- because I don’t want to have multiple surgeries every year just because the Church or the Pope hates the pill and to be honest at least I finally have my cycle in sync and in control for once in my life and I don’t need to be on multiple pain killers for cramp&endometrial pain& and I am lowering my risk of ovarian/uterine/endometrial cancers thanks to my Progesterone only pill- as endometriosis thrives on combined pills and on estrogen. Also, when it comes to my body&family planning&women’s issue I trust my OB/GYN and Family doctor over any Parish Priest anyway.

  5. Michael says:

    I think this is a truth that is not discussed as openly as it should be. Is it impossible for a mixed marriage to work? No. I think the chances against it are far greater than a Catholic marriage. Life is hard enough as it is. Marriage is hard enough as it is to not be 100% in-sync with your spouse on a spiritual basis.

    • Emma says:

      You do prove some good points however, I personally disagree. As a Lutheran who has attended a Catholic school, I believe that dating between denominations is perfectly fine. In fact, I know a couple that is happily married between denominations. Lutherans and Catholics are different through their ways of worship and sacrament, however we still both believe that we will go to heaven one day due to Jesus’ love and mercy. In fact, from my experience of attending a Catholic school as a Lutheran, I believe that marrying a Catholic or Lutheran spouse will strengthen your faith in whatever denomination of Christianity you belong in. Marriage should not be a completely spiritual thing either. After all, God has plans for you and maybe this special someone is in your life for a certain reason.

  6. David says:

    I agree with your suggestion that Catholics and Protestants should not marry. I happen to be Protestant and see this the other way as well. I understand that we believe in the same savior and share other core beliefs, but yet we have distinctly different doctrines and beliefs as well.

    I won’t allow my daughter to date a Catholic boy (or a boy of another religion for that matter) as the two would simply be unequally yoked; he must be a Biblical Christian. Following the explicit and implied guidance of God’s Word, a person should not date another if he/she isn’t spouse material. As they would be unequally yoked, there is no sense in dating. The implications that can and will occur are obvious, and I sure hope that anyone seeking the information in this blog takes the issue seriously.

    God bless you all and have a Happy New Year!


    • K says:

      I agree with you David. I knew as soon as my daughter started dating a “non-practicing” Catholic we would have problems. Sure enough, they were married in our church. Had a beautiful son then BAM! The Catholic Church did not regonize their marriage so their son “wasn’t allowed” to be christened in their church. So…….my daughter converted. I was devastated! It was like a kick in the stomach. Did she convert just so he could be baptized? Did they have to go through another marriage ceremony? Her husband still does not attend church. I know I should not judge, even GOD doesn’t judge us until we’re dead. But, it has caused unnecessary bad feelings between us. Please don’t tell me, you’re the parent act like it. This is my daughter and grandson and I miss them. We can no longer talk about religion without hurt feelings. I feel like 24 years has gone down the drain. And yes, I pray everyday that I can accept her choice and be comforted that it all turns out ok.

  7. Victor says:

    The opposite applies – I am a non-catholic and will never let my children socialise, date or even play sport with catholics.
    Catholicism is a sickness and an evil religion. I am confident my kids will never be infected…

    • Jeff says:

      Ouch!!! That’s not very nice Victor…
      Sounds like there is something deep going on there. God bless you friend.
      This Catholic will keep you in prayer!!

      • Kateri Blackwing says:

        you are a hypocrite when I was young I use to play with the Catholic kids in my block we had a great time so Shame on You

  8. Shimmy Yea says:

    This is nothing but religious elitism. This kind of odious intolerance is exactly why young people are leaving the church in droves.

  9. Harvey says:

    Perhaps I’m the exception but, being a former lifetime, science educated atheist, my experiences with my Catholic fiance and the subsequent searching had, for the first time in my life, led me to want to convert and live a life in Christ. I totally want a sacramental marriage and my fiance, who did nothing but serve as an example, is overjoyed at my evolution.
    Of course the whole story is a long one but I’ve come to this point, something that wouldn’t have happened if my fiance took the advice in this column. I realize this is a rare event, but all rules have exceptions.

  10. Ryguy says:

    Wow. Just wow. I don’t think it makes a difference what denomination you are in. This is like telling somebody to rather be with someone that is employed for ExxonMobil than somebody who works for BP. What difference does it make? I’m sorry to say this but I think the Catholic religion has been hijacked by progressives who want you to live by their standards. I think God gave us the free will to be with whoever we would like to be with. This just makes matters worse out there for people who are looking for their love of their life. Jesus wouldn’t care what denomination you were in. He just wants you to be happy with each other. Just because the communist Pope says that climate change is real doesn’t mean it’s real. You only listen to God’s word, not man. This is just unbelievable. Sounds snobbish. Are you going to hate your sons or daughters relationship if one of them isn’t Catholic? If you do, you have a problem. I have seen relationships torn apart from this situation and it’s a bunch of bull. You better do your research. You better do your research on how corrupt the papacy is to. It’s hard to understand that the Vatican is sitting on all that gold and hundreds of billions of dollars and they are not putting it to good use. There are Christians getting butchered in the middle east but the Marxist pope wants to talk about climate change??! Give me a break! Yep, seems like a nice guy and all but there is a mean wolf underneath that wool. Wake up.

  11. Nichole Rheaume says:

    My husband is Catholic, and I am not but want to be, I can understand what you are saying as I have found my foundation because I am not, is not as strong as his. I wish I was given the tools earlier as he was, because our decision making at this time isn’t rooted in the same place and I do see this causing issues, but I am proud to say I am making my way closer to God everyday.

  12. Josephine says:

    Dear Editor,
    I also believe that Catholics are not bad as they say they do. One time this guy was making fun of him for being Catholic and how bad Catholics are, see this guy who made fun of the Catholic guy was, but is not Christian anymore. He kept on making fun of him and I looked him in the eye and said ” Does thall shall not judge ring a bell to you, because who is the only one who can judge, the Lord is” I said!

    So yes there is people who judge Catholics in a bad way and ones that don’t.

  13. Josephine says:

    Dear Editor,

    It happens to be that a Catholic boy just asked me out. Only I totally disagree with what you have to say, because I am a christian which does not belong to any denomination. Only that I believe a lot of concepts the Catholics do. So think of it this way both teenage boy and teenage girl believe in the same God, the Lord, believe in the Holy Trinity, Communion and believe Mary is important. I also have a Grandmother who is Catholic and has me study and talks about her religious beliefs. Yes, we may have disagreements and so does everyone though. We all have differences, it is the same with religion!

    Yours Truly,

  14. Karen says:

    Hey, Patrick. We have developed a VOCATION TRAINING mini-course for our 18 year old (we homeschool) that focuses heavily on Dating/Courtship/Marriage. Your post, as well as the audio, is part of it (private email me if you would like the curriculum outline). As usual, you are spot-on. I was a casualty of the ‘love conquers all’ fallacy; ended in divorce. Annulment and great marriage ending, but a 26 year road! Why go through that? Great advice, Patrick. Pax.

    • lorie says:

      I too had married a non catholic and it was the biggest mistake of my life. Our morals were so different that raising kids on the same values was impossible, he fought me on going to church when he wanted to fish instead, supported immodest dress in our daughters (he followed the “everyone’s doing it so it must be ok” mantra), and so many other, even worse problems arose. We divorced and our marriage was thankfully annulled and I remarried a catholic man and are so well suited that we still have never even argued after 5years! We have two children together and he is a wonderful, faithful, morally upstanding father. My oldest girls, who are in their late twenties have seen both worlds and say they will only ever marry a catholic man!

  15. Catherine says:

    WHAT IF God has a plan for a person to convert to the Catholic faith DUE to dating a Catholic?? You just never know! I know a woman who met a Protestant and became engaged to him. He converted to the Catholic faith before engagement. However, he discerned he wanted to become a Priest. WOW. As for me, I am a 34 year old never married Catholic woman since birth. My first and only boyfriend in my whole life was an Anti-Catholic Protestant. I was unaware he was ANTI-Catholic as he must have hidden that from me at the beginning of our relationship. I was aware he was Protestant but didn’t expect all the verbal Anti-Catholic rants from him. Yes, he was verbally abuse and the final straw was him stating to me he would never marry me unless I got out of the Catholic faith! After that, I decided I would never date a Protestant. I also decided that because I realized I needed to give myself a chance to date a Catholic man. I’ve never experienced that and feel I need to. However, that has been a hard road for me as all the Catholic men I’ve taken interest in, are not reciprocating my interest in them. I have tried to ask a Catholic man out, but my efforts toward seem not to reach that point in a friendship. They disappear on me before I could even ask them to go on an outing, lol. Obviously, I’ve never been asked out by a Catholic man, BUT I get asked out by many Protestants. It’s strange because I am a devout Catholic woman and I am back to thinking that maybe God does want to pair me with a Protestant. If I never get to date a Catholic, I guess I will go back to giving a Protestant man a chance.

    • John says:

      Dear Catherine you have many excuses in life why you are not accomplishing in life what you think you desire. I don’t think you know your Catholic Faith as well as you could. If indeed you desire a spouse Pray to Jesus for that to come to pass. Jesus will provide the most perfect Catholic man for you to share your life with. Pray to Jesus what your true path in life should be. The Apostles asked Jesus if they should tell all his followers that they should all be married with families (children). Jesus replied those who are to be married will be married. Jesus said some people cannot be married because of who they are what they do or what has been done to them. I never thought about getting married but yet Jesus provided me with the most perfect woman for me to share my life with. So perhaps God wants you to do something else with your life. It is a joy to be single you have more time to Praise God. Lastly hang around Catholics at Church more. All my life I have been able to attract Catholic girls without even trying. Its something I recognize in Catholic girls . I see that genuine Love of Jesus in them, that certain respect and joy in life that Catholic girls seem to have. Catholic girls are awesome,they have such a sense of personal worth in Jesus’ eyes and they have a wonderful respect for their sexuality that makes them so much fun and fulfilling to be with. I think you are selling yourself short go on more Catholic retreats,Acts retreats etc. Learn more about your wonderful Faith and how much God loves you and has a plan for you,just ask him.

      • Catherine says:

        Thank you kindly for your advice. Recently, I have discerned it’s possible I may remain single but I shall keep it in mind. I
        was not a person to seriously want marriage until I was 28 years old. That was 6 years ago. Before age 28, I was working full time and going to college full time all year round. I was not focused on dating at all during those years.

        You mentioned I may not know my Catholic faith as much as I could. Truly, I became closer and more knowledgeable about my Catholic faith during the time I was being persecuted with all the Anti-Catholic talk. I had gained a burning desire to convert this person due to all the common lies he stated about the church. Converting him had become my goal rather than making this ex of mine my husband at the time. : ) On the side, I gave him many Lighthouse Catholic Media apologetic CD’s too. I bought him apologetic DVD’s as well. : ) I did leave him quiet many times. My Bible typology explanations and my explanation of Mary being the New Eve left him speechless. 🙂

        Your other advice is for me to hang around more Catholic friends and that I attend church retreats, etc. I do have a few married friends from church. In fact, 2 of my married couple friends each have 7 kids!Awesome. I set one couple up together 16 years ago. They were a match made in heaven and now they are married with 7 kids. I babysit their 7 kids from time to time so that they can go on their occasional date night(about once every 2 months).

        Thank you again for your advice.

        • Shane says:

          I think that is a terrible thing to tell a kid. I was raised Catholic my whole life and tried as hard as I can to follow all the “rules” that the Catholic Church set out. It was so frustrating for me, because I listened in religion class and attended a Catholic School. I never understood why I was never able to follow all the rules that they set out. I was above average in my knowledge. I was then starting to not believe in God and actually completely ignored everything about it; it pushed me further away from him than I could ever imagine. When I was 23 years old I was tired of all of my sin and I “Called out on Jesus Christ.” Amen I say to you he saved me right then and there..I gave my life to him..there was not one sin that I did not ask for him to take away from me. Just like the bible says to call out on him..I did! Jesus saved me from the bondage I was living in and it was by having a personal relationship with him. Catholics are filled with hard tradition and how you should act when they fail to tell you how to truly have a relationship with Christ. He opened my eye to the world and I strive to be like him in everything that I do…but the crazy thing is that I know truth..I’m not living in man’s tradition any Jesus says that that heathen does..I choose to bare my cross daily and he leads me with his Spirit. My life changed one-hundred percent since that day. I was born again…most true Christians that experienced this will not get back into Catholicism. That is a true statement. Now back to the dating part…I think it’s so wrong for any parent to tell a kid not to date a Catholic..I’ve met some nice Catholic woman who would not date me because of they’re set in tradition..they say that the church is against it and most of them do not have a true relationship with Christ..instead they have a relationship with the Church..It’s sad seeing, but all you can do is pray about it.

  16. Rebecca says:

    I am an 18 year old girl and I agree. I have dated Catholic and non-Catholic and I have de ided for the most part to date Catholic guys from now on or a guy interested in the faith or so ething similar. Dating someone who doesn’t share your faith takes a toll on you and can often end the relationship. I have two friends that date, niether is Catholic but they are different Protestant denominations and their differences have caused so many issues in their relationship. I just want to be able to date someone who has the sam beleifs and I dont have to worry about how they thonk on certain things. You both are looking for the same things and can support each other. And this way you won’t be too attached to someone that is a different faith and then have to solve the issues later like before getting married or something.

    • John says:

      Becca slow way down you are way too young to get into a serious relationship. You should be focusing on your education and by the way seek out a good Catholic college or university to attend. It makes your life so much easier and fun when you go to a school that is Catholic and you are surrounded by people of your Faith, or at least get involved in your Catholic Parish. It is the best place to meet guys. You are absolutely right about dating Catholic guys. You don’t see it now you are young, but when you are married and have your children don’t you want to have a man that supports you shares your Catholic Faith and is willing to help you raise your children in the Catholic Church? Of course you do. Enjoy your life right now that you are single you can get married later in life, a good age is 32 to 35 when you have your education, career and life plan with God figured out.

  17. Sara says:

    Our son is a 36 year old college graduate who has decided in the past few years that he would like to settle down. He began searching on the dating websites and has begun to date a young devout Baptist girl and seems to be quite smitten with her. She is very involved in her church and he attends the Catholic church but never really involved even though he attended 12 years of Catholic schools. My husband feels a need to talk to him and share his thoughts on an interfaith marriage and the problems they could face. My husband is a very diplomatic person and if anyone could handle something delicately, it is him. Any advice?

    • John says:

      Tell your Son he will lose his Faith his children will not be Catholic and he will enter into a downward spiral that will probably kill him. Same thing happened to me, sure he sees the woman now attractive sexually,he will do anything to get that. When the children come he will have a horrifying reality that his wife will want to raise the children Baptist. I also have 12 years of Catholic school and you take it for granted that all folks have Catholic Beliefs,wrong!. He will be sad that he is taken away from the Catholic Sacraments especially the Holy Eucharist. My sister married a Baptist 42 years of agony that man beats her over her head about her Catholic Faith every chance he gets,she has suffered so much in her life she has terrible health,all I can do is Pray for her.

  18. Joe Bigliogo says:

    The author clearly does not understand human psychology. If you tell them who they can’t date, that is exactly who they will date. Who to like or love is a choice people reserve for themselves. Friendly advice is one thing but to forcibly interfere will surely be met with outrage and hostility. It may even jeopardize your own relationship.

    • John says:

      You shouldn’t stand by doing nothing when someone is about to walk off a cliff. As a Catholic Christian you should pray for them and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words to say to them to perhaps change their current path. We all have free will but the kind words of Jesus can and will save us from ourselves.

      • Shimmy Yea says:

        You equate marrying someone not of the same denomination with “walking off a cliff”? God that is offensive. For moral obtuseness you take the cake.

  19. Jackie says:

    I told my kids all while growing up, that they should marry Catholics so they can raise their kids in the faith. They didn’t listen to me on that and they don’t listen to me on anything and not a single one is really living his/her faith! I did the best I could and I tried so hard. I don’t know what else I could have done.

    • Steve says:

      Pray to the Blessed Mother for your kids. The scripture says we should not nag our children lest they become discouraged. The gates of Heaven are narrow,many will be called few will enter. If you have done all you could for your children and their Faith, then Pray. It is their responsibility now. Enjoy your ,you praise God now with your free time now that children are grown.

      • Josephine says:

        What if I am converting to Catholicism?

      • Michael says:

        I’m 62, never married, and SWM Catholic. When I was younger long ago, no one ever talked about marriage between Catholics and non-Catholics. I have five siblings. None of them married Catholics. Two of my brothers raised their kids as Catholics, one did not. He has left the church completely. My youngest sister married at age 50 to a non-Catholic. She did not have a church wedding. I still haven’t met her husband, and they’ve been married over 5 years. The marriages have lasted, but I don’t know where God is in the picture.
        My oldest sister and I never married. I had health issues beginning at age 20. I had a few dates, and quit dating at age 46. I can recall a few Catholic girls I would gladly have married had I been able to date them at the right time in life ie. my 20s. That did not happen. The two I think of married and got divorced later. I went to public universities a tough place to meet Catholic girls. The best way to get in line to meet a possible Catholic spouse is go to a Catholic college. Had I known that 40 yrs. ago I might have found someone. My dating career ended at 46. The struggle to find anyone worthwhile was too much. I was worn out from sifting through piles of losers and misfits. Most women I met were divorced or single moms. None were Catholics–most had long since given up any religion. I got no guidance on marriage or dating from my late parents. They did not have the knowledge or could not take the time to help me there. Result–I never knew how to launch the search for a proper spouse. I would not recommend being single for a life choice–it’s full of temptations, loneliness, and quiet suffering. If you can marry, do so, your life will be so much richer and pleasant. It can also protect you from so many bad people and evils in this life. Good luck

    • Shimmy Yea says:

      So they’re not Catholic, so what! Maybe they’re also not Hindu, not Muslim, not Buddhist, not a whole lot of religions. Faith choices are up to each one of us and we should not be faulted for choosing something different than you. You need to learn respect for those who don’t share your faith if you want the same respect offered to you as a Catholic.

  20. Mary says:

    Thank you, Patrick for your radio advice here. My 17 year old son has been dating a 16 year old “Catholic” for six months and says he will continue to do so until he leaves for college in another six months. I am upset because the girl is pro abortion, as are her “Catholic” parents who voted for Obama. I told my son pro abortion people are Catholic in name only.
    I know she is a nice girl and a good girl in her own way (doesn’t go to Mass every Sunday and that is fine with her liberal parents) but I feel he could do so much better if he waits to find a real Catholic.
    He says he is not going to marry her. So why would he continue on for another six months? In my generation we called this “going steady” or “engaged” but now these kids date for a solid twelve months and then expect to just deal with the wounded emotions in the breakup.

    I’m interested to read all the bloggers whose marriages to non Catholics DID work out but I also agree with those who wrote that you should not take the huge risk of entering a mixed marriage and “yoking yourself unequally with a non believer”, as Scripture tells us.

    Patrick’s advice is correct. But I guess in the end God can bring peace out of turmoil.

    • Andrew says:

      He is young he will not marry soon. Encourage him to stay in school get an education and career. Tell him he has til he is 100 years of age to be married (their generation will live that Long),why rush it. Don’t sweat the young generation they think differently. Tell him 35 to 40 is a good age for a young man to marry nowadays since they will live so long. Abortion yea that stinks. When I hear somebody talk so nonchalant about abortion the killing of a separate human being and soul that God created, I steer the conversation to what their mother must have been going through when she became pregnant with them,perhaps she wanted to abort them,perhaps their father wanted to abort them in order not to mess his life up with another babbling kid. They tend to quiet down pretty quick. I have lost a little niece to abortion when I think that we as a Catholic family were denied having this little child with us it breaks my heart. All I could do for her was Pray to God that he would receive her into his arms and that I could be her Baptism Godparent in her memory.

  21. Bob Johnson says:

    There is only one solution. DONT TELL YOUR KIDS WHO TO DATE! Let them figure it out on their own or else you have a whole lot of resentment coming your way.

    • Jeff says:

      Doing that would be passing on your God-given duty as a parent/father to shepherd your children. You’re supposed to fear God, not man (or the resentment you may or may not receive).

    • Mark says:

      I think Jesus would want you to council and guide your children lovingly. Pray to the Holy Spirit for kind words to tell your children, If you don’t do it who will? You can’t not do anything that’s what satan wants

  22. Rose M. says:

    I am a cradle Catholic, and I have been married to my husband for 17 years. We met when I was a nominal, card-carrying, American, teenage Catholic. I was so immersed in our secular culture that it did not ever occur to me that my future husband’s faith would matter. I was obviously clueless about much more than just my faith, but about marriage as well. Looking back, I was an obedient child that attended mass every Sunday because it was expected of me. I went through what used to be called, C.C.D, and is now referred to as R.E., or Religious Education, in the 80’s so that accounts for only part of the reason why my formation was sketchy at best. The greatest contributing factor was that I was too busy being an average adolescent and then teenager that I didn’t grasp the profound beauty and majesty of our faith. I didn’t appreciate how far and how wide the Truth is engrained in the sacred Traditions of the Catholic Church. My husband was baptized Presbyterian, but was not raised in the church. He was raised by a single-mother who blamed God for her terrible divorce to his biological father, so she made no effort to bring my husband or his brother to any church. When I met my husband in college I recall assuming that he was Catholic because he has an Irish last name. I was shocked to find out that he was not, but it did not deter me from pursuing a relationship with him. My parents, who are also cradle Catholics, did not try to dissuade me from dating him either because my husband truly is a good man. He has always been a very good man that loves God, but does not feel that he needs to worship him on Sundays in a building. He claimed then, and still professes that he is spiritual, not religious. Well…as a smitten 19 year-old , and I was taken aback by his conviction. I even thought it was noble. Ask me now that I am 41 and hanging on by a thread to raise our children in the Catholic faith on my own, and my response would not be so positive. Yes, he fully supports my efforts to raise the children Catholic. He even signed an agreement stating that he would raise our kids in the Catholic Church during our Pre-Canna marriage prep classes. We were even counseled by a priest, but I don’t ever recall having second thoughts about marrying my non-Catholic fiance. Yes, I have been praying for his conversion ever since my “reversion” to the church. My metanoia experience happened after our first child was born. I realized that I could not raise my baby on my own , and that I needed God’s assistance. I surrendered everything to Him, and I felt such an overwhelming glow of peace and love overcome every part of my being. I knew from that moment on that he would never leave me nor forsake me. He would be my rock. After that experience it was as though I had been awoken from a 31 year spiritual coma and my soul was starving. I fed any spiritual nourishment that crossed my path. I had a new baby, so my time and resources were limited. I attended our parish Mom’s group meetings, bible studies, I read spiritual books, and began attending mass regularly again. I had stopped going to mass during my first year of college, so I spent a long season away from the Church. I finally learned what it meant to be Catholic. I finally really looked at the Sacraments with clear eyes filled with awe and wonder. I was so excited that I wanted to share this with my husband, but he was not so excited to hear about it. He realized that he did not marry a practicing Catholic, so he was not so eager to change his way of living. Nor did he have any intention of becoming Catholic himself- – ever. He has always known this, but I never really thought about it..until now. I just want to be able to participate in the sacraments together, and to be able to teach the faith to our children together. I have been praying for his conversion, and I know that only the Holy Spirit can change his heart. I love my husband, and I love and trust that God will choose to answer my prayer in His own way and in His own time. Our two children will be 10 and 12 respectively, and we will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary next year. So..that is a long winded response in favor of a Catholic pursuing a non-Catholic future spouse if the non-Catholic is open to conversion prior to receiving the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

    • Richard says:

      Sorry Rose it sounds like that is your cross to bear. Many women are desperate to marry and this is what you get. My coworker was telling me of her same situation,but he didn’t even want to marry her in the Catholic Church. You have had a good life. Pray to God for his help,in reality this man did not hide anything from you. Jesus knew he could not convert everybody. All you can do is Pray for a miracle that he will change his mind. With God anything is possible. You could however divorce and live alone to praise God.

  23. Michael says:

    I dated a Evangelical Protestant for about 8 and1/2 months. My previous relationship with a lukewarm Catholic did not go well. So I justified me going out with this new girl because she cared more about her spiritual life and God was more present in our relationship. However it just ended. I did not want to break up with her at and I loved her. She did not want it to end either. It was rough knowing that one wanted the other one to convert eventually. I tried to explain points of the Catholic faith, but she was not very open to the Church. It has been a painful experience. I know it’s probably worth it. These days it’s hard to find a good Catholic girl, there are so many lukewarm Catholics. But knowing what happened now I will search for a Catholic girl or a girl who is open to the Catholic Church.

    • Roxanne says:

      You should try That’s where I found my new husband of 4 months; we are now expecting our first baby and couldn’t be happier. Neither one of us thought we would find a devout “true” Catholic living the Faith after our divorces and Annullments. But we were wrong. Put yourself in the right places, pray, have Faith, take part in all the Sacraments you can on a regular basis…and you’ll find her if it is the Will of God.

    • Terese says:

      Plenty of good Catholic girls ready to get married out here. You must not be putting out the right signals don’t be lukewarm yourself. Maybe you need to ask Jesus to help you find a good girl if that is your path. Catholic girls are sincere love the Blessed Mother and want to have a Holy, God centered home. Pray to Jesus he invented Catholic Matrimony.

  24. PJ says:

    Two options:
    1. Catholics date Catholics
    2. Catholics date non-Catholics with the requirement that the non-Catholic converts to Catholicism before being married.

    “Mixed Marriages” are non-Catholic; for, pressed to their logical extreme, could a Catholic marry a Satanist? Obviously, the answer is no, and likewise with any others who are non-Catholic.

    • Teresa says:

      Mixed marriage refers to interchurch, or cross-denominational, relationships. A marriage to a satanist would be an interfaith marriage, not a mixed marriage, as the catechism defines it. And actually, both are valid, it says so in the catechism, providing both partners are willing. In a mixed marriage, the couple generally does not have a nuptual mass; nor will an interfaith marriage have that. But, the Catholic church recognizes both as valid. I recommend reading the catechism in more detail, it’s all in there! (and hey, I’m Anglican, so clearly it’s not too difficult to understand 🙂 )

    • Andrew says:

      Jesus does not want you to marry somebody with the hopes of converting them. That’s like having a baby in order to qualify for a child’s admission ticket price. You want a Catholic girl attend Mass more frequently or a Catholic school many many Catholic girls there. You are looking for love in all the wrong places. You want a girl that is close to God go to where God is..Catholic Churches or Schools.

    • Shimmy Yea says:

      What are you talking about “two options”? The church doesn’t even demand conversion and fully supports marrying non-Catholics as long as offspring are raised Catholic. You put out an ultimatum like that, I guarantee your kids are going to marry whoever the hell they want.

  25. Richard Goldman says:

    I was raised in an atheist family. I met a girl in high school who came from a devout Catholic family. We dated for almost a year. A couple of years after graduation, I joined the Navy and ended up marrying someone else. Ultimately that marriage, which had no evidence of God outside the birth of a beautiful baby girl, ended in divorce. Shortly before the divorce, my mother mentioned that the only girl that I had dated that she liked was the Catholic girl I wrote of in the beginning of this message. I ended up calling her. After a bit of a rocky start, we started seeing each other again and, over time, I fell deeply in love with her. We got married outside the Church. I attended mass with her every Sunday and noticed that she would never take communion. AT the same time, she was always service oriented and I always saw a great joy and peace in her. i wanted that for myself. Without her knowledge, I started attending RCIA at our church. The priest who was running the RCIA class told me I needed to get a sponsor. When I asked my wife to sponsor me, she broke down and cried saying that she never thought I would ever become Catholic.
    Twenty years later, my beautiful wife passed away. I remain Catholic today because I know no other truth. It was my wife who led me to Christ through her magnificent example. I have since remarried to another devoutly Catholic woman. God never ceases to amaze me with his incredible love and mercy.
    So, I believe that a Catholic marrying a non-Catholic is not necessarily a bad thing. I agree that the opportunity for problems when different backgrounds are involved is far greater. But sometimes God calls us to ‘step out of the boat’. I cannot help but believe that God called us to marriage. I’m sure that it was a great challenge for my wife. But it was also my salvation.

    • Richard Goldman says:

      As a follow up to my post, I must elaborate. It is extremely important that when two people are considering marriage that they go into it with knowledge and preparation. If the background and belief system of the two parties are in opposition to each other, the chances for success are not very good. If the two parties are open to each other and open to real Truth, then differences can be overcome and a successful marriage is much more likely.
      I was very blessed that God opened my heart and mind to Him. As a result, I was able to have my marriage convalidated and God became an integral part of the marriage.
      Human love without spiritual health does not conquer all. Only God’s love can do that.

  26. Clay says:

    See, this is unpopular advice no matter what it is. You’re different religions; you have radically different political views; one or both of you are in debt or have no money. TV tells us these should not get in the way of love. Indeed, they shouldn’t get in the way of Aquinas’ definition of love- “willing the good of another” – but then again, someone else’s hating you shouldn’t get in the way of that kind of agape either; it doesn’t mean you should marry someone who hates you.

    The average person’s marriage (assuming it’s healthy) is not very romantic, nor is their courtship necessarily all that romantic. Mutual economic, spiritual, and moral support, which has as its main focus, the rearing of virtuous children is not a very sweet sounding theme, but it is healthy.

  27. Both my husband and I (our children are all little right now) will teach our children to date only other Catholics, and that they be Catholics who practice their Faith without compromise. However, I have to say that I’ve seen – not necessarily always in the marriage realm, but in other areas – in which if we had just waited on God a little while, everything turns out all right.

    So if things aren’t the way we want them right away, it seems like years down the road everything works out.

    A friend of my sisters married a Muslim man (she was Catholic). It took about fifteen years, but he converted to the Catholic Faith. Who knew? God is very, very good!

  28. Joe Morris says:

    As I am sure most of you have experienced, there are Catholics who do not conform to the teachings of the Church, and non-Cathoics who do conform. I am pleased to say that I have three in-laws who were not converted to the Catholic Church in a formal sense, but were open to the Church. It was really just a matter of time for them to enter fully into the Church, and they did.

    I would be careful to tell my children to look for Catholics in mind and heart, even if they don’t know it yet; and to avoid Catholics-in-name-only.

  29. Christopher says:

    Patrick’s reply to this young man is spot-on. I am in a mixed marriage, and we have been married for two years. My wife and her family (nondenominational Christians) are by no means anti-Catholic, but if she were Catholic, it would have made (and would continue to make) a number of aspects of our marriage a whole lot easier (i.e. methods of spacing births, child rearing, etc.).

    I love my wife very much, I pray for her conversion, and I try to be the best Catholic I can be and witness to the truths of the Catholic Church to the best of my ability, but it is certainly tough at times. And although my wife is not an unbeliever, I try to keep 1 Cor. 7:12-16 in mind.

    God Bless.

  30. gutsy but very difficult advise to follow

  31. Colleen says:

    Hi, Patrick.
    I prayed for a wonderful husband. I got the best one, an amazing man. He wasn’t Catholic when we met but converted ten years into our marriage. It was his own choice. I didn’t pressure him. He grew up with no religion and was in fact raised very anti-Catholic. Over time, I think he saw my faith and Catholic Church started to make sense to him.
    God moved his heart.
    The key is asking that God’s will be done.

    • John Baysson says:

      I think you are confusing things here Colleen. There are people who marry same sex partners and claim that it was God’s will.

      God’s will has already been made known to you through REASON. If you truly care about your Catholic faith, then you wouldn’t marry a non-Catholic person. When you consider compatibility before marriage, that is something you would consider FIRST!

      As for your marriage resulting in the good of conversion of your husband, that can definitely happen. BUT, the ends do not justify the means. The truth in this matter is that you made a unwise choice in marrying your husband. BUT, God brought forth good from it.

      That is not however be a license for anyone to act unwisely or unreasonably. God can bring about good from our wrong choices. BUT it is our responsibility to make the most reasonable choices by using the wisdom that God has given every one of us.

      What you see today are people who do not use their wisdom but simply end up making choices regarding things like marriage. They cause a lot of problems in raising up their children and in turn severely compromise the propagation of the Catholic faith.

      • Overflowing says:

        Please take all I say here in the way that it is meant–not at all in judgement, but rather, out of defense for someone else being judged. You cannot say that you know God’s will for someone else, unless you are claiming to be God–which I am sure you are not trying to do. If God places something on someone’s heart, how can you say it isn’t God’s will? Remember that it is NOT a sin to marry a non-Catholic, and the Catholic Church recognizes mixed marriages.

        Marrying someone who is not Catholic is extremely difficult, there is no question about that. It is a sacrifice, because you will always have to be on your guard. I am sure most Catholic women out there would love to end up with a man that is a powerhouse of faith, and they seek that. Sometimes, though, God has bigger plans for you than you have for yourself. If you close yourself off to God’s will, and decide, “Nope, I am only going to marry a Catholic”, that is actually extremely prideful. Who are you to tell God what you will and will not do? What if HIS plan is for you to marry someone that is not Catholic? Again, if it were a sin to do so, this would be an entirely different conversation. But it is not a sin.

        As long as the person you are marrying honestly and truly respects your faith, and agrees ahead of time not to get in the way of that faith (i.e. agrees to not using contraception, raising the children Catholic, going to Mass, etc.), and if you know that this person and marriage won’t pull you away from God, there is absolutely nothing wrong with marrying a non-Catholic. The Catholic Church allows mixed marriages, so saying that this shouldn’t be allowed is suggesting that you have a better understanding of God than a bevy of popes, and other highly religious people.

        As long as your goal in life is Jesus Christ, and you will not allow anything to pull you away from your faith, than through prayer and the sacraments God will tell you His will. Colleen feels she was drawn to marry her husband, and God used her to bring her husband to Himself. Telling her that it was NOT God’s will, and equating her marriage to a homosexual union is extremely unkind, and ridiculous. (Remember, a homosexual union is a sin, marrying a non-Catholic is not.) Again, I say this not with judgement, but out of respect and defense for a Christian sister.

  32. Mike says:

    It is important to remember that most Catholics in America are not devout- in essence, non-religious people who occasionally participate in some of the sacraments. When two people are different kinds of Christians, it can work out just fine as long as both have sufficiently removed themselves from the “devout” category. Barely religious secular folks have a bit more leeway when they wink at religion to begin with- and let’s be honest, that’s how it is with most Catholics.

  33. Pattymelt says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Just a note to say you gave good advice. My children all went to Catholic schools through high school and did not start dating until college. My son did not date in college, but met a very beautiful woman who loves the Lord in an Evangelical denomination and after dating a short while, they were married. Even though they had our parish priest witness the marriage and she said that she wanted him to be able to practice his faith, when it comes down to it he goes to her church and has not been Catholic since the wedding ceremony. They have two beautiful children (3 & 2 years) and neither of them are baptized. It does hurt a lot because I do not understand how he can give up the Eucharist so easily. I know I am not to blame, but I feel I have failed as a mother.

    • Patti says:

      My daughter did the same thing. She went to Catholic school for grade school and when she got out of college she married a man that wasn’t a real devout christian. But, he talked her into going to the Methodist church and being members there. I was praying after they had there first child they would start going to the Catholic church, but anyway they just baptized their baby at 1 yr. Methodist. Whats weird is that they both agree to send her to the Catholic school. Seems a little strange but what can you do but pray.

  34. Fernanda says:

    I realize my view is going against the grain here. I’m a practicing Catholic woman who is happily married for ten years to a wonderful practicing evangelical Christian man. We were married in the Catholic Church and have three children who have been baptized in the Catholic Church and our oldest has received First Eucharist already. I will be honest with my daughters about the difficulties inherent in an Interconfessional marriage (I so prefer that term to “mixed marriage”). It is not an easy road and I think as a general principle, it is wise for Catholic single people to plan on seeking out and marrying a Catholic partner. However, I don’t think it is always wrong to marry a nonCatholic. I think there may be cases in which people may actually be called by God into an interconfessional marriage–I believe that is the case for me and my husband.

    Because my husband and I are both super dedicated to our respective faiths, we attend Mass and evangelical church service as a family each week. I have actually been the most deeply challenged into being a better Catholic by my evangelical friends. Just as an example, on one occasion, the pastor (who very often asks me Catholic questions–we’ve talked about justification, the Eucharist, the Rosary and the Brown Scapular among other things) and I were having a discussion in which I brought up the fact that the Sacraments were channels of God’s grace that we could always count on. He wasn’t convinced, but I went home and asked myself: “If the sacraments are so great, then why am I not making greater use of them?” Ever since then I’ve been faithfully going to confession at least once a month and it has made a profound difference in my spiritual life.

    Another fun story that happened to me once is that I happened to go to the evangelical church alone one Sunday. As I walked in the door, one of the ladies came up to me and loudly asked me how to say the Hail Mary. I was a little puzzled, but very reverently recited the prayer for her. When I was done, she said: “OK, tell me about the Rosary.” Since the service was about to start, we arranged to get together and I told her all about the Rosary at that time. So when I came home from church that day, I told my husband: “I walked into your evangelical church this morning and prayed a Hail Mary.” Then I told him the story. We both got a kick out of it.

    The way I see it is that God longs for all those evangelical Christians to come home to His True Church. If I were married to a Catholic man, it would be very easy for me to forget they exist, and I would not be as likely to get close to any of them, and as such not be as likely to also deeply long (to the point of suffering) for their homecoming. There are things that bother me about the way evangelicals “do church” but I feel that it is something I can offer up to Jesus each time (after all, it bothers Him too). In one sense, my closeness with evangelicals has given me opportunities to suffer, and I actually do see that as a blessing. I should also say this closeness has given me great joy as well. Not to mention, I have been blessed with some amazing opportunities to share my Catholic faith, and I have to wonder how else would these dear evangelical brothers and sisters get to hear about it if I wasn’t there with them? I recently invited a friend from that church to our Easter Vigil and she told me the next day that had been her second exposure to the Catholic Church (the first one being a Catholic wedding). We have plans to get together and chat so she can ask me all her questions about what she experienced during the Vigil.

    My husband landed a job teaching math and science at a nearby Catholic school. As a devoted Catholic wife I couldn’t ask for a better situation for my Protestant husband, and if he had people praying for his conversion before, he certainly does have many more now–as he is well loved as a teacher. The way he sees it, he is called to serve in my church and I am called to serve in his (though I do a fair amount at my own church as well).

    I don’t want any single people out there to read this post and get this romanticized view of how great it will be married to a Protestant. I get the feeling our situation is somewhat rare. But if you’re a Catholic parent and one of your children does fall in love with a terrific Protestant person, don’t despair. Pray, pray, pray, and just keep in mind that this very well could be part of God’s plan, so it really would be OK to be supportive (after you have issued your warnings). It really could work out well, especially where both are devoted to God as best they know how. Remember that the same Holy Spirit which has guided and protected our Church all this time also works in power in the intimate details of our lives.

    • Travis says:

      hey, I am going threw a similar situation. I am a Protestant, my girlfriend is Catholic. Can you help me in any way with my girlfriend and her family to put them at ease?? We are in love, I do feel God is calling us. We are pure, we are happy. Her family is worried about her being with me, they really crush her constantly about dating a non-catholic and get her to the point of tears, but she is so strong. She is still and has been sticking with me. I want to get on board with her family before I want to get on one knee. What should I do? any response or advise would be great! thank you!

      • Breana says:

        Hello Travis! Have you considered becoming Catholic?(:

      • Mark says:

        If you really want to marry her then convert to being a Catholic. If you can’t do that because you don’t want to or your family will balk,then I don’t really think there is an all encompassing sacrificing relationship here. Move on before you cause a lot of heartbreak. Look before you leap next time and mess with girl’s feelings.

  35. Dennis Mckenzie says:

    Mr. Madrid

    Your 100% right. My Mother told/warned me not to marry a non Catholic.
    I didn’t take her advice or that of a priest who refused to marry us.
    We ended up getting married in a United Church. Each time I brought up the subject of getting the boys baptized, a mayor war would start and last for days. As the years passed, my guilt of not going to mass on Sundays and not having our two boy baptized grew. Needless to say, with my ex-wife’s lack of any faith and the boys not baptized, our marriage ended up in divorce. Still to this day my boys one 32 and the other 28 don’t know God or Jesus.
    One of the main reasons I haven’t seen my boys in 18 years is because I’m a Catholic religion freak who attends mass every Sunday.
    I’m Loving it.
    Praise and Thank God, Our Lord and Holy Spirit
    I couldn’t have done it on my own.

    • Evan says:

      What you did, dennis, is not impressive. It is disgusting and embarrassing and you should not be thanking God for it. God said to love him and to love one another and in loving one another we love god. If u dont talk to your children, you sure as shit dont love them. Go give em a call next sunday. Have lunch. Give em a hug. God will appreciate that more than your attendance at mass. Anyone can show up there. It takes a real man to love his children.

      • Lee says:

        Evan, where to start? Your reply to Dennis was so angry and vile that I had to say something to you. Dennis is obviously hurting and missing his boys. Perhaps you have anger about some issue of your own but to lash out at Dennis that way seems very uncalled for. I pray that you will show the next person some of the love you wrote about in your reply. Just remember, talk is cheap.

        Dennis, I am adding you to my prayer list, along woth all the pthers who have commented here. I pray that your family will heal and be reconciled to each other and to God. I am so glad that you are attending Mass. God will bless you for your faithfulness. Peace be with you, Dennis.

        • Lee says:

          Hi, Patrick. If you were to correct my typos in the first line of my reply to Dennis, I would be so grateful! “Woth” should be “with” and “pthers” should be “others”. And if you are entirely too busy to do that, I would understand. I make many typos typing on my iPad but it’s just so comfortable to hold in my lap while reading. Peace be with you, Patrick, and God bless. 🙂

    • larryd says:

      If I understand your comments, the reason you dont see your sons is because of your former wifes influence. I certainly understand your suffering! I appreciate your perserverance. I pray that your boys have an awakening, you are an inspirational example of loving God first.

  36. Whimsy says:

    Our kids are young, pre-dating age. We have them pray, “Lord, help my future spouse find you before s/he finds me.” Of course, we remind them their spouse may be Our Lord or His Church!

    Regardless, in a pluralistic society I’d rather not create forbidden fruit; rather, emphasize the blessing of loving someone who loves Him.

    • JP says:

      That is beautiful! My kids are young as well and we always pray that they will be open and willing to follow God’s calling for them whether it be getting married or the priesthood/church. But I love how simple and beautifully you put it….

  37. Jim says:

    I agree on this, Patrick. Two sides to the coin…A man that I know, got married to his high school sweetheart, right out of school. She was Catholic, and he was not. It took him 16 or 17 years to come into the Church, and it was the Holy Spirit that did this.

    On the other side of the coin, I know a Catholic woman, whose late father was
    VERY adamant that his daughters marry a Catholic man. Well, she got it right
    on the third try.

    I think the key here is also how strongly rooted in the faith are these couples? Another reason for Catholics to LEARN THEIR CATHOLIC FAITH!!!!!
    No excuses!

  38. Kellee says:

    I think a big problem is that people fall away from the church. As I was entering the church 2 years ago, my husband was falling away from the church. Even before I entered the church, I encouraged and led our family in prayer, I attended mass on Sundays with him and our children and was in RCIA for 2 years before I entered the church.

  39. Suzanne says:

    LET???? PSH! It’s completely absurd to think of keeping my mid-20s sons from dating whoever they want! Get real!

    • Lee says:

      I would hope, Suzanne, that you had already raised your sons to know the right way to live. Patrick was probably talking about younger children in their earlier dating years rather than twenty-somethings. The time to teach children is when they are children. When they are grown, it may be too late. But surely a parent would still have (and want to have) some influence in her child’s life, even if that “child” was grown, even if that “child” were in his sixties or seventies. And why not? Are you certain that your sons would not honor your wishes? Do they not honor you in general?

  40. Kim says:

    I am a recent (August, 2010) convert to the Catholic faith. My husband and three children are protestant. I pray for their conversion, but it might not happen in my lifetime. Remember that St. Monica was not married to a Catholic, nor was her beloved Augustine for many years, but her prayers led to their conversion. I also hope that my daughters meet and marry faithful Catholic men, because they would be more likely to convert to the true faith. I hope these young men will not disregard my daughters because they do not yet understand Catholicism.

  41. Mary says:

    I definitely agree and am dealing now with the problems that arose because my husband is not Catholic. I am a convert and met him when I was going through some issues and was not as active in my faith. My son sees my struggles and I have told him that he should marry someone Catholic to avoid those struggles.
    I do know of many stories where one spouse converts later and I pray daily for my husband, but the difficulties can be many when you are unequally yolked. I read an article about interfaith marriage that indicated many young people fear seeming intolerant so they find it hard to decline to date someone who is of a different faith. We need to teach the problems. If, like Craig, you meet someone Catholic in belief, and you are clear that you will be married in the Catholic church and expect to worship together at mass and live according to church teaching- maybe, but what is to say the person won’t change.

  42. Blake Helgoth says:

    Why would you marry someone with whom you did not agree about the most important things? The church permits but does not encourage mixed marriages.

  43. Gesualdo Schneider says:

    I have mixed feelings on this. In theory I agree but in my case my wife was married to a heathen for 25 years before I started my journey into the Catholic Church. I am an ordained deacon now!

    I think the most important thing is an understanding of the permanency of marriage and the need to always put each other first (and that is ahead of the children). I was anti-Catholic but I was also (mostly) responsive to her needs and desires. Interestingly, she left the church for 20 years due to poor priestly actions and I was more than willing to help her leave.

    Enough rambling. All I know is I am happier than ever as a Cathoplic and she led me here.

    • B. Zanyor says:

      With all due respect I think the notion of putting yourselves first before the children is a serious misconception of the state of matrimony and dangerous. The primary reason for marriage is the procreation of children and NOT for the couple to indulge each other ahead of that responsibility. Do I agree that the couple needs time to be with each other? Absolutely! But never at the expense of the children! I hope and pray this is not what you mean. I am glad you found your faith but be careful for narrow is the path.

      • R Guerrero says:

        The familial relationship is designed to mirror that of the relationship between the members of the Trinity. The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, and out of this love springs forth a third entity….the Holy Spirit. Likewise, the husband loves the wife, and the wife loves the husband, and out of this love springs forth a third entity…a child. The relationship between the husband and wife cannot be diminished simply because there now exists a dependent child. Their conjugal love for each other is what created the child, and this love must continue to be the foundation of the family; for without this love, the child would not exist. The child does not surpass the first two beings in importance simply because it exists. In fact, it is quite the opposite….the existence of the child is designed to expand and reinforce the love which the parents already share. We, as parents, must teach our children the importance of the married relationship and their place as children in the family fold. The children are not less important; however, the marriage relationship must always take precedence. Simply look at our modern culture for a glimpse of the kind of damage that child-centered parenting can cause. Many young people today grow up believing the world revolves around them rather than that they are a physical manifestation of the love between their parents. What a blessing and joy for the children whose parents often remind them of their role in the mirroring of the Holy Trinity!

      • Mary says:

        The first person in any sacramental marriage is God Himself. After that, yes, our spouse does come second, children third. This does not mean that we don’t follow through with His command to be fruitful and multiply. This also doesn’t mean that we need to stay in a relationship that is abusive to anyone in the family. However, it does mean that our spouse comes first in our relationship in the family. Too many people, especially mothers, put their children first and damage the relationship with their spouse. The best thing we can give our children is a good, strong, healthy marriage and both spouses being involved with teaching our children the faith, including being an example to them in our marriages.

    • Lee says:

      I think what Gesualdo is referring to is the Biblical notion of a man and woman leaving their parents’ homes and cleaving to each other. I’m not sure that is what he meant. The Bible certainly does not expect the husband and wife to put themselves before the children, nor does the Church. The husband is expected to put his wife before himself, and she is expected to put her husband before herself, but both husband and wife would put their children first, if they want to be a good mother and father, that is. For the parents to put themselves first would be what is called “selfish”, would it not?

  44. Jon White says:

    Your advice is wise. The many serious issues that a married couple will confront over a lifetime, if not approached from the same firm set of principles, present numerous opportunities for marital discord and dissolution. It’s not easy even when the spouses share the same faith, because of their differences as individuals. After total trust in God, humility and the constant desire to serve one’s spouse more than one’s self are, in my humble opinion, paramount to a successful Catholic marriage.

  45. Theo says:

    I have earnstly taught my five children that Truth is singular not plural. One Truth, One God, One Faith (Catholic). Given the realities and priorities to our Lord Jesus Christ, all things must fall beneath Him, including marriage. If the children are required to place Jesus Christ first in all things, this request in marriage will naturally be the norm.

  46. Craig says:

    Starting from this attitude is absolutely, 100% important. My wife is entering the Church this Easter, but she was very much the Catholic in word, deed, and creed before that. I ensured she understood what I practiced while I dated her, and if she did not already agree on much, and was open to the rest, I would not have married her.

    The Holy Father recently noted that people no longer consider marriage indissoluble. They do not understand Catholicism at all. My wife was Catholic in mind (spiritual assent) before she was Catholic in practice, which I believe was a gift from God, a time for me to learn more about my faith (I too am a convert.)

    Ask ALL the questions. Every single one. If the person you are considering as a spouse is not 1. already a strong faithful Catholic (ideal) or 2. At least open and not opposed to the Church, in fact supportive of the Church, it is a bad idea. More often than not, if they are not Catholic (and by this I include many who are Catholic by baptism, but not by choice, even) it is a bad idea

  47. Tonya says:

    My Protestant husband supported my children attending parochial school, occassionally attended Mass, ALWAYS participated in their sacraments & later scoffed the children in the teachings of the church as he was becoming very anti-Catholic. It was very painful and he actually left our home for the matter…..

    • Mark says:

      Tonya he left because he didn’t want to be in a relationship with you, not because of God’s word. Painful as that was you are better off. Seek Jesus and ask him for his healing. Jesus is your bridegroom that will never let you down. If it is meant for you to find another relationship let God be at the center of it. For now try to heal and praise God with your extra time.

  48. Linus says:

    You are correct but good luck stopping them. And if you think your answer raised a lot of questions just start taling about modesty in dress and comportment. That would be a real bomb shell. I’ll be waiting to see what happens.

  49. JoeMcCarthy says:

    Patrick what a revelation, if my father were still around he would say, “What did I tell you?” There are inherent problems men and women are unaware because of the passion of the moment, I suppose I should say chaste, that will date me. The devout in your missive may mean different, it is an attitude, Catholicism, which pervades the very essence of all we do. It is very much a thought process. Thank you for bringing up a very old position, there are times in a marriage that the inquiry of “why?” should be already a given.

  50. Steve says:

    amen to this. I married a protest-ant (she really doesn’t practice even that) and after a yr & half she’s become more anti-catholic. Friends of hers have influenced her b/c of my stance on gay marriage, abortion, & not a fan of liberals at all. I have asked for an army of people for rosaries for her (while I have her drink holy water & make her coffee in it ha figured couldn’t hurt). I’ve been threatened with divorce twice now b/c of this (once b/c I went to daily mass while the old dog w/ cancer had a vet appointment and she wanted prayers so I went to get them. plus, it wasn’t an emergency to be at a set time). So yes listen to Mr Madrid these are wise words he speaks on this topic.

  51. Steve says:

    I agree 100% Patrick. I thought it didn’t matter for a long time. Just so long as they believe in God I told myself. Even went to Protestant churches with old girlfriends. Then they started suggesting I get baptized again. That led me to realize I really did need to marry a Catholic. Thanks be to God I found a wonderful devoutly Catholic woman who fills my life. Our marriage is rock solid and we work with the Engaged Encounter ministry Here in Orange County. I couldn’t imagine being married to a non-Catholic. She inspires me to be a better Catholic and I’m forever grateful to her and to God for leading me to her.

  52. christine says:

    You are so very right in sharing your advice. My oldest who is 28 now, went into the Navy when she was 18. While she was there she met a man, they dated for a bit and then did the unthinkable , they moved in together and married at the courthouse. All her life I have told her to stay in the faith. Do not marry outside of it, you will have problems. They married while stationed across the country, so my rants and raves did absolutely no good . Now 9 years later they have more arguments and differences of opinion than ever. Wish she would have listened.


Check out what others are saying about this post...

Share Your Thoughts...

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar for free here!
Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately...