You & Your Guy

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By Rebecca Teti


Thursday: Marriage

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Struggling in your marriage? Have some relationship advice to share? Have a marriage success story to share? Have a man/woman question? This weekly thread is the place to do it.

Come on in and join the conversation!

Rebecca Teti

Comments

  • I don't know whether or not this is a good venue for this kind of question, but I figured I'd give it a shot. All of you Catholic married women, how did you "know" that your husband was "the one"? Do you ever regret your decision to get married? Are any of you married to non-Catholics? I'm asking because I'm in a bit of a situation. I'm 22, was raised Catholic, and strayed from the faith in college. Recently, I've come back to the Church, and I couldn't be happier with that decision. I'm in a relationship with a man who isn't Catholic. We have a great friendship, but of course we have our problems. There was a time when I thought he was meant for me, but lately I've been dreaming of someone I could share my faith with. The problem is, I'm pregnant. We both feel so blessed (and ashamed! My boyfriend's family is Mormon, so this isn't exactly acceptable in his circles, either) and he has really stepped up to the plate. He comes to church with me, and has been making an effort to learn all the Catholic prayers so "someday, he can help teach them to the baby." He has also changed some of his views on contraception, and has agreed to use NFP should we get married. I know I'm lucky to have someone like him, but I still can't help feeling really uneasy at the idea of marriage. Anyway, any advice/words of wisdom/life experiences would be greatly appreciated!

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 9:55 AM by anon

  • It sounds like you both are really trying to get on the right track together now. But it's also the case that, generally, Catholic parishes wouldn't let you marry yet under the circumstances. It's too easy for people in the situation you're in to get married b/c they "have to" and not to really make the decision "freely and without reservation." So for now, I'd stick with what you're doing: trying to work things out since there is another person in the equation now, continuing to really discern whether you are right for each other, and growing in your faith. Good counseling/direction from a solid priest would, I think, be a lot of help right now. I know people in mixed marriages, some of whom have a very hard row to hoe trying to raise the kids nearly on their own with a spouse who doesn't respect them or their faith, some of whose spouses joined the Church after several years of marriage, some who had good marriages but whose kids, when adults, were insistent on marrying someone from the same faith so as to avoid the struggles they saw growing up, and some for whom things apparently worked out smoothly and their adult kids are Catholic with no strong aversion to mixed marriages. So there's no one-size approach here; what really is God's plan for one couple may be disastrous for another. Blessings to you both as you work this out!

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:12 AM by Anna

  • I disagree that most parishes wouldn't let you get married under the circumstances. They have to let you get married as long as 1) you are both open to children and 2) you agree to raise the children Catholic, 3) you do whatever Pre-Cana or marriage prep that is required by the parish. Obviously you would also have to be a Baptized Catholic and it sounds like you are. I think the fact that you are carrying his child is a darned good reason to marry him. It is much better for the child to have married parents. This fact alone might trump other factors like mixed marriage. It does sound like you would benefit from some Catholic counseling to help with you discernment.

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:32 AM by Monica (momof2)

  • Anon, offering prayers for your situation. Finding a spiritual director to speak to will help I'm sure. Time with God in adoration. Being open to the Holy Spirit. Praying for wisdom and discernment in your situation. Marriage is a big decision and it shouldn't be something you feel you have to do because of the baby. It would probably not be the best way to begin a marriage but God can work through this if it is his will for you to be married. Praying for peace and strength for you as well.

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:38 AM by Jay

  • It's true that they'd be more likely to let you marry if you fulfill the requirements Monica listed. But given that you weren't engaged when you got pregnant and it sounds like you have some serious reservations about marriage to him right now, you wouldn't be able to truthfully answer the questions asked at the wedding - and those answers are necessary for a valid marriage. "Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?" does not sound like a question you can honestly say yes to right now. And feeling "forced" into marriage by the pregnancy could spill over into resentment against the child during hard times in the marriage (even if they're the standard hard times that everyone has). But it's true that it's generally best for kids to have their parents married to each other, which is why I encourage you to keep doing what you're doing - discerning, trying to stay together, but not rushing. But, anon, it's also true that there's no perfect solution at this point; I often wish that the effects of my sins were as erasable as the sins themselves in confession!

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:53 AM by Anna

  • Dear Anon, I will pray for you and may I suggest that you make an appointment with a priest at your parish and lay all this out for him? He may tell you that you can marry now or he may suggest that you wait until after the baby is born or he may even suggest that you marry civilly now so that the baby isn't born out of wedlock and then go through pre-Cana, etc. and marry in the Church later. Remember a marriage must be free, faithful, and fruitful. From what you say here, I wonder if you would be free to enter this marriage right now. A good priest is a better judge of that than some random woman on the internet, though. I really love this article by Calah Alexander. This article talks about her journey from being an unwed pregnant drug addict to being a Catholic and the wife of her child's father. http://www.patheos.com/Catholic/Long-Road-Calah-Alexander-06-08-2012.html Let me warn you, though, that some of her other articles have a tendency to make me feel stressed and depressed, so if you like this, there's no guarantee that other articles will help you.

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 12:15 PM by Alice

  • My husband and I have married 16yrs. Right my health is bad waiting. On disability. Fplease pray for us..

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 2:45 PM by Mary Mauldin

  • Based on the way you say he has stepped up to the plate, I would say you have FOUND THE ONE! :) :) How do you know? He respects and loves you enough to respect your faith & the life of your baby. What more are you looking for? A Catholic could leave the Church, too -- it works both ways. But someone who respects and loves you enough to put that love into concrete actions for you... that is a man who is building his love on solid rock. Who knows? You may be just the person to bring him into the Church someday! This guy sounds like a keeper. I would not let him go! Those who say don't settle... don't settle for *what*?! A great guy, friend, and man who is stepping up to the plate in a big way and honoring you and his child? Um, wow. Just wow.

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 4:40 PM by wife of a convert

  • It is easier to say convert before you are married than to convert afterwards. And then .... think about it. Get and give time for the development of Christian Catholic maturity. I know one case in particular that the hub converted beforehand and they are now divorced. Time beforehand is also needed for dating. Why is this couple getting married in the first place? Not good. Why the pressure to get married. That is annulment country. You are in the hole before you start. Don't get married civilly or live together or do anything to jeopardize it to begin with. See how he is after the baby is born. If he runs, you still can take legal action. Impatient is as dummy girl does is what my granny used to say. Consider your motivation is what the TOR friars say at Franciscan. Growth. Maturity and enough said.

    Posted on Jan 10th, 2013 at 7:36 PM by unknown

  • Anon, ask yourself these questions: is he stepping up to the plate because of what you have said to him? Or has it been all on his own? Is he going to church with you because you've asked him? Or, again, did that come from you? I was in your situation 7 years ago. Pregnant and dating a non-Catholic/Christian. If you are having doubts right now, trust your gut. I also recommend talking with someone who you trust and can offer you guidance. The best support and guidance I received was from my brother who is also a husband and father. He asked me questions that made me think hard about things. You already made a choice of getting pregnant outside of wedlock. Don't make another mistake with getting married if you have reservations. Does your boyfriend have a job in which he can support a family or will you end up working, too? how does his family treat you? Are they supportive? I've had Catholic friends marry mormon men and in turn they are no longer Catholic. i second the person who said it is easier to convert before you're married then after...and also say's wait and see. I lived with my mom after I had my baby. It was the best decision I made. On a legal standpoint, make sure the baby ends up with your last name. If your boyfriend questions you, tell him you can change if and after you marry. I didn't and since then, I ended up marrying a wonderful Catholic man but my baby has had to be stuck with the biological father's last name and hates it! Have you been familiarizing yourself with child custody acts/ laws in your state? If not, start doing so. Please disregard comments from people who have never been in your situation and the ones telling you to get married.

    Posted on Jan 12th, 2013 at 6:47 AM by Mary

  • I also was in this situation 7 years ago! I thought he was "the one" but took a break from hanging out with him for a month or two and realized I was only staying with him because I was afraid of change, especially with a new baby coming. Give yourself some time to ponder and breathe what you want life to be like as a mom. Spend time apart and see how things go. If you are to be together forever, you'll want to even after a separation period. Or you might find you think very differently. I know it's a big step to take, but it REALLY will give you confidence in your decision. There are many pregnancy houses that are throughout the country, set up for just these times, when you need support and time to think about what YOU really want and need. It's not selfish to do this, these are big decisions.

    Posted on Jan 13th, 2013 at 10:57 AM by Rita