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I have a very big dilemma that i need help with to make sure that i am not in the wrong here, any advice would be much appreciated.

I have recently had a conversation with my girlfriend about our future and getting married. we have hit a pretty major snag because she is hellbent on getting married in a catholic church however i am not baptised and don't wish to be baptised at any point in my life, you need to be baptised in order to get married in a catholic church, i am very happy without religion in my life and don't intend on changing that at any point.

my question is, should i be the bigger person and just accept that i am gonna have to get baptised in order to marry the woman i love, or should i continue to refuse to get baptised for the sake of my core values and credibility.

By JamieSmith733
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56 comments

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14

You have to live with your decisions.

There are an awful lot of variables, and definite possibilities you might want to consider now, BEFORE shit gets legal.
What's going to happen when/if you have kids?
Is she going to insist that they be raised catholic?
Are you going to be badgered into attending mass?
In addition to baptism, are you going to be coerced into the other "sacraments"?

Your core values, credibility, and integrity are ALL you really own that cannot
be taken from you. Are you willing to give those away?
Especially to someone who has already made it clear that she does not respect
your personal choices and feelings. If she did, she wouldn't be "hellbent" on
getting married in the catholic church.

Sounds like you've got A LOT to think about.

KKGator Level 9 June 1, 2018
9

Only you can answer this. For myself, I would see this as a red flag.

Shelly_Y Level 5 June 1, 2018
8

If you've already had sex before the wedding then becoming a Catholic would damn you for all eternity. Ask her if that's what she wants.

Gareth Level 7 June 2, 2018
7

I wouldn’t do it. It’s a matter of being true to yourself.

6

That would be a deal breaker for me. But I'm a firm atheist and humanist.

I would not start out the marriage with a lie, meaning under any religion that one of you feels is false. Is there some way she could compromise and have a civil, humanistic or secular style ceremony for the legal aspect of the marriage? And within that or in addition to that have some religious references included in the celebratory ceremony?

I officiate marriages for a living, and once in a while, I will get a couple where one is religious and one is not. By the time they've inquired into my services and agreed to have me officiate a humanistic style ceremony, they've already talked through to a compromise where each is happy.

A humanistic ceremony simply means focusing on your human values and your integrity in upholding your marriage vows to each other. You need to do that on your honor, not the honor of a supernatural deity that doesn't represent your spirituality, where she may need to pledge her vows to both you and to her God, and may even have pressure from family members to do so.

In wedding ceremonies where I've officiated for interfaith couples, we often have a family member read a prayer or biblical quote, or in one wedding a quote from the Pope's book, and then another family member or friend read a secular (or insert religion here) reading or thoughts on marriage.

I find that when couples are going through material to include in the wedding ceremony, it's almost like pre-marital counseling... It helps define what your marriage is about and how much responsibility you are taking toward fulfilling your promises to each other, versus how much responsibility you are putting on a supernatural source that one of you believes in and one doesn't.

Some of my couples have gotten a civil style marriage, but then had it blessed in the Catholic church, as a vow renewal, or what I call a celebration of marriage. I'm not sure if you both would need to be full on Catholic for that.

This is really good that you can talk about this before you get married. Sometimes couples get so stuck on the wedding plans and wanting to please family members or religious traditions, that they lose sight of the fact that after the wedding, on day 2 of your marriage forward, you will just have each other and your faith in the humanity of each other, supported by your individual spiritual convictions to get your through.

Julie808 Level 7 June 2, 2018

Your reasoning and advice are right on!

6

I am reminded of a holocaust story that a Catholic priest would baptize jews and give them baptism papers dated before the war started with which they could leave the country for someplace safer. Many Jews had quite a dilemma with that. As the heroine of the movie put it, I could swim in a vat of holy water and it wouldn't make me any less Jewish. So the initial act won't make you a believer, however, what will come after? This comes down to asking your gut. Does it feel right to you? Is she asking you to compromise who you are? Make sure you're talking about how the children will be raised, how the holidays will be celebrated. Do you have any resentment about this request of hers? This can and will affect more than just your life.

You asked the key question: "is she asking you to compromise who you are?" Is it really just the facility (maybe pressure from family?), or is it the first strep of trying to convert you - and set the stage for raising religious kids?

6

Unless one of you changes over time this conflict will come up again and again in various circumstances. So you need to figure out if one or both of you are expecting the other to change, because while some religious folks chill out over time you have to both go into the marriage figuring that the other person ISN'T going to change.

Fins Level 4 June 1, 2018
5

Ooooo, tricky. I had this issue with my Muslim husband. He wanted me to convert to Islam before we got married to please his family. He was a pretty loose Muslim - loved bacon, drank and smoked, and we’d do all the things that young people enjoy. To my mind, I couldn’t have given a shit. All I had to say is a bunch of words that lasted 3 mins in front of a Imam, and hey presto, I was Muslim. But of course I wasn’t inside. It meant nothing to me, but pleased a bunch of people in another country. I would be forever an atheist. Then came 9/11. My now Arab surname and knowing somewhere there is a document saying I am a Muslim scares the shit out of me, as there is so much prejudice and islamaphobia out there. It wouldn’t matter to a Nazi type to explain I am actually atheist and I just did it to please my husband’s family. In the end, I left my husband- turned out he believed in Adam and Eve and that god hated gays and believed in heaven. I just thought wtf am I doing with this person? Would I want to have kids with someone who would teach them absolute nonsense? I left him, but that record of my “conversion” still exists somewhere. Don’t let love push you into something totally unaligned with who you are. It could come back to haunt you. A compromise is a civil ceremony, and if you can find a liberal priest willing to bless your union, then her bullshit should be satisfied.

Livia Level 6 June 2, 2018

Couldn't you renounce to the religion? I was baptized and confirmed, but never took the trouble to renounce Catholicism, I gather that I am still a candidate to go to Hell or Heaven!

@rsabbatini renouncing Islam publicly isn’t a great idea for me. I travel a lot for my job and that includes places where apostasy is a death sentence. I was young and to think that “it’s only a piece of paper” - I was especially dismissive of its meaning as I was raised by atheists - I more or less had contempt for other people’s rites and rituals and thought it would never affect me to just make my husband’s family happy. Unfortunately I was wrong. I just never tell anyone about it and hope the paperwork is never found. As a die- secular non-believer, it was the most stunningly thing I ever did.

@Livia, oh my, it is indeed a dangerous situation... But being an adherent to Islam, it seems that you are obliged to perform its rituals, such as praying, observing the Kuran and other scriptures which regulate the life of the faithful, and if you don't you could be also subject to punishment in some countries.

@rsabbatini What a mess! BUT...have you considered how many Muslims are hypocrites? When apostasy is punished by death....when women's lives depend on the appearance of piety...when the government IS the religion...we just pretend to ''go along." I wouldn't mess with mullahs! BEST OF LUCK TO YOU! (Have you thought of getting a different job? smile001.gif )

@LucyLoohoo, @rsabbatini Let me be very very clear - I am not an adherent to Islam, and I am not obliged to do any such thing - I am a full on atheist. I gave in to my husband and regretted it. Being Muslim on paper does NOT make me a Muslim. I don’t hate Islam or any religion- i just don’t believe in any god whatsoever and never will. I never disclose this information to anyone I know. I don’t look religious, I don’t act religious and religion is NOT a part of my life. I spoke of it here, to help someone in a similar position and because I am assuming no one here will decapitate me! Ugh!

@Livia I understand. Good luck to you, Livia!

5

Don’t do it. If you compromise your own truth, you lose your integrity.

5

You have to wonder why she would put such a condition on you getting married to her. If you agree to that, what else will she ask of you? The wedding should be what you both want rather than what she wants.

4

My advice: Don't do it. Don't do the ceremony required by people who believe fairy tales are fact because some book tells them so. Don't do the marriage to someone who believes fairy tales are fact because some book tells her so. Be true to yourself. Do not compromise on this or you'll be compromising on everything. Life is too long to fill it with frustration and misery.

4

My ex and I solved this by using a priest that was no longer with the church. A good compromise.

Secretguy Level 7 June 2, 2018
4

Depends on how much you love her. On one hand, just because you got baptized doesn't mean you believe in that claptrap. On the other, don't think she's going to stop at this. Want to have kids? They're getting raised Catholic. They'll be baptized. And once you get married it's going to be that much harder to say no, because you said yes to this.

Kbdank71 Level 7 June 1, 2018
3

My question is Do you want to be intimately connected with someone who has their religion as a deeply held core value? Will that cause incompatibility problems down the road?

3

Is it possible that she's using this to nudge you forward in her own attempt to convert you?

Benthoven Level 8 June 2, 2018
3

She's putting her faith before you.

And it could be said you're putting your non belief before her.

Religion and atheism are like oil and water, which makes it impossible to compromise.

Marrying sounds like a bad idea.

3

My father was in the exact same position as you mention. He approached the Catholic church and asked if he could get married while keeping his own faith but was told he had to become Catholic in order to marry my Mom. He refused and my Mother instead changed her faith. Regardless of the religious approvals, they were happily married and stayed that way till my mom's passing. Don't let religion get in the way of your life.

3

Be you, stick to your guns.
I married a catholic, I didn't back down, civil marriage in a garden, great wedding, lousy marriage.

Rugglesby Level 8 June 2, 2018
3

Nothing in your description suggests that you would insist on her going through a superstitious ritual. Yet she, according to you expects it.

On the face of it she's demonstrating a serious lack of respect for who you are. Love respects and admires. If those elements are absent, so is love.

One sided love has a short, doomed shelf life. I'd work on self respect and self love and admiration. Because if you are prepared to counterfeit who you are to please a woman who doesn't show respect or tolerance for your differences, you both appear to share the same dim point of view and valuation of... you.

Bargain away what little of yourself you hold in esteem this time and you'll have even less to 'bring to the table' next time.

Your thoughts make a lot of sense.

3

You do what you feel is right for you. If you truly love her and want to do it.It will make her dream come true. After the wedding just tell the church to fuck off. They will excommunicate you from the church.
But really we all have lots of advice and opinions about it but really it is your life, your girl, your marriage.
BTW I was Catholic before I was born. Lol

SCbeelady Level 6 June 2, 2018
3

I think it depends....is she ok with you not having religion in your life? Or is this step one to get you into her church. If it's just for venues sake, no worries. If it's about forcing you into a religion you don't want.....I'd be careful

2

I say it depends on how much you love the gal. But once you take the step she requires, you are going to have to bow to many further religious conditions such as your child's baptism, catechisms, holiday mass, etc. Unless you have a real strong belief that this is a once and done deal, you better plan on faking the God thing for the rest of your married life.

And from experience let me say denying a major part of who you are or faking it gets exhausting and painful.

2

I would think very long and hard about that. This is coming from the perspective of someone that was raised Catholic and the condition of marriage for the spouses of all my older siblings was to, if they were not already, convert to Catholicism. This I don't think was really bad for them, since all of them were already religiously affiliated in some way and didn't mind taking the bow in order to marry the person they wanted to marry. But for someone like you, who doesn't care for it, it would be a really good idea to find out exactly what becoming Catholic entails. I could tell you about a lot of the details, and I'll tell you right now that because of the cult-like presence of the Catholic Church and the desire to 'make more people Catholic', getting baptized and receiving communion is not where it stops. From my own position, knowing what it means to be Catholic from a practical level has deterred me from wanting to get married in the church, because it means that my spouse will, regardless of her faith, have to accept the authority of the Catholic church before the church will recognize the marriage as a marriage of faith. Unfortunately, it slippery slopes from here, and after one person has already made one commitment without opposing anything else that follows, it becomes really difficult to argue against the rest, since that person has already agreed to becoming a person of Christ. All of this comes down to you, and what you're ok with, but I know myself, having been influenced by the likes of Hitchens and Dawkins, have come tor realize that adherence to doctrine causes a lot of pain that is only healed by the blessings that accompany regular service. As a catholic, ceremonies begin by accepting one's sin (where did this come from by the way? Is it really a nice to go to a big church hall to be convinced that you've done wrong and that you are in need of forgiveness? Guilt is one of the main psychological motivators used by members of the Catholc Church, and after becoming Catholic, you'll eventually begin to see how it's used to manipulate others based on the idea that they've done something wrong, ambiguously or in virtue of being born of sin... ugh. There's a whole other discussion that needs to happen on how Catholicism and Christianity in general likes to place all blame on women, but let's not get into that here), and then attempting to seek salvation through Christian forgiveness. My whole point is to say that, unless you're prepared to do the whole thing, don't do it at all, because it means that you'll eventually get roped into attending regular masses and then having your kids baptized and sent to Catholic school, where they'll learn more doctrine and will be taught that the best sex is the sex that only begins in marriage. As a person that was raised Catholic, it took me too long to break out of that mindset, and the weird spiritual bullshit that accompanied Catholic sex education followed me into my early 20s. I can't tell you how committed your s/o will be to living a life of faith, but I will tell you that Catholicism is more or less the same thing everywhere you go, and it would probably be very beneficial for you to find out how important the rest of these things are to your spouse so that you can find out her expectations so that you can decide if supporting those expectations is something you'll be willing to commit to, because the longer you're in, the harder it is to get out.

Also to give you a quick breakdown of what rites are involved in living a Catholic life, they are, in order:

1) Baptism - ceremonial washing away of sins, initiating life of Christian faith
2) Holy Communion - regular receiving of the host, i.e. transubstantial body of christ
3) Reconciliation (giving confession at appropriate times)
4) Confirmation - agreeing to live life according to Catholic teachings, done at coming-of-age
5) Marriage (optional) - holy matrimony, marriage to one woman, cannot do 6
6) Holy Orders (optional) - becoming a member of clergy, cannot do 5
7) Final Blessing - visitation by Catholic priest prior to death, to receive blessing

By making the commitment to becoming a practicing Catholic, you also agree to raise your family according to these principles, and they too will take on these rites, beginning with baptism following from birth.

2

I don't think you're being unreasonable and here's why.

You're not resisting for the reason that you're not willing to compromise. You're doing so because of the degree to which this matters to her, and the subsequent impact it may have on your life. If she really wanted you to wear a purple suit to match a purple theme wedding, you might go along, as there are no life impacting consequences (other than maybe a chuckle from your friends), but this is different.

Religion and its practices are things people organise their entire lives around. This will likely mean fulfilling other religious obligations along the way as well. If you have children they will have to be baptized, have first communion, then their confirmation for which you'll need a sponsor. There will be a godmother and godfather. You will also have obligations to these people as well. I was raised Catholic.. it matters.

You may be asked to attend church on holidays and she may insist your children go weekly. Who knows? She may, or may not, but this insistance sounds like it may be a deal breaker if denied.

I don't know how two people with conflicting beliefs on religion make it work when they are vastly different world views.

I think it's also important that you look at this from another perspective so that you can also be very honest with her. If you really don't want religion in your lives together, going forward, she should know that. She should know what you're willing to do and not to do for the sake of religion. Because, it doesn't end at the baptism before marriage - it's just where it begins.

Best of luck. smile001.gif

Athena Level 8 June 30, 2018
2

I have known several marriages with Catholics vs any other religion. Most likely once the priest hears your not Catholic, he won't perform the service until you are. She will resent you for not changing, you will resent her if you do. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

xyz123 Level 7 June 6, 2018
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