A Mixed Marriage in the 21st Century

Ages ago, it was taboo for a Catholic to marry a non-Catholic; even up to my mother converting to Catholicism in 1977 to marry my dad.  When I met my husband, he knew being Catholic was part of me, so when our daughter came, he was the one that approached the subject of having her baptized Catholic.  That was the start of our mixed marriage.

He was raised Southern Baptist in a very small town.  He witnessed a lot of “in-fighting” and hypocrisy as well as overwhelming pressure to “be saved”, therefore ostracizing those who didn’t get baptized.  That turned him off to religion and he is now what I consider an agnostic.

I don’t, nor have I ever pressured him to convert.  I am a firm believer in St. Francis of Assisi’s saying- “Preach the Gospel at all times; use words only when necessary”.  He knows how important raising the children in the Faith is, and truly goes with the flow when our son asked “Why is daddy not Catholic?”, or we say grace before meals.  He will bow his head and take part so there’s no line of division to confuse the kids.

Are there times I wished I could have a “Catholic Man?”  Sometimes.  It would eliminate a lot of the explaining about tradition, the kids asking why Daddy doesn’t have to go to Church, etc.  There would be a more united front when Holidays and Holy Days come around.  I’d truly have a prayer partner in my partner for life.

All of that pining goes away when I see how much he loves us.  I once read somewhere that you may not feel like you got the husband you want, but it’s in those times that God is telling you that this man is the one that he entrusts you to take care of for Him.  My husband truly is a gift from God, and I am grateful every day that I get to take care of him and our beautiful children.  We keep the lines of communication open when it comes to things like our 1st grader attending Religious Formation classes, and our son attending a Catholic Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program.

That’s the best advice I can give to anyone in a “mixed” marriage- keep communicating how important being Catholic and raising children in the Faith is to you.  You’ll be surprised how effective being a gentle and quiet influence can be.

Erin Phillips is a multi-tasking mom of 2 school aged children, a freelance photographer, Martha Stewart wannabe and a Roller Derby Girl.  She writes about her faith, crafts and all things derby at her blog Gentle and Quiet Spirit

photo by Drew And Merissa


Comments

  1. says

    My husband wasn’t Catholic when we married 13 years ago, but we were able to marry in the church without a mass. He attended church with us over the years and my children have been baptized as well as attend RE classes. Out of the blue last year, he said he wanted to go through RCIA and become Catholic. I was surprised and SO happy!! Like you, I never mentioned it or pressured or even hinted. I felt like God would speak to my husband in His own time. I can tell you it was a joyful celebration when he was confirmed and it is beyond wonderful to fully celebrate mass together. Thank you for this post, which reminded me what a blessing MY husband is.

  2. Suzanne says

    Love this. My husband is not Catholic either but he is very supportive of my faith and in raising our kids Catholic. I realize how blessed I am and appreciate your thoughts as well.

  3. says

    I really appreciated this post. My husband converted right after we baptized our first two children (they were 3 and 1). I am so thankful for his conversion but it is kind of like, now he’s in the club, now he doesn’t have to DO anything else! He doesn’t observe Lent, he doesn’t work too hard to make sure I make it to Mass with the older children, and I sometimes feel resentful. I mean, how hard is it not to eat meat on Friday for family soldiarity? I’m afraid my boys will see Dad’s lack of commitment and model him. You model the correct attitude! I need an attitude adjustment. And help from St Monica! :)

  4. Kathy says

    How wonderful to love your men into the Faith! They would not become Catholic for just anyone, but eventually they will do it for you. I have watched all three of my uncles (all somewhat reluctant converts) grow in the Faith because my aunts just loved them and led by example. My mother, on the other hand, also married a somewhat reluctant convert, but her resentment and depression at his non-compliance destroyed their marriage. Resentment is a tool of Satan to orchestrate the loss of your husbands’ soul…and it is too precious to lose! So cherish those men, God has entrusted them to you!

  5. says

    My husband is not Catholic also. When we met I was a strong Catholic and he had talked about going through RCIA, however after we got married he deployed and he changed his mind. For a couple years I pretty much watered down my faith fearing that I would push him away. I realize now after I’ve decided to really become active in my Catholic faith again that this is what he needed all along. As I grow, so does his interest. He’s now asking questions and searching, which is awesome!
    Thank you for sharing you story!

  6. Diana says

    I was glad to read your post on this. My husband has also been turned off religion because of past church experiences and deployment didn’t help either.
    I think his acceptance of my faith and support at big events like baptism and first reconciliation have helped make it OK for me. He has even attended church when our family get together would include mass at my grandparents church with my mom’s side of the family and then breakfast.
    I have generally come to accept this but it still bothers me at times. It helps to know I am not the only one in this situation, because at church it feels that way. So thank you for this post.