Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

marriage between agnostic and a Catholic

(20 Posts)
seagullcrime Sun 19-Jul-15 13:46:57

Anyone in this position? What were potential problems / issues?


PotteringAlong Sun 19-Jul-15 13:48:19

The biggest discussion has to be around how you will raise children / baptism etc

Thenapoleonofcrime Sun 19-Jul-15 13:50:27

Um, how tolerant you are of each other's religion/no religion and how much you want to engage in activities relating to this? I would have thought the flash points were fairly obvious, the question in relationships is about whether you have good communication and can compromise or whether one of you is very rigid about what has to happen, esp. if you have children.

PanGalaticGargleBlaster Sun 19-Jul-15 14:02:16

I am atheist, she is a soft catholic, by that i mean she identifies herself as catholic although she only attends church at christmas an rarely goes to mass.

I found it very hard to attend the marriage course, as quite frankly it was a mix of patronising out dated judgmental bollocks and talked about issues such as infertility in pretty disgusting terms. But I bit my tongue as it was her desire to get married in a catholic church. In fairness I thought it was a lovely ceremony with a lovely priest although I did feel like a bit of fraud at times.

On the whole it does not effect our day to day living at all, it might have been a different story if she was a bit more hardcore about it.

maras2 Sun 19-Jul-15 14:17:23

I'm Catholic he's athiest.No problems just mutual respect during 40 years of marriage.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 19-Jul-15 14:32:28

I am a church-going Catholic (I won't say practising because I don't practise all the church teaches in some areas!) ,my DH is an agnostic. We have been happily married for 28 years. The kids were brought up as Catholics, one has lapsed, one has not. Dh came to the big days (baptism, first communion, etc) and supported the Catholic school and helped at fundraisers

We did the whole marriage preparation course, which focussed on communication, listening to the other, etc, was excellent (and probably pointless as we had lived together for a year before marriage - which just shows I am not such a good Catholic!). It has never been a problem - my DH and I have respected each others choices.

LivingTheDr3am Sun 19-Jul-15 14:39:15

Same as post above but only 15 yrs in with 2 little ones. I am on some levels a rubbish Catholic..oppose stance on gay marriage abortion and had IVF. Go to church every Sunday Sunday and support actively children's groups. Husband attends high days and holidays and supports general ethos. Currently he is supporting promoting bring Christian when small children ask some interesting God question��

JAPAB Sun 19-Jul-15 14:44:25

"marriage between agnostic and a Catholic"

Technically there is no conflict. An agnostic is someone who says that they do not KNOW whether or not a God exists, whereas a catholic BELIEVES one does. One can be both.

blueemerald Sun 19-Jul-15 14:45:01

My DP is Catholic and to be honest I find it tough. Having had little experience of Catholicism before meeting him it seems to be a religion designed to make good people feel pretty awful about themselves.
There is a lot of constant worrying about not being good enough and breaking all the rules.
For example: we have decided not to have sex as he felt very strongly about it and now the crisis is that we live together. I can't help but feel there will always be something... on top of all that he's sat at home now watching the cricket with no intention of going to Mass, which drives me crazy.

fancyanotherfez Sun 19-Jul-15 14:47:41

I'm Catholic he's atheist. We had a registry office wedding and church blessing because he felt he was lying in church promising something to something he didn't believe in. We have had no problems re baptism he went along with it. I would say I have a complicated relationship with Catholicism and after having conversations about atheism, 10 years after my marriage I would consider myself agnostic at the very least. I am anticipating this being a problem with my family as I don't intend putting my children through Communion. He has not influenced this in any way and was fine with them doing it if I wanted. I'm not sure if this is how my mother will see it though, even though she adores him☺

Atomik Sun 19-Jul-15 15:29:50

I'm atheist. DH is a Catholic, he believes, prays daily, but avoids mass. To the extent that I go to mass far far more often than he does, as the sole representative of the family for funerals etc.

We've been married 20 years. Our religious difference hasn't even blipped on the radar in terms of Issue Causing Stuff. Unless you count his mother's horror at my non believer status. That was a bit of an issue, but nothing like an insurmountable one given our united front to push back with.

DS was baptised catholic with my blessing. Not for DH's sake, but for MIL's sake because this was back when unbaptised babies didn't go to heaven and it was no skin off my nose to have DS participate in a ritual that relieved her of immense distress. I drew the line at that though. No automatic first communion, or Cresima unless he chose to do so. Which was fine by DH. DS is 15 now and has been an atheist for as long as he's had an interest in forming an opinion of his own.

I think it might have been more of a problem for us if I had had many hard lines in the sand that clashed badly with his hard lines in the sand. But we didn't. So it's been a non issue really.

FoxInTheDesert Sun 19-Jul-15 16:57:59

I am not Christian (I'm Muslim) but for me it's very important that my (future) spouse and I are on the same page when it comes to religion, the way we live our lives according to it and the way we want to raise our children. I appreciate that is not the same for everyone but I expect from my him what I Expect from myself. And I would not want him to go throught acts of worship just because and I would not want my husband objecting to our children being raised according to our teachings. For me both myself and my children's father should be an example according to those teaching.

Whatever your faith or denomination this is something you have to think about. And at the end of the day nobody can say they are a good (insert religion) we all have many faults but in my opinions sharing tr basics can prevent future problems.

seagullcrime Sun 19-Jul-15 18:17:25

Thanks all. Great to get some views. I am the agnostic. He is the Catholic. He attends mass weekly but has never forced his beliefs on me. I knew when I met him he was catholic and he knew I wasn't religious. (Met online)

It has never bothered me the idea of being with someone of another religion. The only issues I would ever have had are JW and blood transfusion/organ donation. And Judaism (possibly Islam) if oh insisted on circumcision. As I don't agree with that.

From a bringing up children pov. I genuinely wouldn't mind. I would be happy to attend special days but would expect him to do everyday things.

With regards to actual marriage...where did you get married? Do you have to convert to marry in a church?

We discussed religion in our 1st week of dating. We both respect each others views.

StitchingMoss Sun 19-Jul-15 18:21:26

I couldn't marry a Catholic but then I'm a very strong atheist and have huge problems with large parts of the Catholic church. I also don't get the idea of picking and choosing which parts of Catholicism you believe in, could never agree to my children having to go through any of the ceremonies and over my dead body would send them to a Catholic school. If potential dh would agree to raise our kids as atheists then i may just cope, but unlikely.

Thankfully I married an atheist!

Would you be happy for your children to go to Catholic school? That would be a deal breaker for me.

FoxInTheDesert Sun 19-Jul-15 18:52:59

I think neither parties are fair to impose their beliefs, be it religious or atheist, on their spouse. But both sides should make their position clear and then they can decide if a marriage will work, and if they can see head to head in how to raise the kids. I don't belief love conquers all. I could not love a man who doesn't share my faith, and I would never consider someone who doesn't share my faith. Personally I think when a person is very serious and beliefs deeply, it's better to marry a person who believes the same and is that the same wave length in that perspective.

But that is me, and I am sure many will disagree or have different view points.

fancyanotherfez Sun 19-Jul-15 18:55:00

You don't have to both be Catholic to marry in a Catholic church. You will have to promise to bring up your children as Catholic though and if I remember correctly, promise to have them! No child free by choice only design! fox I think you are right in that if you have deeply held beliefs that to marry someone who doesn't think the same as you is asking for a lot of conflict. My DH said he wouldn't have married me if I was uber religious but then if I was I probably would have married a Catholic! I do have a very religious friend who is married to an atheist though and they seem to rub along fine!

ltk Sun 19-Jul-15 19:03:10

I am in the same camp as Fox. I am an atheist and that is very important to me. I could never have agreed to baptism or church services for the dc. Dh is also atheist. I think it can work but you have to be willing to allow your children to be brought up in a faith you do not believe in, which I think means in practice that you are not hugely religious or committedly atheist.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Sun 19-Jul-15 19:05:38

I'm atheist and DH is Catholic (although he doesnt agree with all they teach - we were living together 10+ years before marriage) and its been fine.
There was a lot of family pressure for me to convert and have a church wedding but we did registry office as I didn't want to lie to a priest and DH was fine with this. In terms of baptism we've agreed to wait until the DCs are old enough to understand and make their decision. Schools we haven't got to yet but we both think whichever is the best school in the area when the time comes.
I'd say it's best to discuss these things now if you are planning on kids as that can be the main sticking point.

FoxInTheDesert Sun 19-Jul-15 19:14:49

Itk that is what I mean, it's not just marrying someone from a different belief, you also have to accept that your children will follow a belief you don't agree with. But then, marrying someone from the same faith is no guarantee either that your children will follow our faith. I am an example of that lol. My entire family is atheist, apart from my grandmother who is 93, and I became Muslim 5 years ago. So I can marry a good Muslim guy, have kids, raise them according to our beliefs and then when they grow up they might not agree with some or all of what we do. I hope not but it happens in all religious and non religious circles. But when 2 people belief the same and practice the same (believing and practicing are 2 different things) it avoids a lot of trouble in the way you live your life and the way you raise your kids for sure.

Skiptonlass Sun 19-Jul-15 19:41:44

Difficult one. Talk about the logistics before you marry. It can work, but you need to thrash out the logistics first .

The things like where you marry I think are minor - Many friends of mine have smiled, nodded and zoned out of pre marriage classes. Or nervously asked a partner to go along with whatever ritual. That's just one day.

The thornier stuff is actually living with someone who does not share your beliefs and raising children with them. Are you happy with your children being brought up with a belief in religion? A hell? The idea that they are the one true religion and everyone else's isn't? (I wouldn't be, my personal choice.) can you respect someone who has belief in something you think is ridiculous and credulous? (Again, I couldn't, but then I accept someone religious would find my views unacceptable.) would you allow a child to be circumcised? If you're the religious one, how do you feel about your partner not gaining admission to whatever afterlife you believe in?

Personally I'm of the opinion that children aren't born Christian/Muslim/etc and that religion can do some serious damage (I base this on the half of my family who grew up full on Irish Catholic.) but again, that's my opinion. I may be right, or I may be doomed to spend eternity rotating between various hells...

As with everything to do with marriage, talk about it first and go into it with your eyes open.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: