Girlfriend in quandary

Commentary

It was the kind of nervousness you feel when you’re reclined in the dentist’s office with a shiny drill hovering over your pried-open mouth.

For the duration of an entire Chiefs game. One with lots of penalties.

That’s the kind of stomach-knotting anxiety I felt a little over five months ago when I brought my boyfriend home to meet my parents for the first time.

Mom and Dad are gracious, welcoming people, but this was a new experience for our family, since I have no siblings, and for all I knew they might not be themselves… or
worse, they might not like him as much as I did.

They were lovely, of course, but I’ll admit I was praying for the two-minute warning to come, and fast!

I suppose most couples have to go through that initial “warming up” period when things are a little awkward with the families, and people are losing more hair than normal. However, the position I find myself in now is a little more difficult than just discomfort.

As our relationship has progressed, I’ve heard some concerned words about whether or not we could make it in the long run, citing unworkable religious differences.

As it turns out, the fact that I go to “church” and he goes to “mass” on Sunday could be a problem.

A big enough problem to warrant walking away from the relationship completely, some have implied.

So many tears have trickled to my chin while I’ve weighed the options in my mind.

Logic says it’s improbable and my Mom says it’s impossible, but I’ve never really been one to listen when people tell me I can’t do something.

What’s really laughable about all this is that we’re on the same team here. It’s not as if I worship Christ and he worships Buddha. Honestly.

I know there are doctrinal differences between Catholic beliefs and Christian ones, but are those differences so severe that they would prevent a healthy relationship or
marriage?

Even if my optimistic mind could believe that, my heart would never go for it. We are not of different religions; we are of different denominations.

We worship the same God, believe in the same Heaven, read (basically) the same Bible and follow the same commandments.

Where I’ve found the real problem to be is with potential children. Now there’s an issue.

If a Catholic has a Catholic wedding, s/he must agree to do everything in her/his power to raise any children in the Catholic Church.

If the couple wishes to work together to raise their children to appreciate both denominations, the Catholic could not in good conscience agree to raise the children  exclusively Catholic, since that would be a lie and therefore a sin.

If they decide not to have a Catholic wedding so as not to make the agreement, then the Catholic Church does not consider the wedding valid, and therefore, for the couple to live together would be a sin.

I personally find this to be absolutely insane.

I don’t know why God would have a problem with children being raised to worship Him with their whole hearts no matter what building they’re in.

Seriously.

I don’t think He does.

However, that is the Catholic stance whether I agree or not.

I find myself choosing between a commitment or a break-up.

Can two people overcome such obstacles with nothing but love and unwavering determination?

I’ve been told no; I’ve been told yes.

What I feel deep in my soul is that it will work.

But feelings are notoriously unreliable and only time will tell.

Until then, he’ll come with me to church on Fridays, I’ll go to mass with him on Sundays and I may very well go bald from all the stress, but at least I know I’ll have someone to tell me how beautiful my eyes are without all that hair in the way.

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