How can an atheist/catholic marriage succeed?
June 15, 2012 3:27 PM Subscribe
I'm on the brink of proposing to my Catholic, Indian-American girlfriend. However, I come from a long line of athiests/humanists and I am starting to worry about how we will balance our backgrounds in raising our children.
posted by SpicyMustard to human relations (49 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My girlfriend of 2.5 years is from a very religious family of Catholics from the south of India.
She is a wonderful woman, is dedicating her life to social justice, very tolerant, and we get along really well. From the beginning, she understood that I was atheist and that I would not be converting to Catholicism.
Her parents are devoted Catholics whose culture is very integrated with their religious beliefs. Traveling by car across the country for a cousin's baptism is not an uncommon occurrence.
We revealed our relationship late last summer and my gf has had some follow-up conversations with them. They were disappointed (particularly her choice of a non-Christian, non-catholic), but they did not blow up. They seem to be moving towards acceptance.
My parents are outspoken atheists/humanists with a strong distaste for the Catholic church as an institution along with its roles in imperialism, persecution, sexism, protecting criminality, etc. They do love my girlfriend and do not expect her to abandon her family's traditions.
However, I think I have been subconsciously avoiding the difficult topic of how we will raise our children. My parents have been asking more questions and I realized that we had somehow, not yet worked out these issues. Specifically:
-schooling--my parents (and I) are uncomfortable with a religious education (or indoctrination, depending on your view).
-how her parents will respond to their grandchildren not being raised in the same Catholic manner as their own children.
I am okay with the child being baptised, but i think confirmation should be their choice when he/she is old enough to think through it critically and make his/her own decision.
I guess I am also concerned that my girlfriend (whose values directly contradict those committed in the name of catholicism) does not seem more critical of the Catholic church.
Has anyone successfully navigated these issues or know a couple who has?
What other kinds of questions should I be asking?
Should we seek to hammer out a clear understanding on all of this before marriage?