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Angela Klosky wrote:

Hi, guys —

My boyfriend and I recently began discussing marriage at length. He was raised a Catholic and he's been devoted to his religion his entire life.

I was baptized Christian but never raised with any aspect of religious faith. I have a great deal of respect:

  • for religion
  • for the concept of having that faith, and
  • for believing

so I've greatly supported him in every way that I can.

His previous relationship ended rather abruptly with her leaving him at the altar, so when the discussion of our marriage came up he was 100% against having a Church ceremony.

I can understand where he's coming from. It was a rather scarring experience for him and the implications of repeating the same mistake would be enough to scare anyone away. He was to be married by the state and to have a nice reception to save money, but I was told that if he didn't have the church wedding he would:

  • lose some of his rights as a Catholic
  • no longer be able to receive Holy Communion, and
  • the Church wouldn't see our marriage as a valid one.

Above all else, I don't want him to lose his faith. I don't want to see him lose his way in his religion when he's devoted so much of his life and time to it. I know that his beliefs are important to him and, in that light, they are important to me as well. I've informed him that I'm more than willing to take all the necessary steps to marry him under his religion but he still refuses.

  • Is there anyway that we, as a Catholic and non-Catholic couple, can marry outside of the Church without having him lose anything?

I feel like there has to be some length of a compromise here; something maybe I can do so this will all turn out okay.


  { Because of his bad Church experience, is there a way we can validly marriage outside the Church? }

Bob replied:


In my estimation your fiancé needs counseling. When people are not making rational decisions but are otherwise sane and balanced persons, there is more than meets the eye, and there are likely deeper issues to be unmasked.

You are incredibly gracious and patient, but you should draw the line on this and suggest that the two of you meet with a priest to discuss this so he will understand the implications as clear as you apparently do. You were correct that being married outside the Church would have consequences that he may not fully appreciate. If you concede this point you are aiding and abetting a bad decision that may take years to deal with and ultimately harm your marriage.

This also may be a flag to you about how he handles difficult things as well (which every marriage has without exception). If he intends to make a marriage work he cannot afford to let past baggage become an obstacle to his future.

Wounded people sometimes create the dynamics they fear (like driving someone away) until someone comes along that will help heal them. A good marriage is a healing vessel for the soul. You may be the vessel that The Lord wants to use to heal him. He fears losing you but needs to come to grips with his own vulnerability. Doing some counseling together would be recommended before proceeding.

Or look at it another way:

  • What does this episode say about him and compromise?
  • How do you see this intractability working in marriage?

There are many things that we can, and should, stand on principle and not compromise; this is not one of those for him.

In short, don't give in, call him out until he gives.


Bob Kirby
(Married 17 years . . . and counting.)

Fr. Jonathan replied:


There are alternatives. Talk to the priest.

Personally, I think his hesitations are understandable.

Fr. Jonathan

Angela replied:

Thanks Bob and Fr. Jonathan!

I don't want to put any additional pressure on him about something he doesn't want to do.

If I push too hard, I may end up having an opposite and more negative outcome. I would like for him to willingly accept the notion of the Church wedding considering the circumstances rather than fear it, but I won't be forceful, so I thought it best to explore other options.

He single-handedly paid for everything for his previous wedding and when she left he didn't get his money back, and at times, I find him still feeling insecure as far as his finances are concerned.

So on top of all of that emotional devastation, he lost a lot of money, so I do understand that it would be really difficult to overcome, but at the same time, I feel like some things are more important than worrying about how much will be left in the bank afterwards. Sometimes we have to move past our fears and insecurities for the greater outcome.

When I have an opportunity, I will discuss things further with his priest and see what kind of compromise we can make. I know that it won't be easy, but I feel that in the end it will be best for him.

I appreciate the help with this; just knowing that there may be alternatives goes a long way.


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