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Question
Hello Peter. My fiance and I are in a disagreement about religion. She is a Catholic and I am a Lutheran. Our baby will be born in July and we want to babtize him. She wants to go the Catholic route. Up until recently however, I too wanted to go the Catholic route. Now however, I am leaning towards Lutheran. I researched babtizing through the Catholic Church and found they have many guidelines and rules. We will have to go through a ton of hurdles just to find a Catholic Church willing to forgo the both godparents needing to be catholic confirmed rule. This is a problem because her sister is Catholic confirmed (godmother) and my brother is Lutheran.

Going the Lutheran route is a much simplified process. We can not only be married in my grandparents church (Lutheran) but also have our child babtized there as well. Plus, going the Catholic route is much more expensive vs. The Lutheran route. Seeing that money is tight right now, and I'm the only one working (fiance full-time student), it seems logical to go the Lutheran route.

I understand her need and want to go catholic, seeing as her family (for the most part) is catholic, but I do not feel the same about the Catholic Church.

Please, any advice on how to deal with this is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Answer
Hi Jared - you describe a classic "values conflict" between you and your partner (and perhaps your respective families). Here are some ideas about resolving such dilemmas:

http://sfhelp.org/relate/mates/priority.htm  //  http://sfhelp.org/relate/vc.htm

http://sfhelp.org/fam/lc.htm   and  http://sfhelp.org/cx/skills/ps.htm

The core issue you face is each of you mates deciding on how you each rank your and your child's and family's primary needs.  http://sfhelp.org/relate/keys/needs.htm

I respectfully propose that the best decision will (a) honor your integrities as persons, (b)  will strengthen your relationship the most (and provide a stable home for your child; and (c) will provide your child with a means of being accepted into God's family.

I hope that your respective relatives can accept what ever you two decide, rather than getting into a power struggle between religious principles.

As Christians, you can each wonder together "What would Jesus advise us?"

For all you8r sakes long term, I encourage you mates to study this free course: http://sfhelp.org/site/course.htm. Questions = welcome - Pete

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

I can answer questions about choosing a mate wisely, marital communications and problem solving, affairs, same-gender relationships, trust, respect, bonding and intimicy, values differences, boundary problems, grieving, dealing with ex mates, parents, and in-laws, remarriage, separation, divorce, abuse, feeling unloved, codependence, psychological wounds, money disputes, balancing kids, careers, and marital primacy, etc. I cannot answer legal or medical questions

Experience

I've been a professional family-systems therapist in private practice for 33 years. I have specialized in helping people avoid and adapt to divorce, and manage remarriage ans stepfamilies, since 1979. I've studied and taught classes in interpersonal communication for over 40 years, and have presented over 200 seminars on a wide range of human-relationswhip topics to Chicago-area churches, schools, menyal-health agencies, and businesses, and have been featured on Chicago and national radio and TV. I have been married and divorced. I now believe all marital and family problems are caused by five little-known factors - see http://sfhelp.org/hazatrds. This forms the basis of my work as therapist and educator.

Organizations
I now answer "AllExpert.com" questions on stepparenting, communication, and counseling. I belong to "SelfGrowth.com, "Death with Dignity," "Compassion and Choices," and to the online Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES) at http://acestudy.org/

Publications
I've published over 200 free Internet articles on childhood-trauma recovery and wholistic health, communication skills, healthy grieving, human relationships (including marriage and divorce), family health, effective parenting, and managing a stepfamily). These articles are in the form of seven free self-improvement lessons (http://sfhelp.org). These articles are augmented by 168 YouTube videos ("gercacn" channel); I've published a book on childhood-trauma recovery ("Who's *REALLY Running Your Life?"), and other books on interpersonal communicactioin skills ("Satisfactions"), remarriage ("The Remarriage Book"), "Stepfamily Courtship", and "Stepfamily Co-parenting" All published by Xlibris.com.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Stanford University (1959); Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) from George Williams college (1981); hundreds of hours of post-grad trainng from Northwestern U. the University of Chicago, et. al. in a wide range of human-relationship topics.

Awards and Honors
The state of Illinois licensed me to practice clinical social work in 1981. I was selected twice to serve on the board of the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA), and am currently on the Stepfamily-expert panel at Auburn University; I was the Board chairman at a major public mental-health agency in suburban chicago, and was the chairman of the Parent Relations Council for a major suburban High School. I currently have over 500 subscibers on YouTube since I began uploading educational videos in May, 2011.

Past/Present Clients
I've worked with over 1,000 men; women; dating, merried, remarried, divorcing, and redivorcing couples; and whole families. I'm currently 74, semi-retired, and disabled, and I do therapy with people and couples by phone and Internet (Skype).

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