Question:

How can I solve the religious difference in a very serious love relationship? I met a girl who has a boyfriend at work. After we became good friends we both fell in love. She realized that she didn't love her former boyfriend, quit the relationship and continued with me. We have been in a great love relationship for a year. She has been a virgin but we had sex recently and it was perfect. We match in many things, and she is so sweet. I am a Roman Catholic, and she is a Protestant.

Now this is a problem on her side! We were talking about marriage and when we talked about religion, she said, "Unless you convert your religion, we can't be together." But I said she can continue as a Protestant and I continue as a Catholic, but still we can marry each other as there are not two Gods for Catholics and Protestants. I added that I may go to her church always in the future, but I don't want to convert to Protestantism. In fact, I love Protestant songs and I always listen to them. I also like their prayers as well. I don't have any problem with Protestant's way of worshiping God. On the other hand, I was baptized in a Catholic church and I have nothing that I hate about the Catholic church. She used to say, "I love you forever." But now I am doubtful because she said, "We can't marry each other because of the religious differences that we have." As a result I am so down now. I don't know what to decide. I really, really love her.

Please help me with your honest opinions.

Thanks a lot.


Answer:

While both of you pretend to be followers of your religions, neither of you are particularly serious about them. Having sex without being married is condemned in Roman Catholicism and in most Protestant religions. God is very clear that it is wrong. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). Though you described it as "perfect," it wasn't; it was wrong. Real love can't be based on a relationship where each is encouraging the other to sin. Love "does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth" (I Corinthians 13:6).

This makes the rest all the more odd. You have two people who snub God while claiming they won't change their worship of God because only their way is right. You are willing to go through the motions of a Protestant worship but won't become one. She is a little bit more aware that this won't work. Have you considered, for instance, how your children will be raised -- Catholic or Protestant? Even if you allow them to be raised Protestant, what kind of faith will they have when they realize their dad doesn't really believe what they have been taught?

You are correct, there is only one God. Sadly neither one of you are following Him except in show. Interestingly, I just had a study in Hosea. God declares He will destroy Israel for their sins and leave them to languish. "I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me" (Hosea 5:15). The people's response sounds good:

"Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth" (Hosea 6:1-3).

It sounds good until you realize that they think they will get an instant fix from God. "O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, and like the early dew it goes away" (Hosea 6:4). God says this "turning" won't last. It isn't real. It isn't sincere. "They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds. They assemble together for grain and new wine, they rebel against Me" (Hosea 7:14). Basically God is saying they only came to the worship services for the food.

If you want a real marriage with God at its center, you need to get serious about religion. You won't find the truth in either Catholicism or any of the Protestant denominations. You will only find it by going back to God and His Word. See: We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination, You Can be Too!

Dear Mr. Hamilton,

Thank you so much for your detailed answer. One more thing: What can I decide after now as long as her and my love relationship is concerned?

Looking forward for your reply.

Thanks.

I'm not totally certain as to what you are asking, so if I miss, my apologies in advance.

Since the fornication is sinful, it has to stop. That leaves you with the choices of:

  1. Breaking up
  2. Continuing to date without sex
  3. Getting married

But a relationship is composed of two people, so the two of you together have to decide what each of you are going to do. It is possible that you will come to different conclusions. If you can't both agree, then there will be no choice but to ultimately end the relationship. You can't force someone into marrying you.

Dear Mr. Hamilton,

Thanks for your reply again. I am sorry to have to say this: I am not satisfied with your answer because your are concerned about only one thing; which is sex before marriage. I know it is a mortal sin, but I believe that God is a forgiving Father for our sinfulness. Besides, it is not part of our problem that we are facing currently and I have not been seeking any explanation about it. I was expecting if you could recommend to me possible approaches or solutions to solve the religious difference that we have between us. I will be glad if you could give me detail answer on this.

Looking forward for your reply.

Thanks.

"For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).

Yes, God forgives if a person repents of his sins. The reason I mentioned your sin is because of your pretense in claiming to follow God while violating His laws. This is the core of your religious difference with your girlfriend. Both of you do as you please and what God wants is only a secondary consideration, if at that. Since both of your religions are based on personal preference, you'll not come to an agreement because you remain two people going your separate ways.

I did tell you how to solve your problem. I recommended that you both become real Christians who have God's will foremost in your lives, that you both leave denominationalism and become followers of Christ in truth. That you don't like the answer is not equivalent to not receiving an answer.