Question:

Hi,

I am a 20 year old daughter and student, currently living with my mother. I have a brother whose age isn't far different than mine. My parents divorced when we were little, and my mother gained custody of both of us. We've been living together since.

She is a proud mother with a good constant income. She managed to afford both of me and my brother's tuition fees, neither of which are small. Almost all of the people who look at my mother's situation would think that she is very smart and independent because she is single and had to take care of both her children every day including the finances. She is the eldest child and her parents (my grandparents) were rarely around, so she had to be independent, taking care of her siblings even in her early years. But I'm afraid she turned out to be a very controlling mother (and wife probably).

When I was younger I wasn't able to see through my mom's problems because we have been raised to be completely obedient and respectful. She practically controls my life: what I do, where do I go, who do I talk to, what do I eat, and when do I sleep. I don't have much privacy since she checks my social medias and has 100% access to my cell phone. Since my brother is studying abroad, I've been accompanying her all by myself. She is constantly telling me to run errands for her and drive her everywhere, even though she is able to drive, so I haven't really had time for myself.

When I was in my early teen years, I fought a lot with my mother. But I never did do anything that would greatly upset her, like smoking, doing drugs, or having sex with strangers, not even drinking in clubs like the people in school since I always had to be home by 10 p.m. I had a boyfriend when I was 16 years old, but we broke up due to the uptight rules set for me. But now I'm turning 20 and I have grown to be more accepting and patient toward my mother. She does not have many acquaintances, which I think is because of her attitude. It is better because we almost never quarrel with each other.

This is my second year of college and I find myself in a fine relationship with a good man who, I really think, has an amazing family. We had issues, but we overcame them quickly. I myself like to be more secluded from my mother since she is very protective. I would not want her disliking my boyfriend for irrational reasons. He taught me to be respectful toward my mother, and I can see that he loves and respects his parents very much. I have grown more and more patient every day. I tried to be the good daughter and try to remember all her deeds when she starts getting impossible, so that there won't be any conflict between us. And I wouldn't want the conflict to be pointed at my boyfriend.

Time has passed and me and my boyfriend are starting to discuss serious matters like marriage. But we have different religions. He is a Catholic and I'm a Christian. He and I both believe in God, but we are not very religious. We tend to be flexible with who goes to whose church, but my mother thinks otherwise.

I was Catholic at birth and my mom was a very religious Catholic. She would visit Catholic churches around the globe and do all according to Catholic teachings. But when I was a teenager our cousin took us to attend the church where he was serving. We happened to like the teaching. So we started attending a Christian church ever since. But my mother, with her very religious character, started being very absorbed with the priest. She believes anything he says or does is right. I only paid attention on what was being sent as a word in the church, not who was sending the word.

So when she found out that my boyfriend was a Catholic, she lashed out and started to order me to bring him to a Christian church. I did, and he was cool with it. But he didn't want to change religions for several reasons because he respects the person who gave his Catholic birth name, and with him being the male side of the relationship (in our cultural tradition, the female always joins the man's side of the family, never the other way around), he wants to keep his religion. I think he is being kind not to force me into joining his religion since he knows that I prefer the sermons held in a Christian church more.

When I started discussing marriage matters with my mother, she said these exact words: "If you were to get married in a Catholic church, I will not bless and attend your wedding." What should I do?


Answer:

I come at this from a different viewpoint. The only religion that matters is the one that Jesus Christ established. The true church belongs to him alone. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). It is not a divided organization (I Corinthians 1:10-13). Rather than belonging to Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, Methodism, Anglicanism, Pentecostalism, or any of the other thousands of man caused divisions in the world, a person should belong to Christ and his church. See: We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination, You Can be Too! Therefore, from my perspective you and your boyfriend would be best off being true Christians. It appears at the moment that religion is merely a matter of convenience for both of you.

True Christianity requires putting Christ over family. "Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law" (Luke 12:51-53). Obviously, if you go against your mother's beliefs, she will probably stop financing your education. Money should not be a part of your decisions, but you do need to prepare to handle your own expenses.

Divided beliefs seem easy to deal with before the marriage and before the children arrive, but what do you do when he wants the children baptized into the Catholic church? Whose church will the children attend? In whose doctrine will they be taught? In situations where the parents believe differently about religion, it is not uncommon for their children to grow up rejecting both parent's religions because of the lack of agreement.

Ultimately, the decision is yours alone to make. Either choice comes with a series of consequences which may not be pleasant to face.