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DearSugar Needs Your Help: Is This a Deal Breaker?

DearSugar and Thrown For a Loop Laura need your help. Her new husband suddenly had a change of heart about his religious beliefs. While Laura loves him, she feels betrayed that he wasn't honest about his faith before they got married. They've already said "I Do" so it's too late to turn back now and Easter is tomorrow, so she needs some advice, fast!

Dear Sugar,

I am a newlywed and I find that everyday, I discover new things about my husband. For instance last night, we had a paradigm shifting fight that has changed the way I look at him. When I met him, he told me he was Catholic, like me. As we were preparing for marriage, I realized he didn't really know what Catholicism was, at all, not even really basic stuff like why we celebrate Easter. This was not a problem at the time because I figured we at least had similar beliefs about why we are here. However, last night it was revealed to me that he isn't even really Christian! He believes there could be Gods or one God, but that's about the extent of it.

Frankly I was shocked. This wouldn't be a big deal to me if it were anyone else. I respect the beliefs of others and I don't think of anyone as lesser for whatever they believe in, but since this is my husband, I feel betrayed that this wasn't discussed sooner — like before we got married! He says he respects my beliefs and if I want to say a prayer over dinner or go to church, he's OK with it, but he will never participate with me — ever. I love him, of course, but it makes me worried about what our future family would be like. Saying prayers over dinner and celebrating holidays for their religious significance has always been a big deal to me and my family. I never thought that once we were married, that I would have to celebrate my beliefs alone. What will it be like if I have a family one day? I feel sick just thinking about it. I guess the gist of it is that I feel spiritually betrayed and I don't know what to do. How do I reconcile my feelings about this?

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BRANDYNICOLE730 BRANDYNICOLE730 8 years
The original post states that as they were preparing for marriage, she realized he didn't know why they celebrated Easter. If you are very much into your religion, you'd be stupid to continue to believe that he was a practicing Catholic. You are just as much to blame for placing the two of you in this position as him. I think the reason you didn't allow yourself to believe this, is because you had the pre marriage blinders on. Why, if you feel this strongly, did you not put a stop to the relationship as soon as you realized he didn't know the reason for celebrating Easter? I'm pretty sure a 5 year old Catholic could probably tell you the reason for Easter. So, for you to continue with the relationship, after discovering he was blowing hot air, places you, atleast, half at fault!
avettafawna avettafawna 8 years
doesn't anyone else think that perhaps he misrepresented himself? Maybe, but there is no way for any of us to know based on what she wrote. I stand by my assertion that this is not a fight about religious beliefs but how to spend holidays. She defined her religious practices as "Saying prayers over dinner and celebrating holidays for their religious significance." And this fight happens the day before Easter? And we're all wondering how this couldn't have come up earlier if it was so important? It seems pretty obvious to me.
sugarsister sugarsister 8 years
doesn't anyone else think that perhaps he misrepresented himself? i agree that this should have been discussed at some length prior to the marriage if it's that big of an issue but he did say he was catholic and now he's saying he's not. as his wife, i would be wondering just who i married as well. and let's get off of the until death do us part thing. people get divorced for much less and this is a huge issue to disclose once the deed has been done.
7kimba7 7kimba7 8 years
Let's pretend that you did talk about it at length and he skirted the issue. If you know anything about the religion, it's easy to pretend you are part of it. Not knowing about Easter while pretending to be Catholic is a little odd though. And you had inklings of his non-religiousness before your marriage. Anyways, I do this all the time... I was raised Catholic but am no longer, so with many people I just talk like I still am to avoid drama.. people can be REALLY judgy when you don't believe the same thing as them, so I'm rarely honest about my religion. He should have been honest with you, but I can certainly see why he wouldn't be. Nothing personal, it's just a hassle to always explain how or why you don't believe the same thing as someone else, especially someone you love.
missbanana missbanana 8 years
well. i think the only advice i can give is that you think hard about what kind of Catholic you are. Are you the type that practices it or the type that just says youre catholic and do the special holidays, xmas, etc. but dont go to church, dont go to confessionals.. and base your decisions on that. because im catholic who practices, im not perfect, thats why im practicing... although i have friends who are catholic but dont practice at all... and probably wont teach their children to... thats why i say, the only time its a big deal really if the religion/ spirituality is very close to your heart and is a BIG part of your life. it says that hes ok with you going to church etc.. was he going with you to church to make you think he was catholic? i know he lied about being catholic.. but were you two doing "catholic practices" together and he was going along with it? then yes he did mislead you.. but if you didn't.. he lied yes.. but how important is being catholic to you that you dont practice it with your partner? im not sure if that all made sense.. good luck =)
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 8 years
What I don't understand is, you married this man. If his religious beliefs were such a huge deal and you are so passionate about your religion, I'm not sure why YOU didn't discuss it more in detail at some point? He should feel kind of betrayed also because clearly you didn't explain to him that if he wasn't up to par with his religious beliefs and knowledge you wouldn't love him the same and your feelings about him may change one day. I just can't see how something that is SUCH a HUGE part of your life and obviously a requirement on your side of what you want in a husband some how slipped past the both of you until after you got married. What did you meet him and marry him two days later? I don't get it.
Cynnie Cynnie 8 years
What I find to be funny is how come you two never discussed this before ? I mean, it seems to mean a whole lot to you. So, even if he had lied to you about it, over time, wouldn't have come to realize that maybe your beliefs weren't similar ? Wouldn't you of had some kind of clues ? I'm a believer and my honey isn't and right from the start I saw some things that led me to confirm that we aren't on the same page belief wise. We respect eachother and he's even coming around to see what I see in religion. Anyways, I just think that you might not of known him well enough before you decided to get married to the guy.
remedios remedios 8 years
I'm having a hard time with the fact that this just came up, and I doubt he's the sole guilty party in that. It just seems that if religion is so important to you, it would have been more prominent throughout your relationship and this would have been uncovered earlier. Whether it's a deal-breaker or not is up to you. I think I would have a hard time with someone that was religious because my lack of belief in a god and belief in the importance of not having a religion is a large part of who I am. But that would come up early and regularly in my relationship. The fact that it hadn't become such a big deal earlier to me indicates that it probably isn't a deal breaker. I think you can probably give it a go and as long as he's not mocking you, arguing with you constantly about your belief, preventing you from doing what you please, you can make it work. But it works both ways - you have to not instigate things either, don't be judgmental, don't start arguments. Good luck.
saysmiranda saysmiranda 8 years
Are you really a committed Catholic? I looked back at other comments and realized that my input is a lot like them. How could this be something new? Did you just date a couple of months before getting married or something? Are you really a strong participating Catholic? If so, and you were together long enough, this would have definitely come up before the wedding. I don't know how Catholic people can even start the process of marriage without the prospect of getting married in a Catholic church. In the area of CA that I live in, you have to take courses, etc. in order to get married in the church. I think this is pretty much everywhere, straight from the Vatican. If you didn't go through the church, then why are you making this such a big deal now? As you know, in the eyes of the Catholic church, you aren't even married under the eyes of the Lord if you aren't married by a Catholic priest. I know these things because I was raised Catholic. You Can raise a family together without having the same beliefs. I can not understand this. There must be more to this story.
sunshowers83 sunshowers83 8 years
Like others, I have a feeling that you're leaving big chunks out of this story. It just doesn't add up. I know a lot of people who were raised with a certain religion but don't really practice - if asked, they'll say, "Oh, I'm X" but only out of family loyalty or habit. How could you not have realized this about the man you were going to MARRY??? Religion obviously wasn't high on your list of priorities if the only conversations you had about it were that superficial. My boyfriend and I aren't religious at all, but even we've had hours-long conversations about metaphysical beliefs and spirituality. It sounds like you went into this marriage with blinders on. You say you feel betrayed by your husband, but you need to take some of the blame for only seeing what you wanted to see. And now that the fairytale courtship and wedding are over and reality is sinking in, you realized that you've made a big mistake. But is this really something you'd want to divorce him for? Why is it so important to you that he share the exact same beliefs? Is he a good person? Does he have a kind heart? Being a *decent human being* should matter more than any denominational label. Maybe it would do you some good to sit back and examine the real reasons why you married him and ask yourself if the pros outweigh the cons. If you're this fuzzy on his religious beliefs, I'm willing to bet there are a lot of other things you missed while you were racing to the altar.
lalaB lalaB 8 years
I just wish you the best of luck. I feel like if you were able to have a good enough relationship without religion entering the picture before you got married, you should be able to continue on the same path. I do not approve of his lie, but it does not sound like it was an active lie (he pretended to say prayers, celebrate holidays, go to church, etc).
bikinib7 bikinib7 8 years
Not to be rude or anything ( because I'm Catholic and this isn't a bash against the church's stance or what you believe in, but...) - If you remember, marriage is a vow, for better or worse... and in the eyes of the Church, divorce is wrong. So, even if you think this is a deal breaker and he told you he doesn't want to participate, you'd be committing a sin against your church for divorcing him because of it.
BRANDYNICOLE730 BRANDYNICOLE730 8 years
How religious can you be if you just took an oath in front of God, and now that he's not exactly who you assumed him to be, you want out? It's ok to back out of marriage vows taken before God, but heavan forbid he not want to go to church with you all the time...
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
crazy that you didn't know his beliefs, or was he misleading you so that you would like him? can you make him participate and be baptized/christened? you might be able to convince him if you say its for the kids, on the other hand you dont want to realize theres no way once you;ve already had kids with him... i can see why this would make you uneasy since it implies that his moral standards and views on marriage could be very different from yours and you dont have any common ground ........... see if he'll join before u start a family is my advice
lemassabielle lemassabielle 8 years
I must be an outcast here because I think it's fine that he had a change of heart. Maybe he was raised Catholic? but people learn more about themselves all of the time and question the world around him. I would personally be glad he still believes there are gods and isn't atheist. I was also raised Catholic but find myself questioning the thought of other types of after life. It doesn't mean I'm not religious! he should be able to delve into himself and figure out what he believes without feeling obligated to believe what you want him to. I get that you didn't get what you married into but if you really love the guy you'll respect his views. He isn't telling you not to pray and he isn't telling you what to believe. I personally think that if you end a marriage over something like this you're looking to get out for different reasons. You can lie to yourself all you want but that's the truth. If everything else is otherwise healthy and perfect it doesn't make sense.
reeeeka reeeeka 8 years
I don't understand...how can this be new? If you're sooooooooo Catholic you'd be going to church, saying prayers, doing the holidays the way you've always done them and unless you were together 1 day before you got married than Id assume that he was there with you all those times....unless you're not exactly what you're saying you are either. Who cares really? You love him. If you have children, you'll talk about that when it comes. MILLIONS of people are raising children who arn't of the same faith yet they get by. Don't push your beliefs on him it's not fair. Somehow I feel there's alot missing from this story. Is there anyway we could have a Q&A with the poster??...
lolalu lolalu 8 years
A lot of the posters above have been saying " i don't understand how you got married without knowing this...", and i don't think that's very helpful. They're already married, so there isn't much to do about it now ;) As for the dilema, it sounds like he was catholic/christian to begin with, and then after you got married beliefs changed. If thats the case then i don't think there's much you can do about it, its not like you can force your religion on him. But if you do want to have a family it might be problematic if you're set on sharing the same faith with your children. I'm in an interfaith marriage (i'm christian and my husband is jewish), and while i would love for my husband to convert to christianity and he would love for me to convert to judiasm, we've settled on teaching our children the traditions and beliefs of both religions. I think you should do the same. If you're uncomfortable with raising children with a non catholic/christian (which i can't understand how you would be when you married him KNOWING that he didn't know much about your religion), then maybe this relationship isn't build to last...
cvandoorn cvandoorn 8 years
I don't get why you are making such a big deal about it, you're supposed to love your husband no matter what, I mean, that is why you guys got married! He's not less of a person because he doesn't share the same beliefs you do! People can change their mind about their religion. What if in the future you raise your kids catholic but they decide to practice another faith? Will you feel deceived as well and disown them?? As long as he treats you with love and respect, you've got nothing to complain about!
Bettyesque Bettyesque 8 years
My question is how could it have not been discussed before you were married? I am not sure what to say really. Im not married but boyfriend is Methodist and I am Catholic. We both have a respect for each others faith and we discuss it a lot. This and other things are discussed because that is what you do. I dont want to criticize you and your relationship but it obvious you have communication issues.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Your religion is NOT that important to you ... or else you would have found out about his true beliefs beforehand. So dont make this molehill into a mountain.
Exactly! his beliefs weren't that important to you until you wanted them to be the same as yours. You weren't betrayed here, you didn't even care to bring it up as a serious discussion!
Bonne Bonne 8 years
It sounds like that you have grown in your faith since marriage. Now, religion is important in your life. Guess what? Even the Bible has a say in this. It's not a deal breaker. Check out 1 Peter 3:1
wiciltd wiciltd 8 years
If you ask my other half - he's technically catholic... But he's an athiest.. He was baptized catholic, went to a catholic school.. his parents are catholic... However he is not So maybe your husband is in the same boat...
ecco77 ecco77 8 years
No one will ever be everything you want them to be. Obviously before you were married other things were more important to you, so focus on them. I think the real issue is something else, and it sounds like you're in danger of being a little too controlling. Back off and practice your faith how you see fit, but don't expect him to be your twin.
Asia84 Asia84 8 years
this sucks. why isn't Sugar posting some good stuff?
LeChatonNoir LeChatonNoir 8 years
I think the issue here is that you're having a change of heart, not him. He was on the fence about Catholicsm before you were married since he never really practiced, and now that you are living together, the differences in your upbringing is showing, and you're thinking, maybe I do want a Catholic husband, someone who is centered in their faith... From the doubts you have, I think the issue may not be him, but why you are tied down to a certain way of expressing your faith, and whether it's truly based on your personal faith or on your family tradition. Also, I agree that compromise is key to this situation. As a married couple this is a testament (no pun intented) to the hardships you will face, because over the course of your lives, both of you will change; and it is up to you to change together.
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