Monday, March 16, 2009

It's All About Me

The question keeps coming up: will I have to become Catholic in order to marry a Catholic?


Before I even considered liking Mr. Wonderful, I purposely asked him if he would date a non-Catholic. His resounding yes put me at ease. I asked him if he'd marry a non-Catholic. Again, he said yes. He added that his faith isn't dependent on someone else, but it's easier when two people believe the same thing. His answer is exactly in line with what the church teaches: a Catholic can marry outside the church, but the church does prefer that both people are Catholic. What church wouldn't want everyone to belong to it?

The big question of my conversion is usually laced with a bit of either anger or doubt. People want to know if I'd consider converting because of my fiancé. Anyone who knows me well will say that I don't do a damn thing unless I want to (stubborn much? ha!). Our backgrounds are different, our ways of arriving to the church are very different, and our approaches to faith are even more different. If I decide to formally join the Catholic Church, it will be because my background and path have led me there, not because I'm being forced or coerced into it.

I was on this journey into faith and trying to understand organized religion before Mr. Wonderful and I began dating. We were friends at the time, but we had just barely started spending any time together at all. His only encouragement was to ask me if I wanted to join him for Mass one night. Since then, he has pointed me in the direction of information I desired. As he can't explain his faith to me (cradle Catholics have a problem with this--all of them), he isn't always helpful in a way that he'd like to be. So, truly, my knowledge and desire to learn more about Christianity's roots is almost in spite of him, not necessarily because of him. This is not a problem! It's beautiful that he can support me without me relying on him constantly for help.

To those who have wondered about my "conversion," it's not happening simply because I fell (madly) in love. It's not happening just so I can have a big church wedding. For the first time in years (through college even!), I found a path of study that I enjoy. I like learning about history, traditions that aren't my own, and finding myself in some of the weirdest places I never thought I'd see. I'm learning about my faith for me.

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