19 answers

Help! My Husband and I Don't Agree W/ How to Raise Children!

My husband is the son of a independent baptist preacher, I on the otherhand, am Roman Catholic. When we started dating we realized dispite the differences we really pretty much agreed on most important matters. He doesn't like the Catholic faith and I have had VERY VERY MANY bad experiences with the protestant faith but we both want our children to go to church. We had talked about Methodist because it meets in the middle but I just can't bring myself to officially leave the Catholic church. What should we do? I know religion is a touchy subject but rather you're Protestant or Catholic please give me your opinion!

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So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your advice. To answer some questions first, we were married in his parent's church due to the fact that his father is a preacher (which is the only reason why I agreed to be married there). I love the christian faith it's just that I have found along my way too many rules within churches that are ABSOLUTELY ridiculous (like in my inlaws church women must wear skirts and men pants, I refuse to wear a skirt bc I don't feel comfortable in them) I'm at church to be comfortable and love God not to be judged, we have attended a couple of different non-denominational churches but they too were a bit too loud for me. We both agree we want a church where people don't yell out, I can't focus when everyone is talking at once. Also, I love to read the bible but I also believe it is more man-made than God intended, some take it too literally. With that said I do not follow what my husband says just because he is a man, we MUST agree or no action will be taken this is not the 1800s afterall. More times than not we do things my way. I just found this subject as something we should agree upon. I love the traditional way of Catholics, the music, the blood and body of Christ (which is something Christ himself did, being the reason I find it so sacred). BUT! I love some of your ideas of Lutheran and Methodist. My husband and I discussed it further and we've agreed to go "church shopping" for a Methodist or Lutheran whichever we end up liking more, and we're going to go to mass once or twice a month just to give them options. I want my children to make their own choice but I want them to know what those choices are. THANK YOU SO MUCH! You really have opened our minds and hearts to this! I want to have four more children so it was very important to me to find a solution before I have more children. Thank you again. :)

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My mom is a Catholic and my dad is an Atheist. The way they delt with it was to not raise us under one religion but to expose us to all types and for us to make the choice. We all made different choices.

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I am sorry this is so difficult for you. I agree with others saying that you should try to find a church you are both comfortable in. Having a united family is so much more important than which denomination you participate in.

I, personally, was raised in "non-denominational" churches which were very definitely anti-Catholic. My husband, on the other hand, was raised by a set of very faithful Catholic parents. When he and I first began our friendship, I was trying to "convert" him. What ended up happening was that he became stronger in his own faith. At the critical questioning times (high-school and college), I asked him questions that caused him to search for his own answers and brought him back to a closer relationship with God, as a Catholic. Not my intention, but for us, it worked out for the best.

After our marriage, we didn't attend church because we couldn't agree. I couldn't participate in the Eucharist at his, and he couldn't get past the "fake" feeling of mine. With the birth of our second child, however, we decided we needed to get back. At the same time, he was approached by a family friend who is a nun and was the Catechism Coordinator for the parish he grew up in. She told him, "God is calling you by name. You need to teach." I know it sounds a little hokey, but she was right. My husband needed to teach. He brought faith, stability, and answers as a man to children who frequently only ever saw women involved in their faith. They needed him, and he needed them. It was where he was supposed to be. I saw that and began to attend masses with him and our kids.

Shortly thereafter, I began taking adult catechism classes and had my Confirmation in 2003. My parents were not thrilled, but they couldn't argue with my reasoning. I saw that my husband was where he was supposed to be. As his wife, my place is at his side, supporting him and helping him raise our children to love God just as much. If he was supposed to be Catholic, if that was his calling, why would God want me to be anything else? I am NOT saying your husband should become Catholic, or that you should convert to whatever he believes. What I'm saying is that you need to find your FAMILY's place. This is just how I found mine. If you keep your mind and your heart open, I'm sure you will find the answer.

Good Luck and God Bless!

3 moms found this helpful

WOW! You sound like my parents... back in the 60's! My parents realized long ago that it was not their faith that mattered, but the kids. If you both believe that your message is purposeful, then it does no harm to explain both & the differences. Let them decide, ultimately, in the end how faith will shape their decisions & lives.

If you spar over each others faith, more than likely your child will see how negative & uncomfortable it can make one feel & may have the adverse affect. Understanding & respecting differences allows them the opportunity to make decisions, teaches tolerance, & that love prevails over all - even faith.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with you that religion can definately be a touchy subject but it is way too important for you and your husband to disagree on. You must, absolutely MUST come to an agrement here. Your faith should be the foundation from which your family is built. You children need for you to come to some sort of an agreement. I do not agree that a child is the same religion as the mother when they are born. My opinion on the matter is that you teach your children faith and do all you can to instill it in them. However, like all things they must at some point make the decision for themselves about what they will accept. That is why it is so important to make this a part of their lives and also why it is so important that you and your husband agree. How you raise them today will play a huge part in who and what they become. I cannot give you my opinion on whether you should take them to a Catholic or protestant church. That has to be a decision you and your husband find a way to agree on. All I can say is that it is absolutely imparative that you do just that. Sit down and talk seriously with your husband about this. If he doesn't already then help him understand just how important this is to you, your children and your family as a whole. And then take the time and put in the effort to work this out. It may take a lot of conversations but it so worth it. Also, when you and your husband come together about this I would definately recommend that you pray for guidance in this area. Good luck to you. I will also pray that you are able to work this out.

1 mom found this helpful

This is the time for both of you to pray on this matter together.
What do you think God might want for your family? It's hard to know sometimes. What my husband and I do is pray and then move forward to see what doors open and close. I would encourage you to stay open for how God leads you. Personally, I was raised catholic. I now attend a non-denominational church called the Oasis Christian Center (oasisla.org & godchicks.com) I know God personally led me there and that's where I met my wonderful husband. Just remember to be in agreement with your husband and be willing to try a christian church different from what you are comfortable with. You will be blessed for doing that- I know I am.

1 mom found this helpful

Here is my quicky fix. I am Born and raised devout Roman Catholic and my husband is Lutheran. We have made it a point to not argue over our different religions instead we came up with a quick solution. Before my daughter was born We figured out where she'd be baptised so we went to a Christian church, not one or the other something in between. Either way we both see it that she was baptised in God's name. As for going to Church. WE switch off...Sometimes we go to Lutheran, other times we go to Catholic. Regardless of where you go, your going to church to worship. My own Catholic priest I grew up with told me that he'd rather me go to any Christian church than to no church at all. You know your beliefs and your husband knows his. You have to come up with a compromise so you both fulfill your spiritual needs. As for your child..we figure since our daughter is still young, we want her to see it as a joyous experiance, where we are all happy and worship is fun. When she is older we will teach her both sides of our faiths and let her decide for herself where she wants to go... the most important thing is to let your child experiance the greatness of religion and worship. Good luck to you and you both just need to keep an open mind. It's not worth fighting over someting that should bring joy.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, I think the important thing to realize is that both protestant and catholic are part of a bigger picture. Neither of these are religions, but rather denominations of Christianity. My family and I attend a Christian Reformed Church, which again is a denomination of Christianity and hold our relationship with Christ as number one is our household. I can imagine how hard it would be to walk away from all of the "rituals" that you are used to from being raised Catholic, however what is important is that you are raising your kids to know Christ, have good morals and secure their futures!
As long as you and your husband are in agreement on what you are going to teach your children, whether it is about hail mary's, the eurcarist, the trinity, a personal realtionship with Christ, etc... Does where you worship really have to be that important? We greatly value or church family don't get me wrong, but more importantly is the relationship we have with God.
I hope this helps! Best of luck. I will pray that you and your husband can come to an agreement soon for the future of your kids and family :)

1 mom found this helpful

I grew up catholic as did my husband but he is not religous and doesnt want are children raised in the catholic church my oldest two were baptized catholic, and then i agreed to try a different church for him, we found a methodist church and i love it i have been very happy there, i am technically not a member I just attend teh church because i have been struggling with not being a catholic but have recently decided i want to officially join. I have been attending it for a year. the atmosphere is just different, happier. it is more of a community and the service is more of a teaching and story telling not like lecturing. kids are welcome and welcome to make noise the childrens programs are excelent. my youngest was christened and my oldest baptizm are recognized where as if we went back to a catholic church my youngest would not be considered batized my pastor said all children are batized christian. I m just telling you my experiece which are all positive I couldnt be happier with a church.

1 mom found this helpful

Well my first response is that Independent baptist is NOT protestant... and my second response is that the basis of either religion is Christ. They are both Christian religions, albeit VERY different, they hold the same truths, be a friendly hardworking person, believe that the Lord is our savior and give tithes. Both have a bible (again, different versions) and both celebrate much of the same holidays. My best advice whould be to just show your kids the ropes of both. You dont have to stick with one and avoid the other. In fact I have a dear friend whose Jewish husband is proudly atheist, and she is Christian! So they tale about all three, dads families beliefs (hannukah and passover and such) dads beliefs (there maybe isnt anything kids!) and moms belief (praise the lord!) and I think the kids are doing just fine! Best of luck!!

Hi, I am Catholic. I understand not wanting to leave the Catholic Chruch. But I do believe it is important for you as a family to have a common faith. You do not have to stop being a practicing Catholic to attend services with your family at another church.I am not sure why you feel you have to, but you don't. I think you can have a very strong Catholic relationship with God, while helping your family find faith. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you believe in something beyond this world. Both religions believe in Christ and that should be enough of a common ground. Good Luck with this....

Hi J. I hear your heart. I was raised Roman Catholic and now I am a christian. There is no special name to it just christian. See christian means "follower of Christ" so the problem is not what type of christian you are. What matters is if you are in a church that is bible- based. Meaning that everything that they preach is in the bible. Because the bible is God's word, and that is "truth". So really if your church is not teaching you everything that God says is yours "by faith" like health, prosperity, victory, then it is not the "religion" it is the church.

I would hope, first and foremost, that you and your husband agree on the essentials of the Christian faith.....that one is saved by "faith" in Christ's death and resurrection, nothing more and nothing less, and that the only mediator between you and God the Father is Christ. With this being said, what you two don't agree on are likely the non-essentials.....how to worship, what is appropriate attire, what day to attend services, etc..... As such, is it really worth dividing your household over the non-essentials? Furthermore, assuming you guys are a spirit filled, scripture reading household, then you also know that God's word says you are to submit to your husband (Ephesians 5:21-33). Thus, so as not to divide your home over the non-essentials and to submit to the Lord, I'm of the opinion you follow the doctrine your husband follows.

Kids are the same religion as the mother when they are born. It is the natural order. So officially your children are Roman Catholic.

Why not find a non-denominational church to start. They can learn the basics. When they are older they can decide for themselves. Perhaps you can introduce them to both a Roman Catholic church and a Baptist church, at some point, and let them decide.

Religion is so very personal to each individual being. Would you really consider leaving your faith?

I used to work for a doctor that was Jewish. He married a Catholic. A Preist and a Rabi conducted the ceremony. There children throughout the marriage have had the opportunity to experience both religions, including holidays. I do not know which religion each of their children chose. How knows, maybe Buddist.

The point of this story is that they both of them respect each others religion

My sister in law is Catholic. She used to attend Church every Sunday. She left the Church because her daughter is a lesbian. I thought, how sad. She told me that she felt as though she betrayed God. Apparently she got a lot of pressure from other members of the church for something that she had no control over.

The point of this story is that you can't allow other people, including your husband, tell you what you should beleive in. Religion is too personal for that.

A non-denominational church would be a good starting point.

I hope this helps


Wow! This is tuff! My first question to you would be how were you married? If you had a Catholic wedding than your husband would have taken part in the vows that state you will bring up children in the Church. Now, if your husband is a man of his word than this vow taken under God and in front of the community should not be taken lightly (even if he didnt really mean it or changed his mind).
It sounds like the most important thing to do in this situation is to pray that God will open his heart to the Catholic Church, and that even if he doesnt convert that he will allow his children to follow you to the fullness of the faith. Over time, by you following your faith with all your heart, he will see the peace and joy within you and hopefully see the goodness of Christ's Church.
Do you know why he doesnt like the Church? It would be good to ask him and then research. Some of the reasons he may not like the Church is because of false assumptions that so many Protestants suffer from. Thankfully, we have amazing resources to help others understand our faith better (the two most important being the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church).
I cant imagine how hard this must be for you, but please think hard before leaving the Church. If one can have the fullness of truth why settle for anything else. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with your husbands faith, but what a gift for you to be Catholic and have the opportunity to recieve Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. He is the source and summit of our lives!
Many blessings and I'll be praying for you!

I think ultimately, it is up to your children to decide what they want to believe. You can only show them what is out there. Maybe meet halfway to Methodist for awhile and talk about the other two or have them go some Baptist and some Catholic and let them decide later when they are old enough to make that decision.

Good luck!

Hi J.-
I have lots to say on this matter, but I wanted to ask first where do you and your family live and how old are your kids?

I guess in a nutshell I would say what is most important ultimately is that your family know and serve God. Since you both have reservations and/or bad experiences about one another's "religion", maybe you could check out together something like "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, do that book together (or even as a family depending on how old your kids are). That book (and there are others. This is one I've seen many people really benefit from) could get you both on common ground on where you stand in your individual faith vs what religion you are. Your kids need parents who will serve, love,and know God on a relationship level vs a religious level. When they see your life vibrant and healthy as you know God, they will want your values and they will fulfill the destiny God has for their lives. I know of many churches, and am actually the worship leader at one in the Valley. That is why I ask where you live so maybe I could recommend a church where your whole family could grow in God and His purposes for you as opposed to somewhere to merely attend church on a Sunday.

I hope that helps!

Hi J.,
There is no perfect church..although it is soo important to bring our children up going to church and learning about God..in our world that is practically throwing all sense of goodness and godliness out the window we as parents really need to realize that we need to be even more aggressive in providing a loving and morally concious home life..these biblical values we instill in our children at a early age stick with them for life...don't miss out on that priveledge by spending soo much time on whose church is right or wrong..just take the next best step and come together as a couple and find a biblically based church that has a strong childrens program and also one that you and your husband can learn and grow too...because when your growing in Gods word and finding what he has for your life it causes security and when a husband and wife are both headed that direction it creates a loving secure and godly home life that produces happy secure and godly children....we could use some more of that in our world..dont you think??

Hi J.,

I was baptized Catholic & my husband was raised anti-religion. I felt strongly that our children should know God, so we found an Inter-Denominational Church. It is a Bible based church that welcomes all Christians of every denomination. It was a perfect fit for us, and we have now been attending for over two years. If you live in the Santa Clarita Valley, the church is called Northpark Community Church and the website is: www.northparkcommunity.org/

C. : )

My mom is a Catholic and my dad is an Atheist. The way they delt with it was to not raise us under one religion but to expose us to all types and for us to make the choice. We all made different choices.

It's important that you make sure that ALL of the teachings of your religion are Bible Based. Some traditions of men do not please God, as stated in the Bible. So if they are doing things that do not originate with God or His Word, I would not be a part of it.

Religion can be emotional... but emotion is not what you should base it on. You should base it on facts, Bible teachings and faith in God. If your faith is mainly emotional you should do some research and confirm your beliefs. A lot of churches do not even read the Bible, and people go because the preachers make them feel emotionally good... but that is not what God wants. He does not want you to do it just because it makes you feel good, but because you have studied his word, found out what he requires and want to please Him.

I think the reason a lot of churches require women to wear a dress or skirt is not to be judgemental. It is because you are in God's house and you would want to show respect to God dressing your best. If you were on your way to meet the president, or the Queen what would you wear? You would want to show respect by dressing better than usual... once you do, you will get used to it. Weren't people in Bible times required to dress a certain way? God was not being judgemental, but demanded the respect that He deserves.

If I were you, I would look into EVERY religion that comes your way. If their teachings are only based on the Bible and you can see it by the way they live their lives, by what they teach and by their organization, that would be the type of religion to be a part of.

You should believe that it is the truth, and the only truth - because the Bible is clear that there can only be one truth. It should not be just a religion, but a way of life as Jesus taught. Teaching your children that serving God is a way of life, not just somewhere to go on Sunday - that's what I would look for.

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