Mixed denomination marriages

We had a reader that asked us a question about “mixed marriages”, meaning marrying someone of a different denomination. I qualify to answer this question since my husband and I were as opposite as night and day. I grew up in the Catholic church and he grew up in the Baptist church. I don’t know where I got the idea when I was growing up, but I always thought of the Baptist religion as the “Anti-Catholic”. I could NEVER imagine myself going to a Baptist church.

When I met my husband, I had a revelation from God that this was the man he intended for me to marry. We had only known each other for 2 weeks. He knew when we first met; it took me 2 weeks more! Even though I was a fairly new Christian, I felt that God was telling me that this was the one. And this is where our adventure began.

The first thing we had to do was decide on where we were getting married. It was our first opportunity to make a compromise, so that our wedding was a combination of both of our beliefs and experiences. The Lutheran church (Missouri Synod) was similar enough to Catholicism to me, and he thought it was Protestant enough for him, so that is where we got married.

Now when DH and I were considering churches, we tried many churches. We went to a mass together at a Catholic church, and he didn’t like it at all. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be comfortable in a Baptist church. We started looking for a middle ground that we both would feel comfortable in. We wanted to choose a church that we could raise our children in as a family. In the first four years of our marriage, we tried several Lutheran churches (Missouri Synod), and finally settled in a nondenominational Bible church. We were there for 10 years. Now…guess what? We left the Bible church and are now enjoying a Baptist church. It is very similar to the Bible church we attended for so long, but not actually a traditional Southern Baptist church.

I think there are several things that you need to consider when considering marriage. First of all, God calls us to be equally yoked. By this, God tells us not to be yoked to an unbeliever. (2 Corinthians 6:14-15) Now there are some marriages that have worked out this way…Lee Strobel and his wife, Leslie are examples, but in this case, Lee DID become a Christian after an extensive and exhaustive investigation into the evidence of Christ, but it wasn’t without its trials and tribulations along the way. This isn’t going to work in all marriages. Don’t enter into a marriage thinking you can change your spouse’s mind about religion. It doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. Remember, the only person you can change is yourself. You don’t have control over change in your spouse. Secondly, I highly recommend premarital counseling. This counseling can really help with all areas of your future marriage. It helps you to think through things that will affect your marriage that maybe you haven’t thought about. Sometimes before we get married, we are so in love, we can’t see through the feelings of the moment to think about issues that could come up later in our marriage; religion and where you will attend church is one of those issues. Lastly, since my husband and I were both believers, we didn’t compromise our beliefs, but compromised on the church body where we felt that we could worship God together, raise our children and feel like it was our “home”. Some of you may have decided to attend the wife’s church or the husband’s church. If it works for you, that’s great. If there is a comfort level involved though, I feel it is important to look for a church where you both can worship together. My comfort level was really tested when DH and I looked for a church, but in the end, we spent 10 years in a church that my Dad thought made me a “bible thumper”, but my relationship with God blossomed there. It honored God that we, as a couple and as a family, decided to make it a priority to find a church body where we could grow as a couple and where we could raise our children to know Him.

Where should you choose? That is totally up to you, your spouse and God. I would take it in prayer to God. Listen for God’s guidance. He could lead you to any denomination. He could lead you to a church that is nondenominational. He could lead you to a home church. If you are very staunchly rooted in your religion, whatever it may be, and you would never compromise on your religion, it wouldn’t be wise to marry someone outside of your religion. I have seen for myself the results of this in my own parents. Prayerfully consider what God has planned for you and your spouse. He would never lead you wrong!

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