Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Cohabitation for Catholic Couples

So I have a concern that hopefully those of you who got married Catholic can help me address.

My fiance and I are Catholic. He was born and raised Catholic but I did not come into the church until I was 20 (I'm 22 now) so I'm new to this in a lot of ways. I went to a Catholic high school but I never paid any attention to the religion. My family is not practicing. Not that it's a bad thing but I just need to "set the stage" so to speak.

We are graduating this May (my fiance and I) and we are looking for apartments. We will be getting married August of 2013 which is a little over a year away. We have been looking to get an apartment together since it does not make sense for us to pay rent seperately given that we share the same pool of finances.

My mom and dad have been really supportive--they're pretty excited actually. We've been looking at some nice apartments near work and my parents are scrounging around for left over things in their house that we can put in the new apartment (furniture, silverware, appliances, etc.) 

His parents tell me that the Catholic church will not marry you if you're cohabitating with the guy you're going to marry. All of my friends who are uber Catholic inform me that this is true and have shunned me as a sinner for having considered the possibility! I am at a total loss. And I am not kidding when I tell you that I have lost a friend for having considered living with my fiance (we havn't settled on an apartment so nothing is official) and she has no interest in being part of my life anymore. I am completely caught off guard.

What do I do? I suppose we can get seprate apartments but in honesty we're going to be at eachother's places so often it will just be a huge fianance for no reason.

Re: Cohabitation for Catholic Couples

  • It is very true that SOME Catholic churches will not marry you. BUT its honestly up to the Priest. According the "Catholic Law" those are the rules, fornification is now allowed. My parents are super Catholic, and when they found out my FI and his family were also Catholic they were thrilled because they thought we were going to abide by every Catholic intention. But his family is very lax and I myself am as well. The church my parents go to, the Priest is a super traditionalist and would never marry us. But the church his family goes to, the Priest is very modern, understands the ways of he world and is always so supportive of our engagement and cant wait to be apart of our wedding. Hes overjoyed that the two of us have found love together, in any which way or form. And my FI and I are looking for houses and will be lving together before the wedding. My parents would rather die than see that happen, but our Priest is very understanding of it and althought he cannot "encourage" that, he would not refuse to marry us because of it. So hopefully everything works out for you, I hope that helped in any way and I wish you the best of luck. This situation can be discouraging at times!
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • "fornication is now allowed"  ?  lols



  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_cohabitation-for-catholic-couples?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:2c93bc47-d847-49f0-959c-ff100773634ePost:c710879b-e7bc-4e27-9e5a-c4d9cc1d3731">Cohabitation for Catholic Couples</a>:
    [QUOTE]So I have a concern that hopefully those of you who got married Catholic can help me address. My fiance and I are Catholic. He was born and raised Catholic but I did not come into the church until I was 20 (I'm 22 now) so I'm new to this in a lot of ways. I went to a Catholic high school but I never paid any attention to the religion. My family is not practicing. Not that it's a bad thing but I just need to "set the stage" so to speak. We are graduating this May (my fiance and I) and we are looking for apartments. We will be getting married August of 2013 which is a little over a year away. We have been looking to get an apartment together since it does not make sense for us to pay rent seperately given that we share the same pool of finances. My mom and dad have been really supportive--they're pretty excited actually. We've been looking at some nice apartments near work and my parents are scrounging around for left over things in their house that we can put in the new apartment (furniture, silverware, appliances, etc.)  His parents tell me that the Catholic church will not marry you if you're cohabitating with the guy you're going to marry. <strong>All of my friends who are uber Catholic inform me that this is true and have shunned me as a sinner for having considered the possibility</strong>! I am at a total loss. And I am not kidding when I tell you that I have lost a friend for having considered living with my fiance (we havn't settled on an apartment so nothing is official) and she has no interest in being part of my life anymore. I am completely caught off guard. What do I do?<strong> I suppose we can get seprate apartments but in honesty we're going to be at eachother's places so often it will just be a huge fianance for no reason.
    </strong>Posted by ntursich[/QUOTE]

    You Answered your own question. You either move in together realizing you may lose some friends, have a harder time finding a priest that will marry you and you are going against the religion. Even those who accept it, usually will still back that you shouldnt be intentionally making choices you know are sinful, and there may or may not be reprecussions in your church life (taking communion, being a ministry leader) all might be compromised by living together. So it depends what is more important to you, a "clean image" to not cause friction within your friend groups and church, or the money saved by living together. I wouldn't say either decision is wrong, but thats the choice you have to make, and you say "no reason", in your friend and possibly churchs eyes, integrity and being right before God would be the reason, both sides will likely have reprocussions, and only you can decide which is more important to your values.

    Having said that, I don't beleive living together is 'wrong', I wouldnt encourage it, but I am also not against it, and would be living with my FI for practical reasons except for my very christian parents. I would break thier hearts if I moved in with my FI before we got married and they would consider me to have lost thier respect, and I would be looked down on in the church and would be asked to step out of ministry (I volunteer with the youth group and kids church). So I am sucking it up and moved back in with my parents to save money instead, it SUCKS, but my relationship with my parents and with my church are more important to me then having to wait a few more months to get married before I move into the house we bought together. I mean in the long run we have forever to live together after the wedding, but the impact it would have on my relationships with friends and family would be distroyed if I moved now.

    May 2012 July Siggy: Favorite Vacation Spot Kaleden, BC
    July Fave Vacation Spot photo IMG_0268-1.jpg

    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    My Blog:Through My Eyes

  • Whether or not you and your FI can be married will be left up to your officiant and how well your marriage investigation (done during precana) goes.  If you do decide to live together, you need to recognize that this does go against the tenets of the Church and that you may have difficulty obtaining a Church permission to marry.  It really will depend on your priest. 

    It could happen that you will find a priest you is willing to marry you but will ask you to do something like commit to being abstinent for a period of time before you are married.  (Since it's not technically against Church precepts to live together if that's the extent of it; it's the "other stuff" that the Church dislikes.)  You may also be asked to go to confession.

    DH and I are non practicing Catholics and while we took the precana classes, we were not married in the Church. Part of our reason was that we lived together for a long time before getting married.  I've had friends do an end run around this by making sure one of them uses a parent's address on their church paperwork - but I don't like the idea of lying to the Church this way.

    Only you and your FI can decide if you want to live together before marriage, knowing the potential consequences with friends and family and with the Church.  I'm glad DH and I did - we know each other so well and confirmed we can live with the other's quirks.
    image
    Anniversary


  • It depends on the church. Mine wouldn't marry us because we lived together.
     
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic Lilypie First Birthday tickers
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    My H and I lived together for years before we were married in the Catholic church.  

    I recommend that you make an appointment with your priest to discuss this before you make a decision.  

    If you are losing friends over your decision, they were never much of friends to begin with.  It isn't a friend's place to judge your decisions.  
  • I don't think that a priest can technically refuse marriage because of cohabitation, but a lot of traditional priests make decisions like this quite often I'm sure.  My FI and I live together and I was born/raised Catholic and am still a practicing Catholic (church on Sundays, etc).  My priest just told us why the Catholic church is against cohabitation and we said we understand, but live together for financial and practical reasons (I'm in grad school away from home and he came with me).  My priest was understanding about it.  I had one friend who suggested we get married before we move in together "to make it right with God" (she's not Catholic, she's non-denominational but very, very spiritual).  I told her we weren't getting married and she just doesn't talk to me about her beliefs that cohabitation is wrong.  I'm sorry you are losing friends over this, but I'd suggest really praying about it and talking it out with your FI.  How does he feel about it?
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • We're marrying in the Catholic church and we live together. We've gone through pre-cana and met with the priest today. We never lied about where we lived and answered honestly any questions that were asked of us (FI isn't Catholic.) He is the only priest we approached about getting married and he isn't my home parish- we're getting married about an hour outside of NYC for budget reasons. It was unrealistic to consider living apart- have you tried finding two cheap apartments in NYC?? And our friends and family support us, which doesn't seem to be your situation. That makes a difference but I'm with PP, if you do decide to live together, you'll have to accept that you'll likely lose friends over the decision. I think you'll have to consider that you may run into more trouble getting married as a cohabiting couple but that there are priests who will marry you. Mine suggested going to confession, which is generally something you do before any sacrament anyway. 
    imageDaisypath Anniversary tickers
  • This is one of those things that you really have to clear with the church and the priest that you want to marry you.

    Around here it seems to be a don't ask/don't tell policy. Catholic couples get officially engaged and move in together but have all the important mail delivered to their parent's home. Everyone ends up finding out but no one says anything until the actual marriage.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_cohabitation-for-catholic-couples?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:36Discussion:2c93bc47-d847-49f0-959c-ff100773634ePost:c710879b-e7bc-4e27-9e5a-c4d9cc1d3731">Cohabitation for Catholic Couples</a>:
    [QUOTE]So I have a concern that hopefully those of you who got married Catholic can help me address. My fiance and I are Catholic. He was born and raised Catholic but I did not come into the church until I was 20 (I'm 22 now) so I'm new to this in a lot of ways. I went to a Catholic high school but I never paid any attention to the religion. My family is not practicing. Not that it's a bad thing but I just need to "set the stage" so to speak. We are graduating this May (my fiance and I) and we are looking for apartments. We will be getting married August of 2013 which is a little over a year away. We have been looking to get an apartment together since it does not make sense for us to pay rent seperately given that we share the same pool of finances. My mom and dad have been really supportive--they're pretty excited actually. We've been looking at some nice apartments near work and my parents are scrounging around for left over things in their house that we can put in the new apartment (furniture, silverware, appliances, etc.)  His parents tell me that the Catholic church will not marry you if you're cohabitating with the guy you're going to marry.<strong>All of my friends who are uber Catholic inform me that this is true and have shunned me as a sinner for having considered the possibility! </strong>I am at a total loss. And I am not kidding when I tell you that I have lost a friend for having considered living with my fiance (we havn't settled on an apartment so nothing is official) and she has no interest in being part of my life anymore. I am completely caught off guard. What do I do? I suppose we can get seprate apartments but in honesty we're going to be at eachother's places so often it will just be a huge fianance for no reason.
    Posted by ntursich[/QUOTE]

    These people were never your friends or really much of Catholics.  You can hate the sin but love the sinner and frankly they should know better than to stand in judgment of another.

    You have to do what you feel is the right thing to do.  You'll probably get some answers on the Catholic Board (under Cultural wedding boards).  I know a few of the ladies there lived with their DH's before they were married and would be able to help you out.
    Proud to be an old married hag!! image
  • My Catholic church married us (although we WERE asked to live seperately for the week before the wedding).  I think it really does depend on the church/individual clergy members.

    As far as these "friends" are concerned, anyone who would just drop you like that over this is clearly not your friend.  A friend may not agree with your choices, but should support you in any way they can in your ability to make them.  They're clearly not living up to the "love they neighbor" credo.  My thoughts go out to you on this - You do not have to justify your life to them.

    Enjoy your wedding and your marriage with many blessings.
  • kfraskfras member
    100 Comments
    Like everyone has said, it depends on the church. It really must depend on the region too. Because where we live it is not an issue. In our diocese, they will still marry you if you live together. When we took our FOCCUS test (which you have to take for your pre-marital conceling, basically a compatability test designed to help you focus on any problems that may arrise during marriage so you are able to discuss them beforehand), we had to take a test of about 160 questions. After that section there were three following sections that you would take only if you fell into one or more of the three catergories. 1: Couples who are different faiths (one person is Catholic and the other is not). 2: Couples who live together already and 3: Couples who already have children.

    We do not live together, but in our church it is not an issue. My sister married last April and she was already living with her fiance for 2 years prior to that.

    Sorry to hear about your friends, but if they can't love you for who you are, mistakes and all, sins and all, maybe it is not worth it :/

    In this economy it really is sensible to live together. My soon to be sister-in-law and her fiance also live together and the first priest they met with said no big deal, but their priest has since left the church and now they have a new, younger priest who came in, and he made them have a meeting with him to discuss their living arrangement. It is a shame but he basically out right told them that he does not approve of them living together before marriage. She was pretty upset. I was appalled as well, because even if they are living together does not necessarily mean they are sleeping together and I don't think any priest should assume so. Tell the church your plans of moving in together and see what they say is the only advice I can give. At this point you have to decide which is more important and if it is very important to marry in the church at all. Is there any way you can technically move back in with your parents and have FI get his own apartment? I would assume you would spend many nights there even if you didn't live there anyway. Not that you want to lie to the priest, but if you technically aren;t living there it isn;t lying. :/
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Please feel free to hop over to the Catholic Board with any other questions you may have!

    It really has nothing to do with whether a priest is "liberal" or "traditional". Priests have to feel comfortable that the couple is serious about marriage and is serious about the faith. I know many "traditional" priests that understand that everyone sins and deserves the opportunity for repentence if they desire it. There is no rule against a cohabitating couple being married, however this could be sign to the priest that the couple is not serious about the faith. Some priests gain comfort in other ways, and therefore are willing to marry the couple. Others will ask the couple to live "as brother and sister" until the wedding, which means separate beds and abstinence. Some may not be able to gain comfort otherwise and would therefore turn down the couple. None of the cohabitating couples I've known personally have had that happen. The best thing to do is to be honest with your priest and be clear with your intentions. Be sure to understand the reasoning behind this rule, as I think that would help!

    GoodLuckBear is 100% right about your friends and it upsets me when Catholics behave this way. We must love one another. We are all sinners. My sins are no better/worse than yours. Nothing is achieved by shunning and shaming each other. I would remind them of this, and if they don't have a change of heart, I wouldn't spend more time with them. I wish you all the best!
  • Lisa50Lisa50 member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited April 2012
    What do you do?  Talk to your priest.  I believe your FI's parents are giving you incorrect advice.  Living in the same apartment is not the issue. Pre-marital sex (forbidden by the Church) is the issue.  Again, talk to your priest.  Good luck!

    BTW, the Catholic Church doesn't "shun" anyone.  Your so-called friends are borrowing lingo from some other religion (I can't remember which, at this moment).  If you're not quite sure which parish you and your FI will join, just talk to the priest at the Catholic center at your university.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_cohabitation-for-catholic-couples?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:2c93bc47-d847-49f0-959c-ff100773634ePost:c84b9c1d-a84b-4a8f-80b5-434e32919d60">Re: Cohabitation for Catholic Couples</a>:
    [QUOTE]Please feel free to hop over to the Catholic Board with any other questions you may have! It really has nothing to do with whether a priest is "liberal" or "traditional". Priests have to feel comfortable that the couple is serious about marriage and is serious about the faith. I know many "traditional" priests that understand that everyone sins and deserves the opportunity for repentence if they desire it. There is no rule against a cohabitating couple being married, however this could be sign to the priest that the couple is not serious about the faith. Some priests gain comfort in other ways, and therefore are willing to marry the couple. Others will ask the couple to live "as brother and sister" until the wedding, which means separate beds and abstinence. Some may not be able to gain comfort otherwise and would therefore turn down the couple. None of the cohabitating couples I've known personally have had that happen. The best thing to do is to be honest with your priest and be clear with your intentions. Be sure to understand the reasoning behind this rule, as I think that would help! GoodLuckBear is 100% right about your friends and it upsets me when Catholics behave this way. We must love one another. We are all sinners. My sins are no better/worse than yours. Nothing is achieved by shunning and shaming each other. I would remind them of this, and if they don't have a change of heart, I wouldn't spend more time with them. I wish you all the best!
    Posted by Riss91[/QUOTE]
    Riss - you stole the words right out of my mouth!  <div>
    </div><div>In all honesty, OP, the consensus here is right - the best course of action is to talk with your priest.  An option, as well, would be to get a 2 bedroom apt and sleep in separate rooms.  There's a definite difference between sharing a residence and living as husband and wife.</div>
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

    One thing to remember: The wedding is just one day. The marriage is all the rest of them.

    April 2012 Siggy Challenge: Cake Inspiration
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • Our priest refused to marry us b/c we live together.  The priest at another chuch was willing to do it.  It really depends on the parrish/priest. 
    [IMG]http://i50.tinypic.com/2nr26gn.jpg[/IMG]
  • We are receiving Catholic vows from the deacon in my church (at an outside location, as approved by the bishop).  My fiance is Jewish and we live together.   We have almost finished pre-marital counseling (pre-cana) and completed the FOCCUS assessment.  I think the rules vary from parish to parish.  

    Today, it just makes sense financially for a lot of couples to live together and I think that a lot of parishes are aware of the logistics behind it.
  • It really depends on your church. Your story is a bit similar to mine; I chose my fiancee over friends and family and lived with him before marriage; due to legal reasons; we married at the courthouse by ourselves but this matrimony has no value in the Catholic Church so we will finally receive the sacrament this year. The process will be lengthy if you don't have the required sacraments but I'm sure there's something your Church can do about it. Some churches are more traditional than others so will require more retreats or marriage counseling for example. But speak to your pastor together. Here's a link that might help answer some of your questions.
    http://catholicweddinghelp.com/questions/cohabitating.htm

    Good Luck and Congratulations on your engagement.
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards