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Atheist Bride Asks If It’s Wrong To Reject Future MIL’s Wishes For Catholic Church Wedding

couple exchange rings during a Catholic wedding
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When planning a wedding, a lot of opinions and wants can be thrown at the couple by their families.

Deciding which requests—if any—to incorporate into their plans can lead to unwanted conflict for the couple. While compromise can alleviate that, at some point a line needs to be drawn or the wedding risks becoming about everyone but the couple getting married.

A soon-to-be bride is struggling with her future mother-in-law’s plans for her wedding. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to pose a hypothetical “Would I Be The A**hole” (WIBTA) scenario.

BrainBerry1 asked:

“WIBTA for refusing to get married in a Catholic Church?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My fiancé (27, male) and I (27, female) have a happy, respectful 3-year relationship and have cohabited harmoniously for 2 years. My fiancé was raised as a Catholic and was an active member of the Church until he went to university.”

“I was baptised a Christian and attended Church of England schools; however, as an adult, I have been atheist. When we met, we joked about how we were both raised religious but no longer believed in God.”

“I’ve always said I didn’t want a big wedding; I just want a relaxed, intimate day and for us to throw a party once we are married. To this, he would say ‘yeah, we don’t need a big day’ or ‘whatever makes you happy’ and we would lightheartedly discuss eloping.”

“My mum supports these wishes but my fiancé’s mother has suggested a reception venue and discussed coaches for guests to get from the ceremony to the reception (i.e. has planned the whole day out already).”

“Since we last visited his family, my fiancé now says he’s always wanted to get married in the church where his parents and grandparents got married.”

“He says this is the only thing he’s ever asked of me and has made some (uncharacteristically) sarcastic remarks about getting married elsewhere: ‘yeah, let’s get married in an office that has no sentimental value to either of us’.”

“From my understanding, I’d have to attend a course, we’d have to attend that church (it’s in Wales and we live in London), and we’d have to vow to raise our children in the Church.”

“I have my own feelings about the Catholic Church as I don’t agree with their views on abortion, I’m not homophobic, I don’t believe cohabitation is a sin, and I find them outdated (e.g. no women in the clergy).”

“I raised these feelings with my fiancé privately and expressed that it didn’t feel right to me to be dishonest on our wedding day, vowing to raise my children in the Church, and our service being all about God.”

“He fed my concerns back to his mother who apparently said ‘it doesn’t need to be a lie, I’ll take the children to Church every Sunday!’.”

“I feel I’m sacrificing a lot as it would inevitably become the white wedding I never wanted. I would feel awkward/embarrassed all day and would have to stand in front of friends, family, and my fiancé, (and God, apparently) and lie on a day that is meant to be special.”

“I’d silently resigned myself to going through with it, because I understand the pressure my fiancé feels to please his family, and became upset one night. My fiancé came to comfort me and I told him I’d decided we could get married in his church.”

“We fell asleep, and when I tried to raise the conversation with him again he said ‘I don’t want to talk about our wedding, it makes me feel sad’.”

“In my heart, I’m against the idea of getting married there and it feels like a wedding for his family rather than for us.”

“WIBTA for refusing to get married there, or should I suck it up and focus on the marriage part, which is much more important?”

The OP added:

“The money for the wedding will mainly be coming from myself. My fiancé has begun to put some money aside each month towards it.”

“His parents have said they will contribute, which I tried to politely decline but his mother said that she understands that I want to be independent but that they will, of course, be contributing.”

“My mother has also offered to contribute… not sure how as she has no money, but the offer is there!”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors unanimously decided the OP would not be the a**hole (NTA).

“NTA. But the bigger concern is your fiance. Sounds like he’s letting his family control him.”

“Give in to this and they’ll be controling you. They’ve already got plans for YOUR children.”

“Do you want that life? Do you want it for your children?”

“Stand firm now or get out.” ~ MerlinBiggs

“Do you really think it’ll stop at just the wedding?”

“If you give in here, his family will feel they can dictate all your decisions throughout your life, and your fiancé has shown you that he will consider his family’s wishes over yours.”

“He needs to stand up for you, and the fact he’s not is a giant red flag.”

“Absolutely NTA.” ~ ed_lv

“100% this. He needs to stand up to his family now, about this, for the sake of the success of your marriage. It is not just about the wedding. It is about his mother having too much influence over things that are important between the two of you.”

“If this were just about the wedding—adhering to a family tradition of having the reception at a particular place, for example, I would have a different answer. But getting married in the Catholic Church when you and your future husband aren’t Catholic is about so much more than that.”

“I have been married for many years to a man who was raised Catholic. He made it a point to tell his parents before the wedding that he was no longer Catholic and to refuse to marry in the church, because he did not want his parents to have any false hopes about how their future grandchildren would be raised.”

“He felt it was important to stand up for us and our relationship at the beginning of our marriage and to be clear that his primary loyalty now lay to his own family rather than his family of origin.”

“His mother was deeply upset, but she came to understand that this was her problem to deal with rather than a relationship problem between us. She is still sad today about her son and her grandchildren not being Catholic, but that has not prevented us from having a great relationship.”

“So no, YWNBTA. Your fiancé should stand up for himself and for your family unit. It will save you endless grief in the future if he does it now.” ~ DeeplyCommitted

“You fiancé needs to pick a side now because this is just the opening salvo in your MIL being a never-ending partner in your future marriage. She wins on this. She will expect to have meaningful input in every major decision that you make.”

“You need more talk with him about his relationship with his parents. Talk about boundaries and dealbreakers.”

“YWNBTA to refuse. This is your time. This is your lives.” ~ Some_Range_9037

“And the lives of any kids they have. If OP folds on the wedding, she can expect MIL to arrange to get the kids baptised, go to church and/or Sunday school, and to get a good Christian education indoctrination.” ~ RamblingManUK

“You should definitely focus on the marriage part. What’s your marriage going to be like? This guy is willing to walk all over you to have the wedding of his mother’s dreams.”

“He’s eager to please his family even in ways that directly affect you and make you profoundly uncomfortable. And his mom wants to take your future children to Mass every week.”

“Focus on the marriage part. Think long and hard about that. NTA.” ~ AfterSevenYears

“It is a wedding for his family!!!”

“He was happy with your previous ideas until mommy dearest started whispering in his ear. He is not marrying his mother he is marrying you.”

“Your wants and needs come first. You don’t feel comfortable getting married under a lie, which it is no matter how they try sugar-coating it.”

“Then for her to jump on the pony of taking your kids to church with her every Sunday? She is already trying to take over.”

“Your fiancé can either stand by you or behind you. He needs to tell his mother a simple no and leave it at that.”

“Stand your ground OP and don’t even give them an inch of space to protest. NTA at all.” ~ PlantainVisible3444

“NTA. And either your soon to be husband is still holding value to organized religion or he has the same views as you. Which is it?”

“He needs to decide that and talk to his parents about it if he is on your side. You need to be happy and confident marrying your person.”

“If marrying him in a church makes you uncomfortable, and it pleases his family, who are you marrying?” ~ GardenSafe8519

“NTA, if the possibility of it had been discussed when the subject had been brought up through the course of your relationship then I would say otherwise, but he has brought this up out of the blue and you have very genuine concerns.”

“Nevermind the fact that the wedding day is about BOTH of your love, not what outside influences want, especially family. Do you really want to spend your special day together feeling like you’ve given up a large chunk of your morals and opinions?”

“His sarcastic and demeaning remarks to bully you into this also rings alarm bells for me. Is this a regular occurrence, or is this out of character for him to behave during a disagreement?”

“Either way I’d say put off plans to get wed until you come to some form of compromise, or worst case scenario accept the lack of compatibility and go your separate ways.” ~ spookobsessedscot

It sounds like this couple needs to have some serious conversations before any wedding takes place.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metis Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.