Wedding planning is full of decisions that need to be made, and sometimes, making those decisions can cause fights between the happy couple, the wedding party, or even the extended family.
One of the most important elements of the wedding, that can also cause ample drama, is the development of the wedding vows, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor KneeHighSockPuppets was excited to marry her partner, who came from a Catholic family, but she wanted their wedding vows to reflect both his Catholicism and her Indigenous heritage.
But when she was accused of disrespecting his family, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was asking too much by wanting to edit the wedding vows.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘disrespecting’ my future in-laws and their religion?”
The OP and her future husband came from different religions and heritages.
“I (27 Female) am engaged to my partner (30 Male). It’s relevant to note that my husband is Caucasian and I’m Indigenous/Native American (I’m fine identifying as either).”
“A situation has developed over the last few weeks with my partner’s family.”
“So we are planning two wedding ceremonies, a catholic ceremony for his family, and a ceremony from my culture for my family. My parents will be attending the catholic ceremony, and my future in-laws are invited to the cultural ceremony.”
“My partner has been extremely helpful, understanding, and patient during the planning process.”
The OP asked for a few minor changes to the wedding vows and ceremony script.
“The problem started when we met with the church folks to go over some ceremony basics. The priest gave us a rundown of the words he will be saying, and I asked if we could edit them a little.”
“Long story short, my ask has resulted in the priest/father refusing to do the ceremony and my in-laws taking back their blessing of our marriage, because I’m ‘disrespectful to them, their son, their church, and their religion.'”
The OP clarified in the comments what her editing requests had been.
“There were a few parts I wanted to change a little:”
“1. The promise to support and follow the guidance of my husband. I wanted to add this to his vow, too, since my tribe is matrilineal and the women are the guiders/leaders. I don’t mind the actual vow, I just want him to make the same one, too.”
“2. The vow to raise our children under god and bring them up under Christ. I wanted to change that to raise our children under our Creator and bring them up with love, respect, compassion, faith, understanding, spirituality, balance, peace, and empathy.”
The OP was taken aback by everyone’s reaction.
“I’ll be honest, I have very little knowledge of the inner workings of Catholicism aside from what I’ve googled, and I’m at a loss over why there has been such a strong reaction.”
“We changed a few things in my culture’s wedding ceremony for my husband so that he is comfortable, and that was completely fine with my tribal leaders.”
“I used this example of me accommodating my partner during my cultural ceremony and I expected the same understanding from them. Their reaction was not nice so I’ve stopped all communication with them for the last few days.”
The OP wasn’t sure what to expect for the future.
“I’m not even sure what’s happening anymore, and I feel like I might have escalated things when I didn’t need to.”
“Like, I’m not Catholic, so maybe I should have not asked to change their ceremony and let it go, but also, words are powerful in my culture, and we don’t just toss around promises and vows like they don’t mean anything.”
“I also know my parents would not like the wording of the vow the priest expected me to say, so that’s a major reason I asked for some changes.”
“My partner has been upset and he’s not really speaking to me, his family, or anyone.”
“I don’t know, y’all, let me know if I overreacted and if I should just apologize, because this whole mess has me stressed and anxious about what will happen.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some expressed concern because of the role of children in the Catholic faith.
“NTA. This is why when I married into a Catholic family I made it clear that I would not be having a Catholic ceremony. They expect you to promise to raise your children in the Catholic faith and usually, pre-marital counseling involves lots of promises that I had no intention of keeping, like not using birth control.”
“A lot of Catholics just roll their eyes at that stuff and agree in words and then do whatever they want in private but, like you, I was raised in a culture where honesty and keeping your word is very important. I’m not willing to make promises that I know I will not keep just in order to keep the peace. NTA.”
“You should get pre-marital counseling from a secular, non-Catholic counselor to discuss these issues before you get married. The expectations about how to raise kids and what else you are expected to do won’t end with the wedding. If you aren’t on the same page, don’t get married.” – Maria_Dragon
“I am Catholic, and have been to many, many Catholic weddings, and have helped shape the vows for both my own and my sister’s (I was MOH and her now-husband isn’t Catholic and didn’t care), and I can firstly attest that the first change isn’t part of any ceremony I’ve heard. Ever.”
“I’m an Irish Catholic, so we’re kinda big into it, and I’ve never heard such a thing. No priest would ever ask you to submit to the leadership of your husband. No way. Nope.”
“The other one is slightly more tricky because it is a big thing for us, but surely there could have been some compromise. Like SURELY!!!! I’m pretty sure every priest I know would try and find some compromise that worked for everyone.”
“NTA. At all.” – TiniestMooDD
“The thing about a compromise on agreeing to raise the kids Catholic is that would automatically make the marriage invalid in the Catholic church, so it would be eligible for annulment.”
“Catholics aren’t in the business of marrying people invalidly, so they have to check all the boxes to make sure it will be valid (unless of course one of the members of the couple is lying in their vows, mental state is important).”
“I’m not sure where OP is coming up with that first part though, it’s definitely not part of any Catholic ceremony.” – pfifltrigg
Others questioned why a non-Catholic couple was having a full Catholic ceremony anyway.
“If OP is not baptized and confirmed, there is not going to be the whole Catholic sacrament of marriage. They can do a blessing, only if the priest is willing to do it. But many priests aren’t willing to do this kind of blessing ceremony outside the ‘real’ sacrament.” – pioria
“In my experience, Catholic Priests do not like to marry non-Catholics and are quick to bail if there is a conflict.”
“In fact, it used to not be allowed, my non-Catholic Grandma was not allowed to marry my Catholic Grandpa in a Catholic Church back in the 1930s.”
“When my husband and I got married in the Catholic Church, we had a very set ceremony that was not allowed modifications. It’s just not something priests do.” – jluvdc26
“Catholic church is very set by rules. Priests simply cannot change things as they wish. It’s like asking your judge to change the law and give you a different verdict because you don’t like a certain law.”
“That’s not how it works. The Catholic church is similar. Change has to come from above and is decided at a much higher level than a mere priest.” – VirtualMatter2
Some also said the OP needed to seriously talk this out with her husband before marrying.
“NTA but if your future in-laws are this kind of Catholic, you are not in for a good time. You are going to have to have a ‘come to Jesus’ talk with your future husband because this is not the last time his parents are going to be pulling stuff like this for sure.”
“All power to you and I hope it all works out!” – NCC-746561
“Any grandchildren not baptized may not be acknowledged. Please get this figured out with your fiancé before continuing.” – arcoo100
“The fact that your fiance is not talking to you is a big red flag, OP. Not only is it poor communication and manipulative, but it worries me that he had no intention of respecting your culture and faith.” – friendlily
“From what info you’ve told us so far, it seems like by marrying into this family, you and your future children will be expected to be catholic. This isn’t something that is going to be limited to the wedding ceremony.” – arsencaw
“NTA but you’re missing the bigger picture:”
“Without his parent’s support, your husband turns into a catatonic plant. What will you do when you decide where to live, what to work at, where you’re at on the holidays, where you vacation, how to live etc?. And when you will have kids, what then? How would you make all the decisions?”
“It doesn’t matter if your partner lapsed or isn’t practicing when he cannot function on basic levels without their approval, and they’re extremely Catholic.” – Kittieslove1
Though the subReddit thought the editing requests made by the OP were technically fair, they also pointed out those edits may not be realistic or doable in the Catholic church.
If a religion is rigid in its ceremonies and allows little room for alterations, it may be unrealistic to expect them to be accommodating to the realities of the couple.
But the subReddit was far more concerned about the reactions happening around the OP. She might be in for a rude awakening with her husband’s family, but her husband’s silent treatment might be the most alarming reaction of all.