Common ground in faith, learned through marriage

My wife and I have enjoyed a wonderful 33 year marriage. She has been a life-long Catholic. I have been a life-long Methodist. We decided that rather than having this become a point of contention between us, it would be a chance for exploration and growth, wherein we would embrace both churches.

I like to joke with people who ask about this, telling them that before I met Sheila, the only two things I knew about the Catholic Church were rhythm and bingo…if you don’t have rhythm, then BINGO! This explains why our son was born almost exactly nine months from our wedding date.

Seriously, we have discovered there are more similarities between the two churches than there are differences. The Catholic Church has a bit more emphasis on rules and ritual than the Methodist Church, but the messages of love, stewardship, and following Christ are essentially the same. I was surprised to discover how many of the same hymns are sung in both churches as well as the similarities in the creeds.

Looking back, I would say the only drawback to our arrangement was how we handled the situation with our children. Alternating each week was awkward for them. Sunday School and other youth church activities were much more difficult to coordinate than our adult activities. If we had to do it again, we would most likely raise the children primarily as Catholics, which would allow them to have a more consistent experience.

I think the lessons we learned by embracing each other’s faith could transcend into society. We should all be looking for areas of common ground, rather than rigidly insisting that our way is better than the other person’s way. We don’t have to compete for God’s love.

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