posted on Mar, 16 2014 @ 08:55 PM
I know that some inter-faith relationships have worked long term. There are plenty of examples. But in my experience the ones that work include a
partner who either has beliefs "close enough" so that the basics are the same OR one partner doesn't really care one way or another. Someone may be
nominally of a certain faith, but doesn't really practice it or even believe it. It just a label. My father, for example, was a Southern Baptist and
even attended his brother-in-law's divinity school for a year or two, but the fact is I never heard a "religious" word come out of his mouth ever.
My mother was a "protestant," she said, but I never saw her enter a church, and truth be told, she told me she didn't believe a word of it. So
people can call themselves "members" of a certain faith and not really be there for all intents and purposes.
But if you have two believers of opposite beliefs, you're just looking for trouble. Just wait until you have children and one spouse starts insisting
the kids get a "religious education so they can make their own choice." THAT'S when the other person is either going to buckle under or put their
foot down. I tell you this from personal experience, and you can take it for what it is worth.
When I met my wife I soon knew that her parents were active in their church. They were Anglicans, rarely missed church, and contributed to the church
coffers. Her father was "concerned" that I did not have a religious background, but overall they accepted me well enough and my wife proclaimed that
she was not interested in any of that stuff and had left it behind long ago. Yes, she had been confirmed in the church and her first marriage was in
the church, but I so no evidence that she believed in any of it, certainly not in the gospels and Jesus. We got married by a priest, it was true, but
he was our next-door neighbor and convenient. We wrote our own ceremony.
A few years later our daughter was four and Grandma announced that if we lived closer to her she would be sending our daughter to the religious
elementary school in her neighborhood. I laughed politely and counted my blessings we lived several hours away. Next my wife's father died. And after
that my wife decided to attend a local "community" church. If it had a denominational affiliation I don't know what it was. It had to have been
fairly mild. But suddenly my daughter had to get "dressed up" to attend the place.
I would not go, and I became very uncomfortable with the whole thing. Now my daughter just wanted to go for the cookies, but I was expected to
"help" her get ready for church and all, and frankly, I didn't now what to do. I balked. I refused to help. I felt I had been betrayed because I
had no idea this sort of thing would be cropping up. But after her father died my wife took a turn toward the church, and she lamented that we had not
sufficiently talked about this prior to our marriage. Indeed, I thought we had and I thought we were on the same wavelength, but my wife didn't see
it that way. The rules, you see, had changed. I'm not just blaming my wife. I should have been able to look at the initial situation and seen the
problem developing. But I was naïve, in love (or lust.) At that point I hadn't even imagined having kids. It wasn't at all what I had imagined, and
now life had changed. I'm sure she thought so, too.
So my marriage went from good to neutral, and then from neutral to bad. By the time my kid was entering those difficult teen years life was
precarious. Literally. my wife jumped off a bridge and killed herself. Maybe. Unless she ascended. Her body was never found, and I was left with a 13
year old to raise--as ineptly as I could manage.
Now I do not wish my experience on anyone. I caused pain. I thought I was taking a stand on what I believed in, but if there is anything I have
learned in life, it is that philosophical stances get you into trouble. There are so many things I could have done differently, but to the point of
this thread, the very first thing I ought to have done differently is see that the inherent religious backgrounds of the two of us were dissimilar
enough that it was going to cause a problem eventually. WE did not explore this issue in depth, Indeed, we glossed over it as a negative that might
get in the way of us getting together and therefore was to be conveniently skipped.
So my council has to be first, don't think you can change anyone to your faith, ever. And second, don't go there having faith it will all work out.
Chances are it won't, and then you may wish you had thought about this issue a little more carefully.