Post # 1
My FI and I almost had a big argument tonight, over religion.
He’s Catholic (from a very strictly Spanish Catholic family), and while I’m not an athiest, I’m absolutely NOT a church person.
We have lived together for a year, and in that time never gone to church once. He prays, asks me to pray for him, and these things are fine with me.
Tonight he explained to me he expects our kids to grow up catholic (which i knew already), and only now does he explain that involves going to church every sunday and being involved in communion & bible study and basically all the things I just cannot handle.
I told him that I was ok with our kids going to church &them being raised with catholic beliefs, but I also wanted them to be aware that I wouldnt be disappointed in them if they faltered, and that I wasn’t going to go to church like that and pretend like I beleive in something I don’t.
Is it wrong of me to be so shocked, and adament about this? I got engaged to him based on our life as it is – for better and poorer sure, in sickness and health of course…but to change our lifestyle in that kind of manner…I feel like I’m being made to agree to something I never, ever knew I was going to have to agree to.
Has anyone else been in this situation?
Post # 3
wow… that is rough. i grew up in a very mormon area (i’m not) and my mother was very concerned that i not become too involved with anyone who was mormon only because our values would differ so much. while people can stray from their beliefs, most come back to them in marriage, birth and death. while i absolutely believe that people of differing faiths can have successful relationships, you both need to know that you are on the same page when it come to your future kids. how about some premarital counseling? hopefully you two can get a clear idea of what the bottom line is and come to a compromise. good luck!
Post # 4
- Wedding: May 2010 - Carlouel Yacht Club
I can see where there would be some confusion and conflict there…that has got to be somewhat of a strain to deal with. I think you and the FI definitely need to talk things through…maybe counseling if you need help with it? I know with me personally, I would want to have a concise idea of what both of our desires and expectations are in regards to religion, children, etc…good luck!
Post # 5
I’m not understanding from your post what you are adamant about — adamant that your kids shouldn’t have to do communion/bible study, etc? Adamant that YOU shouldn’t have to?
Religion can be a major deal breaker, and it sounds like your fiance is a very religious person, or at least wants to be one for the kids. Something to consider is that perhaps from his perspective, he would feel like a failure as a father if he didn’t raise his kids in this fashion, to fit his idea of a "good Catholic". But yeah, if he never made an effort towards doing any of the things himself that he wants for the kids, I can see why you’d be surprised.
I would sit down with him and talk about what his beliefs are, why his standards for himself and his future children appear to be so different, and how he expects his future wife (step outside the fiance box and be hypothetical here) to participate in the religious upbringing of his kids. Then if he can reach some conclusions, look at what they are and decide if you can deal with them. It might be a good idea to do this with a counselor, maybe with two, one Catholic and one not so there is a balanced perspective.
I have no idea what your journey was that caused you to become someone who cannot handle church, but please realize that if your fiance has strong, genuinely religious convictions (as opposed to cultural ones, which might be the case here), that he has more to lose if your children end up being non-religious as well. Or will you have a problem with your children growing up to be regular church attenders and participators? This is huge — you each have a major emotional stake in how your kids turn out religiously, and if it starts to look like each person’s acceptable outcome is opposite of the other’s, then you might have to reconsider your marriage.
This is really hard, I wish you all the best in figuring it out.
Post # 6
We have the same views… for the most part. However we where raised in different faiths… which can be a problem. Some of his family members don’t like the fact that I am not Catholic; even though I have attended some church events with them it gets a little odd when I am not getting up in line for communion. My mother has made it clear that she will not pay for a wedding in a Catholic Church, we are Episcopalians… and my mother is very stubborn English lady. So things can get interesting when you start debating the details; however the basic foundation is the same. As far as raising kids, its good that you are discussing both of your expectation now. Marriage is about comprise and you’ll need to find a common ground to agree to.
Post # 7
You are not wrong to be shocked. What in his behaviour over the past year would have led you to expect what he told you?
He has been living with you for a year and has never attended church in that time. These are both grave sins according to the catechism of the Catholic church. I would say his Catholicism is of the cultural variety, as he is clearly not devout. I think you need to ask him just why it is he wishes to raise his children in a faith that he doesn’t think it worthwhile to practice on his own. Is it just because that’s what his family has always done? That’s not really a good enough reason.
I am a devout Catholic myself, and I would not want to discourage anyone from raising their kids Catholic. But I do not think it is a good idea to pretend to kids that you believe something when you don’t. Kids aren’t stupid. They can see whether or not a parent practices what they preach.
This is a very important discussion for the two of you to have. Now. Before you are married. Before the kids come along.
Post # 8
I think it’s not uncommon to reexamine one’s religious beliefs in the face of having children. Here’s one of my posts on the subject.
Here’s a story of this situation working out fine: My husband’s father got remarried when my husband was in college. He and his new wife now have six kids and the wife and kids are very devout Catholics (homeschooling with a Catholic curriculum; church on Sundays, holy days, children’s saints days; house covered in religious icons). He is not religious at all—never goes to church, for example. They actually coexist quite peacefully and happily. He supports her and she leaves him alone on the religious front.
So having this sort of religious difference is not an impossible situation. It just takes some setting of the ground rules.
Post # 9
This would probably be a big deal to me if I were in your shoes. I would seriously consider what sort of compromises you are and are not willing to make. Don’t let this go until after the wedding or until you start wanting to have kids! Definitely deal with this now. Its important that you be respectful of his beliefs, but its also important that he respect yours.
Post # 10
I know how you feel Bex. My husband is Catholic and I am Jewish – we have spent alot of time discussing how to raise our kids. We came to the conclusion they will be raised Catholic but still celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions so they will know about both religions. He told me he expects us to go to church every week (but her hardly ever goes now) with kids and I said no. I will go sometimes but I am not going to go every week and pretend to beleive in something I dont. We still havent resolved this but Im sure we will once we start trying for kids. I already feel uncomfortable in a church (only gone a couple times) especially when people kneel. I dont do it because I think it means you are kneeling down to Jesus as your god. I told him this and he at first he was very upset and said it was just kneeling and nothing more. When I explained it further (and talked to his SIL & Brother who are in the same situation), the SIL agreed with me and helped him understand. Even so, we went to a wedding in a Catholic church a couple weeks ago and I didnt kneel or take communion. After he told me “I could just kneel, its not a big deal. And you dont have to take communion but you can go up and get a blessing”. I told him I dont want to kneel and reminded him of our conversation. And I dont feel comfortable getting a blessing from a priest when Im not Catholic.
Long story short (sorry!) you should sit down and talk to him about everything and really hash things out. Listen to his side and make sure he listens to you. I dont think everything needs to be figured out right this moment but you both should definitely talk about everything,
Post # 11
I’m an Athiest and my FH is Catholic (while not really practicing). I sympathize. I would suggest finding out what values are important to you and like naangle55 said, hash things out with your FH.
I think I ultimately feel that as long as my children had a healthy respect and knowledge of science/evolution/biology etc I would be OK. I think there can be room for faith and science to some degree.
That said some other problems might arise. What happens when the kids want to sleep in and not go to sunday school? Suddenly they get to stay home with mom and have fun and dad is the bad guy.
Just something to think about, there are no easy answers and I do relate.
Post # 12
@Bex004: it’s kind of odd that he doesn’t go to church now, but plans to go every sunday when he has kids….i doubt that is true, it’s probably just what he wishes would happen—regardless, they’re your kids too and you should come up with some sort of compromise—maybe baptism, communion, etc–but not church EVERY sunday–just on holidays–and if you don’t go with them I’m sure they will understand that if mommy doesn’t believe, it is ok for them not to
Post # 13
@December: ” I have no idea what your journey was that caused you to become someone who cannot handle church”
wow, what a rude comment–what caused you to become someone who cannot handle a muslim mosque? or a jewish temple? would you be ok with your kids attending services for a different religion every week? Way to be completely intolerant and closed minded–I wonder how tolerant you would be if your fiance suddently turned pagan and decided to have your children attend Wiccan services every week, with or without you.