Post # 1
My husband has known that I am a protestant since we first started dating. His family are devout Catholics who brought him to mass every Sunday and made him go to Catholic school from elementary through high school. However, my husband is not a devout Catholic any longer. He doesn’t agree with a lot of the Catholic theology, and he stopped going to mass before we met.
His parents (especially his father) seem to think that being Catholic is the only way to go, even though I’m protestant and their son doesn’t identify himself as being Catholic. I feel like they have no respect for us and don’t take any form of Christianity that’s not Catholic seriously. His father regularly sends me e-mails and talks to me in person about Catholicism. I thought this would stop after the wedding (we had a non religious wedding, which I’m sure he wasn’t too happy about), but it seems like this is a never-ending issue with him. I’m worried once we have kids, he will harass us even more.
My husband and I are trying to find our own church to be a part of, and we are considering being Presbyterian. This is a discussion I had with my FIL about it (so you can get an idea of what I’m dealing with):
FIL: Keep us posted about the Presbyterian church. I have to wonder why you aren’t considering Catholicism. I do think that the family cohesiveness is going to be lacking in your children and that is something to be mourned. There is simply a difference between a Catholic family and a Protestant family. Not saying it is good or bad but it is different.
Me: I wouldn’t say I never considered Catholicism. I’ve attended several Catholic weddings and even a non-wedding mass. When DH and I were considering the various denominations, we took the time to compare the beliefs and see which ones aligned with our own. I read the beliefs of the Catholic church, and I don’t agree with many of them. DH and I both prefer the Presbyterian beliefs/theology.
FIL: It’s hard to explain something to you that you haven’t been exposed to. Your DH knows what I’m talking about. I’m somewhat surprised that he doesn’t seem to value it to the extent that he did when he was younger. Catholicism is more of a way of life then the Protestant denominations. I’m not referring to the ‘time it takes’….it is simply a different mindset. My brother’s wife grew up non-Catholic in small Christian community – have you spoken with her about it? I mean – wouldn’t you at least want to know what effect she thinks turning Catholic had on her children? her family? her marriage?
And this conversation keeps going and going without any resolution. I know he wants to make sure we’ve at least considered Catholicism, but we have and it’s not for us. What can I do to help him accept this? I’m tired of always having to defend myself around him.
Post # 3
Your husband and yourself need to have a coming to jesus talk with your fil. Tell him you have considered it and what you decided. If he thinks either of you are wavering he will continue to badger you. At least he sounds nice about it. It could be way worse!
Post # 4
This will probably be an epic battle for the rest of your lives, especially once you have children.
I think your husband will probably have to say something to him, because it sounds like your FIL thinks your husband still thinks the way he does, when in fact, he doesn’t.
Post # 5
My SO’s mom is a devout Polish Catholic, and he has told her on more than one occasion that he’s going to ask me to marry him. He was raised Catholic, but as a teenager began to distance himself from it, and now does not consider himself Catholic at all. I was also raised Catholic, but my family stopped attending mass when I was halfway through elemantary school, so we don’t consider ourselves Catholic anymore. His mother however is still very, very Catholic. She told him if we don’t get married in a church, she will not come to the wedding. I have a feeling this will be a constant battle for the rest of our lives, and I’m not really sure how to deal with it. I’m sorry you are going through this. *Hug*
Post # 6
You’re just going to have to keep telling him no. Tell him that you and DH have made a choice, and that you will no longer participate in these conversations.
Post # 7
I find his badgering to be very disrespectful. He seems to being nice about it, but he should have left it alone when you stated your stance on the subject. He states his opinion/concerns, the two of you tell him how you feel about it, end of story. I’m also not sure why he’s having these conversations with you, and not his son instead. This should not be your battle to fight.
My mother did the same thing with my fiance when we first started dating. She’d constantly send him emails that she knew were contrary to his beliefs and then she’d get upset when he respectfully let her know that he didn’t agree. It started to cause real problems between the two of them, which in turn really upset me. I asked her several times to stop, and she didn’t. I finally had to get really stern with her and tell her exactly how it was making us feel. She finally got the point, but it still left this weird scar. Everyone is very nice with each other, but in my mind there is still that white elephant, and it bugs me.
Post # 8
You just have to let him no that in no uncertain terms are you going to be a Catholic or raise your kids Catholic. Your DH has to back you up on this. My DH’s family tried to guilt me into a Catholic wedding, etc. I informed them that there was no universe that I was getting married in the Catholic church and my child (I’m currently 8 months pregnant) would never be raised in the Catholic church. I told them they could either respect the choices we made for our family and be a part of it or not be a part of it. A little harsh, sure, but it worked!
Post # 9
I know that both DH and I have to stand our ground, but it’s difficult because his dad is so persistent. He’s said that religion is the most important topic to him, so he always wants to talk about it.
Post # 10
Your DH needs to put his foot down. And if FIL keeps badgering you, perhaps tell him something along the lines of “please respect our decision with regards to religion, as we respect yours.”
Post # 11
@vorpalette: Perfect advice, as always
Post # 12
Ugh, I hate when people think that their religion is the only one that is right and appropriate for everyone. Especially when it comes to the different types of Christianity.
There is nothing you’re going to say that will make him see the light. He is set in his ways and clearly stubborn. This is going to be a never ending battle. I’d bet my bottom dollar that he’ll try to sneak his grandkids into Catholic church on Sundays and try to convert them to Catholicism.
You’re just going to have to put your foot down, tell him Catholicism isn’t right for you, your DH or your future children, and that if you ever change your mind, you’ll be sure to let him know, but until then, the conversation on religion is over.
The other option is to go on a completely different course and really shock him. Say you’re converting to Judaism or Buddhism! See what he has to say when you give up Jesus entirely! 🙂
Post # 13
I wouldn’t entertain anymore discussions with him aout it. It’s none of his business. You are both free to chose whatever religion or lack thereof you’d like. Tell him to back off and respect your beliefs, as that is what he would like to be done if someone was harassing him about his relgious choices.
Post # 14
What can I do to help him accept this? I’m tired of always having to defend myself around him.
You can’t do anything to help him accept this.
Then stop defending yourself around him.
Here’s the deal. He thinks you’re wrong. He thinks you are committing a sin. And, ultimately, that you and your family will not have as good of a life without catholicm. This is how they are. And you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Because if you tell him you considered catholicm and reject it…. .well you’re rejecting everything he holds moral and dear about the fabric of the family. If you say you aren’t considering it… well then it’s his job to enlighten you.
So, Don’t engage. Don’t try to be nice and don’t try to explain your rationale. To him you’re not making any sense. WHY would you chose something is not as good? It doesn’t make sense for you to not want what he feels is best for you.
You and FI pick ONE sentence. “Thank you, but we are making our own decision on this, so let’s talk about something else.”
over and over and over and over and over and over.
Yes, it will get worse when you have kids. Because it affects their SOUL to him. SO, modify the above and lather, rinse, repeat. constantly.
Don’t let it get to you. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t get snappy with him. Just don’t engage.
Post # 16
Why does it matter what your inlaws want?
It’s YOUR life and YOUR beliefs!