- 7 years ago
I’m not sure why I’m putting this out there – perhaps to see if I’m acting crazy or if anyone else can relate/tell me how it’s been for them.
Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the decorations, I love the music, I love the family togetherness and the memories that things like decorating the tree bring up for me. I love going to church, singing the religious carols, looking at the stained glass windows and feeling the happiness and hopefulness that Advent brings. I’m Episcopalian – I go to church sporadically throughout the year, but this time of year especially brings out the religion in me and makes me feel connected to everything I love about my faith and family and that I want to remain a part of my life going forward.
My wonderful fiance is a Reform Jew. I have been clear throughout our years-long relationship that if he required me to limit my celebration of Christmas at all, our relationship would not work out. So far, he has been very supportive of having a tree and all the secular trappings of Christmas that I want to have. However, I looked at him as *I* was decorating the tree this weekend and realized that while he may allow this, he does not particularly enjoy it. It does not mean anything to him and he would prefer not to do it, all things being equal. Furthermore, I am not content with a secular Christmas in our future family – this is a religious holiday to me, and I want to celebrate it as such. He says that he is fine with that, and that we will also celebrate Jewish holidays/teach our children about Judaism. I am okay with the Jewish holidays (hey, they’re in my Bible, too), but I don’t understand how that’s going to work with Christian holidays if we’re not raising our children entirely Christian, and I’m afraid that down the line, once it’s too late and we’re already married, he’s somehow going to revoke this permission. I think this fear comes from the fact that almost all the interfaith stuff I can find to read is from a Jewish perspective, and tends to have the viewpoint that it’s fine to be an interfaith couple as long as the Christian partner basically puts aside everything they believe/value, and I think that is so unfair. I know that he wants his children to be raised as Jews, which I have said is not okay with me, so now we’re in this “in between” phase where supposedly we are both okay with our children not being raised primarily in one religion or the other, but we have no idea how that is going to play out in practice (and does leave me feeling really guilty when I read all about “religiously confused children” and things like that).
Anyway, this all really comes to the forefront for me at Christmas. I absolutely hate the idea of this time that I love being tinged with sadness and awkwardness for the rest of my life, and that makes me mad at my fiance for putting me in this situation (by loving me and proposing to me!), which I know is completely unfair. Neither of us is extremely religious, so I am surprised that this has become such an issue, but I also don’t want either of us to go down a road that will leave us unhappy in the end when our partner cannot connect with something that is so powerful to us (me with Christmas, him with Yom Kippur/Rosh Hashanah). I also can’t imagine my children not having the same wonderful, warm feelings about Christmas that I do…I think it would make me extremely sad for them to not care about it at all or feel offended if somebody wished them a Merry Christmas. I’m not really considering breaking up with him over it at this point, but it does make me extremely sad and somewhat of a more reluctant bride than I would like to be 🙁
I realiize this works in the reverse as well, just telling it from my perspective. Anyone else feel this way?