(Closed) My mother is unsupportive because we're not "Christian" enough.

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
924 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2013

I grew up and still live in the Bible belt, so I’m familiar with the type of uber-Christian you’re talking about.  Personally, I believe that these people do a great disservice to their religion by driving people away, but that’s neither here nor there.  You may have to accept the fact that your mom is not going to agree with your choices unless you are doing exactly what she thinks you should do.  That’s no life.  You will never be able to control her behavior, you can only control how you react to her behavior.  Make that your mantra.

Post # 4
Member
1076 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I would have a calm sit-down conversation with her (take her out to lunch or something) and acknowledge that you don’t live the way she wishes you would, and while you won’t apologize for it, you’re your own person, and you’re sorry that it hurts her. You love her though, and this is the only time you will get the experience of getting married, and you have chosen your FI for life; that’s not going to change. Tell her you want her to be involved, and you want her to genuinely be happy for you.

Then, listen to her. Just listen and let her say what she wants to say. It must break her heart to see you live the way you do. It doesn’t give her the right to judge you, but it breaks her heart nonetheless, there’s no way around that. 

Leave the decision up to her how involved she wants to be. After you express to her directly that you love her and want her involvement, it’s up to her.

Post # 5
Member
1991 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I wasn’t in this exact situation, but something very similar. My mother didn’t care for who I was marrying (although if you asked her, she would deny it). I would have liked my mother to have been more involved, but in the end, I was resolved not to involve (which she didn’t like) but it helped my sanity not to do so.

When I got engaged, she did the same the thing your mother did (wasn’t particularly excited). Every time we sat down to have a conversation, it turned into “I’m not a good daughter” if I concluded do something different than what she wanted done (which was all the time).

In the end, she knew very little about the wedding until everything was mostly planned and there was little she could do to change it (especially since my now husband and I paid for everything). Personally, I don’t believe that there’s much you can do. Normally, when someone consistently hurts your feelings, you avoid them. Which is what I suggest you do.

Post # 8
Member
211 posts
Helper bee

I feel for you.  I grew up in a pretty Christian home, although my extended family isn’t super Christian.  I went to Christian school all the way through high school and then went to a conservative, but secular college.

In college I joined Greek life, made friends with different lifestyles and started drinking lightly / socially on weekends.  SO  and I are highschool sweethearts and went to college together.  His family is much more liberal than mine, although Christian as well.  SO and I started spending nights together occasionally in college.  My family was aware that I drank under age and that SO and I would travel with friends together, but they are “unaware” (or kept a blind eye) to the nights together.  We went to church occasionally while at school, which bothered them a lot.  Now that I’ve graduated, I attend church with my parents every week.

In their eyes, SO is the reason I’ve become more liberal.  This may be slightly true, but I’m still very much a Christian and relatively conservative in my beliefs.  I’ve just become less strict about how I live my life.  Everything I’ve done has been MY decision, and none of it is his fault.  I think I would have changed regardless of dating him, since I knew him prior to college.  The subtle changes over the last few years have just been part of growing up and becoming my own person.  You need to emphasize that all the changes in your life were YOUR decision, and not your FI’s “negative” influence.

Having had similar struggles with my parents, one way they feel comforted is when we talk honestly about our opinions on my relationship. Then, we both agree that we are actively praying about the relationship in a POSITIVE way.  Meaning, your mom shouldn’t be praying “God let her find the right person” but rather, “God help OP’s relationship with SO to grow and be blessed” while you promise to do the same.  It’s a compromise that allows her to see that faith is still a part of your life in whatever way that feels right to you and it’s a part of your relationship not only with SO but with her.  I think that may help her be more supportive and heal the wounds between you.  Sorry this is so long…

 

 

Post # 9
Member
3420 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Well thats not very Christ-like of her. looking down her nose at you and how you live. not very Christ-Like at all

Post # 10
Member
11352 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

I’m so sorry that you and your mom are having recurrent problems in your relationship at a time in both of your lives when, deep down, you each probably would love to be closer than you’ve ever been. I’m sure that this distance and conflict are very painful and difficult for both of you.

As a Christian, I can understand why your mother is hestitant to embrace your plans to marry your FI.  However, I also can understand why some of your mother’s statements and behavior seem so off-putting and upsetting to you.

From your mother’s perspective, she probably believes that she raised you in the church and sent you to a Christian college in hopes that your walk with God would grow closer and deeper, not more distant.  She likely views you as a Christian who has fallen away from your faith and your FI as an unbeliever, and she does not want to see her Christian daughter “unequally yoked” together in marriage forever with a “non-believer.”

Her opposition and hesitance likely are based on the concern that you will unnecessarily complicate your life in a way that may have a lasting impact on your life not only here on earth but also for all eternity. She likely also is concerned that any future children you and your FI may have will not be raised in the faith. Those likely are genuine concerns for her.

However, you may a very astute, very profound statement:  “I told her she can’t expect me to marry a Christian man if I’m not even really following that path.”

That’s true. Despite how you were raised, if you have not personally  made the choice to follow Jesus with your own life, your mother cannot really expect that you currently would find interest in a man who is following Christ, or that such a Christian man would be drawn to you. 

One of two things is true:  Either you are someone who truly has accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and who wants to follow Christ’s commands as set forth in Scripture — but you’ve now found yourself feeling very torn, because, you allowed yourself to fall in love with a man who has not made that commitment and whose lifestyle does not encourage you to want to live the Christian life, OR you are someone who has considered how you were raised but who has made a decision that you do not want to live your life for Christ but, rather, in a manner of your own choosing.

If the first statement is true, your mother’s feelings have a great deal of merit, and you should carefully consider them before moving forward with your plans to marry.  If the second statement is true, then your mother may need to come to the realization that you have chosen a different path. As an adult, you certainly have the right to make that choice.  However, as a Christian mother, your mom certainly has the right to pray diligently that you return to your faith and/or make the choice to follow Jesus as an adult.  However, only you can make that choice for yourself. She cannot make it for you.

I encourage you to take some time to consider how you really feel about the reasoning behind your mother’s feelings, not necessarily the words she is saying or the way she is acting.

I wish you all the very best! 

Post # 11
Member
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I reccommend having a sit-down with your momma. Let her know that you love her, you’re greatful for the way she raises you and you respect her opinion, but that you are now an adult. You understand that she wishes you believed the same things she does, but you’ve made your own choices, and you wish she could see beyond the things she disagrees with you about, to the things she should be proud of you for. Tell her you want a relationship with her, but that her disapproval is never going to yield anything but distance in your relationship. I think it’s hard for moms to let go sometimes…and I know she THINKS that she knows best and so it probably does hurt her, but she needs to see that she has all these reasons to be proud instead of focusing on what troubles her.

Post # 12
Member
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@Brielle:  great advice, as usual! 

Post # 13
Member
585 posts
Busy bee

Oh honey. I could write a book on this subject. Try being an atheist and having a family who is ultra-traditional Catholic, and throw in a few mental/emotional issues on their part! FUN. My family has all but disowned me (I may get an email forward a few times a year, that’s it) and wants nothing to do with me. This, btw, was all their choice. I have never been anything but loving and friendly but they have a problem. This says a lot about them. So much for Christian love!

Anyway. Here is what I’ve learned: you can’t please everyone, and the only one you should worry about with pleasing is yourself. Don’t live your life for other people’s opinions. There is no logic, no good reason for how she is behaving… it is all emotionally driven. She may change, but don’t expect it. If she’s mature, she’ll be accepting of the “live and let live” and “agree to disagree” philosophies, but don’t bet on it. You are being the best person you can be, and if you can’t make her understand that, you can’t make her understand that. It’s hard for parents to realize that their children are now adults with their own autonomy. She wants things her way but she’s not you. Appreciate what you can about y’all’s relationship but understand that–to some degree–her love and support is conditional on you living according to her opinion on how you should live. Don’t sell out just to make her happy. Be yourself, and surround yourself with the love and support from as many people as you can.

 

 

Post # 15
Member
412 posts
Helper bee

I’m not religious, and neither is my mother, but I have had similar struggles with her. She has certain expectations and standards, that are very much in line with your sterotypical Christian expectations: very minimal drinking, staying out of sketchy partying situations, no sex before marriage, no staying out too late, etc. I also moved away for university, settled into who I was, and then had headbutts with my mother when I came home.

I think the number one thing to keep in mind is that she’s coming from a place of caring. She’s worried about you and your future. But that does not make her behaviour okay.

What I did was my mother was basically to have the conversation that I was an adult, I had the right to make my own decisions and mistakes, that as my mother she absolutely had the right to express her concerns, but that it was then my right to take or not take her advice. Badgering/pushing was out. Once she’d expressed her position, I could and would terminate conversations if it got circular. She had a choice. She could know what was going on with me and be respectful of my decisions, or she could be shut out.

I won’t lie, it was rough. It was definitely a process. I’d go home once or twice a semester, and there would be times I’d walk in the door, and thirty minutes later leave the house for a coffee shop because we needed a break, and then come home after she’d gone to bed and hope that the next day would be better (it usually was). There were times she’d drive out for two hours to see me, and then after forty-five minutes that visit would be over (I think our record was a 20minute visit – ouch!) 

It took a few years of bumps and scrapes, but we have a VERY good relationship now. I still conceal certain things from her because I know she will worry. We talk multiple times a week (I live a flight away now), and she’s one of the first people I go to with problems. But even now if she vears off into judgmental territory, it’s “k, got it. thanks for your advice. new topic (or i need to go, if I get really frustrated).”

She’s a mother. She worries. But she has to let you grow up. Trying to define these boundaries while you’re engaged makes it more stressful, so maybe try to just involve her in things she can’t help but be excited for. Like dress shopping. Flower picking or cake tasting. Tell her that you’re getting married no matter what, and you’d rather she be there to share the moments that will be taking place with or without her, but that you can’t deal with her negativity. Ask her to focus on the task on hand and find joy in the fact that you’re getting married, rather than exactly on who it’s to, your religious future, etc.

Hopefully once you’re married and happy, she’ll acclimatize to your situation and become more outwardly supportive. Right now though I wouldn’t expect her to be super happy, but rather tolerate the situation, and be happy that you’re happy. Appreciate that it’s hard for her, and do the best you can to make it easier for her to be happy for you. But absolutely do not let her cross that line (whatever it is for you), and don’t feel bad if you have to shut her out at times or out of certain parts of the process/your life.

All the best of luck 🙂 Feel free to message me if you have any questions about anything I said above and how to apply it to your particular situation.

Post # 16
Member
249 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

This is a tough one. My mom is very uninvolved as well and not because she dislikes my FI or the fact that I am not ‘christian’ the way she is. She just doesn’t seem to care about being involved. This is how its always been even when I had kids. I have learned to deal with it. Hopefully you can find a way to come to an understanding but you may end up having to accept that your mom won’t be involved or approving. 

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