Post # 1
Here is the situation:
I used to be a very devout christian, but now am something like an agnostic. I don’t need to go to church and I don’t enjoy it very often because of my past experiences.
FI has not been a regular church goer since high school, but is more like a “social” church goer… he goes with family, friends, and to meet people and get involved in the comminuty. His actual beliefs about god and religion are very similar to mine.
However, both of our families would be devastated if we did not go to church at all. I don’t much care about upsetting my family… been there, done that, and they have never supported me in any part of my life anyway. But I love his parents and do not want to ruin the relationship I have with them. FI is all for finding a church, attending regularly, and having that minister marry us.
1) I am conflicted about the idea of a religious ceremony. To not have it would be deeply upsetting to both of our families. But… it would feel so dishonest to me as someone who has gone through the long, painful process of rejecting fundamentalist beliefs to the point that I do not believe it matters if a person believes in god or not, or whether god actually exists.
2) FI has not considered that many, if not most ministers will not be happy that we are living together. I grew up in churches that would NOT marry a couple “living in sin” unless they agreed to move out until married. We have yet to see if the Brethren church we have started attending semi-regularly would feel that way. The Brethren christians I have known have all been very liberal and open-minded in their interpretation of scripture and applying it to modern life. Either way, I dread the idea of religious marriage counseling and having to be careful about what I say.
In the end, I think it is worth it to do the religious ceremony, to appease our families. There is lot in the christian faith that I still like and respect, and I owe Christianity for the development of my respect, love, and desire to help others and in general make the world a better place.
What do you bees think? How would you feel?
Post # 3
I may be bias as an atheist but I say absolutely not. The only reason why I’m even considering getting married in a church is because my Fi. I honestly don’t understand these families who want couples to get married in a church for appearances. The only advice I would give you is finding a Unitarian Universalist Church if you really feel it’s worth it to appease them. They have atheist and agnostic members and are very progressive. I refused to get married in the Catholic Church on principle, so my Fi and I agreed on that church, because it’s the only one I felt I could get married in with a clear conscious.
Post # 4
@TwoCityBride: Part of me absolutely agrees with you… but part of me knows, having once BEEN in their shoes, just how deeply it will disturb my family to know I am formally rejecting Christianity. Their beliefs, however misguided and narrow, have gotten them through some seriously bad stuff. The same with FI’s mother. I have talked to FI about the possibilty of the Universalist Church, but he is totally against it. He is kind of in the Catholic mindset (though he grew up Anabaptist?) of “this is my family’s religious tradition, I like some things about it, why make waves and upset everyone?”
Post # 5
It’s not about making waves and upsetting people, it’s about being honest and authentic to your beliefs. I think first you and your Fi should work together to find something that works for both of you without worrying about everyone else.
Also a lot of people even those who are religious get married outside of the church to make it easier for the guest with one location. So if you guys are really worried about making waves, you don’t want to announce your views you don’t have to explain to them why you aren’t getting married in a church.
Post # 6
@TwoCityBride: Oh, well, we have already agreed on an outdoor wedding not at a church. But the problem became, who do we want to officiate? Neither of us has been in church recently enough to have a minister we both know. We do not like our parents’ ministers. We do not want a friend to do it, don’t have family members we would use either. Whoever does it, the fam will be very upset if there are no religious elements, and apparently a universalist officiant would cause an uproar.
Post # 7
“just how deeply it will disturb my family to know I am formally rejecting Christianity. Their beliefs, however misguided and narrow, have gotten them through some seriously bad stuff”
I think you have to take into account what your beliefs are. The fact that you would have to “watch what you say” at counseling is a red flag. I understand that you do not want to upset your or his family, but this is who you are and you marriage ceremony will be a representation of what YOU (and FI) believe. Do not look at as upsetting your family, look at as an expresssion of who you truly are.
Post # 8
I really feel for your situation: religion brings such a tough element into things (I’m a religious studies major in college, so I see examples of it everyday!). I’ll try to see how I can help, though obviously this is a decision to make on your own.
I agree that you should be honest and authentic to your own beliefs: religion may be important to your families, but why would they want you to pretend you to be someone you’re not? Also, since you’re living together, you’re right that many Christian denominations will be suspicious on that…though there are many less-traditional denominations that would definitely marry you. But I don’t really think that’s the issue here: the issue is that your ceremony should be about you–your ceremony is a foundation for the rest of your married lives, and don’t you want a foundation that’s true to you?
Maybe think of a way to compromise. Since you’re not active in a church, and you don’t really want to go to church, I would say don’t try to go that route–it’ll probably just make you miserable. There are plenty of good officiants that do more secular ceremonies: but instead of saying that you DON’T want to get married in a church, why not focus on telling your families where you DO want to get married? Maybe you’ve always wanted an outdoor wedding, or to get married in a spot that’s meaningful for you and your FI: use that as a reason not to get married at a church, because you’d rather get married at that spot of meaning. Also, think about having a ceremony that’s spiritual and not religious: maybe you can even read a bible passage that doesn’t talk specifically about God (there are some very beautiful bible passages that you could use to appease your families and simply use because they’re beautiful and have meaning to you outside of religion).
I’m definitely not saying you have to compromise: in the end, the wedding is about you and your FI. But it’s also, in a lesser way, about your families too, and obviously you want to do SOMETHING to please them, so maybe these compromises can be a happy middle-ground without truly collapsing on who you really are.
Post # 9
First off this is about you and your FI. I want to give you better advice but I will be getting married on the same day as you and you have the same name as my sister. Who happens to share a lot of your beliefs though she isn’t engaged at all. I am having a hard time with any more advice since i keep picturing her and knowing that I would want her to get married in the Catholic Church like we are since she was confirmed. I know however that if she chose not to I would still support her. She is still my family. I think your family would do the same. You need to go with what you want not with what your parents want. This is about the two of you not anyone else. That is the important thing to remember.