- 5 years ago
So- I’ve seen a lot on these boards about what people do when parents don’t approve of an interfaith relationship, but how do I handle my only surviving grandparent’s disdain?
About us- my SO and I are both PhD students in a chemistry program, which is where we met as first years. Suffice it to say, grad school is stressful and it has a way of bringing unlikely folks together. This is definitely the case fo SO and myself. I was raised Catholic. My family is EXTREMELY Catholic. For the longest time, I wouldn’t even go out to coffee with a non-Catholic. After a couple of BAD relationships with “good Catholic boys” (Ha..) I decided to remove that stipulation see whan happened.
Well, what happened is the best relationship I’ve ever been in, my SO. He’s amazing, he’s my best friend, he’ll do anything to see me smile, and he’s been my partner-in-crime ever since our first date. We just “knew”, and so does everyone around us. I’ve never been more happy.
Problem: SO is a self-professed Agnostic. Raised in a protestant household in the south, his parents (very progessive folk) had a difficult time finding a church they felt at home in and stopped going. He’s the grandson of a minister and his dad’s a church-goer, but church just isn’t something he’s in to.
I have no issue with this. I’m a very progressive Catholic (some might accuse me of being protestant, and my mother things I’m going to Hell) and our progressive values line up spectacularly, with or without a faith tradition to bind them. We regularly attend Mass at my church together. We’ll get our kids baptized and as for a specific faith, we’ll bring them up Catholic if I decide to, so long as we find a church as wonderful as the one we’re attending now.
My mom and grandfather are having fits over this. Both have cornered me weeping about the damage I’ll do to the family by marrying a “heathen” (their words, no joke…). Our children would be godless heathens and we’d all end up burning in hell for eternity. Especially me, because I didn’t tell SO to “convert or take a hike” as I was advised to by my parent’s preist, a man I used to have UTMOST respect for. My cousin is currently in a battle of wills with Grandpa over her engagement to a very conservative and religious Baptist gentleman (direct opposite to my bleeding-heart liberal humanitarian scientist)- to the point of them needing to postpone the wedding because of the heated debates over raising kids and Communion at the wedding.
In light of this, SO and I have been discussing marriage. We’re poor, so an engagement would be less about a ring and more about making “official” what our hearts have known forever.
I get panic attacks thinking about announcing an engagement to my family, however. I’ve already been threatened with being written out of the will (as if they think they raised me so poorly that money will sway me) and I know they’re not kidding. Planning a wedding at my home parish would be a disaster, as we’d have to be married by Fr. “Convert him or cut him loose”. I also know that everything would hit the fan if I tried to plan a wedding where we’re both students, despite the fact that we both LOVE my current priest and parish.
So- elopement? Is it a good idea? Do we tell my family to get over it and plan the wedding I want, where I want, whether or not they decide to come? His family loves anyone he loves, so there’s no pressure from that side. I’m only half kidding when I tell him that we should just traipse on over to the same courthouse my grandparents eloped to 52 years ago (which happens to be only 3 hours from where we live) and sign the papers. It’s not insignificant that my grandparents did what they did beacuse- SHOCK!- they were an interfaith couple that no one wanted to get married.
Has anyone been in a similar situation where everyone learned to get along?