Post # 1
I live in a small town and do not actively practice a religion (i.e. church.) My mom is a practicing christian. Because my fiance (he does not practice either) nor I knew of a preacher or easily avalible officiant, we attended a sunday service and asked the preacher if he would be open to marrying us. The preacher said he needed to have a marrage counseling session before he would agree.
Within 5 min. of talking the preacher zeroed in on me with the question of why I do not attend church. After respectfully telling him my short sweet answer, he verbally charges into me. My fiance, btw was not hammered AT ALL. I am not exaggarting when I say it was 45 straight min. of him litterally repeting ” your wrong, your wrong in not going to church.” Because I did not feel this was a time to argue, but rather a time to listen and be counseled, I did not speak much on my behalf. When he would take a breather and let me talk ( by pointedly asking in an acusatory and mean tone) I would keep me answers honest and short. He would actually in turn, mock my answers and/or reasoning.
For the remaining 15 min he finished with : man should be head of the household. We both told him we did not feel the same way, we would trade off rolls and work together.
When the session was ended and we both calmly got up to leave he followed me out by saying twice, ” well your wrong, your just wrong.”
This was the hardest grilling and emotional abuse by a random person I have ever had to deal with. Although I know to pick my battles, I am actually the type of person who will easily defend anything I say or do. I do not like to sit quietly and take a beating or not stand up for my views. This was horrible….I had a manic meltdown on the drive home.
So…do I pull it together, save face as to not cause unwanted drama and awkwardness for my mom, as she avidly attends and talks with the preacher one on one ( and mentioned the wedding idea to him, in which he said come see him) or do I desparately try to find anther preacher in the super small town that I live in. My wedding is in 2 months.
Post # 3
I am so sorry that preacher treated you that way. Shame on him. What would Jesus do, indeed?
I don’t think this is the right person to marry you. I know it stinks to be in a small town and not have a lot of options, but is there another church? Maybe in a neighboring town?
Post # 4
Why don’t you just have a friend or relation get ordained through Universal Life Church?
ETA: I’m ordained and have done several weddings, if you’re in or near Oklahoma 😀
Post # 5
I would not have a religious ceremony if neither one of you are practicing the faith. And I definately would not get married by this guy. I would find an ordained minister and get married in a neutral space.
Post # 6
Wow, I actively attend church and I am utterly appaled that this happened to you. I would ditch this guy. Either find a nonreligious person to marry you or try someone else. It is most certainly not worth putting up with his crap. Not all religious leaders are such jerks. 🙁 Sorry that happened to you.
Post # 7
@caitlinrider: I, personally, would not feel comfortable having this person perform my wedding ceremony, something I want to be very personal and he clearly does not agree with your personal beliefs. I would fear that he would opening do this during the ceremony or throw a jab in that would be cruel/mean/arguementative. I think your mom will love you no matter what and you should find someone else to do it. You can try a JP too, some states have lists of JPs on their websites.
Post # 8
Like @KCKnd2 said, I don’t think he should officate the wedding. You can tell your mom that you don’t feel comfortable with the meeting and that the pastor didn’t seem to be a good fit.
Also, like @EffieTrinket said, maybe a ceremony outside of the church would be right for you. You could have a friend officate or find an experienced on online. You can tailor the ceremony to include as much or as little relgion as you want.
Good luck, no one should ever judge anyone else on their beliefs – and I’m sorry you had such a bad experience!
Post # 9
I’m so sorry, that must’ve been horrible! I agree, I would kindly (if you’re feeling like the bigger person) explain to him that you’ve found someone else to perform your wedding. I know you’re in a small town, but a lot of officiants are willing to travel, so I wouldn’t rule out finding someone. If that doesn’t work, I would definitely have a friend get ordained. There’s no way someone who was that mean should be marrying you!
Post # 10
I think everyone had good suggestions. Remember that this is your wedding day. You need to find an officiant who treats you with respect and contributes to your great memories of that day. No one should be allowed to belittle someone the way that preacher did to you. I just don’t understand that. What a horrible person.
I am not religious either, so I sympathize with what seems like a difficult situation in small town where you have more limited options. I absolutely agree with others who suggested finding an officiant who can travel. One option is to see if there is a Unitarian Universalist congregation somewhat near you. They are technically a religious group, but happily accept atheists, agnostics, and gays and lesbians. It is a really open minded faith (obviously, haha.) Basically, they have no creed or dogma. They love different points of view. It is the perfect congregation for couples who come from different religious backgrounds. I sometimes attend their services, and I have always enjoyed it.
Keep us updated! Best of luck.
Post # 11
I live in tiny town also and had this happen to me with the Catholic Church here (and I’m catholic!!), so I just said forget it and we’re getting married at the Christian church and I LOVE the pastor there. We actually attend church there now. My Mom is not happy but it’s our wedding. So girl, do what makes you happy. Don’t let someone who makes you uncomfotable marry you…And start looking pronto, your only 2 months out!!
PS we’re date twins!! Good luck!!
Post # 12
He shouldn’t have hounded you like that, but I guess I don’t get why two non-relgious people would want to get married in some random church by some random preacher? I say, forget him, find a JOP or have a friend/family memember ordianed and have someone who means something to you marry you!
Post # 13
Who cares why these two want to get married in a church?
OP: I would absolutely not allow him to marry you.
Post # 14
Run, run, run, run! You don’t want to start your married life with someone like this presiding. Get a justice of the peace, get a friend ordained online, find a nice Unitarian Universalist…just do not stick with such an abusive person.
Ministry: U R DOIN IT RONG.
Post # 15
Wow, that guy just sounds like a huge jerk. I would definitely find someone else – anyone else.
That is not the normal way for a pastor to act in a counseling session. I dealt with a very good Catholic priest who was totally non-judgemental.
Post # 16
Thank you everyone. I really am thinking of going in the direction of a new officiant. Since I live in a small town, and with one type of religion, it is exceedingly difficult to find someone to perform the wedding, which is why we were getting desperate and looked to this guy. We are actually getting married in a warehouse, not a church, but the preacher was presented to us as we were having issues finding anyone. I was having problems convencing any friends/family to get ordained originally, but I’m hoping if I let them know the situation at hand maybe someone will step up.