Post # 1
FI considers himself to be a man of faith and belongs to a Lutheran church though he doesn’t attend on a regular basis. He and his family attend special services at Easter, Christmas, etc.
I was baptised RC and attended catholic school but I left in grade 3 and have never looked back. The only times I had stepped foot into a church since then has been for funerals and weddings. While I would say that I do believe in “god”/a higher power, I struggle to understand organized religion and find no place for it in my life.
Being that this was important to FI (whom I love dearly), I attended last years Easter service at his church. I was very uncomfortable with the whole situation, to say the least.
FI strongly wishes to marry in his church, which I have agreed to do, but I am rather concerned that we minimize the readings and such and that our vows are not overly religious. I got the sense when I mention this to him that it bothers him to hear it but he hasn’t said anything. After a discussion with his family on the weekend, they brought up the desire to attend a Christmas Eve service and FI mentioned that he’d love if they did communion this time. This made me feel very detached from him.
I decided to bring up how I felt to him last night, simply stating that I am a little concerned about the wedding taking place in the church. When he asked why, I told him that I had felt quite uncomfortable at Easter and didn’t want to feel the same at our own wedding. He got angry, I asked why, he told me that he felt I was insulting him. He proceeded to turn over in bed and went to sleep and stayed far away from me all night. I feel very sad today, he didn’t say goodbye to me this morning and hasn’t sent me a note as he normally would by now.
I feel like I have been very respectful of his beliefs ie. we have religious paraphernelia in the home, I don’t question his belief, etc. I don’t feel like I could have been more polite about it and was simply trying to communicate my feelings.
So bees, I’d like to hear your thoughts…… any suggestions as to how to proceed?
Post # 3
- Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall
@danier: You did nothing but express your feelings on the subject, you gate it a try by going at Easter and didn’t feel comfortable. You don’t need to do anything, let him come around and stand your ground in the meantime.
Post # 4
- Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas
It sounds like you have been more than reasonable in this situation. Hopefully once he thinks the whole thing over and calms down you will be able to come to a compromise. Good luck!
Post # 5
@danier: Money, religion, and how to raise kids were the 3 biggest things I always discussed before entering a relationship. If you differ on any of those, it can still work, but it will be tough, and I stroingly feel those need to be communicated before marriage.
If both of you love and respect each other, you can make a church wedding work how you both want, but I’d take a good, hard look at the road ahead for the both of you. Even if you accept that he is religious and he accepts that you don’t want to attend church, how will you handle holidays? How will you handle children’s faith?
I think a discussion on how you really feel needs to happen soon and if you guys can work this issue and future ones out.
As for right now, you should be able to choose to bow out of church service Christmas Eve, and he should respect that. As far as your wedding, I think that warrants a much more in depth discussion about your future as a couple.
Post # 6
Is your FI aware that many churches require a premarital session with the counselor? They will not marry couples that are made up of a non-believer and a believer. If your FI’s church follows this protocol, and you tell the minister what you have told us, then they won’t marry you. The only way to get past that would be for you to lie. You could try talking to him about that.
ETA: Like a PP said, the two of you need to have a serious discussion about how this will affect your future and kids.
Post # 7
@danier: This is a tough one. Strictly speaking, Christians are supposed to marry other Christians. To keep the yoke even, so to speak. If he feels this strongly about his faith, and you don’t, it could be a recurring problem in your relationship, and then marriage.
You both need to do some serious soul searching I’m afraid. Showing support for one’s faith is fine, but if you don’t share it, what’s your plan for the future? Have you discussed how your future children (if you plan to have any) will be raised? Also, if he is a Christian man, has he ever talked to you about finding salvation in the Lord? I would think he would want that for you. Have you ever considered attending church together to learn a bit more? Maybe it could even be something you’d like doing together?
I do hope you both find some peace.
Post # 8
@danier: Your FI is acting like a child. You sound as if you have been quite respectful of his beliefs and religion. I commend you for attending the Easter service with them and for remaining calm about this.
You did nothing wrong. You gave it a try and felt uncomfortable. It’s not like you’re flat out banning anything religious from the wedding, you’re just looking for a compromise. If it’s brought up again then lovingly explain you understand and respect his beliefs, but make sure you stand firm about wanting a compromise. It’s not fair that you should be uncomfortable during your wedding ceremony and, to be quite honest, if your FI truly cares about you he wouldn’t be trying to force his religion on you (which it sounds like he is doing).
Post # 9
@LoggerHead91207: if your FI truly cares about you he wouldn’t be trying to force his religion on you I’m sorry, I don’t want to pick a fight here but this statement is false. As a Christian, his desire should be for her to be saved as well. Otherwise, according to his (and my, obviously) beliefs, she is facing eternal damnation. So if he loves her, he WOULD want her to consider salvation.
I don’t think forcing it down her throat is effective, though, and I don’t think that’s what he is doing.
Post # 10
@danier: This is really tough. I think you have done a wonderful job of respecting his views, and now he needs to step up and respect your point of view. It is not about agreeing to one or the other’s ‘side’, but respecting it.
I assume his religion is nothing ‘new’, just as your feelings toward organized religions is not ‘new’. The marriage is the first HUGE hurdle you two will have to compromise on, but dare I say, there will be many, many more to come. Case and point, if you two choose to start a family, he may desire organized religion be part of your children’s upbringing in every way possible, whereas, you may not.
To say that these conversations need to be had now is an understatement. You both need to be COMFORTABLE with decisions surrounding this subject. That may include him being comfortable with you not attending Mass – at any point, with him and his family.
It may also include compromising on the fact that, yes, you will be married in his Church, but the Ceremony will include ‘lighter’ readings, and/or no Eucharist/Communion.
Post # 11
Well you didn’t do anything wrong, it seems you have been respectful. He needs to do the same.
You probably need to have a serious discussion on how you will raise children and what the future will look like for you. What does he want to happen as far as holidays, raising children, etc? Will he accept a compromise with you? Definitely need to figure this out now!
I personally don’t have a lot of experience with it, I’m athiest and I wouldn’t have considered marrying or even staying in a relationship with someone who was religious enough that they tried to push me to attend church or didn’t respect my beliefs.
Post # 12
@FutureCuomo6610: I understand that Christians want the people they love to be saved. I’m from a Catholic family and have several relatives who have been Nuns and Priests. I honestly understand what you’re saying, I just don’t agree with that way of thinking (which is why I’m no longer part of the Catholic faith or any organized religion).
However, the OP’s FI is being incredibly rude and disrespectful of her views when he has no reason to be. If he wants to save her so badly then he can have a mature, adult conversation with her instead of shutting down completely when she brings up a concern. It would be one thing if he had explained his views to her on the topic in a loving and civil manner, but he didn’t even try. He simply shut down and ignored her. That, to me, is the big problem – not the fact that he has different views or beliefs.
I agree that forcing beliefs onto another person isn’t effective, but I disagree that that isn’t what he’s doing here. He shut down when she wanted to discuss the wedding ceremony, he ignored her this morning, and he hasn’t sent her the usual note he does. It could be he’s just busy at work, but it seems to me that he’s attempting to make her feel badly for bringing the topic up in the first place. It’s manipulative, immature, and doesn’t solve anything. The only thing acting like that does is it makes his FI – the woman he says he loves – feel badly when she has no reason to.
P.S. Completely understand you aren’t looking for a fight (I’m not either; just attempting to better explain what I meant before). I honestly appreciate your views and it may give the OP a better understanding of where her FI is coming from and how to approach the topic again.
@OUgal0004: +1 I agree 100%. The wedding is just the first hurdle. I think the OP and her FI should seriously consider pre-marital counseling (religious or nonreligious) as a way to really understand one another’s views on things like how they will raise any potential children. It’s better and easier to figure those things out now then later on.
Post # 13
@danier: I think your FI is being disrespectful to you. I’m in the opposite situation – I’m a Christian, FI is more ‘exploring’, and that is completely fine. We’re getting married in a church because he knows it’s important to me – he simply asked if we could have some non-Biblical readings as well (he loves poetry) and I agreed instantly as it’s his wedding too, and I have no problem with that. My FI makes a huge effort to be a part of my life, and as such he often comes to church with me, but that’s entirely his choice and I feel that it’s really important not to force it on him. We’re spending Christmas with his family this year , and they aren’t normally church goers. I really want to go to church on Christmas day, so I looked up a local service and let them know that I’d be going to that – they’re welcome to join me (FI is going to, possibly FMIL and FFIL too) but if they want to stay at home then no problem, I’ll be back in an hour!
My whole family is very religious (my Dad is actually a minister!) and there’s been the occasional pressue on me to put more of an effort into ‘converting’ my FI. My response to that is that I am showing FI what it means to be a Christian by simply living as one around him and with him, sharing it with him without forcing it on him, and always being open to discussion. We’ve spent just as much time talking about why he struggles to believe in God as he have talking about why I believe so strongly. He’s asked me in the past if it upsets me that he isn’t as committed to faith as I am and I always tell him that all I ask if that he keeps believing whatever he *honestly* believes, and that he keeps exploring, and that if it takes him until we’re 92 to decide where his personal faith lies, then that’s fine with me!
Your FI is, to be blunt, being unChristian in refusing to see your point of view and to compromise at all. I know I’ve been lucky in meeting a man so open to exploring my faith, but if he was genuinely uncomfortable with going to church at all then we’d discuss getting married elsewhere – God doesn’t live in the church, it’s not like He won’t notice your wedding if it’s somewhere else!
The first couple of times FI saw me take communion he felt a bit uncomfortable (it’s a very strange ceremony to somebody not used to it!) so we talked about it, about why I like it, how it feels, what it means, etc. And in the end it was FI who said ‘yes!’ when our minister asked if we wanted communion in our wedding ceremony. Your FI is being unreasonably by refusing to consider your beliefs, and he’s spoling the possibilty of it being something you come to share. I’m really sorry he’s pushed you away like this and I hope he comes to his senses soon. Keep trying to talk to him – he needs to communicate about this, and to be less selfish.
Post # 14
@LoggerHead91207: Thanks for the considerate response! I do see where you are coming from. Another viewpoint on his silence this morning, however, could be his own grappling with the realization of how far apart they are on religion. He may be struggling with being engaged to a non-believer, just as she is struggling to be engaged to a believer.
I hope they break the ice and have an honest, open discussion about it soon, before it’s too late. I am pulling for you, OP!
Post # 15
Did you tell your FH exactly what you were uncomfortable about? Was it the church? The people? The teachings? That’s a lot of ground to cover. Add to that your concerns about the wedding, and that’s a big conversation. Having those kinds of talks right before bed is not something I would ever recommend.
You two don’t seem like you’re on the same page with religion over all, which is something you need to sort out before you get married. If he is, as you say, a “man of faith” and you are (seemingly, from your post) pretty against religion, this may not go too smoothly. Are you planning to have children? What will you do then?
I would say to carve out time to sit down, respectfully, calmly, and talk & listen together. Express yourself, but be honest – *are* you attacking his church/faith without meaning to? If you’re feeling strongly about it, you might not realize what your tone is like. Tell him what’s on your mind, and let him tell you what’s on his. Go from there.
As an aside, I would be super mad if my DH left in the morning without saying goodbye because he was mad at me.
Post # 16
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Can you see a copy of the vows-might be able to find them online. Although if you’re getting married in the church, there may be certain requirements for the ceremony.
Ex: My home town ministed performed the off-site ceremony for us. Because it wasn’t in the church, we weren’t “required” to do songs during the ceremony or two scripture readings (did two anyway, to give two special people a part of the ceremony.) You may want to meet with the minister who’d be performing the ceremony sooner rather than later, to make sure you’re comfortable with how the ceremony would be.