(Closed) Facing Bigotry After the Wedding–Long

posted 8 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 3
Member
10851 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Oh my gosh. I don’t have a lot of experience with this stuff, I’m a non-religious type, but I’ll offer what small amount of advice I can give. I suppose if I were in your shoes, I would try to avoid religious holidays together and just stick to family afternoon bbqs or whatever. Every family is different and it’s really sad that yours is so against accepting your differences and is being so close minded. That must be so difficult for you.

My only experience with anything remotely similar was that when I was in university I dated a Jewish guy. His parents were very very Orthodox and were figureheads in the community from what I understood. I was a complete secret from them since I am not Jewish and part of their community. We dated in secret for six months and then we broke up. We had pretty much fallen in love but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his parents, so he moved to Israel to go to a Jewish university. It was heart breaking and it made me so sad to think of him in that position of having to choose what/who was more important to him. I respect his decision of course, but to this day I still wonder how issues like this exist in our world. This is a bit over used, but can’t we all just get along?!

Post # 4
Member
2393 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Oh wow.  This is a toughie and I am so sorry you are having to go through this.  It seems like you are keeping a very level head which is the FIRST thing to do.  By doing so, you are keeping an open line of communication, no matter how hard things get with your family. 

I am constantly amazed at how closed minded people can be towards other religions.  Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% committed to my faith and believe in it deeply, but I just don’t see the point of shunning someone else because of their faith.  I have been on that side where people were cruel and hurtful because of my beliefs.  I am mormon.  Have been all my life and my religions is a huge part of who I am.  I know there are people out there that believe mormons are crazy and believe in some pretty crazy things (trust me, I’ve HEARD ALOT of weird theories from people that tell me “Oh you believe in this, this, and this,” And when I try to correct them, they’re like, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” LOL  hmm…let me get this straight.  I’ve been mormon for 28 years and you’ve never stepped foot into a mormon church, and you STILL think you know more about my religion than I do?  yeah, ok…lol  I guess the point I’m trying to make is, people are sometimes afraid of what they do not know/understand.  It sounds like your family is so caught up in the fear of not understanding your husbands beliefs, that they never really took the chance to break down those barriers and get to know your husband.  I know how hurtful that could be.  When I was in high school, a particular church in town told all of it’s youth not to associate with mormons because we were not Christians (for the record, yes we are Christians and yes we believe in Christ as our savior)…Words can not express how crushed I was when I heard that.  And I know it was true because 3 of the girls that went to that church were on my basketball team (thankfully, they ignored that “rule” and were a great support system).  My younger sister went to a youth group one night at that particular church and was asked to leave because she was mormon. 

Because of these experiences I have had, I have ALWAYS tried to be accepting of other’s beliefs.  I may not agree with them, and I may never be convinced that their way is “the way,” but I always try to make them feel welcome and accepted, because I know what it feels like to be on the opposite side.  I’m sorry that I don’t have any solid advice to give to you.  I just wanted to you know that I am sorry and sending hugs your way 🙂

Post # 5
Member
101 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

puppymom2006 … I honestly don’t have any advice for you. I’m sorry. I do sympathize though. It’s sad, startling, and HARD when you realize your family is not who you thought they were. I’m ‘lucky’ because my realization came years ago and hasn’t really affected me in such a personal way.

My situation: I somehow ended up Democrat, very open minded, Pagan… I’m 100% OK with other religions, ethnic groups, races, people with different sexual preferences (Not just homosexuality). My parents, and grandparents, my aunts and uncles… So ultraconservative, sometimes it scares me. So very closed minded. The religion part doesn’t seem to bother them so much, despite being very Irish Catholic, but everything else…. Uninformed, uneducated, and complete blind to the fact. 

On one hand, I give a lot of credit to the parenting skills they had. My mom’s goal was to make sure her kids were able to think for themselves and form their own opinions. The accomplished that. On the other hand, listening to the comments and conversations sometimes makes me so angry. I remember once listening to 3 generations of my family talk about how gays should not be allowed to be teachers. Ugh. 

Ultimately, it’s a fine line for you to walk. You have to stand up for yourself, your beliefs, and your husbands beliefs and practices. You can’t blow up and start a huge fight over it though… unless you don’t care about isolating yourself from your family. I might suggest sitting with your family and telling them, look, this is how we feel, this is what we plan on doing and how we plan to celebrate holidays, we don’t want to not celebrate with you but you can’t be critical. Or maybe, more passive, celebrate your husbands customs with just you, don’t talk about that with your family… But absolutely tell them to shove it about the organization. 

Also, worst case scenario, maybe be prepared for an ultimatum. They *may* decide to play unfairly and try to make you choose them or your new family. Absolute worst case, but just mentally prepare yourself so it doesn’t knock you over if it comes.

Post # 6
Member
1207 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

I am so sorry you are going through this.  That must be terribly difficult for you.  I think if I were in your shoes, I agree with bakerella about not celebrating any religious holidays with your extended family.  Keep the religion between you, your husband and your kids.  I would also have a sit down with your parents, and explain that they don’t have to like your husbands religious beliefs, but they do have to respect them.  If they can’t say anything nice about it, then ask them not to say anything at all.  And then don’t discuss anything even remotely religious with them.  If they bring something up, politely tell them you won’t discuss it, and change the subject.  Again, I’m sorry you’re going through this.  

Post # 7
Member
1079 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. It sounds like your family are good people, they were just raised a certain way. It’s hard to break out of that, although I congratulate you for doing so. Think about the good side of them – respect them for that. Then try to avoid difficult issues. Celebrate the Jewish holidays – you don’t have to discuss it with your family. If they ask or comment just tell them it’s part of your husband’s traditions, this is how you’re raising your kids, end of story. There will probably be other non-religious issues for which you’ll have to say the same thing. Don’t be surprised if you have to tell them over and over that you’re part of the Methodist church – once people get something stuck in their heads it rarely comes out. Don’t allow it to frustrate you. If it does, remember the good things about your family.

I wouldn’t make a special effort to bring families together, but if the occasion comes up you will simply have to hope that all family members avoid touchy subjects. Or you could tell your husband’s family that your family is conservative and religious and maybe it’s best to stick to neutral topics. I’d be glad they won’t let you join their organization – it sounds like you are far too open minded for it. It also sounds like you have an allie in your cousin’s family. I suspect when you have kids of your own you will have more of a focus on your own family and be able to let go of some of the issues around your parents. Best of luck.

Post # 8
Member
82 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

puppymom, this is an increidibly difficult situation and I deeply feel for you. stephk23 has a point, be ready for an ultimatum at some point. We can hope that it never comes, but the convictions that your family holds make it very possible.

It sounds like you love your husband very much, so remember that at all times. Talk to him openly and work together. I know you didn’t go through pre-marital counseling but they heavily stress communication no matter what faith you are. You are a team so work together to walk the line. All of the questions you have asked the hive are ultimately going to be descisions that you will answer together. 

As far as bringing the two families together, I would be very cautious. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire and I’m afraid that your family might be harsh towards his parents. If there is something that they will all be around for (birth of child etc.) then make sure that everybody knows who will all be in attendence.

 

Such a rough situation. I hope that it works out for the best!

Post # 10
Member
10851 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Is it possible just to take a break from your mom? If she lives that far away I think you could get away with avoiding her for a couple months. When it comes to holidays and her showing up on your doorstep, tell her you’re leaving town whether for vacation or to spend time with DH’s family (use the excuse of alternating holidays). It sounds like your mom just doesn’t understand boundaries. Do you have siblings who can help to distract her for a while?

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