Post # 1
Well I’ve been lurking these boards for a while now, now I need some input. My SO and Ihave started talking about marriage, and I’m super excited about it. We’ve been dating seriously for about 7 months now… everything just clicked immediately with us. I feel like I know him as well as I know myself! We have had conversations about faith before, and I have always shared that my faith is something that is very important to me. In the time he’s known me, God and I have been sorting some stuff out, and so I haven’t been active in a church community. I’ve decided that I would like to belong somewhere again, and learn and grow as a christian again.
It has never bothered me that SO wasn’t christian, when we talked about it, he was undecided, but open to hearing what I had to say, and seemed very accepting and curious. I always just assumed that given how close we are, that when the time was right he would become involved with me. To make a long story short, I asked him to try a new church with me as I didn’t want to go alone. He said “no”. I was shocked, I completely didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect him to become an instant christian, but I did expect him to come to church with me. Now I don’t know what to do or think, and I’m questionining our relationship. What are your thoughts?
Post # 3
As an athiest engaged to be married to a Christian (and whose best friend is a fundamentalist Christian), I would encourage you to take a step back. While I feel that religion shouldn’t be something that comes between a couple because it should be something personal & not necessarily shared, I know that it does often become a wedge.
I would sit down with him & have a discussion about your expectations for the marriage & future life in general (ex. will he be OK with getting married in a church?, will he ever be comfortable going to church with you?, is he just questioning his faith or is he atheistic?, how will you two raise any future children? will YOU be comfortable not being able to share in your faith with him?, do you share the same basic morals/beliefs?, will you expect him/want him to convert?, etc.). Yes, it might seem a bit “much”, but if you want to go any further with him you need to figure this out NOW.
FWIW, my FH is perfectly okay with keeping his faith private. We are having a completely secular ceremony (though he is welcome to reference God in his vows if he wishes), and we plan to raise our children as “freethinkers” (meaning that we will teach them about ALL faiths/religions/belief systems, from Hinduism to Shintoism/Buddhism to Paganism to Christianity/Islam/Judaism to Atheism/Humansim, teach them to think critically about the world around them, and let them decide what they believe themselves). I know there are other athiests/agnostics on this site who married religious partners and are agreeing to raise their children in their partner’s religion, so it can be done. But you need to decide what’s right for YOU & YOUR FH.
Post # 4
I think you should think more about what your expectations are for him (in regard to faith). The Bible is pretty clear about unequally yolked partners.
Post # 4
Just as you want him to accept your faith you need to accept his, even if it is a lack of faith. You don’t say if he’s simply not religious or is another religion (I have to say for instance that while I’m pretty agnostic, I come from a Jewish background and would feel very very uncomfortable going to a church) but I think you need to have mutual respect for each other’s faiths for things to work. That being said, it is very difficult to have different beliefs, especially as things progress to having kids and such — how to raise them, etc. I think you have some very important conversations in front of you…
Post # 4
My Darling Husband is Catholic, I am atheist. I doubt I will ever become Catholic, but will go to church with him at Christmas or during special events.
I respect his religion, he goes regularly and teaches confirmation classes. He respects my beliefs (or there lack of) and never pressures me to join him.
I think that it sounds like you are really rigid in your belief that both partners need to go. If you are not accepting of his spirituality, it really may not work.
Post # 5
Jenniphyr’s advice is spot on. Now’s the time to be clear about what to expect from each other re: this issue.
Post # 6
You were expecting him to go with you on a regular basis or you were expecting him to join you this once?
I am a Christian in a relationship with an Atheist. If I wanted to try out a new church but was scared to go alone he would come with me. Not to worship, not to change his mind, just to give me a hand to hold on to when I was nervous.
Asking them to go with you on a regular basis though, I personally think might be too much.
Post # 7
Also, RE: the issue of him going to church with you:
Personally, I am comfortable enough with my lack of faith to “put up & shut up” occasionally and attend services with my FH. However, I will not do it on a regular basis.
If your Boyfriend or Best Friend is still trying to “figure out” where he stands, perhaps he does not want to be unduly influenced one way or another by a church. Just to give you some perspective, he might view this as you trying to “pressure” or “sway” him into/towards being a Christian.
Perhaps if you want to try out this church you could enlist a friend to go with one weekend? When/if your FH is ready, he will join you of his own accord.
Post # 8
The bible does say Be ye not unequally yolked with non-believers. I’m not saying that it can’t/won’t work. and I’m DEFINITELY NOT saying that you should leave him. I don’t feel that religion by itself should be a reason not to be with someone. I do think that it would be easier to be with someone who shares your belief system whatever it would be. Especially if you are considering marriage. If you have children how will they be raised and will your fundamental differences in how you believe cause arguements about what to teach them. Those are just things to think about. I do however find it even more troublesome that he wouldn’t want to comfort/support you if you were feeling nervous.
Post # 9
To some it is a deal breaker and others have successful relationships despite differences in their religious beliefs. Again, it all depends on the couple and their lines of communication and what they expect.
For me personally it would be a deal breaker. When I first started dating my Fiance six years ago I had realized I was getting to the point where I would be meeting my potential future husband. While some may call it gutsy I told my Fiance in the first few months of dating what my desires were in a spouse when it came to religion. While I don’t expect my husband to necessarily accept the same beliefs as me I do expect a certain level of support and understanding when it comes to what I believe, including raising my future children with those same beliefs.
To some that is ridiculous and there are others that would want more. For us it works and we communicated from the beginning what the expectations were. He was more than happy to support me and thankfully so.
Post # 10
It just really threw me. He’s not an athiest, and everything we’ve discussed to this point has indicated he’s open to my beliefs… not necessarily taking them on, but operating from a similar values/belief perspective. He was raised catholic and has chosen to not practice.
I was really just looking for him to accompany me on this occassion, and I think what threw me the most, is that he has never said no to anything I’ve asked him to do before. He’s always about supporting me 100%. If he didn’t want to go regularly, I’d be really ok with it.
Any other christians come up against what the bible says about marrying a christian vs. the ideal man who’s not a christian?
@deadlynightshade – how have the two of you navigated your beliefs +his beliefs?
Post # 11
@dandelion83: To me, being a Christian isn’t about how many times you go to church, but what your relationship is like with Jesus. If your expectations for your spouse are that he have similar values – I think you should define what those are (if you haven’t already) and then talk to him about it. Since you say what threw you is that he said no – have you had a chance to ask him why he said no? Maybe he’s feeling pressured to conform to a particular belief structure he’s not ultimately comfortable with??
Also – I think the whole point about being equally yoked is so that one side of the team (the ox team, in the yoke illustration) isn’t trying to pull one of the pair in a direction the other really doesn’t want to go. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the one that has the faith will get pulled away from their faith – it could also mean the one that doesn’t want to get pulled towards the faith doesn’t really want to be pulled towards it.
Post # 12
@dandelion83: My ex-husband wasn’t a believer and was fine with me doing whatever I wanted as long as it did not impose on him… ie. The type of environment I wanted for our son, things I was okay/not okay doing, etc. Ultimately we divorced (for MANY reasons)
After that I became pretty solid in the type of relationship I wanted with Jesus and what that meant for every aspect of my life.
The thing about the unequally yoked thing is: God created a marriage not just for our benefit/desire BUT for the benefit of us being able to fulfill the plan he has for us. As a spouse we are to encourage and build and grow each other in God’s word so that we can stay in step with God’s plan. Obviously this takes having the same worldview and same foundation in values… because it’s just not possible to understand those things if you do not hold them for yourself. If a person doesn’t know God’s word then how can they help someone grow in it… or if they don’t know God’s principles how can they help someone stay in line with them… and if they don’t understand sacfricing for God’s plan then how could they ever understand you possibly leaving a job, or raising your kids a certain way, or even moving where you feel God has called you?
It can “work” BUT it can never be what God wanted for it… that exceedingly abudantly above all you could hope, think, or imagine, b/c it will always be limited by the inability to understand.
I would take a step back from your SO and spend some intimate time with God… maybe a fast & do some research on God’s plan for relationships & marriage. And then see what your next step should be.
Post # 13
The Bible speaks pretty clearly about being unequally yolked so for me it would be a deal breaker. The relationship you have with God is far more precious and worth pursuing than any relationship you can have with a man. I’m not saying that you and your SO aren’t meant to be together necessarily but I definitely think that before considering marriage you need to work on your God relationship first. If that means going to church without your SO, do it. I’m a firm believer in Matthew 6:33…Seek God first and all these things will be given to you.
Post # 14
I hope I word this correctly:
Curious is one thing, but attending church or asked to participate in anything religous is something different, and is a very touchy subject. I’ll ask questions because I want to know, not because I have any intention of taking up faith in anyway and I personally begin to resent those who suggest it to me.