(Closed) I need help with my FMIL…

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
14661 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I’m not religious, so maybe I don’t really understand, but is it really that awful to attend church?  I went to church last Xmas (also my birthday!) with my ILs while visiting cause that’s what they wanted to go as a family.  I’ve NEVER been to a Xmas or Sunday service, but it wasn’t a big deal.  My best friend, Buddist, has also been asked to go to church by her ILs and has gone.  If it is that important for you not to go though, simply decline and kindly request that she does not ask you to go and that you do not plan to convert (if that’s your plans) so you’d appreciate it if she stopped pressuring you.  As for future children, your and your husband wlil have to be very clear on your wishes as parents as to how to raise your children and ask her not to butt in on religious issues.


Post # 4
899 posts
Busy bee

We’re in a similiar situation. I’m not Jewish but I grew up in a Lutheran church which is a lot different then catholicism. I don’t agree with a lot of it and it makes me uncomfortable. The in laws are catholic and my fiance went to catholic school but he admits it’s not important to him.

My Future Mother-In-Law made a big deal when we didn’t get a priest to offciant our wedding, I was really hurt by it I got the feeling that she thought it wasn’t a real marriage if a priest didn’t marry us.

I had to explain my feelings to her and she’s backed off. My fiance has also had to explain to her that although he appreciates being brought up going to church that isn’t how he chooses to worship God anymore.

There were a lot of tears and hard feelings but I think everyone is semi-okay with it now. My only advice is to be honest and communicate!

Good luck!

Post # 5
4495 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Honestly – you don’t want to go, doesn’t sound like your Fiance wants to go – so…why are you guys going?? He tried to discuss it with her and she ignored him, so I would just ignore her pleas for you both to attend.

Post # 6
1356 posts
Bumble bee

I have agree with above, I don’t really see it as a big deal. As an atheist I find it really awkward to attend church, but I’d do it if it meant so much to an IL.

Another thing, I don’t know about your Future In-Laws, but for mine, religious ceremonies and such are much more about family and tradition that about religion per se. When I looked at it that way Christmas, etc. seemed nice.

But you know what? Your Future Mother-In-Law is not a part of your marriage. She should not pressure you to be something you’re not (aka a Christian!). At some point you’ll just need to say no, firmly and sweetly. Your ILs will still like you, unless they’re insane, so it doesn’t matter. Tell her you don’t feel comfortable doing these things, and leave it at that. If she makes comments, smile sweetly and thank her for her concern. You can make your own decisions. However I do think your Fiance should be the one to make this clear; she’s his mother.

Post # 8
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I think I have to play the other side of the arguement other bees have said. I know church makes you uncomfortable, but at least she isn’t pressuring you to convert or anything. I think that for the goodness of your relationship with her, maybe attending church once a year on a set day (not your birthday!) might be a good idea? I was raised Roman Catholic and have had partners parents who put me in very similar positions. And it sucks, and is awkward, but at the end of the day it means more to them that I go than to me that I don’t. 

For her, she might be a little ashamed that her son doesn’t come anymore (it happens a lot) and just want both of you to be a part of HER life. It seems that church is really important to her. And I think on some level she is trying, although it might not seem it. Asking you to just attend on holidays is MUCH different than asking you to go once or twice a week. I think on some level she is trying to meet you halfway?

I think to her, she sees church as more of a community and she just wants you to be a part of that. Like I said, she could be asking you to convert. But she isn’t, which means she does respect your beliefs are different. And at the end of the day, the core of all religions is about community and love (for the most part). 

BUT if you are going to do this, you need to make it clear that it is only so and so date each year. And don’t buckle on that. Clearly say you don’t want to discuss it any other time. And make sure your Fiance is there backing you up. 

As for kids, this is another issue you should address before it becomes a thing. I am assuming if you have children, you aren’t going to want to raise them jewish either? Clearly tell her that you want your kids to be able to choose for themselves later in life and you will respect their decision. And you are going to have to stand by that. So if your child really wants to go to church with grandma… have no problem with it. But also ensure that he/she is never FORCED to go. 


I don’t know if this helped at all? I did my best!

Post # 9
770 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Give her a taste of her own medicine. Invite her to temple, to seder dinners, hannukah, etc. She’ll get the hint soon enough.

Post # 10
3150 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2018

@MUAbride2be:  oh lord. You guys have to take a strong stance now- especially before you have kids. Do you intend to raise your kids Jewish? I think the next time she asks your fiancé needs to tell her that this is the last conversation on the topic and that you are not comfortable attending church and will no longer entertain her requests. I am very strong willed, so I understand this may not be easy. But it is the only way. 


The only thing I agreed on with my SO is that I would allow my kids to be baptized because I knew it would eat his mother’s soul every day. But I am very anti-catholic so I don’t know if it would count for her in the non denominational church I would choose. 


For those telling you to basically suck it up- I think they don’t get it. It’s not even a matter of you not being religious and not wanting to go to church. It’s a totally foreign religion. Many of us who do not practice any religion as adults are at least exposed and familiar with Christian church experiences, but as a Jew it would be like us having to suck it up and go to temple on high holidays that we do not understand. 


Post # 14
322 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m Jewish and Fiance is Presbyterian; I grew up going to temple on holidays and had a Bat Mitzvah, and Fiance grew up active in church, did his church’s version of Habitat for Humanity, etc. He’s not very religious (I’d say he’s more spiritual, but not overly – or overtly – so) and neither am I. 




Future Mother-In-Law is respectful of my heritage, but has invited us to go to church on Christmas with them. Truthfully, I’m very uncomfortable in church; I’ve gone a few times in my life (once with my dad’s ex, once with my own ex for his neice’s baptism, and now a handful of times with FI) but always feel very strange and like I stick out like a sore thumb – I completely understand the feeling of not wanting to be there.




Our situation is different in that Fiance likes to go on Christmas, so I happily agree (and keep my feelings to myself – one day, meh.) But your situation is far trickier. I think you need to be clear, but polite, with her about your feelings; explain to her that this is your heritage, and that maybe certain times or are certain day is okay (if Christmas is your birthday that’s not a good idea – maybe decide on Easter?) and maybe invite her to go to temple/share that experience/etc. to make her understand that you have your own views.




If you’re not practicing/don’t want to take that route, maybe just agree to the family church day, and then politely say otherwise you’re just not comfortable? And it’s okay to say that you and Fiance want to forge your own religious/spiritual path, and that you want her to be a part of it yet be understanding at the same time.




Post # 15
2600 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@MUAbride2be:  Hmmm.  This is kind of hard. On one hand, I don’t think its too terrible to humor his mother by going to church with her a few times a year if neither of you have strong objections to going.

On the other hand, I can see where the repeated requests would get old seeing as how he doesn’t really affiliate himself with the church anymore and that you’re Jewish.  I think your fiance needs to tell his mother to stop making the requests.  Assure her that you both are well aware that she wants you to go with her, that it means a lot to her and that if you decide to go – you will.  Otherwise, she must respect your decision not too.  Ask that this not be a recurring request every holiday.  If she persists in asking, then shut it down by telling her no, firmly. 

Your other option, for you, is to simply not go but allow your fiance’ to make his own decision about going or not. 

Post # 16
481 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@MUAbride2be:  I am not religious and if anyone’s parents asked me to attend a service I would politely decline – I would never go to church except for a wedding or funeral. If you keep getting pressured I would just be very firm that that is not your faith and that you will not be attending anymore services. The more you give in the worse it will be for you. Good luck!

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