Religion and In-Laws

posted 2 years ago in Interfaith
Post # 2
Member
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

My whole family, immediate and extended, are Catholic, and I decided probably 12 years or so ago that I do not believe and will not attend church unless it is for an event like a wedding, etc. It has caused a lot of tension and awkwardness, but I’m an adult. I no longer have a problem saying what I do and don’t believe. That being said, I don’t think you need to bring it up at any point ahead of time, just prepare yourself (and DH) to be confident in your stance if they bring it up when the time comes. They will be your kids and it’s your business, not theirs. 

Post # 3
Member
2733 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle

Your Fiance needs to talk to them and tell them that you and he have had many, many discussions about religion and have come to an agreement about how you as a couple and a family will raise future children (in relation to religion) and that this will not include infant/child baptism.  It might help if he says that you want to leave that decision up to the kids when they reach an age where they can understand what it means, and make the choice for themselves (no idea if you’ve discussed this – you might want to!).  He should also say that the decision is final and you won’t be entertaining any discussion on the subject.  If they’re nice, boundary respecting people, they’ll say “OK, that’s your decision and while we don’t agree, we understand and respect it.”  If they don’t, well, that’s harder.  Every time they mention it you and your Fiance will have to keep saying “you know our stance on this subject and we will not change our minds” as many times as necessary.  And just as a sidenote, I’ve read stories of grandparents taking their grandchildren and having them baptised secretly, against the parents’ wishes – so if you even suspect they might do that, no babysitting for them until the kids are old enough to tell you if anything happens.

EDIT to add: also, your choice not to go to church with them should not be something they hassle you about.  My DH doesn’t come to midnight mass with us on Christmas Eve as it’s just not his thing.  NEVER have my parents said a word about it – they ask if he’s coming, he or I say “no” and that’s the end of the subject.  If that happens again, your Fiance needs to tell his dad to cut it out.

Post # 5
Member
720 posts
Busy bee

That’s a toughie. 

I am of zero religion whatsoever, and to be blunt I think it’s all rather silly and outdated. My in laws however are VERY Catholic. It was really important to them that our son was baptized, even though they knew he would not be attending church. I told my Mother-In-Law that if she wanted to make arrangements and take him to be baptized, she could go for it. For me personally, if it makes her happy then why not. I see baptism as a total non issue, because it would not have an impact on my child whatsoever, just a sprinkle of water on his head, but I figured if it means nothing to me but makes her happy, why the hell not? I saw it as a compromise. I don’t have to take my child to church, but my religious Mother-In-Law was very happy and it made no difference to us, win-win!

However, I totally understand that some people might be against the idea of baptism altogether. In which case, stand your ground! She got to raise her kids, she does not get to raise yours too.

 

Post # 6
Member
914 posts
Busy bee

I found the book “Rules of Engagement” very helpful to discuss these questions you have with your fiancé before talking to your fiancé’s family. We’ve been doing this book as part of our marriage preparation and found that it’s helpful to discuss these questions as we’re also in an interfaith relationship. Maybe the decision you have about future children might not need to be discussed with your Future Mother-In-Law. All the best!

Post # 7
Member
280 posts
Helper bee

I’m in a similar situation, but Fiance is almost more non-religious than I despite him being raised Catholic. Future Mother-In-Law is worried he will “lose his faith” because of me 🙄. Anyways, I’ve used the example of other religions to make my point. If I was Jewish or Hindu, would they be upset if we didn’t baptize our children as Catholic?… absolutely not. I’ve told them I’d never expect them of Fiance to change their beliefs simply to appease me, so how could they expect me to? And that shut them up pretty quickly. At the end of the day, it’s your life and family, so do what you want and they’ll get over it! I’m the only grandchild in my family that wasn’t baptized and it bothered my grandma (who is a devout Catholic), but she got over it and has never loved me any less than her other grandchildren! I’m a pretty blunt person though, so it’s understandable if you’re not as comfortable confronting them they way I did! 

Post # 10
Member
9806 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

View original reply
jayquellen :  I think your Fiance should be the one telling his family how things are going to go.  My Mother-In-Law is pretty religious but I don’t think she goes to church and we never go to visit at her house so we don’t run into any issues of asking us to attend church.  However, I was raised catholic and am agnostic and my husband was raised under religion by her but now is the same as me.  But I think the point would be the same, your Fiance should be addressing this with his family and not you. Even before I met my DH, he was upfront with his family so they were never expecting us to baptize our children. If you and your Fiance are in agreement he really should be speaking up or meeting these objections head on to his family.  As you would do the same to yours if the situation warranted.

Long story short, you don’t bring it up to them that you’re not going to raise children in their faith.  Your Fiance does.

Post # 11
Member
3561 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I honestly don’t think there’s a reason to ease them into it. It’s only going to make your life worse, because they’ll constantly be freaking out and pestering you about children that you don’t even have yet. It will lead to arguments and discussions that can be avoided. They’ll be hurt either way, but telling them now will only draw out the hurt. So when the time comes and they ask about your child’s baptism, your husband can tell them.

Post # 12
Member
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

I don’t think it’s their business so I don’t see a reason to say anything now. It didn’t help in my situation.I’m Catholic and my DH is atheist. We talked about every thing and kept having these conversations our entire relationship, and my DH shared a lot with his mother. We’re not married in the Church and my family just had to accept that and they did without a problem. They know he’s not religious so we would not invite him to church. When it came to baptizing my Dear Daughter, my Mother-In-Law threw a tantrum and guess what, we did it anyway since it’s our damn child so we make the decicions. She got over it and it’s now demanding to be present for the baptism of our second. She was not invited for the first. In my case everybody knew our believes from the very start and it didn’t help her accept our decision, she kept making comments and give advice about what we should do. But you know the IL better, do they respect you as adults or are they people who try to control stuff.

Post # 14
Member
4620 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

Lots of things here.

Firstly, if you don’t want to go to church you shouldn’t feel like you have to and I don’t think you owe them a reason for not going on Christmas Eve “it’s not my thing” is just as valid “as I’m really tired”.  I am religious but I’m not going to drag myself to church if I don’t want to – what’s the point?  “Coorporaste worship” has it’s place but it’s not for everyone all of the time.  As you say, you’ve been before, it was nice.  But you had a number of other things on your mind and you don’t believe in God – that’s absolutely ok.

Baptism.  In my tradition, Episcopal, we believe that through Baptism and Communion we are transformed by the Holy Spirit.  Baptism is an official welcome to the church family.  You should definitely ask why it’s so important to your in laws because they may have a different understanding.

I’m torn to say whether I think you should baptise future children to appease your in laws.  On the one hand, if you don’t believe in it it makes absolutely no difference but on the other why impose a religion on your child if you don’t want to.  I would definitely err on the side of the latter, as a parent you need to do what you think is right by your children.  Either way teaching children about all religions is definitely the way to go!

As an aside, it sucks that you felt like a fish out of water/awkward because that’s probably the last thing anyone wanted.

It sounds like on the whole your in laws are pretty accepting and understanding so that’s good.

I hope my thoughts are helpful but if not – feel free to ignore. 🙂

Post # 15
Member
778 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

View original reply
jayquellen :  That’s awesome, then maybe you should tell them now. Does religion come up in casual conversations? Because that would be the perfect way to bring it up without making a big deal out of it.

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