what happens when you are pulled towards your religion/spirituality and dp is not? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 03-26-2010, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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my little brother died 2 weeks ago. we held services at the Quaker meeting for worship that we went to wehn we were little. my parents and i had discussed returning there for a while before htis happened, but now, i am absolutley returning. i have already been for worship once since the funeral, and am planning on taking my kids now every sunday. i would also like tobe involved in committee work and first-day school work.

my dh is a lapsed catholic. he isn't big on religion anyway, he has so far tolerated the whole situation with regards to meeting for worship cause he knows that it is really helping me through a hard time, and he also knows that religion isn't something to play around with (his mother and sisters are deeply religious, so he knows that it is very important to some people).

i would never make him go, although it would be nice if he choose to go obviously, and at least if he could go so that he could stay with our baby in the nursery and not have her freaking out.

but, what happens in your family of mixed faiths (here i am considering agnostic/aethist as a faith)? i can see how i would like to get very involved with my meeting and don't want it to be an issue. and, obvously, don't want to pressure him about it.
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#2 of 4 Old 03-26-2010, 06:28 PM
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I'm so sorry for your loss.

I know a few mixed faith families (some including agnostics), and honestly, as long as both parties are respectful, it usually isn't an issue. The issues tend to occur when both hold very strongly to their religious beliefs--without consideration of the other.

I think you need to follow your path...and trust that your husband will find his. I actually think that there's so much in the Quaker faith that your husband could get on board with--even as an agnostic.... testimony of peace, simplicity, etc.

Good luck. My guess is that your meeting has people who are facing similar issues, who might be able to help.

Mom to DS(8), DS(6), DD(4), and DS(1).  "Kids do as well as they can."

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#3 of 4 Old 03-26-2010, 09:05 PM
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As for how to make an interfaith relationship (or in our case, one with one religious partner and one non-religious/agnostic/atheist partner) work, so far, the key has been respect. And sometimes acting with respect I think there are probably times when we don't really feel incredibly respectful of the other's beleifs, and cannot understand how the other person could possibly think that. However, by acting with respect for their beleifs in those moments, we get through them, and come back to true respect for their beleifs.

I think the hardest parts of being in an interfaith or mixed faith relationship are home observances (which are more important or prevelant in some religions than others), how to raise the kids, and wishing you had a partner to participate in/discuss your religion.

For us, we have respectful, frequentish discussions about how we will raise our kids in terms of religion. It's really like discussing any other aspect you agree upon though. What we have discussed is that we will have a jewish home, our children will be educated with regards to judaism, and will be raised jewish. However, they will not be forced to be jewish. We will also teach them about and how/why my DP does not beleif in G-d/religion. When they are old enough, if they do not want to be jewish, they don't have to be, though they will still be expected to participate in home observances, because it is "family time". (Basically, if the 6 year old says she doesn't want to go to shul, because it's too early in the morning, then she goes with me anyways. If the 12 year old says, "You know mom and dad, I've been thinking about it, and I really don't beleive in G-d. Judaism doesn't speak to me." then we'll listen, and respect that.

We do share home observances, and actually, DP rather enjoys them with me. they have become special family traditions for us. Because I know that while he loves lighting candles and having a nice dinner on shabbat, but I also want to respect his beleifs, we do less hebrew prayers at home for shabbat (some of them can go on for oh... 8 minutes+ ) than I might like, which is a compromise I make to respect him. I say private prayers, I say the long prayers at shul or friends houses, and I sing prayers and songs in hebrew throughout the evening.

There are times when I wish he came to services with me, however I've developed a group of friends there, and it's fun to go, pray, and then hang out with my friends for a while. Afterwards, we usually go and do something just the two of us for the afternoon (when we have kids this will become doing something as a family). He occasionally comes to services with me. For instance, there are a few services that go til very late at night (there are a few that go to midnight-beyond), and our shul isn't in the greatest neighboorhood at night, so he goes so I can safely go. Or if we are going to lunch with someone directly after, he'll come with me so we can go together after. I'd say he has come about 6 times this year. It's important that I never pressure him to come to services with me, or really any religious observance. That's my part in respecting his choices. I will ask him to come with my to a special service, or if it's late and I want to go. He knows he is welcome to say no. If I want to begin a home observance that affects him, I'll tell him that it is something I'm interested in, and ask if he is ok with us giving it a try. Often the answer is yes, and then sometimes we find it fulfills us, sometimes not. Sometimes we're lukewarm on it, and do it sometimes.

yes, I very much wish sometimes that I could engage in deep discussions of torah with my partner. You know what? I value the deep discussions we have on other stuff more, and I can find other people to discuss torah for.

We have some crazy weird boundaries that work for us. For instance, my DP LOVES pork. As he says, if he made a religion, it would require eating pork at every meal. I don't eat pork because of my religion. So DP occasionally will buy a sausage or something, cook it on foil in the toaster oven, and eat it with his hands (or he could use disposable silverware, or even special silverware just for pork, though we don't have any.) If we go out to eat, or eat at someone's house, he will partake of pork, shellfish, etc. It's a little challenging and it works for us. Finding spaces that work for both of you is important.

It's not easy to have a full spiritual life in a very different path than your partner/spouse as well as a good relationship. It is possible.

Re the baby. I don't know how long your meetings are, or how far from your home they are. If they are short, or nearby, could your husband take the baby, and the baby would be ok without you for a little while, or could come a few times throughout the meeting with the babe for you to nurse?

I'd say talk to your partner about what you want your religion to look like for you. Are there specific things you would like him to do? Can you both compromise on those in a way that works for you? How does he feel about you taking the children to services. . It's possible like good communication.

(and in a joking but totally true to the heart of matter conclusion to this too long post: I heard a story about a gay couple who was long time friends of an interfaith bride and groom. their toast was about how they thought such a mixed relationship could never work, and this couple has proved them wrong. a man and a woman can have a relationship. (gender being the "mixed" factor) the point being, there are so many differences between everyone, if you talk and communicate about the differences between you, religious or otherwise, you'll do ok.)

sorry it's so long. hth.

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
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#4 of 4 Old 03-27-2010, 02:03 AM
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I'm so sorry for your loss. Magelet's post has a lot of truth in it. My DH is non-practicing Episcopalian and moderately apathetic about religious observance, I'm practicing Catholic. We make it work.

Part of our agreement getting married was that he would attend Mass with me and we would raise our children Catholic so that part is taken care of, but I'm very passionate about my Faith and think and read about it all the time. I would *love* to be able to talk to him about it more -- I would love for him to research and discuss with me because he has such a great brain when he applies himself I'm genuinely curious to see what he would think. He isn't in to it though. It is disappointing and a little lonely, but it is an easy thing to get over for our relationship.

Over time you will probably settle into a routine. My husband used to be very reluctant to attend with me and he felt very out of place. Now he can attend Mass at the most traditional chapels with ease and he loves to go because of the community. Sometimes, when I let him off the hook on Mass attendance, he will chose to go anyway now.

Does your Dh know much about Quakerism? Meeting is *weird* to an outsider, especially a Catholic. It takes time, but it can grow on you. You have a lot going on right now, but maybe leave some things around for him to read. Maybe A Quaker Book of Wisdom? I think anyone can find something to respect about the belief system, even if they don't adopt it. (I went to Quaker highschool and if I could be both, I'd be Catholic and Quaker)

XM,: mama to ds (5/08), dd (9/10) and ds (6/12) ! whale.gif :C.H.S & M.

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