When you're the only religious one in your family... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 04-03-2011, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I may even have posted about this sometime before, but I'm still stuck in it. For the past few years, I have been attending a very liberal, affirming (ordaining and marrying gay/lesbian/transsexual members), etc, United Church of Canada congregation. After a lifetime of searching, I have found my spiritual "home."


The problem is dh is an atheist. We were both atheists when we married almost 15 years ago. We were married by a Justice of the Peace. Dh was raised Catholic and really just has no interest in religion at all. He is supportive, but bemused by this new committment in my life.


We have a 7-yo dd. So far, she hasn't really shown any interest in coming to church with me. I've tried taking her to Sunday School; but frankly, it's not nearly as progressive as the rest of the church (the services, the politics, etc) and I don't really want her to learn Bible stories in the literal way I did. I guess that's a bit of a different issue, though.


I don't even really know what I'm posting about. I guess I'm just wondering if there is anyone else out there who has begun a faith journey alone in their family. I am alone amongst most of my friends, too. One of them has joined me in church and another one is away for a year and is in exactly the same situation. Our families get together and our husbands roll their eyes at us.


I am not looking to convert dh. It's just hard taking time for church every Sunday when it means time away from the family, especially when dh and I both work ft. But this is SO important to me and I find myself deepening my committment to God and the Church. I don't feel this in itself is dividing us. I don't need him to "believe." But I'm not sure how to intruduce my daughter to what I have discovered and I really would like to. Dh isn't really opposed to that. We're really not so far apart in our beliefs, even now. I don't think I'll ever be a capital-C "Christian;" more of a Christo-pagan or Christian-leaning Pantheist. He gets that and actually aknowledges how special this church is.


It just seems a little sad and strange to have this be "mom's thing" in our family.



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#2 of 3 Old 04-05-2011, 07:12 PM
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i have wanted to make a similar post for a while.  my spiritual life is central for me, and my dh humors me, but does not participate.  it can feel very lonely and challenging.  i do not have any easy answers, but can lend my support and sympathy. 


i am very glad it sounds like you have support from your dh, even if you don't have him as a companion in your church. 


my first thought about your child is maybe there will be a special occasion at church, whether a service or a social event, that would initiate her interest her in the community.  even if she does not want to participate, you will probably share with her little by little in various contexts.  for now, maybe your church time can be her special time with her father—not meeting your need to share your religion, but maybe fulfilling other needs of the family. 


good luck to you on your path. 

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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#3 of 3 Old 04-06-2011, 01:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, kangamitroo.


Yes, dd does get special time with dh when I'm at church; in fact, I think that's part of the problem! If you don't start out with church at the centre of your life, with the assumption that Sunday mornings are spoken for, it seems to become almost impossible to add it in. There are so many fun competing things going on...family skating times are often at that time, birthday parties, playdates...church simply can't compete.


So I've done what you suggest and included her in special occasions. We had a blessing of the animals, for example, and we brought our dog. Dd LOVED that. And planting flowers at the church. It's so funny, people condescendingly say "oh, I guess it's good for people looking for community." HA! I've had to stretch myself thin to include church in my community. It's taken me three years to get there. But against all odds, here I am and it's increasingly important to me.


It sounds like your dh is not supportive. I can't imagine how hard that must be. FWIW, at our church there are apparently many women who attend alone or with their children and their partners are not involved. I've been thinking of asking to organize a "meet the guys" event and have a little support group for those in a similar position.

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