religious intermarriage thread (support only) - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 43 Old 12-27-2004, 04:07 PM
 
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What worked for us, and your milleage may vary, was for me reflect positively about church and other faith measures. It really countered the negativity from dh and others. I always left the little ones with Dad until they were ready to come on their own. I let them know that religion was deeply personal and I would be happy to share with them that side of me if they wanted it.

It is ideal to be able to just raise your kids in the faith, but if you encounter such resistance, you may have to scale back a bit. My kids started going because of the donuts after services, then they made friends, then they noticed that they liked what they were learning in Sunday School. My old parish had a kids program for younger children, does yours? I also had friends who made their kids "Quiet Books" and other quiet toys to use only at church. It would be nice if they were religiously themed, but I was happy with quiet generally!

The key to getting my kids to see going to church as a benefit as opposed to a dreaded obligation was to make it uplifting and leading by example. In the begining, I probably went alone more often than not. Gradually that has changed. I also didn't start to take my youngest regularily until he could sit still and was old enough for Sunday School. It was a long hard road, but it has been worth it.

I should mention that after I quit attending LDS services, we went back to mass for a year. My oldest was in CCD, but since dh refused to let the kids be baptized, it was hard for my son to really participate. In the end, I decided that that parish was just not right for my family. A friend invited me around that time to her church and I reluctantly accepted. We felt very welcome there and still attend three years later! So that's why some of my advice seems all over the Christian map!
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#32 of 43 Old 12-27-2004, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AngelBee
It bothers me because now my 5yr son is asking not to go to church. It is difficult for me to bring all three little ones with me. What should I do?
I can only say what works for me. I have three children ages 5,7 and 17 months. I only take the two older girls now. It is too difficult for my son to sit or be in the nursury period so I end up leaving, then my daughters want to follow me and we all miss the mass. I just tell my DH I am taking the girls to church and off I go. i don't give them a choice at this time and my DH hasn't said they don't have to go. If he did I'd be ssssoooooooooooo mad.

I get no support for my DH, at best, negative comments.
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#33 of 43 Old 12-27-2004, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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me too! It is too hard for me to bring my little ones to services. The building is not handicap accessible so there are tons of very steep stairs. Just to get to the bathroom I have to go down, then up, two flights of steep stairs (carrying a little one with three behind me??) I have asked DH to come with me just to be a pair of arms to help me out. He is not into it at all.

What kills me is he has started giong to the library on Saturday (technically you're not supposed to do that on the Sabbath since it's borrowing/lending) and now the big kids want to go with him.

I feel sort of adrift at sea. I don't want to challenge or nag him but I feel forlorn.
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#34 of 43 Old 12-27-2004, 06:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meowee
I feel sort of adrift at sea. I don't want to challenge or nag him but I feel forlorn.
I wish I could help. You brought a tear to my eye.
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#35 of 43 Old 12-27-2004, 07:07 PM
 
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It is good to know that we are not alone!

Thank you mamas!

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#36 of 43 Old 12-28-2004, 11:20 AM
 
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She died at 5 days old and a non-feeling rabbi told her "well, it wasn't a child anyway" (which halachically MAY be true, but it doesn't mean that the Mommy isn't grieving.)
That is absolutely terrible! I can't imagine anyone, esp. someone who is trained as a rabbi or pastor (ie someone who should know how and when to offer comfort) saying that to someone who lost a child. I can't imagine how she felt hearing that.

I was expecting to be asked to leave, but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt my feelings. But, it's sad that something that really is a personal choice was made so public and others felt the need to get involved.

What's odd, to me, is that my dh seemed so relieved when it became difficult to go to services with dd. I really missed going, and thought he felt the same. And he was secretly thrilled. I think he went along with the Judaism his mom and family were involved in. And then when we got married, he went along with what I had planned. But it wasn't ever what he wanted. But, I really thought I was marrying someone who felt the same way I did. He says he did feel that way when we met and married, and his feelings changed after our son's birth and the whole death threat/excommunication thing. But I know that's not all it was. It was a huge part of it, but he stopped being interested about two years before that.

I have to say, religion is a part of my life. An important part. But it's not my whole life. I'm not someone who feels their faith as a basis of their entire being. So, the differences between my dh and I aren't an earth-shattering divide that can't be crossed. If he was mocking me or rude, it would be an issue - more the mocking and disrespect than the lack of religion.

What bothers me, like Meowee, is I'm afraid it will be an issue when our kids are older. I remember as a girl, I went to temple every Friday night. When I got old enough to want to do other things Fri. nights, I had the choice to go on Saturday morning. But not going wasn't acceptable. And my parents were united on that front. I don't think I'll demand temple attendance from our kids. But whatever it is that I want to do, how can I expect my kids to listen if their dad is doing something different? I think it's important for parents to be united on certain things, and religion is one of them. That's what bothers me.

So, I'm trying to find something we can agree on. I'm going to attend a Jewish renewal service, and try to get him to attend with me. Hopefully by the time our kids are old enough, and Hebrew school age, we'll be agreed on something. But what??

Take care!

"Home is where the heart is, no matter how the heart lives." - PP&M
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#37 of 43 Old 12-28-2004, 03:09 PM
 
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I think it's important for parents to be united on certain things, and religion is one of them. That's what bothers me.
Me too. I think it's more important than any other issue and I feel so strongly in my heart that my kids are missing something so beautiful and so important to their wellbeing, when I see whole families who worship together. But in my case I can't really complain because it was I who changed. When we got married I never thought I'd be going back to religion, especially not the religion I was brought up with.

Right now my twins just go along and take it for granted that daddy doesn't come pray with us. That's so sad in itself. As they grow older, I don't know what will happen.
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#38 of 43 Old 01-01-2005, 12:53 AM
 
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our situation is a little different. i was raised in a family that was Lutheran by name but never went to church or talked about God much. dh was raised in a hindu brahmin family that is reasonably orthodox, but not too extreme. i considered myself a borderline atheist for my entire childhood and only started considering religious questions after i went to college. my husband has always had an intense faith and has felt a personal connection with God, but has rebelled against many of the dogmatic practices and beliefs he grew up with. it was difficult for him to reconcile his parents' modern lifestyle in fast-paced bombay with the strict adherence to traditional ways of doing things and notions of propriety. now we are both in a place where we are seeking to live a more truthful life and to reawaken our reverance for God, our fellow people, and the natural world and to help our son to hold onto his sense of wonderment with the world.
so within our immediate family we do not face the same issues many of you have talked about. the differences in our background surface more when we interact with our respective parents. my mother tends to see any diversion from the way she does things to be somehow related to his different religion and will not get into a discussion with me about issues such as cosleeping because she thinks it has something to do with his religion/culture. for example, the reason we don't want to make christmas a huge gift-giving, santa-worshipping holiday has nothing to do with dh's religious background and everything to do with our views on materialism, the need for more authentic connection than just trading gift-cards with distant relatives and our desire for our son to learn about christmas as the birth of jesus (although we are not christians). she and my brother both use dh's different background as a convenient way to not think about me as someone who is making very different choices from those that she has made and who is moving away from the life she always assumed i would lead (that said my mother is wonderfully open and as non-judgemental as i could hope for, i just wish she would take more time to understand the motivation for our lifestyle changes). i've also faced a lot of questions from friends and family about whether we'll still celebrate Christian holidays or whether we're prohibited from doing so because dh is hindu.
From his family, there has been a lot of concern about how his marrying outside his religion will affect his willingness to carry on the traditions and rituals he grew up with. when his parents feel sad that we are not observing some particular practice in our family, they tend to blame it on his marrying outside the community rather than acknowledging that we are living in very different times and recognizing that most young adults from his community have abandoned the traditions they grew up with in favor of the culture of modernity and complete irreverence toward God and man. dh at least is trying to deepen his connection to God, albeit in a way his parents do not understand.

closer to the original topic:
we do face some questions about how we'll expose our son to our differing religious heritages. we are comfortable with the idea of combining elements from hinduism and chirstianity (and any other religion for that matter), but that has it's roots in our understanding of what God means to us and not in a desire that our son should understand both our religions.
the biggest challenge we're facing is finding a faith community we can be a part of and not feel like we're "imposters" because we don't actually believe in the doctrine of the church. i used to live in dc and attended the unitarian church there, which i loved, but the uu congregation where we live now approaches spiritual questions from an intellectual and often skeptical perspective, and that's not what we're looking for in a faith community. but that's belongs on another thread...off to post there
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#39 of 43 Old 01-01-2005, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meowee
I have come to dread each Friday night because I have to hide the Shabbat candles and pray silently. I have to teach my children Torah only when he is not home.

I know he should not do this and that this is an issue of respect as much as anything else, but I can't exactly open up his brain and move things around, KWIM?

Happy holidays and I would love to hear your stories/ thoughts.
First of all, {{{{{HUGS}}}}}
This sounds like a more extreme version of where we are. I'm a "sort of" convert - Jewish father, raised Christian, eventually decided I was Jewish, and dh is a Jewish atheist (raised that way by 1950s assimilationist parents). I yearn for more Jewish observance at home, and though over a period of years I've managed to establish lighting candles (and I now sing the blessings too), it's been uphill all the way. Luckily ds (5) seems to be into it and attends Sunday school (although it was made clear to me that he could only go if they'd let him attend for free - we have financial issues and dh wasn't prepared to shell out any $$ for it).

We've talked about it being a respect issue and he does get that, but even the small amount we do sometimes seems to be onerous to him (eye-rolling when I ask him get ready, mind seeming to be elsewhere etc.). He claims it's because of other issues in our lives (not enough money, not enough time, employment limbo issues), but part of the issue for me is that we're just not coming from the same place - I believe in God and he doesn't.

With regard to your dh, while you can't "open his brain up and move things around", his feelings are one thing, him imposing his feelings on YOUR actions is quite another. Why do you have to light in secret? He should be able to respect your beliefs if he's demanding (as it seems he is, from what you say) that you respect his. I don't know if this will help, but one of my favorite books is "Two Jews Can Still Be a Mixed Marriage" by Azriela Jaffe. I have it on the shelf in the room where I teach, and EVERY Jewish mother who accompanies their kid to my studio has picked it off the shelf! I've lent it out several times - it has useful exercises for figuring out where you stand (which you seem to know already) and also how to figure out what to do about it and negotiate so you get at least some of what you want.

It's a really sticky problem, isn't it? This stuff goes so deep.
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#40 of 43 Old 01-03-2005, 02:44 PM
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my husband is Muslim by default. in his country, turkey, when born one is automatically registered with the government as Muslim. it states Islam as religion on his ID card. he is agnostic, borderly atheist. told our dds he "doesn't believe in God". i "know" there is a god from personal experience. i am okay with his beliefs or i won't have married him



he doesn't "like my demonination of choice-catholic church. makes negative statements from time to time. girls don't attend ccd class at this time because i don't want a huge fight. my marriage is most important for the well being of my family. this may not make much sense, for i seem to be rambling. more later.

diane
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#41 of 43 Old 01-04-2005, 03:32 AM
 
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There are some tough situations here.

I am Jewish by birth (raised "half-assed Orthodox"), he was raised as a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian and today calls himself "a Christian" and not much else.

We're still working on our issues, and I find some of his beliefs to be a little silly, but I would never openly mock him, certainly not in front of the kids! I love him, after all, and can appreciate that people have their own paths which they must follow. He can appreciate that my path is not his, so on that level we're okay.

The children create a bit of a rough patch, but I've told him that if he wants his children exposed to a particular sort of Christianity, he needs to be able to explain to me how he feels and what he thinks first. I don't feel that this is an unreasonable request, especially considering that I've already done the same for him.

I have a set of beliefs which are my own; my belief system does not conflict with Reform Judaism, so rather than explain everything when people ask me what religion I am, I say that I'm Jewish and attend a Reform temple (which is true.)

As a New Year's Resolution, Mike decided that he's going to try to find a church or some sort of religious organization to join. This Sunday, we're going to a Quaker meeting and from all I've read, I think it will really suit Mike's spiritual needs. This is a good thing, and will give him a jumping off point when it comes to teaching the children about his religious beliefs. I'm really looking forward to it.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#42 of 43 Old 01-04-2005, 05:24 PM
 
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My DH is Mormon and I am Lutheran. We are both very strong in our faiths which sometimes leads to butting heads. We both respect each other and our beliefs (most of the time). He has a ds that he's raising in the LDS church, and I'm raising my dd in my church. (Each child from a previous relationship) It's very hard to deal with...I sometimes long to sit in church as a family and be able to share faith without having to worry about saying something offending. I also have a desire to have a child with him, but it breaks my heart that our religions conflict. I don't really see a strong compromise happening. He does come with me sometimes, usually during major holidays (Easter, Christmas...). And I'll go with him sometimes just to Sacrement Meeting.

We are strong, but aren't very good at being "regulars" at going on Sundays. We are trying harder now. When my DH goes to church (we had dated in high school until he went on his 2 year mission, then meet up and married 8 years later) I'm happy that he has faith, but it also worries me too. My DH tells me that he's not "after me" to convert, but it's not necessarily him I'm worried about. Or if he will still want to be with me if we aren't going to be "sealed" in the Temple. It doesn't matter to him now, but what if he gets more involved and changes his mind? When we got back together and married, I was the one with questions on religion. He didn't think it was going to be a big deal between us... I know I have enough to worry about in life and I shouldn't include the "what if's". It's just hard sometimes to accept the differences. He once said that it's easy for him to build upon what I believe, but I have to tear down what they believe.

I see a therapist, and during the summer DH started going with me. Religion was a big part of the discussion back then...it's on a warming burner right now. We'll just take it week by week. I just think it's harder on our kids. They don't understand why we go to different churches, we just do. But my dss doesn't know why dd talks about her GodParents and being baptized as a baby. my dd doesn't know why I tell her to sing another song when she repeats "the book of mormon (the chapters) song" that dss sings sometimes. I try to tell her that it's not something that I believe in or the church that we go to. But it's hard to explain to a 3 year old... I hope others are having better luck than we are. I'm also procrastinating at work...need to get back....

JK
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#43 of 43 Old 01-09-2005, 02:21 PM
 
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