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Religion and Relationships...

I thought I'd pop in and ask you ladies a question that has become more important in my life lately.

To make a long story short, my BF is Catholic and I'm not. We've talked a great deal about this in terms of our future (i.e. wedding stuff, raising kids, etc) and have gotten to the point where we have some major things figured out and know that religious negotiations will always be something we'll have to discuss in the future. We also have both expressed great respect for the other persons beliefs.

His parents (especially his mom) is SUPER Catholic and has expressed her concern about our differences in beliefs. He's said to her that we are on the same page when it comes to communicating and compromising, and that's what matters to us.

I know that, for some people, a religion difference can be a deal breaker. For me, I think that as long as there is mutual respect and the willingness to communicate, it shouldn't be an issue. I've also told him that I will 100% compromise with HIM but I won't bring anyone else (his parents/my parents) into the equation.

How do you ladies feel about religious differences in a serious, longterm relationship? I'd love to hear any experiences you have to share!
And if the stormy weather came...I'd just kiss you in the rain... Daisypath Anniversary tickers image

Re: Religion and Relationships...

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    motoLynmotoLyn member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I would say religion and compromise are very important.  I couldn't date anyone nor marry someone who would push their religion on me.  Thank goodness FI is an atheist like me.  So we're on the same page.  His mother is Lutheran and I was raised Buddhist. 

    I have a friend who is getting married in December she is an atheist as well but her FI is catholic.  They aren't getting married in a church and she and he agreed to raise the kids catholic but she isn't required to join them for Mass all the time. 

    I think that as long as their is open communication and respect of one another views then there shouldn't be a problem. 
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    Elle1036Elle1036 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I could have written that post, kelly.  Same story here.  He's Catholic, I'm not, and it's led us to a number of lengthy discussions on how we'll handle children, holidays, etc.

    I did get some resistance from his mom and sister, who felt that he should be in a relationship with someone who shares his beliefs and can support him in practicing his religion, or something like that.  But that was before they knew me as well as they do now.  Since then, I've shown them that (1) I'm just a pretty good/nice/awesome person in general and (2) I don't pose a threat to FI's religion.  I've gone to churchy events with his family several times, which I think was important.  It showed them that I can be a part of family things that include religion without making anyone uncomfortable or anything like that.

    I don't anticipate that it'll be a big issue between FI and me, because he's not exactly devout.  He only goes to church when he goes with the rest of his family for big things.  Still, I've told him pretty much what you said.  I'm happy to talk over any issues with him, but I don't feel that I have to be accountable to the rest of his family or factor in their desires.  Nevertheless, the effort I've put in has definitely paid off.
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    Ana_2985Ana_2985 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I agree that a relationship between two people of different religions can work if there is mutual respect and communication. It's important that all compromises made regarding lifestyle and children are true comprises and NOT just one person giving in to the other's request to make things "easier". I think this just leads to bitterness and arguments and that's what ruins a relationship, not the initial differences.

    I also think it's very important to make all of the decisions regarding lifestyle (what holidays will you celebrate? will you go to mass? how will you be married?) and children be discussed well before a decision to be married is made. I think once you decide to get married there is too much pressure for one person to give in to the other rather than to come up with a plan that everyone can be truly happy about.

    ETA: I am Catholic and my H is agnostic. He is completely open to the idea of following Catholic customs with me and is happy to raise our children as Catholics. Similarly, I am open to the idea of our children learning about different religions so they can make their own decisions on religion once they are old enough to do so.
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    lunarsongbirdlunarsongbird member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    My mother is very Christian...

    Andrew's mom is...ready for this?  Pagan.

    Ha. I haven't mentioned it to my mother...Besides, it doesn't matter to my relationship with Andrew. Andrew is a good person- better then most Christians- as are his family. I think that is what matters the most.

    Andrew and are both trying to figure out what we believe...We're more spiritual then anything. We've agreed that we will teach our children about many religions and they can decide on their own eventually. I love going to different religious services- so we'll expose our children to the same. :)
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    jemmini6jemmini6 member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I don't really have experience with handling religious differences.  I'm not religious (I believe in God, but not organized religion) and I don't think I would have really dated anyone that was very different in that aspect.  FI is basically the same way as I am, so we've talked about or individual beliefs and such, but since religion isn't a big part of either of our lives, we haven't really had to make any compromises.

    I think compromising on it is definitely doable though.  I had a friend growing up that went to two different churches (I don't remember which religion) because her parents wanted to expose them to both and let them make the decision for themselves, which I thought was a nice idea.
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    ravenrayravenray member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    FI and I are both Orthodox but he wasn't when we first started dating.  This was a real problem for me but that is because I need unity in that aspect since that is very important to me.  He converted of his own accord sometime later.  It was really wonderful for me.

    However, it can work to have a split household.  People do it all the time and it works out.  You just have to have honest conversations about what your expectations are.

    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

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    jorja86jorja86 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'm Catholic, but was raised in a very liberal church (for a Catholic church), by very liberal parents. Not much focus on social issues that define Catholicism, if that makes sense, and more on the traditions and the community. My Mom was not, and still is not Catholic, so she explained her beliefs to us when they were different than what the Church was teaching.

    BF was raised in a VERY conservative Protestant church, and had a lot of really conservative beliefs up until mid-college (still has some). His parents were pretty apprehensive about my "crazy Pope and Mary worshiping" beliefs.

    We've both attended each others' churches, and together made the decision that if we have kids, they'll be raised Catholic. Of course, like my Mom did for me, he'll be teaching our kids his beliefs too.

    I think the key is having open communication and being willing to compromise when you can. It's obviously a very sensitive issue, and has the potential to be a major problem for some couples. We're really lucky that we were able to come to an agreement that works for us.
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    thejucheideathejucheidea member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    We're both Buddhist (I'm Mahayana and he's Zen) with supportive parents who are varied in terms of beliefs (my parents are Methodist, his mom is Methodist and his dad is Zen Buddhist).

    The problem that we have with figuring out religion type stuff when it comes to a marriage ceremony is that his father's side of the family is VERY Southern Baptist. In a perfect world, we'd do a quickie courthouse wedding (yay! paperwork and everything all consolidated in one place five minutes from our house!), but Tyler says that because of his family, we have to find some way to incorporation the Christian God into the ceremony, which to me is uncomfortable and fake because neither of us believe in the Christian God. If we have something Buddhist, however, it will deeply offend his family, he says.

    Religion can really make things very uncomfortable when two families come together...

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    elanniselannis member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'd have to agree with the compromising and working together. As long as you have that, there shouldn't be a problem and I wouldn't probably involve parents either because I wouldn't involve them in my own personal decision for what to believe, so I wouldn't expect them to influence that with my SO either. BF was raised Catholic, but doesn't go to church or anything now (like me). We both basically believe the same thing, and we have talked about how we want things to be when we have children and have come to an agreement, so I think we're good. But if we were to have different beliefs, we would still just talk it out, find a compromise, and maintain that respect for each other and get through it that way.
    -Ely

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    polkadot111polkadot111 member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    FI is Lutheran and I am Baptist. Both parents are VERY involved in their church. This has caused issue.

    For example... FI and I went through extensive pre-marriage counseling at my church with the pastor that is marrying us. FI's mother called once and told me that unless I decided to do counseling with her pastor at her church too she wouldn't approve. Call me crazy, but wtf. That is ridiculous, I think. We can chose to do counseling with whoever, we're not 16 anymore. In the end though, we'll probably do counseling with her pastor too just to appease her. Whatever. If all it takes to appease her is to meet with the pastor once, then so be it.
    Used to be bourgehm. +1,500 posts. Silly knot
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    edited December 2011
    I might get a lot of flack for my answer this so I am going to preface my response: I think religion is beyond a church, it's all about your faith and not reading too much into what a church/religious practice tells you to believe. 

    With that said, I believe that faith is faith... believing in a power beyond your control. 

    Honestly, I think couples that have the same religion work best together. My Dad has taught me that "couples who pray together, stay together." While his opinion on Christianity is pretty conservative, I think his advice is sound... the difference between my Dad and I is that I look past what your faith is. The reason I stand by his lesson is that when a couple faces a rough patch, sharing faith will help hold the relationship together. 

    There, I said it.... flame away. 
    www.nurseyk.weebly.com
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    DanieKADanieKA member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    So and I are both Christian, but I was raised Catholic and he's Methodist. To most people that's not a big deal. We actually had a conversation about this a few days ago in that I would want our children baptised and he thinks it's enforcing a religion before the kids are able to have a choice of their own. 

    It's a very delicate balance. I really consider myself a "questioning Catholic" and don't subscribe to a lot of what's in the bible. He, I would say, is more agnostic than anything. But we both agree that the kids A) will be baptised. And B) will be taught about all different religions and that there is no right and wrong and that this is what "mommy and daddy" decided to be after much thought and we might not even be the same thing, but that they will have the same freedom of choice. 

    I think any relationship where there is a difference without an understanding on what course to take should figure it out before kids come into play. Because whether anyone likes it or not, or whether you think it'll affect your relationship or not, religion is one of those BIG issues that more likely than not WILL affect your relationship. It's not something that can be glossed over or saved until the kids get here. It's something that should be thoroughly talked about before marriage. Maybe even with a therapist. Maybe even with a religious leader. But definitely discussed. 
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    Simply FatedSimply Fated member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    My bf and I have discussed religion in regards to how we want to raise our kids. It made the most sense to us to let them make their own decision when they are ready to.
    Of course I can't say for certain that we won't hit any rough patches along the way... I'm sure his grandmother will ask, as soon as our first child is born, when the baptism will be. And my mom will start picking out the child's Hebrew school before it's done teething. But I can only hope that we'll be able to work through it together.
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    edited December 2011
    BF and I are the same - not religious in any sense.  My mom is technically Catholic, but she and the family on her side don't go to church or anything.  Neither of us were brought up in a house where church or religion were ever really mentioned.  So we've never had a problem, I find it very comforting that when we have discussions about religion in general we are on the same page.  I do believe that it could work if one person is religious and the other not/of a different religion, but I think both sides would need to respect each other.


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    MidniteRaeMidniteRae member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'm Catholic and Josh is Jewish. Both of our families are fine with this. We have talked about an interfaith wedding and that we will teach our kids about both religions.
    "You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." -Ray Bradbury 
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    kellyt89kellyt89 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_religion-relationships?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:175fa8fa-7b00-4f0e-9dd5-4dd684ca62d6Post:991a5cd2-4bff-4c98-b5a7-0148d5cc5166">Re: Religion and Relationships...</a>:
    [QUOTE]I might get a lot of flack for my answer this so I am going to preface my response: I think religion is beyond a church, it's all about your faith and not reading too much into what a church/religious practice tells you to believe.  With that said, I believe that faith is faith... believing in a power beyond your control.  Honestly, I think couples that have the same religion work best together. My Dad has taught me that "couples who pray together, stay together." While his opinion on Christianity is pretty conservative, I think his advice is sound... the difference between my Dad and I is that I look past what your faith is. The reason I stand by his lesson is that when a couple faces a rough patch, sharing faith will help hold the relationship together.  There, I said it.... flame away. 
    Posted by NurseyK[/QUOTE]

    I actually agree with a lot of this, no flames here! BF is Catholic but questioning and very open to my opinions. I consider myself spiritual - I believe in God but I don't subscribe to a particular religious dogma. I think that the fact that we both have a belief in a higher power is fairly non-negotiable. I don't know if either of us would be okay with seriously dating someone who was an athiest.

    That being said, the more I've talked to BF the more I realize that you can never really assume what someone believes by the religious label. He's Catholic but when we talk about things he's not as strict about it as I sometimes worry he is, and I'm not as "out there" as he might worry about.

    The major decision that we've come to is that our kids will go through baptism and Communiun, but that's it. He would like to take them to church, but we'll both talk to them about the fact that it's okay to have all different beliefs, Catholic is just one.

    We both would also like to have some community based faith group to raise our children in. It would have to be something with sort of a happy medium for both of us, which I'm not really sure if that exists, we'll have to see what we're comfortable with. Luckily, we'll be living in Boston soon and there are about 8 million churches to choose from!
    And if the stormy weather came...I'd just kiss you in the rain... Daisypath Anniversary tickers image
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    csousa1csousa1 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I was raised Christian  - Charismatic Presbyterian mostly  - but I have never really given much merit to organized religion. It just doesn't sit well with me. That being said, I am incredibly spiritual. I believe in God, Jesus, forces of good and evil at work in the world, and I pray all the time.

    BF's parents were raised Catholic, and he started out that way when he was young as well. None of them have gone to church in years, and they are not devout Catholics by any stretch. When we started dating, BF mentioned that he always wanted to get married in a Catholic church because his parents always wanted him to - their marriage to each other was a second marriage for both of them, so they weren't allowed to get married in a Catholic church. They made sure BF went through all necessary Catholic things to make sure he could marry in a church. I told him under no uncertain terms would we be marrying in a Catholic church. For one thing, I am not Catholic and would never prescribe to Catholicism just for a wedding ceremony. For another, everyone's reasoning seemed purely out of irritation with the church, and that is ridiculous to me. It was a bit of an argument at the time - and BF mentioned his mom might be upset - but we figured it out and I told him his mother was welcome to bring it up with me if she so chose, but she would probably not like my response.

    BF also believes in God, but not organized religion. So far, this works for us. He is less spiritual than I am, and does not pray all that often - he also struggles with some anger toward God at times. I like to keep the lines of communication open on this front, but I would never force my specific beliefs on him. In the future, we may need to discuss specific issues with raising kids and all, but so far in our discussions about their spiritual upbringing, we are right on par. I want my kids to know and be familiar with my beliefs and background, and make their own choices - on everything, not just religion.

    I could not be with someone who was either super religious or an atheist - that would mark far too much of a difference from where I am at for it to work out. There would be no judgment on my part, but I know that it would just end up causing issues. I like Nursey's dad's way of putting it - I think that is important. While it isn't necessary to have the SAME beliefs, I think being quite similar and very understanding is hugely important.
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