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Religion question

My BF and I were talking today about religion again (we have one of these conversations pretty randomly every month or so lately, usually when one of us is questioning or thinking about something and wants to bounce ideas off the other person). He's Catholic and I was raised Catholic but consider myself spiritual but not religious. Navigating our faith together as a couple (and beyond) has been an important conversation to us over the past 6+ months.

He asked me if I would be comfortable praying with him at times - general things like, God, help such-and-such family member who is sick, or something. I admitted that that the idea initially makes me a little uncomfortable. For me, prayer is a private thing, I've never prayed with someone (other than with an entire church or when I was little and learned to say the Our Father or Grace or something).

He was understanding when I explained this and it wasn't a big deal, but was this wrong of me? Should I be more willing to do this? I think that there's a decent mix of religious and non-religious people on this board, and lots of newbies and lurkers. How do your religious beliefs or lack of religious beliefs affect your relationship?
And if the stormy weather came...I'd just kiss you in the rain... Daisypath Anniversary tickers image

Re: Religion question

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    ravenrayravenray member
    5 Love Its Name Dropper First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    Hmm well I think that it is important to be open to what your BF wants.  If you don't have any strong objections what is the harm in trying once?  What I am saying is maybe trying to pray with him once and if it makes you uncomfortable then talk about it some more and most likely not do it again?   EDIT: I also think prayer is private and I do have a hard time praying with others but I find that when I pray with FI it comes naturally because he knows so much about me, there is very little to hide?
    On the religious end, FI and I are very religious and it plays such a huge part in our relationship.  When we first started dating he wasn't Orthodox but Protestant and that was a big problem for me.  However, I tired really hard not to push him; he started attending my church and two years later converted :)   Orthodoxy is really wonderful for our relationship because of confession; we both go to the same priest and get advice on how to deal with each other and the reminder to forgive one another.  I do believe without Orthodoxy in our lives we wouldn't have survived as a couple because instead of forgiving other person we would have held grudges.  Being with him also brought me closer to Orthodoxy, which I love.  However I have never been without religion and couldn't image my life without it because of how many choices I make based on what I believe.   

    "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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    csousa1csousa1 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I'm like you - I was raised in a Christian religion but currently consider myself more spiritual than religious, per se. I also think praying is very private. I don't think that it is wrong of you at all to tell him what you are comfortable with. It sounds like he was understanding, and that is important for him to listen to you and support you.

    That being said, it may be worth it to try some things here and there and feel out whether your comfort levels have changed. For example, if something big is happening in both of your lives and you would pray about it separately and you know he would too, maybe you would be okay with saying a quick one together. It will let him know that you want to support him as well, and you may even find that you like it and find comfort in it. No matter what, though, you should not force yourself into anything that makes you uncomfortable.
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    bethsmilesbethsmiles member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I was raised in the Lutheran chruch but now (like you) I consider myself to be more spiritual than religious. BF is Christian but wasn't raised in a particular denomination. If he asked me to pray with him I would probably have a very similar reaction to yours. However if it was really important to him I would probably be willing to do it for bigger things. I would say you could try it, you might find that you actually enjoy it. Of course if it still makes you uncomfortable then he should respect that and not press the issues.


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    kellyt89kellyt89 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I definitely would be willing to try it once and see how I feel about it, I think that's definitely a good compromise, especially if it's important to him. Csousa, I like your idea as well.

    We're definitely in a place where I would feel comfortable telling him if I was feeling uncomfortable. When we first started talking about our different beliefs it was a little scary, but it's sort of cool now - we open each other up to different opinions and are both very respectful.
    And if the stormy weather came...I'd just kiss you in the rain... Daisypath Anniversary tickers image
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    paintgirlpaintgirl member
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    edited December 2011
    This is a great question. I would pray with my bf but it wouldn't be the same praying I would do on my own. Prayer is not a super-formal event for me. I might be driving down the road. I might be sitting in a plane waiting for takeoff (usually not a "keep us safe" prayer, but a "thank you for the wonderful gifts in my life" prayer). I might just see an incredible sunrise and say a quick "thanks".

    My bf believes in God (I'm pretty sure) but we are both pretty turned off by formalized religion. I asked him to go to Christmas Eve service with me last year. He said he would for me but he would be pretty uncomfortable. Neither of us had a church so we would be shooting in the dark. We stayed at home, listened to our Christmas tunes (mostly religious ones, which is funny) and had a great night.

    Some people think discordant couples (as far as religion goes) can't make it in the long run. I think faith is such a personal thing that no one can believe exactly as someone else does. My relationship with God is unlike anyone else's. And I call him God but I'm pretty sure He's the same guy a lot of other people believe in. He just goes by a different name for them.

    So do I think you were wrong? (Sorry - I'm rambling.) If it were a HUGE issue for him, I would consider it more. But if it were that big of an issue to him, I would be afraid our beliefs were just too far apart for a lasting relationship.

    PS Read "The Women's Faith Club". It's about a Muslim, a Jew and a Christian woman trying to reconcile their beliefs following 9/11. It is fascinating.
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    kellyt89kellyt89 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thaks, paint! I agree with you, especially about faith being a really personal thing. I think we'll just need to do some trial-and-error to figure out experiences/traditions/a lifestyle we're both pretty comfortable with.
    And if the stormy weather came...I'd just kiss you in the rain... Daisypath Anniversary tickers image
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    thejucheideathejucheidea member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. Sometimes, I have patients who pray in my presence and I'll simply stop what I'm doing and respect the moment with silence rather than actively participating. I think that you can respect what's happening without having to participate. When a patient asks me to pray for him/her, I'll agree to do so then go home and light a stick of incense and spin around the prayer wheel a few times. Occasionally, I'll recite the Heart Sutra and leave it at that.

    We're both Buddhist and approach our faith differently because we adhere to different schools of Buddhism. We were both raised Christian but he had a bad experience with it growing up, so he refuses to do anything Christian. I wanted him to go with me to a German language Christmas service that I go to every year at a Lutheran church near our house, but he refused and I respect that. I would like it if he would join me for such things, but if he's uncomfortable entering a church, I'm not going to press the issue because I think it's very disrespectful to him and belittling to his reasons for not attending church.

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    edited December 2011
    I was raised non-denominational.  My mom was non-denom Christian and my Dad was Catholic.  I attended a non-demoninational church and volunteered there when BF and I started dating.  BF was raised Catholic, went to all Catholic schools, until college.  He has always said that it is something he feels strongly about.  About a year and a half into us dating (a year and a half ago) BF was attending my church pretty regularly and I/we went with him occasionally to his familys church.  At that time we were discussing moving in together and getting married and had a talk about where we would marry, how we would raise our kids, etc.  I knew that I wanted to get married in a church (exH who was raised catholic refused) that meant something, so one we attended.  I told him that while I didn't know how I felt about myself converting, I had no issue with attending mass there, marrying there, or raising future children catholic.  My one concern was how it would affect my son (from previous marriage) being the odd man out. 

    Once we got engaged we met with the preist and I decided that I would go thru RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) to learn more about his religion, understand and appreciate it and be able to make an informed decision about converting or not.  Shortly after I began RCIA he freaked out and ended our engagement.  I found a lot of support in my RCIA classmates, the deacon and the couple who assisted with teaching.  I decided to stay and became a memeber of the Catholic church on Easter of this year.  I was even able to get exH to agree to our son being baptized with me and BF (we had decided to make it work about 2 months before that) was able to be my B's Godfather.   

    Now B and I attend mass regularly and he even attends PSR (Sunday school).  BF rarely attends mass.  In his defense he works a ton, and often is at the fire department during all of the masses, or just got off from a busy Saturday night and goes home to nap.  BF and I did volunteer together for the festival this year and will do so again.

    I don't think that it is necessary for people to be of the same religion or share the same beliefs to work, but it can make things easier.  The biggest thing that is needed is a mutual respect for each other and your differences.  I think that being open with what you are and are not comfortable with is key.  I would agree with PP who suggest giving praying with him a try, just once. 

    Before we had our talk about the future and our religous differences I just went to mass with him and felt clueless, once I knew how important it was to him I wanted to understand it and started to pay attention and become curious of it all.  Now I can't imagine not having it as a part of my life.  If I wouldn't have felt comfortable and accepted in the Catholic church I wouldn't have converted.  I certainly didn't do it for him, we weren't even together when I decided to go thru with it.  

    Wow that was long and rambly...sorry!

    ETA: BF Never asked me to convert or even consider it, I was open to the possibility from the get go, but made no promises.  He was very supportive of it and thrilled that I stuck with it even when we were not together/working through issues.  He often tells me that he's glad that I go even when he doesn't and thinks that it's great.
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