I’m an atheist. I try to respect others’ beliefs, but I have some personal issues with the Catholic Church and I know I would be very uncomfortable with a church wedding. (My great-grandmother was refused last rites because she didn’t have any money to bequeath to the Church, in spite of having donated generously throughout her life. The poor woman died thinking she was damned! Even now, thinking about it breaks my heart.)
My FI was raised Catholic and still considers himself Catholic-by-association (although he’d probably cringe to hear me describe it like that). He doesn’t attend church and isn’t entirely sure he believes in God, but he still identifies with Catholicism for cultural rather than religious reasons.
He wants a church wedding – if not Catholic, then at least Christian – because he thinks our vows will “mean more” if they are administered by someone who believes that marriage is sacred. He has this idea that a justice of the peace won’t "care" about our union. As far as the state is concerned, he says, he could juggle geese in one hand while singing “coo coo cachoo” as long as he signed the marriage certificate. (Those are his exact words, too.)
I want a non-religious ceremony on neutral ground, which I feel skirts the issue of religion altogether (his parents are Catholic and Protestant; mine are Christian Scientist and Buddhist). I am willing to be married by an ordained minister rather than a JP since that is important to my FI (although I still don’t follow his logic with the geese thing and can't help but feel our wedding should be about us -- not the officiant).
Unfortunately, he doesn’t see this as a “compromise” at all. He thinks that if we have a non-religious or even non-denominational ceremony (I suggested a Universal Unitarian minister), then – as the atheist -- I “win.”
I don’t see how we can compromise on this if the only compromise is “his way.” The idea of doing it in a Catholic Church makes me want to cry! (No offense to any Catholics out there; it just isn’t me.)
Does anyone have any ideas on how we can work through this? Is compromise even possible?