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Raising your kids in a bi-faith marriage

Forum: Spiritual Living


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December 6th, 2004, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 419
As I was answering another post about pushy people I began to think of some other "challenges" I've had to face recently - that are common - and wondered how some others here have approached the problem.

When you and your dh/so are of different faiths - how did you blend your families? Also, did you do something different in raising your kids or pick one or the other?

For us - our religions are kind of similar (they are both Christian) but they ARE different in their execution.

Think Keeping the Faith meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding

So when we got married - we actually got married on a beach by a non-denominational minister - not in either or church -

but boy did we hear about it - I constantly had people in my family calling before our wedding saying, "He isn't Catholic?"

"No" *sigh*

"And you aren't making him convert?"

"No" *sigh*

And when we told his family we were marrying on a beach (we were the very first NOT to marry in his family's faith...his dad said, "What's wrong with Father N*?"

I said, "Nothing, why, is he sick?"

I wasn't going there.

But you see in our respective families - whenever anyone married in they were "forced" to convert.

Well, I don't really practice Catholicism and hadn't for ages so it didn't make sense for me to have him do that - I have respect for his religion and his beliefs and the fact that it was a cultural part of his family (like I said, Big Fat Greek Wedding)...

And in HIS family - again - every single time someone married in they were "forced" to convert...

What was interesting was that after we married? Every single one of his cousins came up to me and personally thanked me for breaking the tradition and making it easier for them.

Sure enough - of all the subsequent weddings, only one was in their faith. At a recent wedding, my MIL said, "It's nice to see something other than XXX traditions in the wedding for a change!"

I smiled...

So now that we are having kids - the topic has again come up -

My mom and step dad kept saying, "You aren't baptizing him in that OTHER church are you?"

I said, "No, we aren't," and then thought, "And wait til I tell you we aren't baptizing him in YOURS either!"

She (my mom) keeps telling me she had/has a dream where our son grows up to be a pope - I'm like, "Keep dreamin..."

anyway - once again we chose a separate religion - because I didn't want to get into the war of "ours ours"

I told MIL and figured SHE can deal with FIL and his disapproval...

and I told my mother and step-dad together - and then spent WEEKS of emails
defending the situation. Did I have to? Nope. Just felt it would make my life a lot easier if I got it settled once and for all.

So I was wondering, how have people handled this dicey situation in their homes?
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December 6th, 2004, 11:11 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: arlington, va
Posts: 21,980
I was rased Christian and Dh was raised Mormon. My mom was not happy because she has something against mormons. i'm not sure why. I did actually convert but was not forced. I took a year to make my decision. Now together we will raise ashton in the church but my mom tells me i'm going to hell because of my religion. it just gets really old. just let people be how they want to be. freedom of religion. i'm not sure how a bi-religious relationship would work. it would be interesting.

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December 6th, 2004, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 419
Well, a potential issue only came up once -

His faith handles funerals differently than ours -

after someone dies they think they have to have all these post-funeral ceremonies to "help the soul" towards Heaven. My own faith doesn't have that.

So, while I went to the original funeral, I didn't go to the follow-up ceremonies.

DH didn't mind - I explained that it was not consistent with my own belief - I believe that when people die they are there - they don't need all these ceremonies to guide them there -

I knew it wouldn't go over with his family though but I said, "Look, if I start participating in all the rituals of your faith, your family is going to get the idea that I will eventually start practicing in it...and that isn't going to happen..."

So when he returned from the ceremony, he said a lot of people asked where I was - but he didn't care/mind.

We treat each other with respect - but this is something we talked long about before marrying -

there are enough similarities it isn't like the fundamentals aren't there - so that makes it easier -

but when it came time to discuss our son - I said, "I'm not comfortable raising him in yours - or mine - "

so I told him about a 3rd independent option that seemed to fit the bill (Episcopalian) and when he looked into it he felt good about it - so we went forward with it -

so far it hasn't really been an issue with us but I've seen it become a big one in some of the cousins -

I wonder what they'll do when they have kids because there has been a lot of grief over weddings not in the in-laws church -

in fact, one of the cousins is going Mormon and she said "We haven't told his family yet because we know they will blow a fit..."

I said, "They'll get over it..."

but in honesty - they aren't...

as evidenced by weddings still happening -

it's kind of funny because the family has something against Catholics - I don't understand why (dh doesn't know either) and yet most of the cousins have married Catholics - and most of them have married or are getting married in a Catholic church -

and I've been watching fireworks and thinking, "Man, if it's like this now - what about when they have kids?"

And the women come to me and ask how I handled it - and I smile and say, "We did neither - we did something altogether different..."

not the answer they wanted to hear because they were doing it Catholic and were getting hell for it...

I've just kept my mouth shut - and tried to encourage them to make joint decisions and remember that it's their wedding (and it will be their children, etc)

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December 8th, 2004, 11:28 AM
mamaB's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,528
Wow, this is such a big subject, I don't know where to start. I feel like this is something that everyone should think about before they get married - I did not give it a moment's thought and now its really something I regret. It just didn't occur to me that a difference of religion could be an issue! (Dumb, I know)

I'm Catholic and my husband is agnostic. He doesn't actively deny God, but he doesn't think there's any proof for Him either. He thinks organized religions are a crock - each and every one, from Catholicism to paganism - and views churches/synagogues/covens etc as simply crutches for people to feel good about themselves or to be part of a social community. He is extremely passive-aggressive on the subject - doesn't harp on it or instigate arguments, but gets very agitated if asked to attend, say, a once-a-year Christmas Mass.

I don't know what the answer is. I want DD to have a grounding in religion - be it Catholicism, sects of Christianity, Judaism, or whatever! But it will be hard to instill anything with her dad's disinterest and even ridicule on the subject. Its something I'm going to have to figure out, I suppose.
Carpe Diem
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December 8th, 2004, 11:50 AM
TylerJ1029's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: at my desk
Posts: 27,881
Well I dont believe in god in any way, shape or form. Dh is Christian. We have pretty much agreed to disagree. I celebrate the christian holidays with him but not for religous reason. I celebrate them to celebrate family, have great food, exchange gifts and have a good time. Ty can choose any religion he wants when he gets older. He is not baptized and I would have been mad if he was. He can make that decision for himself when he gets older.

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December 8th, 2004, 11:52 AM
I Heart 4x4
Posts: n/a
Religion does not play a big role in my life nor in DH's. It won't play a big role in Danny's either, at least during his childhood. I believe that your religion is your choice and shouldn't be foisted onto you from birth. My mom tried to raise me Christian, I had to go twice a week and I hated every minute of it. Eventually I started taking my naps during the Sunday services and I once started to snore. My mom was pretty pissed and yeah it was disrespectful, but they never made me go again!

Randy was not really brought up going to church all the time or anything either. He says he believes in God (the Christian one) but he doesn't pray, he doesn't even own a Bible and I don't know the last time he went to church - at least 10 years ago I'd say.

So, luckily we haven't had to deal with problems with baptism or confirmation or anything like that.
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December 8th, 2004, 12:43 PM
Posts: n/a
I was raised Catholic and DH was brought up Baptist. Neither of our families are strongly set in their religious ways. DH is fine with bringing the baby up Catholic. I'd like to have her baptized, so we will probably do that. We were married in the Catholic church. No issues from his family about that.
So, thank goodness, no issues to deal with. We both believe in God, and DH is ok with going with me.
(Although we have been very bad about not going lately.)
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