Faith And Marriage: When A Spouse Changes Faith

This is an issue that most people probably believe will not arise, but it can crop up in any marriage—what happens when one spouse’s beliefs change? This kind of problem is not as black-and-white as one of two Christians losing faith, or when one of two atheists becomes religious.

But, well, first of all, this article in the Huffington Post discusses one spouse in Mormon marriages losing faith and what results. It’s an interesting read.

It also barely scratches the surface on ways that this can happen.

People of different religious backgrounds and beliefs date all of the time. Sometimes that can create problems (the “different worlds” relationship problem, or different ideas about extramarital interactions and what reproductive health choices* both parties might make), most of the time it might mean that you make different dietary choices or have different schedules occasionally (Partner A: “Hey, I can’t go to that late party on Saturday night, I have church in the morning.” Partner B: “That’s okay—I’ve got that Imbolc thing Saturday night, so I can’t go either. Smooches.”).

That’s basically the case, whether the couple are high school sweethearts or living together as adults. If you really have a problem with the other person’s beliefs or that person not sharing yours, you probably won’t stay together for too long. For the most part, though, you can keep that part of your lives separate.

When you get married, it becomes a bigger deal. You’re uniting families, and if his family is Greek Orthodox and your family is Hindu, you (and your respective families) might have some disagreements over a lot of things. Starting with the wedding. And then there is the issue of children.

(And, for the record, children should not be “raised as” anything other than intelligent young people who are learning about the world. Educate them about your beliefs. Educate them about the beliefs of others. Adherence to a particular religion doesn’t count if you just don’t know any other way to be. And, more importantly than this, don’t commit your infant children to your faith—that’s kind of a creepy spiritual violation. Most importantly, let’s not circumcise them without medical need. Circumcision doesn’t ruin a boy’s life, but there’s no need for it and it’s his choice to make when he’s old enough to make it)

Those are the big things that people think about. And then there are concerns over changing beliefs. “What if my wife stops being a Christian—how will that impact our marriage and our family?” “My husband’s an atheist like I am, but his family is super religious—what if one day he gets ‘born again’ and becomes a different person?”

There are also the less dramatic changes, which I think that people overlook. “Neither of us are religious, but my wife has become more ‘spiritual’ lately and I’m not sure what that means—or if it will lead to her being religious.” “My husband and I are both Jewish, but his beliefs are becoming increasingly Orthodox and I do not know what that means for us.” “My girlfriend says that she’s still a Christian, but she no longer goes to Church regularly, and seems less interested in socializing with our church friends.”

These issues are talked about less because they are less obvious problems. And they don’t have easy answers (there are not a lot of easy answers within marriages—I mean, unless someone’s hitting someone, because then it’s time for a mur . . . a divorce). A lot of these can be addressed by talking to your spouse. It might be an uncomfortable subject to bring up (especially if you are allergic to confrontation like I am), but it will help you both to get a clear idea of where you stand as partners.

 

*Obviously, what reproductive health choices that they make are each their own business. So long as no one fakes getting a vasectomy or lies about being on the pill (if you’re trying to have a baby, be honest if you aren’t into it, and it is even more important that, if you are not trying to have a baby, neither of you sabotages the efforts—that can ruin lives, including any child who might come of it). No one needs to coerce anyone into anything, whether you’re in your teens or thirties.



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I Want to Steal This Child

I don’t particularly like cats* or children but Evan, a ten-year-old boy from Philadelphia, has made an impact on me. See, Evan saves his money all year and then donates it to a cat rescue near his home. Evan and his family adopted a cat in 2009 and Evan was moved to help more stray cats, so he saved for months and was able to donate $46.75.  He sent a letter with his donation and went back to saving and the cat rescue posted Evan’s letter and story on their Facebook page. It went viral. Someone matched Evan’s donation, it was retweeted forty-seven times and bloggers linked out to it. Within a few hours City Kitties had received $400.00 thanks to Evan.

Evan was saving his allowance and birthday money so he could make another donation; he also decided to sell figs from his family tree. He was able to donate $97.00 that year and met a very special cat named Calvin. City Kitties was so impressed and grateful to Evan that they decided to surprise him. They told Evan’s parents to tell him that Calvin was being adopted and he should come say goodbye to him. When Evan arrived he asked if Calvin was going to a home nearby so he could still visit, the rescue showed Calvin’s new address to Evan and watched as he squealed with delight that it was his home. City Kitties was giving Calvin to Evan!

That must’ve lit a fire under Evan because in 2012 he was able to donate $110.00 to City Kitties and his parents matched his donation so Evan gave $220.00 dollars to a cat rescue. Altogether Evan donated $363.75 and was the inspiration for $400.00 in donations. What ten-year-old boy would selflessly give up an allowance for nothing in return? What ten-year-old boy signs a letter “fondly”? Evan is an amazing little boy and is destined to do wonderful things.

*I’m not going to choose a cat over another domestic animal unless it is a jungle cat and then, duh.



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Letting Go Online


I don’t even know where to start with this one.

My first cousin, a childhood and adolescent best friend, passed away very suddenly this week. She lived in Brooklyn, and I in southern Delaware, and we hadn’t seen each other in a few holidays. Little did I know that the most recent happenstance of holiday celebration would be the last time I’d ever see her again.

I stumbled through the first few days of the week in a shocked stupor, and I found myself on Facebook, for the first time today, at a loss of words. Upon signing on for the first time after I’d received the awful news, I immediately thought:

“I have a deceased person on my friends list. Someone dead. Someone who’s never going to like any of my stupid comments; someone who’s never going to celebrate another birthday, or have their newsfeed inundated with Games of Thrones references again, because there’s NO ONE ON THE OTHER END OF THIS CONNECTION.”

Realizing all of this, I think, was the precipice of sick this whole week. My guts felt like they were tied all up in knots, and all because of Facebook. Facebook, who’s always going to be there to let me know that my cousin’s thirty-third birthday – one that she’ll never celebrate – is coming up. Facebook, who’s keen to remind me via “Circle of Moms” emails that my cousin’s five-year-old daughter got an A+ in finger painting last week. A five-year-old who doesn’t even realize that Mommy’s not coming home ever again. FACEBOOK, who, probably in a few weeks or so, will tell me to “catch up” with my deceased cousin, since it’s been awhile that we’ve spoken. Thanks for that, Facebook.

Sometimes, Facebook? I hate you.

I hate that you’ve made us all so connected, even when we’re miles apart in geography and circumstance. I hate that it’s so easy, so comforting, to get lost in your loved ones’ pictures and videos, because it’s like being a real part of their life. I hate the false sense of security that you lull us into in pretending like everything’s roses with your “upcoming events” feed that promises birthdays, anniversaries, and RSVPs to long-awaited family reunions.

A deceased Facebook friend is like having an open telephone connection to someone who’s sleeping on the other end of the line. Permanently. When does one finally hang up?

*Previously published on Hello Giggles



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Obamacare to Potentially Include Birth Control Coverage

photo of rainbow condoms pictures

Despite heavy new attacks on a woman’s right to choose, the Obama administration is stepping up its game by trying to negotiate the inclusion of birth control coverage by public and private health insurance plans, whether private or public. The law does state that “preventative health services” must be covered and cannot be charged for. But naturally, there’s already huge argument into whether birth control counts as preventative care in the same way a check-up does.

Unsurprisingly, the administration is facing harsh criticism from the Catholic church. Deirdre A. McQuade, a spokeswoman for the bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat (a position and department I was unaware existed), vocalized the Church’s stance: “Pregnancy is not a disease to be prevented, nor is fertility a pathological condition. So birth …

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