Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mixed Marriages

A story from NPR discusses a couple of mixed-faith, he an atheist, she a believer (lutheran).

Our readers will recognize that your blogger is in the same situation:  I'm a non-believer, my wife an Episcopalian.   We've talked about that a lot. I'm an ex Catholic who happily is part of an Episcopal Community.

On the comments to the NPR story, many people said that this mixed-identity would be a "deal-breaker" for a relationship for them.

I don't get that.  But then, I've matured from my anti-religious phase to my post-religious phase.  I've come to recognize myself as a cultural Christian who goes to Mass or even better, evensong to enjoy the aesthetics of cultural faith. Regardless of the God-thing, I get the community, and share the values.

I think that BP and I, as a couple, are  much more fulfilled now that we have found a place that welcomes us both where we are. And they do welcome us, and cheerfully include both of us in their life.  I suspect that some conservatives would be uncomfortable with that.  On the other hand, when BP was Roman Catholic, I was completely excluded because I could not find a modus vivendi with those people, and I was obviously not welcome At All.

Further, the essence of making a relationship work is mutual respect.  If I did not respect that my wife has an experience (faith) that i do not, or if she (or her church)  tried to convert me, OR ELSE,  this would be a problem.  But it isn't a problem...because we have mutual respect, and because the Episcopal Church finds a place for our complexity. They want not just BP, but me.  Pretty amazing feeling.

Thank you for that.

Indeed, I think it would be far more problematic if one of us were a tea-party Republican while the other a liberal Democrat.  Now THAT wouldn't work at all.  ;-)


Counterlight said...

I'm in a similar situation. I am a church-going Episcopalian and Michael is a recovering Irish Catholic who wants nothing more to do with religion, even aesthetically. We actually agree about a lot of things, but on religious belief and practice, we respect each other's boundaries.
I go to church on Sunday mornings and enjoy a little gemütlichkeit at a neighborhood bar after Mass with church friends. I thought about trying to include Michael in the post-Mass gemütlichkeit, but we mostly talk church politics and gossip, and Michael likes his alone-time on Sunday mornings.
So, I temple for both of us, and Michael enjoys some much needed quiet time on Sundays.

The absolute last thing I want to do is to convert Michael or in any way to require him to find some kind of religious faith or philosophical creed. He's fine just the way he is.
Sorry Socrates, but the unexamined life really is worth living.

JCF said...

I once placed a Singles ad (on a now-defunct site) that said something like "You can be any faith or none, but no fundamentalists of any kind (theist or atheist)."

Fundamentalism, along w/ smoking, is a deal-breaker!

[There's a young woman at my church. She's *SUPER HOT* . . . but also way too young for me (Back off, JCF-Old-Perv!). For my purposes for the next couple of weeks, another redflag is that she's a Ravens fan! (In Sacramento, WTF???) If there had been any chance for us, I think the next two weeks of trash-talking each other would take care of that. ;-/ GO NINERS!!!!]