Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Difference of Religion

Shelle Edit:  H.K. is one of my favorite people and a long time blog friend.  Her blog is about her family and her life.  The post about her personal struggle with a recent loss is one of the first posts I remember crying over.  She connects when she writes.  She writes for solely herself.  I thank her so much for writing this post.  After you read her here, you should go and check out her own personal blog H.K. Weighs In.

When I first met my husband, we instantly clicked. Our first date didn’t have those awkward silent moments, where you wonder what you should talk about-we never ran out of things to say. We were constantly amazed at how many things we had in common, except for one thing; I was Mormon (member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and he was a member of the
Pentecostal church.

However, we didn’t make the differences of our religion a prime focus on our relationship; instead we made a point of learning about each other’s beliefs and took turns going to each other’s churches on Sundays. And we continued that tradition even after we got married.

Some of our friends and family thought it was an unusual arrangement; there were a few who voiced their concern that I would leave the Mormon Church and my husband’s friends from his church voiced the same concern about him. It was an arrangement that worked for our relationship until I got pregnant.

I knew that continuing the arrangement of going to two churches that differed in their beliefs would be confusing for a child. We made it work when it was just the two of us, but would it work with our child?

I thought I had it all worked out and felt so proud that our relationship was strong despite the differences of our religious beliefs; would it continue to be strong if our child preferred one religion to another?

After many discussions, we came to the conclusion that we would continue with the arrangement even after our son was born. We wanted what was best for our child. We saw much good that came from each other’s religions and though we may have not agreed with some of the doctrines, in the end, we believed that what ever happened from our arrangement was meant to happen.

Several years into our marriage, I became very ill and it took me a few months to recover. When I became better, I was too weak to drive, so my husband decided that we would go to my church for awhile. It was supposed to be a temporary arrangement- until my husband wanted to learn more about my church and asked the missionaries to teach him.

After several missionary discussions, my husband was converted to the Mormon church and a year later our family were sealed in the LDS temple (to understand more about LDS temple sealings go here)

I did not go into my marriage thinking that I would eventually convert my husband to my church nor did my husband. We loved each other very much and we knew that if we wanted peace and harmony in our marriage, we needed to make a more concerted effort to understand each other’s religious beliefs and most importantly, to respect them- even if we disagreed with some of the doctrine.

I’m not sure how our marriage would be if we were still practicing different religions. However, I’ve seen marriages still thrive even with different religious backgrounds and I’d like to believe that our marriage would have been one of them.

Do you think it's possible for relationships or marriages to be successful despite religious differences?  How would you handle it?



Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I think it is so great how you guys handled your situation.

I know difference in religion was a big thing for me, but I know many people that make it work.

It's funny though, how kids are the one thing that can kind of bring up the issue again.

I'm glad it worked out for you guys, I really am, because that is a very hard thing to work through, or can be.

Thank again for writing the post!

Happy 4th coming up!

Shayna @ Texas Monkey said...

I'm so glad ya'll figured it out and worked it out. Can it be done? Sure successful marriages out there prove it can but it's hard and takes work and sacrafice and compromise. Would I want to do it? Heck no. That was a deal breaker for me, I wanted to be like minded with my spouse and linked together with God and be of the same doctrine and mindset. I knew we'd have enough challenges to deal with and didn't want religion or beliefs to be one of those challenges. I belive in the Word, the whole Word and followed it to not be unequally yolked together with my spouse. That's what works for me, for us but do know that there are many marriages that make that difference fit and work for them and I applaud that, just knew it wasn't for me. I applaud you!

wendy said...

Hey, H.K. I didn't know that about you and I read your blog all the time.
My second and now third husband are not LDS (Mormon) I think it is a bit tricking juggling different I took the easy way out and have not been very active. Sucks for me.
I need to set a better example,
anyway, current hubby told me when we got married to understand that he would NEVER be Mormon.
I say never say never.
He is a little bitter because when we first fell in love 40 years ago, what drove us apart was difference of religion and my parents would not let me marry him.
It is good to visit and develop tolerance for other religions...I BELIEVE THAT 100%.
Then, faith and whatever promptings you get after that will lead the way.
But........bottom just makes things a little tougher sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I have a number of friends who make it work, but mainly because one spouse or the other doesn't really attend services (and doesn't have a problem with their spouse taking time to do that). Most of the time, it seems to work fine for them, mainly because they went into the arrangement with certain agreements that they have stuck with. One of my best friend's husband has been very supportive of their children being involved as well, as long as he doesn't have to be. ; )

I don't know anyone who handles it quite the way you did. Kudos to you for making it work in a way that was right for you.

H.K. said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I think it's hard work enough to make a marriage work and even harder when one's religions are different. It definitely is not easy!

Shelle: Thanks for your sweet intro. Once I started writing for myself and stopped obsessing over what people would think or how many comments I would get...writing became more enjoyable.

Happy Fourth!

UP said...

I cannot imagine having different religious beliefs than my spouse. I met her at church, so it was easier.

I came home from the Navy and asked my mom who the good looking blonde in the choir was!

The rest is history!

Very spiritual of me, eh?


Tit for Tat said...

My wife and I believe there are several pillars to a relationship. Spirituality is one of them. If you differ greatly on it, its only a matter of time before your house begins to wobble. Good thing for you guys that he converted.

Lisa S said...

My husbands parents each have a different religion, he Christian Scientist, and she, Catholic. although he hasn't practiced his for many years. She goes to Mass every Sunday. Occasionally he goes with her. They have a very sweet relationship. When my parents met, my father was not of my mother's faith. My mother's faith was important to him because it was a part of who she was. He converted on his own. I think mutual respect is so important in a marriage where there is different religions.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I are in the same boat. I'm catholic while she's methodist. We're still working it out and as TitforTat said... we're starting to wobble. We gotta get it worked out eventually and I believe that we will... but it certainly is a lot harder than we anticipated when we got married.

TisforTonya said...

My parents' marriage began much the same way - and eventually (about the time I was an annoying preschooler) my Dad converted to my mother's faith. Would it have worked otherwise? Yeah, probably not - as it is I'm a little shocked that it's still working at all (happily shocked though).

Marriage is hard - whoever says differently is trying to sell you something... if given a CHOICE - why add in a known element of difficulty?

That doesn't mean it isn't possible though. There are good men and women out there in ALL religions - and (shhh...) there are even some good people out there that perhaps don't make it to church. I'm pretty sure that one thing most "religious" people can agree on is that we are not meant to judge others and look for the good in all people. I'm glad that you found your good guy - and that it all worked out for your marriage!

heelsnstocking said...

i think when faiths have parralel objectives and beliefs its reasonably plain sailing but lets say jewish vs christian or christian vs muslim culture gets in the way

heelsnstocking said...

i think when faiths have parralel objectives and beliefs its reasonably plain sailing but lets say jewish vs christian or christian vs muslim culture gets in the way

heelsnstocking said...

i think when faiths have parralel objectives and beliefs its reasonably plain sailing but lets say jewish vs christian or christian vs muslim culture gets in the way