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Religious differences

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  June 8, 2009 09:57 AM

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Happy Monday. Here you go:

Q: Can 2 people w/ vastly different religious beliefs make it work? She's VERY Christian & doesn't drink. I was brought up Catholic but haven't been to church in 20 years & enjoy a few beers a couple of times a week.

It’s very early, I really like her (& think she feels the same) -- but I'm thinking I should throw in the towel b/c it probably won't work long-term. We're older (she's 35, I'm 39) & looking for marriage & family, but I worry we're wasting each other's time. Can this work?

-- Name Patrick Is NOT converting


A: PINC, it most certainly can work – it'll just be tricky.
So far, you guys have put up with each other’s life choices. Assuming you're reading the situation right, you still really like each other.

Here’s the issue: kids. Would this woman marry someone who might not want to raise kids Christian? Are you open to raising children who will be VERY Christian?

I can’t answer any of these questions. But before you throw in the towel, ask this woman how she feels about your differences and find out what compromises you’d both be willing to make. People with different backgrounds make it work all the time. I've been to weddings that combined Catholicism and Judaism. I watched "Twilight" twice this weekend. That's a vampire and a human. It's fiction, yes, but whatever. Love is love. And love generally forgives a few beers a week. Just find out what would happen to the offspring.

Readers? Has anyone out there made it work with someone who doesn’t share their religious beliefs? Tell me some stories. Can this work if they want to raise a family? Are they wasting time? Share here. Submit a letter to the right. Follow the Twitter thing here.

-- Meredith

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169 comments so far...
  1. SNOOOOOOZER. run like hell, religious types are creepy, and they only get weirder as they get older. that said, lets get back to the butt shows and grilled cheese!

    Posted by mondaze June 8, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Honestly - yes. If she's VERY Christian, she (and her church) will want you to get involved. They will definitely want the kids to get involved. And that's not wrong, but if you weren't willing to go along with it, I'm guessing you'd have some really tough times. What's more, I'd guess the two of you would start getting lonely- she'd be alone at church and church events, you'd be alone watching TV and having a beer. And sooner or later, someone would show up who was more compatible. Save yourself the angst and leave while you're still friendly.
    I was once married to a man who was deeply anti-religion. I was raised in a liberal religious household and found that I missed it. This difference wasn't the only thing that broke the marriage but it contributed to a sense of distance between us. Especially if kids are hovering around the picture and both of your biological clocks are ticking, go. Now.

    Posted by exiledmainer June 8, 09 10:24 AM
  1. The only way I've seen it work is when one person goes over to the other side, i.e., converts. PINC states in his signature that this is not going to happen for him, and one can't imagine her becoming a lapsed Catholic!

    I don't think it is just about kids, either. There's the wedding, then family celebrations, sometimes dietary decisions -- not to mention how we spend weekend mornings. If someone is very religious, this is going to affect many aspects of her/his, and thus "their" life.

    Posted by Jasper's pet June 8, 09 10:25 AM
  1. Nope.

    The fact that you emphasized that she's VERY religious and you are NOT converting tells you all you need to know without asking the opinions of this mess of a peanut gallery.

    If she were younger, possibly, but at 35, it just won't work. She's already firmly set in her ways and routines.

    I can see her getting angry when you are knocking back a few on Saturday night while she's turning in early in preparation of the sabbath. Then I can see you getting angry when she wakes you up early on Sunday mornings trying to drag you out of bed for Church and all you want to do is sleep off your hangover or get a grilled cheese sandwich made for you.

    "Let's see now...who could have possibly made you succomb to the temptations of the mighty brewskies? Could it be....SATAN?!?! Now isn't that special!"

    - Hoss

    Posted by Hoss June 8, 09 10:40 AM
  1. It can work, but it's not easy. You need to have a conversation about this, pronto. Find out what she thinks, if she has any expectations, etc., and share your thoughts and expectations. Discuss specific scenarios - holidays, regular church-going, hypothetical future kids and the can of worms that opens, and mundane things like you having a beer. You may find that it's just not going to work out, but unless you talk about it, you'll never know.

    Posted by a reader June 8, 09 10:41 AM
  1. I am catholic and wear a yamaka (sp) to my jewish GF's house in LI and pretend I am jewish when I visit her family. Her old man and fam loves me but has no idea I'm not a jew.

    Posted by babygorilla June 8, 09 10:47 AM
  1. I am an atheist and my husband is Catholic. Although he doesn't go to church, he believes in God and the Catholic teachings. It has never come between us. There are so many more things we love about each other. Part of being in a relationship is being tolerant. If you both can't be tolerant of each other's views, then end it now.

    Posted by kalafish June 8, 09 10:49 AM
  1. As a person who grew up in a two religion home; I think it can work. My mother is a strict Irish Catholic and my father was raised Baptist but left his religion for the most part when his religious community rejected my mother as a suitable spouse. Even my own grandmother calls my parents marriage a "mixed marriage". My father offered to convert when they found out they were expecting my and my mother told him he didnt need to as long as he was comfortable with their kids being raised catholic. Growing up, my brothers and I attended catholic school and went to church every sunday and my father would join as at church on the holidays. It CAN work as long as everyone is willing to communicate and make concessions.But you need to be up front an honest now.

    Posted by bean June 8, 09 10:52 AM
  1. Throw In the Towel, You're Just Not That Into Her. If you were her Christian Values would be the furthest thing in your mind

    Posted by pepperlevine June 8, 09 10:52 AM
  1. It sounds like this may not apply to you. I once dated someone who dedicated lots of time to our Church. We were both involved in the choir and with the church community. This involved 4-5 hours a week including Sundays. When I realized that I couldn't get a way for one complete weekend in the winter (I like to ski), I finally gave up on the relationship.

    Posted by skier June 8, 09 10:53 AM
  1. There are a lot of levels of very Christian. Make sure you know what you are getting into. Very Christian like goes to church every week, very Christian like does not swear or drink, or very christian like goes to church three times a week and brings up JC or her church in every conversation? But hey, you are 39 years-old. If she is nice and kind of hot, it may be worth it, maybe you should look into getting into her religion, they have lots of good cookouts. Better too religious than some slut druggie who sleeps around.

    Posted by aod June 8, 09 10:53 AM
  1. Ahem, Michelle Duggar is very religous too. The only thing in your favor is your girlfriend is older, so you'd probably only end up with 10 kinds or so.

    She needs to be with someone supportive of her lifestyle, as do you.

    Posted by Jennie June 8, 09 10:54 AM
  1. kinds = kids. (I clearly need more coffee this morning).

    Posted by Jennie June 8, 09 10:55 AM
  1. I married a Christian, and I was raised Catholic. What is "very Christian"? Her being Christian has nothing to do with not drinking - that's a personal choice - plenty of Christians drink. You probably already celebrate the same holidays and if it hasn't come out yet, agree with most of her "religious upbringing".

    Are you afraid that you'll be asked to go to church? If so, you need to address that, as she probably will ask you to go, at least some of the time. I realize I'm in Massachusetts, but "being Christian" isn't such a bad thing.

    Posted by ME June 8, 09 10:56 AM
  1. I have a close friend that is not very religious and his wife is Mormon. She doesn't drink, he does. They don't have hard liquor in the house, but beer and wine are fine. They have run into issues caused by their different religions, but both are willing to work it out because they love each other. They've been together for well over a decade. I think Meredith's advice is right on.

    Posted by liz June 8, 09 11:01 AM
  1. run run as fast as you can!!!!! Religion kills relationships and ruins people. Anyone who is "very christian" is a scary thing. She needs to be with someone who is like her otherwise, it will be a mess...What happens when you have children and she wants a strict christian upbringing and you don't....

    Posted by ihatereligion June 8, 09 11:03 AM
  1. run run as fast as you can!!!!! Religion kills relationships and ruins people. Anyone who is "very christian" is a scary thing. She needs to be with someone who is like her otherwise, it will be a mess...What happens when you have children and she wants a strict christian upbringing and you don't....

    Posted by ihatereligion June 8, 09 11:04 AM
  1. Depends on a lot of things. i.e. Does she actually not mind you having a few beers now and then or does it bother her that you do that? Would her weekend social activities (church and then some, without you) bother you? Does she ask you now about getting involved in her church? Are there any other red-flag issues that you're not mentioning here? Are there any other compatability issues? Would you mind your kids being brought up in a strict religious environment?
    Ask all of these things and if most of them are a big negative, then you should end the relationship now.

    Posted by DrK June 8, 09 11:04 AM
  1. I think the bigger incompatibility issue is being with someone who as a rule doesn't drink. I've never seen that work.

    Posted by Cheers June 8, 09 11:06 AM
  1. if you're comfortable being more religious, go for it. however, if you're thinking about throwing in the towel, you've probably already realized you're not comfortable with this in the long run.

    it's easy for you to try to ignore the religion aspect of the relationship since it ins't a big part of your life, but she'll want to share that with you and your children, if you decide to have them, and being it's a big part of her life, she won't ignore the differences as easily.

    Posted by mike June 8, 09 11:07 AM
  1. Arthur, A REAL Woman could stop you from drinking.
    It would have to be a REAL BIG woman..

    Posted by MaLockFan June 8, 09 11:11 AM
  1. Run like Hell, NOW

    Posted by sj June 8, 09 11:12 AM
  1. If you strip away the organized religion from your beliefs you'll recognize that you both believe in the same person - Jesus. How you want to bring up your kids in how they believe in him is the real question here, right? Instead of looking at differences, look at what you have in common.

    She doesn't drink alcohol. Wine is alcohol - so guess what, Jesus drank alcohol. If she has a problem with you having a beer or a glass of wine, gently remind her - Jesus drank wine. He didn't purify the water - he turned it into wine. And frankly it's better for you than soda and soft drinks...

    Posted by lolipopp June 8, 09 11:13 AM
  1. "Very Christian"? Will she sleep with you before marriage? If yes then she's not "very", and if not you probably will have lots of compatibility issues.

    Posted by Alvin June 8, 09 11:14 AM
  1. The key here is that she's very "Christian". That kind of non-denominational Christianity is generally very evangelical, and will want him to join up at some point. If he's open to that, fine. If not, run. Because there will be recruiting.

    Posted by Mike June 8, 09 11:17 AM
  1. How early is this relationship? Even if they have “the talk” now and she promised LW she likes him as he is and can separate her faith from her relationship, things change. “My boyfriend’s beers” are MUCH different than “my husband’s beers.”

    I think the pressure on LW to convert will just get worse the more serious they get. LW didn’t specify how “very” Christian she is, or what denomination she is. If she thinks LW is a heathen soul is going to hell, imagine all the guilt, tears and pressure he’ll face because she loves him so much, she must have him join her church because it’s the only way he can be embraced by her holy father and be with her forever in heaven. Will they even be able to get married in her church—you know that will be non-negotiable—if he’s not “saved?"

    What are her views on adult intimacy, premarital or otherwise? If she’s from a faith where the body is sinful, or is only for procreation, is LW okay with those limits? And if there are kids, who will undoubtedly be baptized and have some schooling in her faith, LW is going to feel like “outnumbered” in his own home. Is LW willing to have part of his household income tithed/donated/earmarked to support a church he doesn’t believe in? Thirty-nine isn’t the end of the line, so if you have doubts, I would continue seeing other people while you date her. Good luck, dude.

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 11:18 AM
  1. Like ME above, I'd like to know what you mean by "VERY Christian." She is dating someone who is a lapsed Catholic, so she must be tolerant and not completely absorbed in her church. And since you get along and like each other, you must have things in common and probably don't talk about God and church all the time -- as you are not religious, I imagine otherwise you would not have got even this far. So what is very Christian?

    And knowing more about other personal values would be helpful. You say she does not drink -- but is it that she personally does not drink, or that she does not approve of drinking (hers or yours or anyones)? Those are very different things. My husband doesn't drink and I do; he doesn't because he just doesn't, not for any moral reason and he certainly doesn't care if I do. And do you enjoy a "few beers" casually, or is that code for "I go out to the bar and get drunk a couple times?" Again, an important distinction and would help clue you in on whether it would be a problem in the relationship later.

    To throw in the towel so early, without seeing how it would work or talking about it or thinking about it more seems foolish. Then again, maybe -- and this is what I think -- you have no respect for her religion. If you don't, then yes, throw in the towel; having different beliefs is fine with partners who can respect each others' differences. If you can't, do her a favor and leave.

    .

    Posted by jlen June 8, 09 11:19 AM
  1. Not enough info here. There are a lot of different churches under the Christian tent. Some require attendance several times a week; some don't. Some have strict taboos on things like drinking and dancing; some have none. Since it's very early in your relationship, you probably don't know yet where her commitment level is vis a vis the kids, etc. [In the Mormon church, for example, there are missionary commitments for young people that you may not be comfortable with for your kids.] I guess that time would tell, but that's the one quantifier that most seems to discomfort you. The fact that you're raising the question here tells me that you're already concerned that this is a deal breaker. Better figure it out in a hurry.

    Posted by Kate's Nonna June 8, 09 11:20 AM
  1. Patrick wrote: "It’s very early, I really like her (& think she feels the same)"
    That's your problem right there - you're 39 and you're asking US?! whether it will work?! Ask her, dude!!!!
    In any case, if she's not all sanctimonious about her religion, then why should you mind? Does she frown when you grab a beer? Talk to her about that too.
    Or is "very religious" just code for her not wanting to have sex right away?

    Posted by Bob June 8, 09 11:26 AM
  1. If she's very devout, you probably won't have to do anything. She will probably realize that you're not the one for her, or if you get to the point of considering marriage, her pastor will counsel her not to marry you, and if she is wise, she will agree.

    Mixed marriages work best when neither party is that committed to their religion or when they agree to raise the child in one faith. I have been married to an atheist for 18 years, and our marriage works because he is fine with me raising our children in my faith. I do wish he believed the same things I do, but I also respect that he has to make his own decisions. It also helps that I enjoy drinking wine with him. .

    Before you go on, you need to talk serioulsy with her about her expectations. And you need to ask yourself if you would be okay with her taking your future offspring to church with her and spending a lot of family time at church activities. What if she wants you to tithe? What if your daughter wants to play on a soccer team that has games on Sunday mornings, and your wife refuses to allow this? What if your children become worried because they think their dad might go to hell if he doesn't believe? These may sound silly to you now, but they are very real questions that will come up if you marry a devout Christian.


    Posted by Isolda June 8, 09 11:27 AM
  1. Of course it COULD work, but it depends on some specifics, some of which have already been sprinkled throughout these comments. The two of you have to have a conversation about expectations. Would she, with or without kids, eventually expect you to attend church and/or church functions with her, with her family, or with kids if you have them. That is, she might not care what you BELIEVE but she might want you DO something. You say you're not willing to convert, are you willing to spend the time and effort just doing even if not believing? I suspect, and I could be way wrong, that you are not willing to do any of that. So you need to find out if that's a problem for her. If it is, then NO, it won't work.

    Posted by Doubtful June 8, 09 11:31 AM
  1. I guess Rico doesn't do dogma.....

    Without any judgment of whether religious is better than not, you and the lady sound very different. The religious person likely wants to raise the kids that way, leaving you the choices of being:
    - apathetic ("do whatever you want with my kids, I don't care"),
    - compliant ("yes you can bring the kids to church, and yes I'll go with you too!!!!") or
    - defiant ("stop forcing your beliefs on me and MY kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!").

    Only you know which of these is likely.

    Does the answer make for a good marriage??????

    Posted by SingleCommuterWithBagel June 8, 09 11:33 AM
  1. If she's "very Christian," she won't be into grilled cheese sandwiches before or after the wedding.

    I'm just saying.............

    Posted by P&P June 8, 09 11:33 AM
  1. Regarding the only specific example given in the letter, why are people so hung up on what's in another person's glass? Unless she has said otherwise, it seems like that's more a chip on HIS shoulder.

    I don't drink either (not for religious reasons) and I couldn't care less who is or isn't drinking around me. I don't throw looks, I don't talk people out of ordering alcohol, I really, honestly, don't care what's in your glass. I promise. But it always seems some drinkers want to be sure everyone else is drinking too.

    But anyway, this guy seems to be LOOKING for something to nitpick about. He asks about throwing in the towel yet admits he still doesn't even know if it would be an issue. The only thing he can come up with is he likes a few beers but she doesn't? I think if he were truly falling for her, he wouldn't even be considering such benign matters. Maybe he's just looking for the standard, perfect, but loveless match.

    Posted by Beth June 8, 09 11:34 AM
  1. @babygorilla do you have any single "jewish" brothers who I can introduce to my family?

    Posted by Sally June 8, 09 11:35 AM
  1. Both my sisters are born again - one married after she was born again and he was born again also as well. My other sister became much more religious about 10 years into the marriage. Both marriages are ongoing at 22 and 25+ years...
    Okay the reality is that for my BIL when my sister became born again, it was hard for him. She changed quite a bit. However, fundamentally she was still the person she always was. So I think that they were able to get past any bumps.
    Granted both women are my sisters but even with their religious views being vastly different than mine, they are my best friends and give me great support and advice. Also they are HAPPY!! I am envious that their faith gives them that.
    I knew that there would be comments about being who are Christian being fanatical etc. Give me a break and let's try not to judge everyone by the fanatics we see on TV. I would look at it as a good thing that you have found someone who is secure in their spirituality and accepts you for who you are.

    Posted by Trixie June 8, 09 11:41 AM
  1. Both my sisters are born again - one married after she was born again and he was born again also as well. My other sister became much more religious about 10 years into the marriage. Both marriages are ongoing at 22 and 25+ years...
    Okay the reality is that for my BIL when my sister became born again, it was hard for him. She changed quite a bit. However, fundamentally she was still the person she always was. So I think that they were able to get past any bumps.
    Granted both women are my sisters but even with their religious views being vastly different than mine, they are my best friends and give me great support and advice. Also they are HAPPY!! I am envious that their faith gives them that.
    I knew that there would be comments about being who are Christian being fanatical etc. Give me a break and let's try not to judge everyone by the fanatics we see on TV. I would look at it as a good thing that you have found someone who is secure in their spirituality and accepts you for who you are.

    Posted by Trixie June 8, 09 11:43 AM
  1. Pretty in PINC:
    Are you having pre-marital sexual relations with Ms. Magdalene? If so, she is likely malleable to a relationship of compromise and your assertion, therefore, that she is ultra Catholic would not indicate membership in Opus Dei. First of all, it’s good to see that both of you take the baby Jesus as Lord, because, well, it’s a good starting point for the goyim. After posthumously hijacking JC as the “son of god”, I am happy to report that for you, Christianity will find a way…and if Catholicism is her color where your hues and tones are more muted…let Jesus take the wheel. My guess is that her ardent devotion and your abject indifference will morph into a happy middle ground. I think with Jesus as the common denominator, your love will find a way. However, as unions between Jews and Gentiles are concerned (involving common children), I would caution that the “we’re going to expose them to both” method of birth control is a loser and a procrastination of self-interest. In your case, one of you is considerably stronger in their religious convictions than the other. In truly mixed marriages (Jesus is/ is not Lord), picking a path from the outset is vital. Exposing kids to both is a formula for confusion and a lite approach to the education of one’s lineage and heritage. Again, if she’s got more than a wafer on her tongue, there’s some wiggle room. Just don’t expect her to start eating chullah.

    Posted by valentino June 8, 09 11:45 AM
  1. At least you wont have to worry about her getting drunk and sleeping with your best friend!

    Posted by stacy June 8, 09 11:48 AM
  1. I will say this...both will have to relent, but one of you will have to give in more, and the one who gives in more will end up resenting the other. Been there done that. Its not pleasant. Especially since Born Agains are generally taught that Catholics are terrible. My in laws are born again, and I can't stand them.

    Posted by Boy cott June 8, 09 11:48 AM
  1. This is one of the relationship "biggies" along with kids and money. If you can't come to some sort of compromise or agreement on how to deal with the issue, than prepare for relationship problems that could eventually lead to a breakup.

    Posted by kelly June 8, 09 11:50 AM
  1. This may be a question of faith moreso than love. If a person's belief system is solidly based on their faith, then really, they should be marrying someone of the same faith. The Bible speaks of not becoming "unevenly yoked with unbelievers" (or marrying outside of your religion, as it would apply in this case) because differences in faith are nearly impossible to rectify between marriage mates. Rather than having someone they can share those beliefs harmoniously with, they ultimately end up having to choose between being true to their faith or compromising some of their beliefs for their mate.

    A relationship with God is not like the relationship that each person has with their own family. Different families have different customs and ways of dealing with each other, so one person may be closer to their family, while the other is more distant from theirs. But having different faiths is more like two siblings that have different relationships with the same parent. That difference ultimately has an effect on how they feel about each other. (Remember the phrase, "Mom always did like you best" that is at the heart of many sibling rivalries.)

    A person has to decide which is more important to them - faith or mate - and why, before they ever get into a relationship with someone else. When one's faith is at the center of their lives, then everything else in their lives will revolve around it. People are afraid to talk about the big issues up front in a relationship and they DO end up wasting a lot of time because of it. My advice: talk about it NOW.

    Posted by Kyasi June 8, 09 11:53 AM
  1. If she's like, "SUPER RELIGIOUS," then, yes, you will have problems later on in the relationship. She's probably going to want the kids to follow her religion since you're not really into religion yourself. Would you be okay with that? Like commmenter # 2 said, " There's the wedding, then family celebrations, sometimes dietary decisions -- not to mention how we spend weekend mornings. If someone is very religious, this is going to affect many aspects of her/his, and thus "their" life." IT'S NOT A GOOD MOVE, TRUST ME!!!!!!!

    Posted by IDA June 8, 09 11:55 AM
  1. my brother married a women - who became very christian during the marriage - and it came down to how much he loved her - they are married now 38 years. I think that you need to discuss it further with this women ...if you really love her. If not, move on.

    Posted by Angela B June 8, 09 11:55 AM
  1. Rico's not interested too much in this one...But here is his advice:

    Rico thinks this won't work, you already know what the issues are and yet you are going in blindly. Does she make good grilled Cheese Sandwiches? Actually, that is probably "against her religion" right? Seriously though, Rico thinks this one is a waste of time. Religion is a tricky subject to conquer and unless you plan on doing things her way it is only a recipe for disastour. I know of a jewish man married to a non-jewish woman that happened to find the jewish religion enticing to her and is bringing up the children jewish. It can work and can be a great thing but when two religious beliefs/non-beliefs get together there is the chance of conflict. This most likely is a case of you being too far apart in beliefs for it to work and Rico thinks unless you come to a conclusion here and now and stick with it then you are better off to let this one go and get back to finding your perfect match (NOT PERFECT ON PAPER). Rico hopes you find a girl who will make you a nice grilled cheese too...Sorry Rico couldn't resist.

    Have a great day everyone and enjoy this wonderful weather. Rico had a great weekend, enjoyed playing outside with his child and getting that fresh air. Back to the bike...and work too.

    Love always,

    Rico

    Gears not Gas!!!

    Posted by Rico June 8, 09 11:55 AM
  1. how does it matter to you? It's her body, her brain. If you trust her, and you can't have love without trust, whats the problem with her not having a drink? her not drinking has no affect on you. It's her healthy choice. You said it yourself, he just wants to have a drink or two at family get togethers, maybe a little celebration. he seems like a smart so he won't go much farther than that.if he does,he has other issues to deal . Do you have to okay any medications she takes to? If so, that's a whole other set of problems.Sit back and try to figure out why it bothers you.

    Posted by boozy June 8, 09 11:55 AM
  1. Patrick,
    The fact that you sign your name 'not converting' and put "not" in caps and also stress her level of religiosity by putting caps on "very" religious, tells me that you already feel a strain in the relationship. My husband and I have 2 very different religious backgrounds, but it works for us because we 'do our own thing' and neither of us are extreme in our beliefs or practice. Our kids celebrate a little bit of everything. I suspect that if you marry and introduce kids to the equation it will become problematic. We had friends who 3 kids later, sadly divorced over such issues.

    Posted by bambinosmom June 8, 09 12:00 PM
  1. There is no good reason why this relationship cannot work if you both communicate honestly with eachother. You need to tell her that you are unwilling to attend church or to stop the occasional drink. She needs to be very clear with you about what her faith means to her and how she will persue it. You both need to figure out the kid issues and areas where conflicts will arise eg. saying grace before meals or beer number 5 of 6 while you are watching the Pats on TV. If this stuff is dealt with early on there will be no suprises and your relationship can flourish. I married a woman with a different belief system than me and for the last 20 years it has worked out just fine, why not you?

    Posted by Peter June 8, 09 12:00 PM
  1. Run like hell - GodWads and jesus junkies are creepy.

    Posted by dan June 8, 09 12:01 PM
  1. run!

    Posted by dt June 8, 09 12:01 PM
  1. From the tone and the all cap "NOT" in your handle, I'd say odds are it's destined for problems at this "very early" point.

    As your "few beers a couple times a week" seems important to you (you offer it as a major point), alcohol could be an issue. Resentment, which you are already expressing, breeds problems. Definitely strike one.

    My father converted and his world didn't end. He went to church every week (he didn't skip and dance about it, but he didn't pout or be negative either). I've always admired him greatly for that and understand how much he loves my mother. It's hard being with a person who is indifferent to or rejects something so integral to one's life, so, if you don't want to get involved in her religion in whatever way you'd be asked, then that's really strike two. As it's early on as you say, I'm sure strike three for you cannot be far behind.

    Posted by yupokay June 8, 09 12:08 PM
  1. How do her beliefs cause her to behave? How do your beliefs cause you to behave? That's the bottom line here.
    Does she think that drinking is a sin or does she share a drink with you when you are together?
    Is she trying to get you to go to her church already or has that issue not come up?
    If you two are in love with one another, then you can work these issues out. But if you really need a woman who can toss them back with the best of them and sleep in on Sunday morning, then she may not be the best choice for you.
    I thought I could convert my ex to my religion: social drinker. But his religion was Jack Daniels every day in LARGE quanities.

    Posted by exvermonter June 8, 09 12:08 PM
  1. Rico needs to add one more thing:

    Rico wants to mention that he and his lovely wife are both jewish yet neither is very religious at this point. The point that religion will become important is when their child gets a few years older. This is when it is agredd that Rico and his wife will send the child to hebrew school and get a bar/bat mitzvah. Rico's home is not kosher but pork is not bought or other obviously non kosher items. The reason Rico mentions this is because of tolerance...Tolerance is a huge key for successful relationships. Rico may have a bit of a sweet tooth and Mrs. Rico may enjoy a glass of wine but if you are ok with it and know when you've hit the limit then life can be good...If one or both is overdoing it then life will not be good for you.

    Rico is done for today but may check in later if he thinks of something else.

    love always,

    Rico

    Sorry for the spelling error above (disastour?) What was Rico thinking?

    Posted by Rico June 8, 09 12:08 PM
  1. When the moment arrives, I usually cry out "Oh, meaningless metaphysical signifier!" And it usually seems to do the trick.Us pagans just cry out, "Oh, Frigg!"

    Posted by minella June 8, 09 12:11 PM
  1. will she tolerate perversions?
    remember - most people who are "very christian" are also very full of crap. Statistical research has shown that atheists generally conduct themselves more morally than the ultra religious do.
    I would leave her - let her love jesus

    Posted by Mike June 8, 09 12:12 PM
  1. Religious differences, to some degree, will occur in almost any situation. I think the two of us established that we would discuss our differences openly, and not avoid the topic in our household. In my opinion, it's made a big difference in how we perceive the "other side of the fence," and has added to our respect of one another.
    We do have a son - he's four. We made the decision early on that his religious beliefs were entirely up to him. On some days he decides to go to church with Mom, and then on others he stays home with me. No big deal.
    If he decides to be a christian, I'm fine with it. If he decides to become an atheist like myself, more power to him. If he decides to dance with a pink bra on his head and sing the "My Little Pony" theme song while worshipping a large glowing rock in the middle of the Magic Sea, so be it. Not my choice - it's entirely his own.
    It's worked out well so far - I still love her as much as the day I first met her - even more so. I believe she kind of has a thing for me as well. And my son... well, he's pretty screwed up. It's that damn christian bitch's fault

    Posted by kyoto June 8, 09 12:14 PM
  1. Patrick, the problem is not with you but with her. If she is "very Christian" (and especially in the evangelical camp), she would have nothing to do with you. "Very Christian" believers are told: "Do not be bound together wih unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Satan or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). She is either giving you a very mixed message (in which case she is being dishonest with you) or she is very compomised in her beliefs. Either case confusion is just around the corner.

    Posted by elpio June 8, 09 12:18 PM
  1. Drinking should not be an issue. If it is now, leave.

    I became a Christian while dating and breaking up with a very spiritual Christian woman. She wanted to marry me but decided she couldn't be with me because I wasn't a Chrisitan (with help from her family). This was a good decision. I was not a stong enough leader for her, and was killing her relationship with God.

    After the breakup, I realized that God...Jesus, was the only one would is always there and would never let me down. I am on a path of strengthening and have become a much holier person over the last few years. A LOT of terrible/destructive habits have gone to the wayside. Still a lot to continue.

    If she has a strong relationship with God/Jesus, and you do not, you should exemplfy leadership and end it. Unless you are open to having the same type of relationship with God/Jesus.

    It sounds like you are not the type of man she should be with.....but that does not mean you can't be.

    Have you prayed about it? Though it is very impersonal, I am praying for you both for clarity.

    Posted by swfoutsida June 8, 09 12:25 PM
  1. Have the conversation with her and thow it all out on the table. If she is "VERY religious" she's probably intolerant and will show you the door...

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 12:26 PM
  1. Gotta love all the anti-religious bigots posting here. Are those the same people who preach tolerance?

    Posted by CBH June 8, 09 12:31 PM
  1. Find out what kind of baggage she's carrying. In my experience many of the "very Christian" people have something in the past that they gave up when they found Jesus. It might be really, really bad. The other camp would come from a family that was really, really Christian, and that means that you would likely need to be OK with putting up with lots of really Christian stuff at family events, and/or participating in Church events, or being expected to join the flock. If you're not that into it, imagine spending a week at Christmas or Easter with her family that's really into Jesus.

    Also, think about how your family will receive her. If she's going to drive your family mad, then move on.

    I personally would have a lot of problems being married to a very Christian woman, maybe she's cool but eventually you're going to start hanging out with the creepy/pushy religious types who want to convert the world, starting with you. It'll really suck if this person is a good friend of your girlfriend/wife and you have to see them a lot.

    Posted by K June 8, 09 12:31 PM
  1. Let me just pose one question to the person writing in:

    Name one single thing that organized religion has ever contributed since the beginning of time to the happiness or advancement of the human race? Just one thing. Ever. ??

    I only see sadness, death, guilt, destruction, etc.

    The further you are from very religious people, the better off you'll be.

    Posted by MPS June 8, 09 12:37 PM
  1. compromise is the name of the game and if you really love each other you'll be more than willing to do that for each other on many things. Give it a chance!

    Pam

    Posted by Pam June 8, 09 12:41 PM
  1. PINC - I was in a similar situation, though younger (mid 20's). A girl I worked with was born again, very religious, though not particularly evangelical. By that I mean she had a moral code rooted in her Christianity and she stuck to it. But she never pushed it on others. If someone asked, she'd explain, calmly, how her faith informed her decision making, but never did so in a judgemental way. And unlike the stereotypical "very religious" person, she could tell and take a joke.

    I was very into her (we had a lot of shared interests), and it was pretty obvious she was into me. I don't know if her faith would have allowed a non Christian, it may well have not allowed it. I do know that I never put the idea to the test, and that's a decision I wish I could get a "do over" on.

    As Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

    Posted by eireanch June 8, 09 12:46 PM
  1. My brother had a difficult time with it, he really liked this woman but she was very deep into her christian faith (Pentacostal) and my brother was far too liberal for her. They had some things in common (both fairly athletic and outdoorsy) but suddenly she made him feel like every little thing he did was a sin (listening to rock music, having a few drinks etc.) She also pushed him to join her religion one time too many and finally he had to break up. I think it depends on what level of religion she lets dictate her life. Talk about it now, get some things out on the table and go from there, don't think because you love each other she'll lay off on her beliefs or you will become a part of her beliefs, there has to be mutual respect on both ends.

    Posted by LVK June 8, 09 12:46 PM
  1. RUN FAST!!!!!!!! OR STAY - Ya never know, in a couple of years of putting up with your BULL-CRAP - SHE MIGHT TURN INTO A FULL BLOWN 'whiskey drinker" ALCOHOLIC - and PUT YOUR DRINKIN TO SHAME!!! That's what happened to me & one of my past x-boyfriends

    Posted by Been around June 8, 09 12:49 PM
  1. If she was VERY RELIGIOUS she probably wouldn't be dating a guy who isn't religious at all. Or she could be one of the "I'll save him" types and try to convert you later in the relationship. She and her church are going to want you to participate in the church activies (bake sales, clean teams, music team) not to mention the bible studies and prayer groups. You could be at church 2 or 3 times a week and don't forget all day on Sunday (service and then fellowship after). If she asks you to come to chuch once to check it out, then this is def something that she is trying to do. I see it all the time at my church. You need to have an honest converstation with her and let her know that you like her, BUT, you are not interested in church AT ALL(bot now, not ever), but you would like to give the relationship a shot. If you tell her that you understand if she wants to end things because she doesn't want to waste time, that is fine too. I think she will appericate your honesty.

    Posted by ladygaga June 8, 09 12:53 PM
  1. I don't see the big deal with "converting". I mean, you still have your beliefs. It's more of just going to church and going through the motions.

    I go to Church on the holidays that I spend with my in-laws, and I'm not very religious. But if you are dead set against participating in any religious type events, you're probably not compatible. If you ever have kids, there will be problems.

    Just sit her down and talk to her about it and if you guys like each other enough, maybe you can work something out.

    Posted by Mikey "Insane" Monkeypants June 8, 09 01:01 PM
  1. IT COULD WORK.

    ANYTHING CAN WORK, IF YOU WANT IT TOO.

    IF A HUMAN AND A VAMPIRE CAN MAKE IT WORK, SO CAN YOU. THE REAL QUESTION HERE IS HOW MUCH DO YOU REALLY LIKE HER AND IS SHE WORTH IT?

    THE FACT THAT YOU'RE QUESTIONING THINGS ALREADY TELLS ME THAT YOU'RE NOT THAT INTO HER ALREADY. DONT USE RELIGION AS AN EXCUSE FOR YOUR OWN INSECURITIES.

    Posted by LC June 8, 09 01:01 PM
  1. Nope, no chance here. Fundamentalists belong with other fundamentalists, just like depressives belong with other depressives. The problem won't be you tolerating her strong beliefs; most moderate believers can do that-- it'll be that she can't tolerate your middling beliefs. Fundamentalists-- or 'very christians' or whatever polite term you want to use-- have a very difficult time accepting others who don't care to believe like they do.

    As Meredith said, this will manifest most severely in kids. It will also manifest most immediately in sex, since I'm presuming a very christian girl isn't giving you any. Either way, look for your own kind.

    Posted by Joey June 8, 09 01:03 PM
  1. So, have you already had the whole "religion is a bunch of charmingly ignorant, infantile-minded, ancient made-up campfire tales, invented by people who had absolutely no idea how existence came about" talk yet???

    Or perhaps try the ol' "the basis of Christianity is a rip-off, stolen tale that already existed with alternate gods/characters plugged in WAAAAAY before JC even came along... complete with virgin births, disciples, 3-day resurrections, etc." spiel????

    If nothing else, try selling her on the future well-being and mental health of the child. Try talking to her about how you wouldn't want your children afflicted with the same delusional cognitive operations that her parents obviously inflicted upon her. If you make it about the health of the child, you really can't go wrong in trying to reach her.

    Whenever I come across someone who simply can't give up the hoopla because of the "family history betrayal" aspect, I usually use very simple, concrete reason to attempt to get through. If this doesn't work, I simply decide that the cause is lost. It's a tricky situation when people can't rid themselves of something that is so tied to their identity. These beliefs become engrained, and every other aspect of their being becomes skewed to this end. It's (non-divine) intervention time!!!

    Posted by DJMcG June 8, 09 01:15 PM
  1. It depends on both of your expectations, tolerance, acceptance, and child rearing ideas. Is she going to expect you to go to church with her every weekend, if so, are you ok with that? Is she going to harass you for drinking a beer, or does she not care that you drink? Most importantly, have you talked to her about your ideas of religion in child rearing, and are you both ok with each other's ideas and expectations when raising a child?

    My parents (who are still happily married after over 35 years) have different religious views- my mom is Methodist (a fairly moderate branch of Christianity) and is what I consider very religious: she goes to church every weekend, is pretty active in the church activities, and has very conservative "moral" values, but she is not over-the-top zealous-religious. My Dad was raised (forced) Christian, but never believed in the whole "religion" thing. When I was growing up, neither one of them forced me to either be religious or not be religious- they let me decide for myself. I went to Sunday school for a bit, but when I didn't like it, I didn't have to go anymore. I was never forced to go to church, but we would all accompany my Mom for X-mas eve, Easter, and Mother's Day so she wouldn't have to go alone. My Dad gave me a bible one year for x-mas and said it wasn't meant as a religious gift, but he thought that it offered some good life lessons and morals. I know they talked about child rearing and religion a lot before having kids, because my Dad grew up resenting religion because he was forced into it by his parents. So I truly appreciated not only not being forced into one certain religion or non-religion, but having my parents demonstrate that people have different views on the world, and that neither is inherently right or wrong, was a great life lesson. It doesn't have to spell disaster- sometimes it can illustrate that tolerance, acceptance, and respecting other people's choices and views may be characteristics that encourage a long term, happy relationship, rather than just being the same religion. (There are plenty of couples that aren't happy and/or divorced who are the same religion.)
    Skyler

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 01:16 PM
  1. Like babygorilla, I've worn a yamaha on my head at my girlfirend's house in Brookline. Religion is not the issue, it's that you want to party like a Kennedy. Maybe like the mother in "Carrie" she'll smell the whiskey on your breathe and like it?

    Posted by Bustoff June 8, 09 01:24 PM
  1. MPS, who do you think kept learning going in the Dark Ages? The Monks, that's who. Who do you think provides billions of dollars in charity and in free time every year? The "religious people".

    Get a clue...

    Posted by ME June 8, 09 01:24 PM
  1. Rico-la, Bubala
    It’s hard to believe you are MOT. You speak in 3rd person…and that’s a Trinity…making you the Holy Spirit.

    Oil, not Gas
    Maccabee, not Mobil

    Love, Skull & Roses,
    Val

    Posted by valentino June 8, 09 01:29 PM
  1. Hey, Reek --- you still don't know if your child will be having a bar or bat mitzvah? I would have thought you'd be the type to change diapers from time to time.

    Hahahahaha!

    Posted by Frico June 8, 09 01:30 PM
  1. What does comment #62 have ANYthing to do with this post? It is very offensive. The letter does NOT mention "organized religion".

    My relationship with God has saved my life. Andy many others I know. My relationship with Jesus brings me Joy. Not destruction. Not death. Not sadness.

    Posted by swfoutsida June 8, 09 01:30 PM
  1. I grew up in a very devout home. There are indeed a lot of ways to interprate "Very Christian". As mentioned previously how much exactly do you drink? I don't drink because I don't like alchol. Does that make me a religious fanatic? I don't mind someone drinking around me but I do have issues with people who drink to get drunk. I know several woman whose husbands did not join their chuch. Their husbands were supportive of them attending and paying for trips to church conferences but never came themselves. I do agree that a woman is going to want her children to be brought up in her religion. That will be non negociable.

    Posted by honk June 8, 09 01:31 PM
  1. As someone who is "Very Christian" (and yet! a lot of fun! i enjoy a glass of wine ... and yes, i can make a pretty incredible grilled cheese sandwich! ) I'd talk with her directly about these concerns. My worry is that, if she really is "very Christian" then she's probably going to want, deep down, to be with someone who is too, because it goes way beyond a beer or two... it's a question of what are the fundamental ways you view life, family, children, etc. My worry is that, because she's 35, she's saying a bit of "screw it, i haven't found a Christian man yet and my clock is ticking..." which won't make her happy long-term if she "compromises" in that way. Then again, maybe that's not her view at all. Talk with her.

    #62 made me really sad. Really? Is that what you have seen? I'm really sorry for that. Even just naming Mother Teresa should temper such a blanket statement?

    Posted by christina June 8, 09 01:39 PM
  1. I don't even like my ultra-religious neighbors, I can't imagine being in a relationship with someone.

    I would watch George Carlin on Religion (google it for written transcript or youtube video -- it's a classic) with her and see if she can laugh at herself. If she gets offended, I'd run away.

    Just remember, you want a family, that means your kids' views will be shaped by this loon.

    Posted by Dave R June 8, 09 01:45 PM
  1. a lot of christians have conversations with God, so maybe you can ask her to ask Jeebus what you should do???

    Posted by nacho June 8, 09 01:51 PM
  1. She doesn't drink because she's very religious? Huh? I thought Johnny Appleseed...er wrong fictional character....Jesus loved to tip back some vino? Turning water into wine and all that? Yes? Bottle of red, bottle of white, it all depends upon your appetite. JC will meet the apostles anytime you want...

    What do you mean she's "VERY religious"? I was told that priests were VERY religious too? How's that working out for them and the thousands of cases of child abuse?

    OK, ok, enough from me. There is no need for this to turn into a religious debate, since it seems to me that the letter writer is quite adamant about his position on the matter. At this point in their lives, it seems the risk vs. reward scale is tipped heavily toward risk. You should discuss it in depth (marriage ceremony, kids, holidays, etc., etc.). I think in doing so, you will end up agreeing to disagree and opting to go your separate ways.

    You're 39. Make things easier on yourself. Find someone who isn't as uptight, makes a spine-tingling grilled cheese sandwich, and doesn't cringe at the sound of a beer being cracked open.

    Posted by Bob Dwyer June 8, 09 01:56 PM
  1. Very Christian means different things to different people. The fact that she is dating you indicates that she's not very extreme. I think if you develop a mature, healthy way of talking about it there's no reason it can't work.

    And, psssttt.....EVERY relationship has something that has to be worked out. Whether it's religion, race, conflicting hobbies, politics, height, what-have-you. A relationship should make both parties better, and requires both parties to grow and change together. If your attitude is "I am who I am, and I change nothing for no one", then do yourselves a favor and split. A great relationship is two people who love each other enough to make it work....whatever their particular "it" is. Real love can overcome just about anything......this difference between you is relatively minor if you really love each other. It may be too soon to tell.

    Posted by yikes June 8, 09 01:58 PM
  1. I was raised Catholic and even though I no longer believe, I find I am still very intolerant of Evangelicalism. I find its belief in salvation by faith (no charity) hypocritical (cheap grace) and I find many of the Evangelical churches' positions on things like gay marriage imoral. Also, I still believe there is only one true church, and these Evangelical ones were just made up.

    I am only mentioning this because you seem to be questioning whether you will live up to her moral standards, but I am wondering if you have considered whether she will live up to yours.

    Posted by sarah June 8, 09 01:59 PM
  1. I was raised Catholic and even though I no longer believe, I find I am still very intolerant of Evangelicalism. I find its belief in salvation by faith (no charity) hypocritical (cheap grace) and I find many of the Evangelical churches' positions on things like gay marriage imoral. Also, I still believe there is only one true church, and these Evangelical ones were just made up.

    I am only mentioning this because you seem to be questioning whether you will live up to her moral standards, but I am wondering if you have considered whether she will live up to yours.

    Posted by sarah June 8, 09 02:00 PM
  1. I'm not Christian and I don't drink either - and not because I couldn't handle alcohol. I've always wondered whether mentioning this disqualifies me in the eyes of prospective dates (women), even though I have no problem with them drinking alcohol, as long as it is moderate and they can handle it. Seems to me that those who drink are less tolerant of those who don't.

    Posted by The Dude June 8, 09 02:01 PM
  1. I've been married for 12 years to a guy whose idea of religion is the Gospel Music Channel. He is a Methodist from Virginia, I'm a Catholic from MA.

    I have told him I would willingly go with him to Methodist services, but he's really not inclined, so I go to my church, alone.

    I love my husband, but I guess I'm more old fashioned than I thought. He is a good man, but for this and other reasons, I would not marry him now, knowing what I know. I think you both should find someone else.

    Posted by sparky June 8, 09 02:03 PM
  1. babygorilla's comment is the reason it's best to never trust a Catholic - they always justify their dishonesty.

    PINC - understand one basic truth: there are plenty of fish in the sea. It's not worth hanging around a religious wing-nut just because you find her physically appealing.

    Posted by CJ June 8, 09 02:13 PM
  1. I can think of few advantages to this relationship:
    - You'd have a permanent designated driver - so drink up
    - Restaurant bills would be cheaper (only one would be drinking)
    - Quiet Sunday mornings (as long as she's not noisy when she leave's for church?)
    - You'd have someone who could talk "shop" with the Jehovah's Witnesses when they rang the bell
    - Thriftshopper - or better still she could wear your/her mother's clothes
    - If she used the lord's name in vain - you'd know you'd really hit the spot
    - She could introduce you to all the hot religious babes - you know should be able to turn one (or if there is a god - two) of them.

    Posted by did-a-key June 8, 09 02:14 PM
  1. The biggest problem I see is that VERY CHRISTIAN frequently means fundamentalist which means very judgemental and very criitical of others if they don't share precisely the same beliefs. I cannot see how you would avoid judgement and criticism. Every argument could end up in well God doesn't see it that way! How are you going to argue with GOD? Who wants to argue with GOD? You can't win. Plus, I bet the sex will suck...

    Posted by secure123 June 8, 09 02:15 PM
  1. Sounds to me like Patrick is a booze hound. That can get REAL old FAST.

    Posted by Shecky28 June 8, 09 02:16 PM
  1. RUN....RUN...RUN...I am from Massachusetts and living in Texas. I grew up Catholic but am not religious. The little kids that my sons go to school with frequently tell the non "VERY CHRISTIAN" children that they will never go to heaven b/c they have not accepted Jesus as their saviour. Religious loons want to impose their values on you. (Much like radical liberals who want to impose the absence of morality on you). Get out now.

    Posted by Middle of the Road June 8, 09 02:21 PM
  1. "religion is the opiate of the people"

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 02:22 PM
  1. Get out!!! Extremely religious people usually have issues and never trust anyone who doesn't drink or have some vice.

    Posted by Beantwon13 June 8, 09 02:28 PM
  1. If you are honest with each other, tolerant of each others differences, respectful and you love each other, believe me it WILL work.

    Posted by greenleaf June 8, 09 02:31 PM
  1. "Gotta love all the anti-religious bigots posting here. Are those the same people who preach tolerance?"
    No they aren't. Bigots by definition don't preach tolerance. Unfortunately there are plenty of them out there, both of the religious and non-religious persuasion.

    Posted by Ripper June 8, 09 02:34 PM
  1. Could someone on this thread please explain to me why all you Jesus Worshippers don't get along? You all believe in God and Jesus, read the bible, follow the commandments but you get into these ridiculous tangles over the details! I really don't understand it at all, wouldn't the J-Man want you guys to be friends?
    The letter itself sounds to me like Patrick is looking for an out just in case he gets in over his head. Perhaps he's not as into this woman as he says he is or he's just sweating the details way too hard.

    Posted by Ms. Troy June 8, 09 02:40 PM
  1. i agree.... we need the butt shows and grilled cheese kind of letters. those help me thru my day when i need a good laugh.

    but i guess i could give input on this topic as well (sigh). i think if you really like her you need to give it a chance, but you MUST have a convo with her about this stuff. considering your ages, i dont think it would be asking too much to have the convo and get this stuff out in the open so you can make a decision on whether or not to stick around or not.

    Posted by needs some entertainment June 8, 09 02:46 PM
  1. MPS, didn't organized religion help MLK, Jr. organize his civil rights movement? That's one.

    Posted by The Dude June 8, 09 02:48 PM
  1. Communication - Tolerance - Compromise
    Those are your three key words.
    I have a very good friend who is Jewish, her husband Catholic.
    Wedding - both rabbi and priest on the alter each giving their part of the ceremony.
    Child has been raised with both religions.
    My daughter is Catholic and my SIL is Native American.
    My granddaughter is being exposed to both religions.
    So far, so good with both!

    Posted by RedSox13 June 8, 09 02:48 PM
  1. You need to have a long, serious discussion with her before deciding anything, but IMNSHO, it won't work. For religious people, that permeates every aspect of their being and you can't reconcile living different lifestyles. If one of you is a lukewarm Catholic and the other a lukewarm Protestant, that's different. Those differences are almost negligible. But "hardcore religious" and "not really that religious" is another story.

    Talk to her about kids, lifestyles, etc. Anyone thinking about a long-term relationship should discuss these issues anyway. But what happens when you want to hang out with the guys on Saturday night and have a few beers? Are you okay with your kids being super religious? With making donations to church? What about about when she wants you to convert (because that WILL happen)?

    Posted by WhirledPeas June 8, 09 02:51 PM
  1. Without shared values, Relationships don't work . . . do the two of you have enough shared values?

    Posted by jBo June 8, 09 02:54 PM
  1. Sometimes I think having an open marriage allows folks to overcome these differences. Try it, you'll like it. And she will loosen up.

    Posted by Don Juan June 8, 09 02:55 PM
  1. I think you should always give the relationship a chance and not be afraid of how you think things might turn out. I am religious, my fiancee is not. We both made some compromises--I spend a fair number of lazy Sunday mornings with him instead of in church (but I never did for anyone else I dated), and he agreed to get married by my minister in my church, etc. I don't pressure him to explore his religious identity and it's basically a nonissue.

    Looking ahead, I'm more worried about the tithing than the kids. If we have children, I would like to bring them to church / Sunday School as long as they enjoy it. If the don't want to go, I won't force them. But we had to work out a fancy accounting method that keeps our money separate enough so I can tithe and he does not have to. At first I wanted to tithe 10% of all of our money, but we found a compromise.

    We didn't talk about these things until we were engaged, but it sounds like I am less religious than your new girlfriend. You should probably find out how strongly she feels about these things now.

    Posted by Edna June 8, 09 03:02 PM
  1. Can it work long term? NO! NO! NO! Little differences while your dating turn into a HUGE deal once married and with children. Trust me. I've seen many marriages crumble due to years and years and years of feeling loney because you're with someone whom you just do not see eye to eye with on things so very basic. Imagine how you'd feel wiht all your kids being 'very Christian", being that extreme about their behaviors, or worse, and this I have seen VERY often, one of your kids is NOT 'very christian" and your wife is reprimanding them, arguing with them, pushing them away from you trying to make this 'sinner' conform, worried about their soul, and you're watching this catastrophy and either being helpless or getting into HUGE arguments with your spouce about your very basic differences that could rip your family apart. I think I am much older than Merridith, have many children behind me, witnessed many blooming relationships who were so proud of their differences only crash and burn very painfully. Of the times that mixed religions work it is when BOTH sides are pretty lax about their religion. But when one is very strong, and the other is trying to accomodate, it most likely will mean ruin. RUN! This wont work. If you see your child being abused or pushed away from your radical spouse, you WILL chose to side with your child. Trust me. Do yourself a favor. Leave now. Good luck.

    older


    Posted by Older and Wiser June 8, 09 03:08 PM
  1. Move on and be friends as this is not going to work.

    Posted by John M June 8, 09 03:08 PM
  1. If there are problems already, run. Trust me, you have seen nothing yet. Have a family crisis, she will disappear. Have a life issue, she's running away. Has she been 100% truthful about stuff? You will find out from third parties eventually. Women that are not into you but into their religion, jobs, friends, their family, and cloud 9, just run and find the right one.

    Posted by bob June 8, 09 03:21 PM
  1. Rico changes diapers and knows whether it will be a Bar or Bat mitzvah, he just doesn't feel like telling the world...he'll happily share most everythign else but some personal items he chooses to keep to himself.

    Oy' can't Rico have some bit of mystery in his life?

    Just because Rico doesn't own a car and doesn't care to, he most likely some day will have to buya car. He WON'T be buying a hybrid...they are worse for the environment than a Hummer...Look it up, it is true. Those batteries and the manufacturing process are worse for the environment than a hummer over it's life...And don't get Rico started on bottled water.

    Gears not Gas, Love thy environment, Love thou Children...

    Rico love you all,

    Rico

    Posted by Rico June 8, 09 03:30 PM
  1. Yeah, Rico's not too interested in this one. He only commented twice this time instead of his usual three or four long-winded responses.

    Posted by Truman June 8, 09 03:35 PM
  1. I've seen it work when one goes over the other side or not. Regardless one side dominates when bring up the kids. However, I think this relationship is doomed, because you guys obviously can't communicate with each other. If you don't ask you can't get an answer.

    I've know people that were very christian and had premarital sex, drank, smoked, etc. Then they went to confession. So you've got to ask. I would be more concerned about my sex life than a couple of beers.

    Posted by jojobobo June 8, 09 03:40 PM
  1. Meredith and moderator,

    Please consider instituting a one comment per day policy. The comments about comments, follow up comments, Rico's desperate attention seeking (i.e. 4+ comments per day), etc. are dilluting the forum from what I believe is it's original intention of dispensing advice to the letter writer on the subject of the letter. Thank you for your consideration.

    Posted by Dr. Tom Davis June 8, 09 03:45 PM
  1. rico shouldnt be allowed to comment on this one... he is divorced!

    Posted by chris June 8, 09 03:58 PM
  1. Opposites can attract just fine. It's 2009!!! Anything is possible. Cupid's bow strikes where it wants to. My advice to you sir is to open your eyes and your heart, you may be surprised at what you find. There may be a reason why this woman was brought into your life at this moment in time. Ya never know she could be an angel sent here to bring some life, love and light into your dark existence.

    Posted by trueluv4eva June 8, 09 03:59 PM
  1. Come out Virginia, don't make me wait.

    Posted by Billy Joel June 8, 09 03:59 PM
  1. The "Very" Christian person needs to look to the one who made a "Very Christian Person" for direction. Love is difficult to define, however, God should be consulted.

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 04:01 PM
  1. Lips that touch liquor will never touch mine...

    Posted by Bustoff June 8, 09 04:04 PM
  1. For what it's worth, my boyfriend and I are of two different religions (Catholic and Baptist) and are both pretty deeply rooted in our faiths. It's hard, but we're doing everything we can to make it work. We go to both services on Sundays, we have both versions of the Bible at home (who knew the language would be so different). We respect the differences in our beliefs, but there are enough similar things that we can have meaningful discussions on the things that we learn in the services we attend. We've both made it clear that neither of us are going to convert and that's okay. We're still testing the waters of how much involvement we want to have in the other's church - it's definitely a work in progress. We decided that the only way this difference is going to work out is if we both put a foot in the other's spirituality. We don't have kids and I honestly don't know what we'll do if that happens, but I am sure that our kids will be raised to know faith and Christianity. I think they'll be okay no matter what religion we pick for them.

    I guess my point is this: it will work if you want it to work. If you can't have this conversation about how you're going to be a couple of different faiths, then it's not going to work. It took us about a year and a half of discussions and fights and lots of emotion to come to the place we are now. He's worth it to me. If she's not worth it to you, then this relationship isn't going to get anywhere.

    Posted by TC June 8, 09 04:07 PM
  1. Dr. Tom Davis. You are a moron! Go live in Communist Russia or China or North Korea if you want there to be no freedom of speech. For those of us living here in the great US of A we would rather not hear from you asking for censorship. If Rico, Hoss, Frico etc...want to post 18 times a day then so be it, if you don't like it then go read something else that might appeal to someone of your intelligence. I hear Disney has a great website. You Idiot.

    Half the fun of reading this forum is to hear what Rico is discussing in third person. He may not always be correct but it's entertainment.

    Posted by Dr Tom Davis is a loser June 8, 09 04:07 PM
  1. The strongest relationships I have seen are couples who share a deep conviction together. Some of the strongest bonds can come from sharing the same religious faith. However, mutual and strong political convictions or other philosophical beliefs can also result in a tight cohesion between mates. Likewise, opposites in these areas can easily lead to grief and failure in the relationship. If she is VERY Christian then a relationship with you is probably not permitted by her church. If she is NOT committed then there is room for a lot of personal and religious compromise. If she is VERY committed then conflicts can cause her to choose her faith over you.

    Posted by cabianni June 8, 09 04:09 PM
  1. She's probably making Patrick GREAT GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES !!

    Posted by Been around June 8, 09 04:10 PM
  1. The "Very" Christian person needs to look to the one who made a "Very Christian Person" for direction. Love is difficult to define, however, God should be consulted.

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 04:10 PM
  1. I am a recovering Catholic who once dated a sermon-a-day, born again Christian who WOULD NOT STOP talking about Jesus. It was a very shortlived relationship. I became tired of him trying to bring me over to the Dark Side so I broke up with him.

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 04:11 PM
  1. Mike, comment #25 - HILARIOUS with "there will be recruiting." So true!

    I am Catholic, and I dated what I now label a "Super-Catholic" for a couple of years. Seemed inocuous enough at first...after all, he was a good person and we were the same religion. NOT SO! These "Super-Catholic" and "Very Christian" types can't put up with someone who is not lock-step with them in the long haul.

    Unless you like the recruitment aspect, which really has no place in a love relationship, it's time to say "Godspeed" to the Very Christian!.

    Posted by Jetta June 8, 09 04:31 PM
  1. I agree that I think anything can work, as long as your work this all out...

    If she is VERY Christian, it maybe very difficult since you are not Christian.

    Posted by hubguyinarlington June 8, 09 04:34 PM
  1. Run don't walk away from this situation. I was happily married until my husband out of the blue (with some pressure from his family) became a born again Chrisitian. It was the most painful 3 years of my life trying to make sense of his fanaticism. I was on the verge of laughing the few times I went to church with him it was so over the top. He spent at least 4 nights a week in church (yes he was in church, I followed him in the bginning to be sure). He spent every holiday at "his" church. He wouldn't go to the movies, have a drink etc.. This is a no win situation.

    Posted by annonymous June 8, 09 04:41 PM
  1. Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with the Heavenly Father. Anyone who is a Christian who has a spouse who is not, keep praying for them. Put your faith and trust in Him.

    Posted by presciousblood June 8, 09 04:45 PM
  1. Don't! Women see men as a work in progress, and think they can change them after marriage. Also, if this woman is religious, childless, and never married, she sounds like old leftovers that nobody wanted. Religious people love to get married and pop out babies as fast as they can, since premarital sex is so evil.

    Posted by Bee June 8, 09 04:51 PM
  1. Patrick - RUN! No. It won't work. Look at the people saying it will! They're all rug rats. "my boyfriend" "my fiance' "I've seen folks get married"...ok, that's great. Folks with less than five years experience and nobody with kids. You just said you want kids. The person with the window into the huge arguments that come up when kids do NOT conform is very true. How comfortable are you seeing your child reprimanded for, well, being more like you? You think this women will not blame you, spite you, be resentful to you for being such a bad influence on her children???? Here's a another nugget of gold_ Make note, whomever you marry, the women, once you have a family, she defines the household. Oh yes, it sounds old fasion, but it's true. The women rules the roost at home. Who do you want making our home? Do you want to feel like a stranger in your own home? Trust me. Your instincts are correct. You are very much ready to walk, and you're right. Walk. You'll look back 20 years from now and say "Thank God!" as you watch families fall apart from these differences.


    Posted by Grampa June 8, 09 04:56 PM
  1. Here is the important thing...DO NOT CHANGE YOUR BELIEFS FOR HER! I know plenty of people that "went religious" to hook up with a broad. It never lasted and they went back to being themselves (i.e. not religious). As long as you don't change and she's doesn't have a problem with that then it could work. If she starts preaching then get out..........

    Posted by nash June 8, 09 05:00 PM
  1. I definitely don't think that your relationship will work unless you're both willing to make compromises, and if you STICK to those compromises. For example, she might want you to be a bit more devout/religious about certain things, and you might want her to be less so about others, especially with regards to future children.

    Realistically, however, I don't see this working. I think that one of you is going to have to give up more than the other, and I think it might end up being you. If you have to be super devout about certain things (especially with kids) in order to keep her happy as the relationship gets more serious, or if she has to give up major parts of her religious practices in order to make sure you're not too freaked out, then you guys aren't going to be happy.

    I would definitely have a very long talk about this. And while I do agree that if you love each other, it's worth giving it a shot, I also believe that love won't solve everything. You might love each other, but be deeply unhappy together, and that's not okay.

    Posted by sabend June 8, 09 05:04 PM
  1. Dear Middle of the Road,

    I grew up in Boston. All the RC's told me that I was going to hell because I wasn't Catholic. No denomination or state, even Texas, has a monopoly on hate.

    Patrick should talk to his girlfriend. And get it in writing.

    Posted by Delilah June 8, 09 05:05 PM
  1. I was raised an Evangelical Christian and my husband was raised Catholic, and enjoys his occasional beer. He has no problem with the kids going to my church. We have the same set of values and he occasionally will attend services at my church. He doesn't belong to a parish and is a non-practicing Catholic. He made it clear that he has no problem with the differences. If your religion is important to you, then date a fellow Catholic on the same "religious level" as you. Otherwise, leave this woman to find a better boyfriend.

    Posted by Anonymous June 8, 09 05:29 PM
  1. Who do you pray to? Monkeys? Yourself?

    Posted by north of Boston June 8, 09 05:38 PM
  1. Despite what many of the naysayers have been saying on this forum, I think it can definitely work. The main question does she have a problem with people who don't agree with her on everything about her faith? As someone who is a devout Catholic, I do like to drink beer, and have a good time. If she can't handle people who don't follow her every single belief, then it won't work. But, if she respects others right to their own opinion then it wouldn't say it's a deal breaker. Obviously having children and how they are raised will be a issue of discussion, but that's par for the course in any marriage or long-term relationship. The child, seeing two different sets of view on issues of religion might actually be more tolerant than many of the people on this board who call people of faith "crazy".

    Posted by Jim June 8, 09 05:50 PM
  1. My ex-husband was 'VERY Christian' and I never have been. For him, "VERY christian" was socializing primarily with people from the church - which is NEVER as fun as it sounds. I tried really hard to make it work - but living "VERY christian" ended up being hell on earth for me.

    Posted by Karmen June 8, 09 06:05 PM
  1. So many bitter people here. How many of them actually thought about some issues with their crush enough to even send a letter to an advice column? The sex was good or the SO was hot and they just went ahead with a relationship, and now have buyer's remorse? Now they advise everyone with a concern to JUST RUN because their own situation did not work out?
    Running is not going to save someone from dating someone with differences, that ALWAYS happens. It may save them from dating someone that has non-negotiables that clash with their own non-negotiables. In any case, open and honest discussion and a lot of compromise is going to be what determines ultimate compatability. That and a lot of humming the mantra "do you want to be right or do you wan to be happy?"

    Posted by beenthrutherapyandwiser June 8, 09 06:35 PM
  1. My parents are two different religions, but when they got married my father wasn't too religious, so they got married in my mom's church. After my parents had me and my brothers, my father claims he "saw the light", and became born again and a big religious fanatic. Ever since, he's been pushing the rest of the family to get baptized in his church, turning us against our mom, blaming her for all the problems and trying to estrange us from my mother's friends and family. My mom continues to go to her church. It's been a tug of war as long as I can remember. It has really turned me off to the whole religion debate, so I don't go to any church now. It has really confused me and affected my personality and mental well being! I am always made to feel guilty about not choosing, and that I will go to hell, pretty much.
    It will only work if one of you is always willing to give in (it's usually the more laid back person NOT the more religious person), or if you are both not very strict in your own different religions.
    Very religious people believe that God always comes first, before anything else....meaning family would come after that. So, whatever they believe will get them and their loved ones to Heaven, they will do it, even if it means making them very upset and causing family problems, they do it because they "care" about you and want you to come to the truth.
    Anyway, I can go on and on, but for sure there will be conflict (as with most relationships, if it's not one thing it's another), but if she's irrational in her religious beliefs, it will be hell for you. Good luck

    Posted by Rose June 8, 09 06:37 PM
  1. You know, Jesus is kind of an ass... especially as described by the "very christian" Stay with me here a moment: Jesus is supposed to be about love, but if you don't believe in him, or disagree with him, then he condemns you to eternal hell... So I guess the god of love is only love for those who follow his instructions and for the rest it means "believe in me or suffer for all eternity."

    Jesus is a blackmailer, full of hatred and ready to condemn someone just for not believing in him. Doesn't quite sound right to me. I think the Buddhists or Hindus may have it better :P

    Posted by Ponce June 8, 09 07:42 PM
  1. PINC-read post 126 and 130. The woman rules the roost at home. The kids attend her church and he occasionally goes to services at her church. If this is the life you want-stay. Otherwise get out now.

    Posted by Bambinosmom June 8, 09 07:47 PM
  1. Run before she tries to convert you and trust me, it's her duty to "convert"

    Posted by ramona126 June 8, 09 08:21 PM
  1. I am Catholic and my husband is Protestant. I met him at a house party - he had been drinking. That made for an easy transition into the relationship for us (on the outside, he seemed like a lot of other guys I'd met). Once I got to know him (and his family) better, the conversations naturally turned to religion. I was initially interested in learning more about his faith as it seemed more progressive than the religion I had been raised in. Two or three trips to his church showed me that my feelings about religion were not going to change.
    I asked him one very important (for me) question while we were dating: Will you place your relationship with me and our family above your relationship with God? The conversation got into my specific fear that he would be called to serve God more readily than he had been up to that point in his life and I would lose him to his "church family". I told him straight up that I could never be married to a pastor or someone who felt that their responsibility to their family and marriage came second to anything.
    I also like the comment made in posting #24 - engaging in pre-marital sex says a lot about a person's commitment to their religion - especially at a mature age!
    I was fortunate that my husband had his own doubts and regrets about organized religion. We have been married now for 9 yrs. We had the important conversations about child rearing practices and day to day life in our marriage before we said "I do" but anyone who enters into a marriage without doing so (religion being the issue or not) is taking a risk.
    The main issue for us remains that I continue to have issue with his family's level of "religiousness". He knows I can only tolerate so much, and after 10 yrs, and having a VERY hard time dealing with the guilt his mother places on him for not attending church. To make matters worse, we live 500 miles away, so when we visit, we are there for 3+ days, staying with them in their homes, following their routines. They have gotten accustomed to the fact that I don't always go to church with them come Sunday morning.
    But, we love each other very much and this is only a minor issue since (thankfully) we only visit 2-3 times a year. And my husband understands how I feel and works with me to redirect my frustration when he sees my patience being tested.
    I hope this helps you make a decision about what is right for you. Good luck!

    Posted by agnostic & happy June 8, 09 08:36 PM
  1. When I married my wife, she was RC and I was Jewish. I have since concluded that atheism is probably closest to the truth, and she has become more like an evangelical. We're very happy, but I have no patience for the actual belief in Jewish zombies and hidden sky fathers.

    Since you aren't married, I'd say move on unless she's willing to respect your boundaries when it comes to religion. And for you, if you're not OK with her need for an imaginary binky, then you'll just wind up frustrated.

    Posted by Larry Tanner June 8, 09 09:27 PM
  1. How sad that people feel entitled to rip on the religious, but if anyone says anything negative about any other group of people they're a racist/bigot. Hypocritical, don't you think? If we're to have respect for all groups, lets have respect for ALL groups.

    Posted by SandT June 8, 09 09:29 PM
  1. Been there, done that, run run run run

    Posted by beentheredonethat June 8, 09 09:48 PM
  1. Well there are Christians and there are Christians . . . Some of the mainstream Protestant sects are pretty progressive. Anglicans, Lutherans, American (not Southern) Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, all seem to be making an effort to embrace the 21st Century, as opposed to the church in which we were raised, which is doing its level best to return us all to the 13th. However if she's a fundy, an evangelical, a born-again, a holy roller, if she starts speaking in tongues over dinner . . . RUN LIKE HELL!

    Posted by PaulQ June 8, 09 10:01 PM
  1. If you are serious, I'd recommend counseling to explore the religious issues. There is so much more to it than whether you go to church on Sundays and have a beer now and then.

    What about birth control? Will you use it? Are you willing to parent & support 10 kids? What about the children's education? Will they have to go to parochial school? Will you convert to her religion if necessary?

    A facilitated discussion with a couples counselor would help you both identify key issues before you make any decisions.

    Posted by hollyp June 8, 09 10:18 PM
  1. My first wife was very religious; and I feigned it for a while and then expressed my "inner struggles" with God; in the end she was an athiest.

    Subversion is easiest from the inside.

    Posted by Mike S June 8, 09 10:23 PM
  1. By the way, didn't George Costanza try to convert to Latvian Orthodox to impress a girl? And we all know how that turned out.

    Posted by Jetta June 8, 09 10:23 PM
  1. So you're human and she has some moral standards - what's wrong with that. If its early days, then spend the next 2 years getting to know her more and like wise, she should get to know you, maybe within that 2 year period, the issues that you think are show stoppers now, may just become small compromises that you both have to make. Stop looking at the future from what you want and start considering what you can give to her.

    Posted by Aussie Tom June 8, 09 10:32 PM
  1. First things first - Does she put out?

    Also, when did she become "very religious"? Sudden onset of religious convictions are far more concerning than those who just embrace their heritage.

    But since Meredith asked us for personal stories - - - Religion is the source of so many issues in my family. My mother is a catholic turned evangelical catholic and my father has been referring to priests and pedophiles interchangeably since approx 1983. They remain miserably married for many reasons including but not limited to the catholic doctrine.

    So many others have asked the million dollar question - elaborate on "very". If she is a religious nutter than RUN RUN RUN. If she is a religious addict know there are no 12 step programs to save her. I love my mother but her religious convictions increasingly strain family ties. My husband asks me on a regular basis what is wrong w/ your mother? The truth is - she has out of control OCD that is exacerbated by a poor diet, and since she thinks Jesus will take care of her she doesn't help herself. I mention the diet b/c I really think her Irish ancestry plays a genetic role in the nuttiness.

    You are all too hard on #62 - "organized" religion is a problem. You shouldn't have to pay to pray. I personally feel the same way, although I will make one exception and that is Catholic Charities (not the Catholic Church) it really does a lot of good (can't escape Catholic Guilt - LOL)

    Posted by RealityChic June 8, 09 10:40 PM
  1. IT CAN WORK, T..HE SOLUTION IS VERY EASY, BUT YET VERY COMPLICATED. BECAUSE SHE IS A CHRISTIA MEANS THAT SHE HAS BEEN "BORN AGAIN", IN OTHER WORDS SHE HAS GIVEN HER HEART TO JESUS, AND MADE HIM HER LORD AND SAVIOR. SHE LIVES BY THE WORD OF GOD, WHICH IS THE HOLY BIBIE. YOU NEED TO ASK HER WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN, AND GIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE LORD. IT IS A VERY SIMPLE THING THAT INVOLVES YOU BELIEVING THAT JESUS DIED, AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD, AND IS ALIVE IN HEAVEN WATCHING OVER THOSE THAT BELONG TO HIM. IT TAKES A SIMPLE PRAYER, AND YOUR REAL DESIRE TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE AND LIVE FOR HIM. YOUR LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. SO THEN, IF THIS HAPPENS TO YOU, YOU AND YOUR GIRL FRIEND WILL BE ON THE SAME PAGE, AND NOT UNEQUELLY YOKED. THERE ARE MANY SCRIPTURES THAT TALK ABOUT THIS, BUT U MUST BE ON THE SAME PAGE SPIRITUALLY IN ORDER TO HAVE A WORKING MARRIAGE AND BE HAPPY. ASK YOUR GIRL FRIEND TO TAKE U TO HER CHURCH, WHERE U WILL HEAR PREACHING FROM GOD'S WORD, AND LEARN ABOUT JESUS. U WILL SEE AND HEAR THE DIFFERENCE. IT IS A WONDERFUL LIFE. I PRAY BLESSINGS ON U AND YOUR LOVED ONE, AND PRAY THAT U WILL TAKE THIS STEP INTO A NEW LIFE.

    Posted by DEE WENNING June 8, 09 10:46 PM
  1. As someone who tried to make it work with a "very Christian" boyfriend (he eventually left me to enter the priesthood), I suggest that you figure out the answer the following question (ask her): does she think that you are going to burn in hell if you don't accept Jesus as your savior? If she does, then there is really no way to build a life together. Even if it doesn't bother you too much that she believes such a thing, she will be chagrined about your eternal damnation. I always thought that as long as I was "good person," my ex would be OK with my not being a believer, but he kept on trying to get me to convert. It got to the point where I felt like a total hypocrite, trying to espouse his beliefs and being untrue to myself. I think that you should move on. Believe me -- it won't get any easier.

    Posted by Stormi June 9, 09 12:43 AM
  1. A relationship can work with different theological views: I've seen it work. It can strain relationships to the point of breaking, just like many differences between the couple.

    I've known people who started out meeting while out partying and then one suddenly sobered up and found religion. She'd say grace, he'd grab for the serving dishes on the table. Maybe she kept her mouth shut because she saw her past in his present.

    I was raised in a house where my mom converted to Catholicism when I was in my teenage years. My father continued to go to his church, my mom to her new one. The kids could pick and go wherever they wanted.

    I married a woman who was Jewish. She told me early on that no matter what her kids were going to be raised Jewish. (probably even before I considered myself to be in the running to be the father of said kids.) When our relationship grew to the point where I realized that her Jewish kids would be my Jewish kids, I was fine with that. Her Judaism is part of who she is as a person, and I would want my kids to have the opportunity to take on the traits of their mom. I may not be the best example, though. After 15+ years of marriage I decided to convert to Judaism as well.

    Like so many others have said, I think the key thing is to talk this out and see where your differeng views can mesh. If she thinks that you are going to hell since you weren't saved, but also figures that the relationship is for this life and not the next, is that something you can work with?

    Posted by Andrew June 9, 09 01:48 AM
  1. As someone who tried to make it work with a "very Christian" boyfriend (he eventually left me to enter the priesthood), I suggest that you figure out the answer the following question (ask her): does she think that you are going to burn in hell if you don't accept Jesus as your savior? If she does, then there is really no way to build a life together. Even if it doesn't bother you too much that she believes such a thing, she will be chagrined about your eternal damnation. I always thought that as long as I was "good person," my ex would be OK with my not being a believer, but he kept on trying to get me to convert. It got to the point where I felt like a total hypocrite, trying to espouse his beliefs and being untrue to myself. I think that you should move on. Believe me -- it won't get any easier.

    Posted by Stormi June 9, 09 01:48 AM
  1. getting advice from twilight? Is that wise? Last time I checked, that movie made my eyes bleed.

    Posted by ross June 9, 09 04:56 AM
  1. here's a not-so-religious posting- hummer is not totally hybrid-free-either. Hummer H3 that gets 100+ mpg and it goes from 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds — faster than the next-gen hybrid.I am buying this new H3 Hybrid.nice balance. GM is making a brave move in the right direction. Putting America blue collar back to work and replacing Unions with law making , removing the burden of employee benefits from corporate costs in the form of Health Insurance would insure competitiveness globally... its time we stand behind our local products with encouragement and support instead of bashing and doubt. would be a great patriotic act...

    Posted by hmmmmming June 9, 09 05:04 AM
  1. If she's of the evangelical crowd, I wouldn't bother trying. Unless, of course, she makes a really, really good grilled cheese sandwich...

    Posted by jazzmoose June 9, 09 05:06 AM
  1. May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house!' Toodle-oo, go with God, and don’t take any wooden nickels.if your so godly-innocent then why don’t you admit that evil?

    Posted by couts June 9, 09 05:17 AM
  1. I'd like to know what "grilled cheese" has to do with religion. Religious people of all stripes do all kinds of intimate, loving things. Get real. reindeergirl has taught in a fundamentalist private academy and got to know many of the parents - religious people can have more intimate fun than many non-pious people! (Just like those staid accountants and librarians, staid on the job, that is, are the biggest partiers.)

    My ex-husband is a lapsed Catholic. I am a Unitarian. His family is very pious, mine is very nothing. We agreed that we either raise our child within both Catholicism and Unitarianism, or raise our child with no religion. Because I have full physical and legal custody,, the Unitarianism occassionally creeps in. But basically we are rasing the child to respect ALL beliefs, without imposing too many of our own.

    reindeergirl has a question for Rico, who hates cheaters - if the wife cheats with her religion, does that make her a cheater?

    reindeergirl <3 valentino, btw.

    Posted by reindeergirl June 9, 09 07:30 AM
  1. I'm going on a limb here and saying that Dee's post is the reason that the other commenters hate religion.

    Posted by TC June 9, 09 09:27 AM
  1. "Very Christian"? Not so Christian, Catholic, sort of Catholic. I won't insult your intelligence by candy-coating the root of this issue by saying safe sounding phrases like "religious beliefs", "personal philosophy" or "my faith vs. her faith". There is one central issue here and that is GOD. Your trying to make a really important decision here by totally excluding Him. Religious systems or church denominations can't help you nor can't people's friendly and well meaning advice. What your really in need of is two things: The first is Wisdom that only God can give if you ask Him. It's the only way to make a sound decision. The second is Peace once you make it. Either way, it has to do with you and a Father that loves you. Consider that He may want to be a part of this process and life-change, not just a side issue so you can go on living your life business as usual. Consider WHY this woman is in your life right now. She doesn't have a religion, she has something that you are lacking right now, a living relationship with a Father. I'm sure she's asking Him about these things just as much as you are blogging and inquiring to a local newspaper. Can God work through an avenue such as this? Sure. If your seeking an answer with all your heart, as I'm sure you are, and these questions are asked to the Provider of the answer, He'll be faithful to answer both of you. God loves harmony. If you love her and want to be with her, inquire of Him and in time he'll give you the desire's of your heart, the Wisdom to decide, and the Peace to

    Posted by Ken D. June 9, 09 09:33 AM
  1. #62 MPS -
    In answer to your question: Adonai Echad

    Posted by valentino June 9, 09 10:17 AM
  1. Why give MA a hard time? This is the home of the revolution where we don't stand for stuff being rammed down our throats. We don't have a need to publicly denounce others if we don't like their religion. People who didn't grow up here don't seem to understand that and equate that with godlessness.

    It's someone's spirituality I'm interested in. I look for what they do instead of what they say: are they kind? good to others? have integrity? can they make their corner of the world a better place without damaging or denying others their faith or path in life?

    Gotta say I feel safer here with these allegedly rabid RCs than a place like Texas with its "compounds" (shudder). When MA was debating the legality of gay marriage, I was at a State House rally. Across the street were glazed-eyed church-affiliated protestors from out-of-state with hate-filled signs screaming at my beautiful 6-month old niece that she was the "child of the devil". For the love of God! I'll take MA anyday.

    Posted by yupokay June 9, 09 10:38 AM
  1. Run like the wind.

    Posted by Livia June 9, 09 10:47 AM
  1. You're 39 and she's 35? No kids but you want them? Not even married, yet? Forget it. You're looking at a doomed relationship with a religious nut spending the next 3 or 4 years trying desperately to get pregnant. And when you finally decide to pay for it (through the miracle of science, not a higher power) when your both over 40 and still childless, I hope you can say the word "triplets" because that's what you'll get. Not to mention the percentage of Downs-well, never mind.

    Besides, since women are not fully honest with you until after marriage... if she admits she's "very christian" now, be prepared for a lifetime of hand-knit bible quotes on your walls and hosting bible study every other Wednesday with your church friends. Oh, if you want to see how far she is over the deep end, ask her if she believes in the Rapture (and make her tell you the truth). If so, then your options are 1) Convert, 2) Live a life of silent misery until you die, or 3) Run. Personally, I chose number 2, but will eventually convert to make everyone else happy...

    Look, if it doesn't work out with her, find a nice Catholic girl under 30 that still has a chance to have a few healthy babies, then plan for a few Sundays a year at church and a Christening or two.

    Posted by try again June 9, 09 12:11 PM
  1. if you running like wind, why are you still here checking?

    Posted by Livia June 9, 09 12:20 PM
  1. To comment #138 (Ponce)--how would you know if you've never allowed yourself to meet Him without all the hogwash? Sounds like you've been listening to fear-mongers and are (understandably) very upset about this skewed information you've been getting. Don't let this "hate" belief linger..

    Posted by openmindanyone? June 9, 09 09:08 PM
  1. “It is better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for someone you are not.”

    Posted by John June 10, 09 05:11 PM
  1. I'm Jewish, somewhat observant; husband of nearly 19 years is Roman Catholic, quite observant. We broke up at least 4 times because we thought we couldn't reconcile the religious differences. We finally realized we were better together than apart, but it takes being very open, very accepting, having a really good sense of humor. He's a very generous man; at one point, I offered to take RCIA classes to see what I thought; he told me my Jewishness was so much a part of me, I would be diminished if I gave it up. He allowed our sons to be reared Jewish; the younger just celebrated his bar mitzvah. The only thing my husband asked was to have a Christmas tree. His family wasn't thrilled, especially when the boys weren't baptized, but they've accepted me and his extremely devout parents came to their grandsons' bar mitzvot. So, it can be done, but as I say, it takes love, generosity, and openness on both parts.

    Having said this, my experience with very strong fundamentalist Christians is that they will feel a need to convert you. Look it at it from their point of view. Because they believe Jesus is the only way to salvation, and they love you too much to allow you to burn in hell, they see it as their sacred duty to convert you. If you don't buy into their premise, you're going to feel assaulted. And sooner or later, they're going to bring up the Biblical text about an ox and an ass being unevenly yoked (which has nothing to do with intermarriage, but they've twisted it horribly, which they are wont to do with Biblical texts,) I have too many friends where one spouse found Jesus and the other didn't. Their marriages didn't survive. Just saying...

    Posted by Gillian June 11, 09 12:45 AM
 
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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