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When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:25 am
by Mahala
I'm sure some of you know I'm planning to be handfasted soon, but there's one problem that I'm trying to find a solution to so that the future in-laws don't ruin a very special moment in our lives. The problem is that religion and related morals have become a battleground between us and his parents, and we have NO clue how to tell them that we're not going to give our beliefs up for them to be happy with us, and that we won't put up with their nosing-in on our private affairs.

He doesn't know exactly what religion he is, but he knows he's definitely not LDS. His parents are VERY much LDS (Latter Day Saints is a popular religion here. Here's the Wikipedia page if you don't know what it is.) and I am VERY much pagan. (You can probably already see the fireworks... :axe: ) They've known for some time that he dislikes the LDS church, and they know he doesn't go. They even jokingly call him a "heathen". Personally, I have a strong and deep dislike of the church (not the members, at least, not MOST of them) and of the church's "teachings" and non-stop proselytizing. I don't know if they know about this, but I suspect they do, and they do know I am a "devout" pagan.

That's just the religious side of the arguments... on top of me being a hardcore pagan harlot about to steal their son (I kid, I kid, he came willingly. xD ) ... they also know that we've been having sex. (With protection, always. had one miscarriage and that was more than enough for us to realize we do NOT want kids... yet.) They tried talking to us, but it was more of them talking to him and telling him that what we're doing is/was "a mistake" and that "you may think she's all this and a bag of chips" but it was stupid to have sex. I guess the reason they feel this way is that he's "immature" for a whole bunch of (to me) unrelated and stupid reasons (he only works part time, he doesn't have a second job to occupy the time he spends "just sittign around", he's "lazy", he didn't immediately go to college and doesn't really want to because he has no idea what he wants to do and we can't afford it, etc.), and therefore unable to make his own decisions regarding what in his pants. Not only that, but his "moral compass" is broken or something, because they don't see it as aligning with theirs, and this makes them feel like bad parents. They've already had one girl mess up and get pregnant out of wedlock twice. (She got married and now has two gorgeous girls and a brand new baby boy.) As I said before, I did have a miscarriage. I'm not 100% sure since I didn't do a pregnancy test until after, but that doesn't change the fact that it was enough of a slap in the face to us that we changed our habits quickly.

I know they're worried about pregnancy, and that we'll be in poverty, but I really wish I could tell them to back the @#$% off, but in a nice way. We're both adults, and we can handle ourselves. He's moving out soon, and is going to be living with my parents and I until we get our own place, because we hadn't planned on saving up the whole amount this early into the year but he needs to leave ASAP. I know that even after he leaves, they won't drop it, because they themselves said that "that's our opinion; it's NOT changing". This has caused us both a great deal of stress, driven us to the end of our wit, and almost driven us completely apart several times. It's taking a HUGE toll on my depression and energy because trying to compromise is like trying to tell a brick wall to move aside. ](*,)

I've asked SO many people, and I get ambiguous answers which range from this:
From all you say, you both are pretty young. He needs more education to get a job* to support himself. Let him get that. If he has no motivation to do anything he is too young to get involved with you. Your needs at 18 will expand. Move on towards bettering your education, job, and you will not be so depressed. Remember this: You will not enjoy being poor. This boyfriend is not worth your time. Guys mature slower than the ladies. I would guess age 27 is a better guy age to get involved with.
*Before you ask: He has a job, but it's only part time with .1% chance of ever going full time, BUT... he makes enough that it's WORTH it to keep it.

To people saying that I should go with my guts and tell them to @#%$ themselves. I'm about to marry their baby boy; how do I get them to realize our morals, his and mine, aren't going to be dictated by them, no matter how much doom & gloom they forecast? Is there a nice way to get them to back off, and still be able to associate with them as family? How does one navigate this kind of religious/moral snakepit?

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:48 pm
by Librarian
Dear Parents:

Your son and I are getting married on xx/xx/xx. Your son and I would like nothing better than to see you there on one of the most important days of our lives.

The itinerary/description/etc for the day is:

Insert pagan details here

We look forward to seeing you there.


If they don't get the idea but raise a ruckus, you can have them removed. You most certainly gave them notice.

Beyond this, you really can't do anymore.

Oh, and congratulations! \:D/

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:16 am
by Mahala
Thanks! I haven't considered that, actually. I might have to brief them on proper behavior during rituals and whatnot, but that's the easy part.

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:43 am
by Kitsune
Honestly, I had no clue what I wanted to do at 18 with my life and I know that what I thought I wanted to do changed at least twice since then. It's a darn good thing that matters of the heart can be more stable (at least somewhat). I'm handfasted to the guy I met in high school (though I'll admit, we broke up more than once in the 10 years before we actually settled down). Do it the way that Librarian suggests, but expect backlash. Also, know that it is not a bad thing to have a friend on unofficial "bouncer" duty at special occasions. Grimwell's Mother hates our religion (during our handfasting preparations she asked the question, "You won't be sacrificing any babies, will you?" and then later accused us "Well, you never tell me anything about your 'beliefs'". #-o ), but she understands now that we're not going to fall back in with the belief in the Christian god that she has. My mother still has a problem with it, but she avoids the topic like the plague now. :roll:

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:39 pm
by Crazy Healer Lady
Congratulations Mahala! That is very exciting.

Chris's grandma refused to come to the wedding at first, not because I'm Pagan (she didn't know) but because Jesus wasn't going to be the focal point. And did I mention we were in a park, not a church? Oh, and our minister is gay. She was VERY evangelical. Then, a few days before the wedding, she heard the booming voice of God telling her that she needed to love me. Ho ya! That's right. I walk in the LIGHT, Grammy! And I play with Pan and his pipes!

She ended up coming, and it was very sweet.

Mahala, this is YOUR day. I am so saddened when I hear the countless stories of HORRIBLE weddings, almost always because the happy couple make changes to make others comfortable. We did it our way, made no apologies, and it was lovely. There were a whole whack of people that didn't come (half the guest list, LOL), but we honoured that it was right. Many didn't come because they didn't believe a Christian and a Pagan should have children. It was a great way to find out who we wanted in our lives, and who were no longer to join us on our path.

Be up front. Make it clear in no uncertain terms what is going to happen. Feel nothing but love, if possible, for those who might freak out. If you can forgive them and love them for their ego coming through, you are the better person. Let nothing ruin your day. If they are not comfortable with the ceremony, guess what? THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE THERE, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:59 pm
by Mahala
CHL, I do love them [his parents/family]. How could I not? Haha, I just... don't love the crazy antics and such, that's all. I thought about inviting others but from the get-go, before we even met, I knew I wanted a very small wedding with less than 20 people attending. I would love, love, LOVE to invite my own siblings and extended family, but it would be a huge shock to them that I was suddenly not part of 'the church' (as it's called here), and their reaction would be to argue with me to try and bring me back to the light. If I could trust them not to do that one thing, I'd invite them. They don't have to agree with my choices and beliefs, I just don't want people trying to argue with me when I'm in the midst of very important things. It wouldn't matter if they came or not, I just don't like the drama and the insult. Even my mother, who knew about my change of beliefs four years ago, is still trying to tell me that because I was baptized I'm still LDS. :roll:

Kistune: That's a good idea, to have an unofficial 'bouncer' in attendance. I'll see if I can find a friend who might help with that. And I have expected nasty backlash since his parents started acting they way they have been.

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:57 am
by Kystar
The best way to handle it, in my experience, is to keep your calm and focus. The more mature you are about discussing your faith, the stronger it appears, at least to those who can think rationally when "god" is brought into the conversation.

For those who try to tell you their way is the only way, smile, and say "We'll see, eventually, won't we?" or "If I'm wrong, I'll find out about it when I'm facing the Divine, won't I?" The implication is that if you're willing to stand by these beliefs even if you might (tiny tiny tiny chance) burn in their hell, you're mature enough to look at something and accept that there might be consequences, but that you believe strongly enough that you're willing to risk it to keep your sense of self intact. Which would be the same with marrying him...honestly. You're mature enough to look at him in all lights (Positive and negative) and still say, "Yes, I love him and I want to commit to him."

I hope things work out for you. Having a friend there as a potential "bouncer" is useful, I had a friend set aside for that too, to be honest. He knew that if my family showed and made a fuss after they said that they weren't coming, they could be shown the door. Lucky for us, they didn't.

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:54 am
by Librarian
Kystar wrote:The implication is that if you're willing to stand by these beliefs even if you might (tiny tiny tiny chance) burn in their hell
If I remember correctly, according to Dante's Inferno, if you lead a good life and stick to your principles, you'll end up in hell but the outermost circle. That's where Dante placed Aristotle, Hippocrates, and various other Greek philosophers. Personally, I'd rather keep company with them than any born-agains.

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:51 am
by Mahala
Kyster: The ceremony has been postponed because his car broke down. We've suffered a couple setbacks while fixing it, and until it's fixed and running again, we can't move into our own place. As long as he's under their roof, anything I do that angers them could get him in serious trouble with them, or altogether kicked out, so it wouldn't be a great time to make this an issue.

They're part of that group of Christians that gives a bad name to the rest of Christianity by mercilessly stuffing their belief down the nearest throat. :-? Maybe they're not that extreme, but that's the impression I get. They're extremely conservative when it comes to marriage, sex, and children, to the point of not even being able to talk about them without taking over the conversation and starting a sermon. (Which is extremely frustrating.) I have still tried being calm, being mature, and being rational, but it doesn't work with them. They don't listen to a word I say, and I doubt that will change. I think they may have bi-passed the "You're going to hell!" stage and went straight to trying to push me away from him and their family by breaking us up. While that's hard to believe, I used to feel welcome at his parent's house, and now, I get ice-cold and stares when I say something they don't seem to agree with, and they save all the nagging and lecturing my boyfriend for when I'm not there to "get in the way".

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:59 pm
by Mahala
The other day, I posted a reply... only to find that it hadn't posted. :-( I apologize for briefly disappearing. Things have been chaos the last month or so.

Here's where things stand:

I posed an idea to my boyfriend, and although he was initially reluctant, his parents kept causing problems so he began to like the idea more and more, and did finally agree to go through with it. The idea? Move out of his house and come to live with me and my parents until we can stand on our own. We made plans to start packing his things so he could move, but that got put on hold for a month and a half because his car broke down before we could get started. We FINALLY got his car fixed and running (quite well, I might add. He's even getting better MPG!). After that we started packing, and in just under a week (exhausting!), we packed and moved ALL of his things (Zero chance for them to try and quick one and hold any of his things 'hostage' at their house). Right now, our standing goal is to find and apartment and be ready to move by the middle/end of October. We've found the place, but we're still trying to get our finances straight and pay off our debts while we finish packing my things.

Doing a comparison between our relationship before and after the move, now that his parents have absolutely NO say in our relationship, I'd say that I'm 80% sure his parents were trying to get us to break up.

We're actually doing really well now that he's lived here for about a month, except that his mother is still being a colossal b**ch to him (which I'm going to put a stop to VERY soon) and his younger sister now openly admits that she dislikes me quite a bit. :roll: I don't hate his family, but I will not stand by and let them treat him like crap, especially now that he's not within their reach if something turns for the worst. That said... we've come out with our engagement, at least to co-workers, friends, and my side of the family, who are all very happy for us.

We didn't announce it the way his family wanted us to, which ticked his parents off (more so his younger sister), so we 'rescinded' our engagement- only to keep them happy for a little longer. :-" (Everyone else still knows.) After the way his parents have been behaving, which has been especially volatile after he moved out, we've decided they are NOT going to be told when, where, or even if we're having a ceremony, and they are NOT going to be invited. Being a guest is a privilege, not a right, and if they can't treat their son and future daughter-in-law with the same respect with which we treat them, then they aren't welcome to participate, end-of-story. It doesn't matter if they're his family, we're BOTH pretty fed up with their antics. I'm sad I have to cold-shoulder them, but if they can't be even a little happy for us, then they don't deserve to be in on it.

Because my family is a little more respectful and won't moan and groan about being 'left out', we're taking the advice my dad gave us when we told him we'd be getting handfasted, which was, and I quote: "I ran into that problem when I wanted to marry your mom. My family didn't like her, so... we eloped and got married. Boy were they ever-so angry with us, but after a while, they learned to accept it for what it was." This is why I adore my dad so much. :lol:

We're going to have a private ceremony on October 9th, which we have plans to do over publicly next year on the same date. If his family starts acting like one by then, we'll see about inviting them. For the time being, I'm focused on work and packing, as well as... paying off the engagement/wedding ring I put on lay-away at a local pawn shop. :-D Nothing big, expensive, just a little gold band with a row of tiny (and I mean TINY!) diamonds set in a groove on top.

He's satisfied, I'm satisfied, and we're making progress now. All I can say is that, if not for love, friends, and faith, we'd be stuck still. >:D< You have ALL been such wonderful help to us!

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:45 am
by Max
Congratulations on engagement :-) hope things work out!

Re: When religion gets in the way...

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:08 am
by Mahala
I was bumming around the forum and thought I'd update you all on the circus that has become my life. :lol:

After an unexpected turn events, we ended up being quickly and quietly wed in a small ceremony on Friday the 13th. His parents don't know, and we plan to keep it that way as long as possible so that we can enjoy our togetherness for a while. I hate sneaking around and having to hide every little thing I do, but it beats having his family turn on him. We are planning to tell them, but not before we have our reception/party sometime around May for everyone who didn't get to attend the wedding. After that, if they want to throw a huge fit, they can go ahead and do it. We're both too busy preparing for the changes to come, namely the fact that we'll be "inheriting" the family house when my father and brother move out. Since they'll be leaving, my new husband and I will be staying in the house to take care of it and my elderly mother.

All in all, a pleasantly unexpected turn of events!