Conflict In Faith

Direct Answers - Column for the week of July 19, 2004

My husband is Jewish, and I am Catholic. That wasn't a problem when we were dating, because he isn't religious. He married a Catholic before, and their daughter was raised Catholic.

A reformed rabbi married us. I sacrificed being married in church by a priest, but we shared our traditions. My husband broke the glass, and we lit our candles. My family wasn't too happy I married outside my faith, but they accept him.

When our daughter was born, I didn't want my children growing up with no direction, so I decided to raise her Catholic. My husband wasn't too happy, but he agreed. His family was invited to the christening, but they refused to have any part of it. I bit my tongue and let it go, but I resented them for not being there.

Four years later we have a son, and it's his turn to be baptized. This time they come to the party, not the church, and they don't bring a gift. So that's another slap in the face. Two months ago our daughter had her first communion. I asked if they wanted to be part of their granddaughter's day, and they said no. So to me that's another slap in the face.

Through the years we celebrated my husband's holidays with his family, and my family went to their bar mitzvahs. My husband agrees with his family that it's okay for them not to be involved, but I know for a fact his family has gone to christenings, communions, and confirmations for their neighbors.

Well, after 10 years, I no longer want to be involved in their holidays and family functions. In three year's time, when it's my son's turn, I know they'll do the same thing. My husband is in the middle, which I know is hard for him, but I can't bite my tongue anymore. I want to know how to stop hating my husband's family.

Alyssa

Alyssa, what if you kept inviting vegetarians to an all-you-can-eat steak tartare dinner? (That's seasoned raw beef.) Would you really expect them to attend? You knew when you married there was a divide. Your in-laws are of a different faith, and different faiths oppose and contradict one another.

If you don't have a problem going to their religious events, then go. But don't expect or invite them to yours. They find them indigestible. When you were married by a rabbi, you suggested things might work out otherwise. All your in-laws are doing by not coming or giving a gift is affirming "this is not what we want."

When Wayne was in the navy, the rule in the wardroom was no one was allowed to discuss sex, politics, or religion. Perhaps you and your in-laws can put religion in the category of topics which are off-limits. How much healing might be possible between you in just leaving religion out of your relationship?

Tamara

Something To Hide

My name is Joy, and I'm 20 years old. In March I met a guy online. He is from Canada. He seems to be a sweet guy and I like him a lot, but some things don't add up. I'm curious he didn't give me his number because he said he did it before and it caused him a lot of pain.

He doesn't have a web camera because he lives at home with his mom, and he said she doesn't want a webcam in her house. Yesterday I e-mailed him and told him it's over because I'm afraid of getting hurt and him turning out to be a serial killer or something.

Joy

Joy, he's probably not a serial killer, but a web camera might catch a glimpse of something he doesn't want you to see, like a wife and children. You did the right thing by ending it. When something feels amiss, trust your feelings.

Wayne

About The Author

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: [email protected].

In The News:

How to Have a Relationship and a Career  Harvard Business Review
Is Lack of Gratitude Dragging Down Your Relationship?  Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
The Key to Relationships  Psychology Today

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