Religion and Marriage: What Happens When You’re Not On the Same Page?
I want to believe, but my husband doesn’t.
-Melissa Chapman, marriedmysugardaddy.com
We just celebrated the Jewish New Year, and try as I might to ignore my husband’s insistence that all religions are clearly bunk, it’s causing some stress. Religion, to him, means that you spend your whole life devoted to a deity you have no proof even exists. He feels I need to come to terms with the undeniable fact that death is The End.
My husband is a scientist — he believes in evolution; he believes in only what he can touch and see and what science can uncover. He wasn’t raised in a particularly religious way. He’s what we call a “Yom Kippur Jew”, AKA a person of the Jewish faith who wears one of those pink yarmulkas he’s fished out of his wedding yarmulka collection from the 1980s (when he was a big on the “I’ll be an usher at your wedding so I can meet a hot chick who will drink too much and who has wedding fever clouding her judgment about who she’ll agree to share a hotel room nightcap with” circuit) and steps foot in a synagogue on that one day to acknowledge in some small way the heritage into which he was born.
On the other hand, I was raised in a very religious household and attended some serious religious school programs. And whether it’s the guilt of having been, as my husband terms it, “fed more religious propaganda,” or because as a kid it feels good to have this belief that there is a larger presence presumably taking care of me, I bought into this whole Jewish faith and for a while it was what sustained me.
Unfortunately my husband, during our 14 years together, at least as I see it, has never been able to find any solace or comfort in a god that he cannot be certain exists. And I have to admit I have been struggling with my own religious identity too, especially in the wake of my dad’s death which felt too sudden and so senseless.
It used to be when my husband would present arguments for taking our kids out of their religious private school, I could retort with a litany of reasons to keep them in, But since my dad passed, I admit I’m finding it harder to counteract my husband’s culled straight from science / the diehard evolutionists belief that this earth, this world, as crazy as it may feel, is really all we have. That there is nothing after this … and so all these religious celebrations, regardless of which god you subscribe to, are ultimately meaningless.
I am trying hard to keep going to keep holding on, to see this new year as a way to reaffirm my belief in a higher power and wanting desperately to believe that my dad is up there, smiling, watching and finally free of pain.
What do you think? Do you have the same religious beliefs as your mate? How does it affect your relationship?
Melissa Chapman blogs about her marriage and everything in between at http://www.marriedmysugardaddy.com/. Her work has appeared in The Staten Island Advance, Care.com, ABC News, BlogHer, Baby Center, Momtourage, Lifetime Moms, Babble, The Washington Post, Time Out NY Kids and iVillage.