Mar 7, 2011

Interfaith Issues

Mr. B and I are part of an interfaith couple- he’s  Jewish and I’m Catholic. Like many couples, this doesn’t pose an issue when it’s just us- I join in his holiday celebrations, and he joins in mine. It worked, or at least it did until we realized we’re going to want kids eventually, and we need to figure out what to raise them.

We’re in the extreme early stages of this decision process. We’ve established that we each want our child to be raised in the religion we were raised with, so there's a conflict. My goal is to maintain a positive and productive attitude towards this whole debate. I’m hoping to approach this situation as fairly, openly, and honestly as I can, but there is definitely some hurdles we both face.

My hurdle is struggling to understand why it even is a debate.  I’ve been an actively practicing Catholic for years, while Mr. B and his family are more lapsed in their religious practices, rarely even attending service on holy days. Mr. B mostly finds organized religion unnecessary, feeling that you just need to be a good person, and don't need an institution's rules for that. This is an issue for me, as I think, “If that’s how you feel, and you don’t practice, why can’t we just automatically default to having our children follow mine?” It doesn’t make sense to me.

Although it’s natural, to gravitate towards what you were raised with and are therefore comfortable with, while being accidentally biased towards the unfamiliar. Our plan here is to just be open with each other about these little biases, not get offended by them, and then just get over them.
Finally, I think we need to make sure we’re making this decision alone. It’s tempting for families to jump in and give their opinions, or even get flatout involved.  Whatever we choose, it will not impact our extended families- our children will celebrate all holidays with their extended family, and Grandma and Grandpa aren’t going to love the kids less because they’re one religion over another. So really, the decision is only mine and Mr. B’s.

We're also working to develop a stronger sense of our own attitudes towards religion, specifically what we want to impart onto our kids. I’m definitely more active with religion, whereas he is not really into it, so I think beyond just choosing a religion, we’ll also have to choose how intensely we live it.

So I guess this is the beginning of what is probably a many year journey for us. It's definitely going to be challenging for us as a couple, but I know that, but I know if we talk it out, and well, pray, we can come to a solution!

Anyone go through a similar situation and have any advice for getting the discussions started?? 

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