Question number four: I’m dating an agnostic. If we marry, what will happen to our kids?

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“Dear Louise,

I am a Christian that is dating a great guy who is perfect in everyday except one… He is agnostic. If we get married, I want our children to be raised as Christians.  How should I go about approaching this situation?”

Sincerely,

Christian Lady

Dear Christian Lady,

I am glad you decided to tackle this issue while you are still dating.  Dating someone whose religious beliefs differs from yours heightens the challenges you already have in a relationship.  You say your a Christian, so I am assuming that you know about the scripture that says “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers” 2 Cor 6:14. As a Christian I am also assuming that you are praying for God’s will in both your lives about this.  This, at its core, is an issue of compatibility. An ideal situation would be to marry someone who share your same core values and religious belief.  However, more and more singles are connecting with people not just of different faith but of questioning or no faith at all.  What is a single person to do?  Especially since women out number men in the church?  Since your question concerns how to approach your significant other to discuss a difficult topic I will offer the following response.  Pray a lot!  Make him a nice dinner and talk to him about it (you may have to revisit this topic a few times).  During this process, consider the following…

1. Level of respect of values

When you speak about your concerns to raise your children in a religious context, does he listen respectfully or does he show disdain?  Seriously, how does he feel about the fact that you are a Christian? Is that something about you that he would like to change or can he respect and honor your belief.  Are you comfortable talking to each other about challenging subjects such or do you avoid confrontation? On the flip side can you listen to him speak about his agnostic views without rolling your eyes or wanting to shut him down?  Are you hoping he will eventually change and be converted? If he doesn’t convert are the other elements in your relationship strong enough to keep you together? Does being a Christian dictate your lifestyle and can your lifestyle complement his ’til death do you part?

2. What are the terms for your agreement?

You want your children to be raised as Christians, but what does that mean?  What would that look like in you every day life?  Does it mean that you will take the kids to church every week while he stays home?  Does it mean that he will come with you and play the role of a Christian for the sake of the kids?  Does it mean that you can freely be a Christian and he can feel free to be an agnostic in front of the kids?  If Dad is free to be agnostic, how will you feel if your children decide they want to do what Dad does?  Can you live with that?  What kind of reaction of support would you want from your husband?  Does his feelings matter at all in any of this?  You may want to meet with a mediator or counselor to sort this out.

3.  If he doesn’t agree, then what?

Is this a deal breaker?  Can you stay with him or will you leave him? What kind of relationship are you looking for and does this meet your ideal?  Whether you come to some kind of agreement or not you should ask yourself why this is so important to you?  Is this really the only way? Are there no other solutions?

I have seen a few interfaith and faith-no-faith marriages that stood the test of time.  In all those instances someone always succumbed to the lifestyle of the other.  I think you have decided who that should be.  The question is whether or not he will feel the same way.

I will leave you with this quote:

“I have no way of knowing whether or not you married the wrong person, but I do know that many people have a lot of wrong ideas about marriage and what it takes to make that marriage happy and successful. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible that you did marry the wrong person. However, if you treat the wrong person like the right person, you could well end up having married the right person after all. On the other hand, if you marry the right person, and treat that person wrong, you certainly will have ended up marrying the wrong person. I also know that it is far more important to be the right kind of person than it is to marry the rightperson. In short, whether you married the right or wrong person is primarily up to you.”
— Zig Ziglar

Do you have any comments, or advice?  Feel free to post them!  I just ask that you remain respectful in what you say.   If you have any questions for me send them to lifeaccordingtolouise1@gmail.com.  I would love to hear from you!  Just remember, I am not a licensed therapist therefore not liable for any adverse reaction to this blog. You will get your answer based on life according to me – Louise.  


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6 responses »

  1. Louise is spot on. Read and re-read these words of wisdom. I would like to give you an acronym to help you remember her sound advice. D=decide A=all T=things E=early = DATE. Making decisions after marriage about possible deal-breakers is way to late.

  2. Wow. Well said, Louise. Most of the interfaith marriages I’ve known of have ended in separation or divorce. There are three that I know of which didn’t. In the two cases involving children, the kids witnessed conflicting lifestyles between the parents and eventually chose their own routes for awhile (outside of anyone’s church.) In all three cases, eventually one of the spouses accepted the other’s beliefs. This truly is no laughing matter and requires much prayer and introspection. Praying that you make the right decision and remain committed to Christ, Sister. 🙂 In the end, that’s what really matters; it’s for His glory.

  3. Nice Louise! Your answer to these questions are never a let down.
    Honestly, it is important to respect people and not to criticize their decisions. I’m not sure where this person is coming from, but your advice is both um-biased and full of wisdom. Personally, i thank you for it!

    • Thanks for the encouragement Chelle! I don’t ever want anyone to feel like they can’t ask a question for fear of being disrespected.
      Everyone has value, simply because they exist and every journey has meaning whether I can relate to it or not.
      Blessings!

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