I’m Catholic, He’s Agnostic
When my husband and I were married, the last thing on my mind was how our religious beliefs, or lack thereof in my husband’s case, would affect our marriage. Religion didn’t seem very important to me at that time. My husband is a self-proclaimed agnostic and since I was a non-practicing Catholic, he never thought I would actually try to convert him for lack of a better word. We lived harmoniously for many years this way. We even christened our daughters in the Catholic Church, since both of our families consider themselves Catholics even in spite of the fact that my own daughter’s godfather didn’t get baptized himself until the day before my daughter’s christening. I had always prayed silently and deep down I always wished my husband would have an epiphany of sorts and decide that God does exist after all, even if there is no solid proof.
Raising Children in an Interfaith Home
Fast forward to 2011. My eldest daughter who was about to turn 5 years old started asking many questions about death, God and heaven. There were two reasons for this. First, she started putting together that at some point in my life I had a mother but now I don’t. Also, it turns out that her baby-sitter had started teaching her stories from the Bible. This is when I realized that it would be irresponsible of me not to start guiding my daughter in a religious path. I realized that if anyone was going to teach her about faith and religion it should be me and no one else. Sure, my husband could’ve helped but he did not want to preach something that he didn’t believe in.
Teaching my daughter about faith and religion gave me the chance to realize how proud I am of having faith. I left the Catholic Church years ago because I was just so angry at them and their very skewed views on different moral issues and felt that they were at the very least hypocritical. But I had never even pondered finding another church because deep down I had a guilty conscience about betraying my family’s religion. But thanks to my daughter’s need, I was able to find an inter-denominational church that seems to go in line with my own individual beliefs.
Balancing Faith as a Family
This discovery process has not been easy on my marriage. While my husband has been complacent, he still doesn’t believe. At my request he started going to church with us, but I can always tell he feels very uncomfortable. He has also tried to find his spirituality and has had some success with Zen Buddhism books. But Zen Buddhism doesn’t believe in a God. So…we are back to square one. It is difficult to know that your soulmate secretly thinks that all of your praying falls on deaf ears.
I am thankful that as a family we have come together and tried to give my daughter the spiritual guidance that she needs. After all, that is our most important jobs as parents. I have friends who consider themselves Catholics who now complain that their teenage sons or daughters are falling prey to what they call “weird” religions. But those same friends haven’t been to church more than twice in their lives for formal events like a christening or first communion. They now want their children to believe and practice something that they themselves didn’t do. Their children have had to go look for their faith elsewhere.
Whether my daughter decides later on to change her beliefs is completely up to her. At least I’ve done my job giving her a solid start. As for my husband, he needs to find his own way too. I imagine it would be difficult to marry someone from a different faith. But somehow it feels a lot more difficult when one person doesn’t have any faith. Many years ago I read that an atheist is someone with no invisible means of support and to this day I wonder how my husband gets through a day, not to mention, through life without believing in a higher power. But I also understand it is a completely personal choice and we can’t make anyone believe anything. In the meantime…I’ll keep praying for his soul.