But I’ve never professed to be “nice”. I think we all know by now how this blog goes. Fun, cute, entertaining for awhile and then BAM it’s a serious post. Well, today is the day folks. I’ve got something serious to start out the week with. Change into your big girl (or boy) panties (manties), put on your thinking caps and listen up.
For those who don’t me that intimately, religion is one of the areas in which my husband and I don’t see quite eye to eye. This post may possibly stir up some rough feelings, even possibly with my family, etc. Religion is something we just don’t discuss. But I hope that you will move forward with me with an open mind as we explore this. I think it all started brewing last week with the girls starting vacation bible school (VBS), beginning to bring home information and ideas, ask questions, and recite the new “beliefs” they are learning.
So a little background. My hubs is a very devote and strong Christian (and no, devote does not mean crazy over the top bible thumping Christian. Just that he is very confident in his belief and that it plays a large part in his day to day life). We were both raised in the Midwest, both raised Lutheran. He has continued down the path of Christianity and has continued to search high and low for “his” church, one that feels right to him and fosters a sense of community.
I on the other hand have not pursued this path. I have no doubts in my mind that there is a “higher power” and if it makes it easier to refer to it as God then yes, I believe in God. I don’t believe in a heaven or hell, I don’t believe in Jesus as a messiah or savior. We could go on and on about what I do and don’t believe, but for all intents and purposes lets just go with I am simply not Christian.
Now, this hasn’t seemed like a terribly big deal initially, got a bit more complicated once the kids were born and the subject of baptism came up, but now our kids are older. They talk, they question, they are beginning to form their own understanding of the world and it’s our job to help form it. So the question quickly becomes “How do you do that when you as a couple have different beliefs?” I have always tried to be supportive of my husband’s pursuit as it breeds happiness in his life and we were able to simply sweep it under the rug or rather agree to disagree. But as with every other part of our lives with kids, this has quickly become more complicated.
There are a couple things I am beginning to really struggle with and I’m going to list them so it seems a bit easier to read and hopefully less overwhelming.
* I don’t attend church with my family but on VERY rare occasions (and not really sure why I even go then). I don’t believe so I don’t go. It seems disrespectful to attend knowing that the entire service I am bored, frustrated, angry at times and leave in a poor mindset feeling like I wasted my day ( I don’t mean that church is a waste so please don’t take it that way, but face it, if you spent an hour + sitting through a seminar on the different types of sausage casings (or other thing you didn’t particularly have interest in) you would be pretty bored, etc too). Recently my kids have started asking why I don’t go with to church. How do you explain that to a 5 year old without opening a huge can of worms? “Mama has work to do” will only hold water so long.
* I want to support my husband’s views and feel that he has every right to raise our kids within these, but I struggle often with the idea of how then do I raise them with mine? Why do we get to tell the kids that his ideas are “right” and you can learn about mama’s someday when you decide you don’t believe or you are “old enough” (whenever that is)? How do you balance duel beliefs without confusion, hurt feelings or total sacrifice? And for the record, I have never been told I CAN’T discuss my beliefs. I think I simply haven’t because I don’t know HOW to do it without seeming to undermine my hubby’s.
* Maybe more simply, how do I support my husband’s beliefs without lying to my children about my own?
*There are other concerns, as well. It’s not a secret between the hubs and I that he is legitimately concerned for my immortal soul (heavy shit, right?!). Frankly, I believe it my single goal in life to live it well, as a generous and caring person, but for my Christian husband that isn’t enough to get me in the pearly gates- you HAVE to be a believer. Eventually my kids will too learn these Christian teachings and start to ask really hard questions. What do you tell your kids when one of you really believes that the other isn’t going to heaven?
This year we told the children the Easter Bunny wasn’t real. <Insert gasp here>. Yep. We talked about it and I agree, knowing what the Christian faith teaches Easter is definitely NOT about a bunny bringing candy. Knowing what I believe, there is no bunny and I don’t think any real benefit to my kids to perpetrate the idea. But in it, I found myself explaining to my kids the Christian belief (as my husband seemed a bit tongue tied) as if it were my own. This, my friends, does not sit well with me. I strive to live a very open and honest life, but in this aspect I feel like I am doing neither. However, I really don’t want to undermine my husband’s beliefs and I don’t want my kids to “choose”- especially because at this age it would be more of a popularity contest between parents. And let’s just face facts, I’m way cooler.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you view it, we don’t have many couple friends with kids that have different beliefs. And in truth, many of the couple friends we do have are strong Christians. I feel like I’m out on a limb on this one.
So I’m crying out: HELP! I love to hear advice from all of you out there. I’m feeling really stuck. They’re so damn cute and I really don’t want to mess them up!