It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from Inter-Faithed, who wondered how to get her Catholic boyfriend to seriously discuss the possibility of raising their children Jewish. After the jump, find out how that discussion finally went down.
Wendy, thanks so much for the response. I had not known that your husband was Jewish, but I am glad you had that perspective to offer. I was always quick to drop the subject when I could tell my boyfriend wanted me to because I thought that I was trying to talk about things too soon. But your response and many of the posters confirmed for me that I do need to have this out with him now. So last Friday afternoon I sat him down and told him that we had to discuss this, because if we couldn’t agree then it would be better to end things between us now. I told him he shouldn’t tell me what I want to hear just to keep me, because if its not the truth it wouldn’t do any good.
At first, he said he hadn’t given it much thought because kids are a long way off, but after a little more prodding we had the conversation we needed to. He is okay with the idea of raising Jewish children and, before I could even say it, he said that he wouldn’t want to raise them with mixed religions because it would be too confusing — whatever faith they have, it can’t be “half-assed,” (his words) it has to be all the way. This is how I feel too, and I went further to explain that this meant no Christmas tree in the house, that he could attend church but the kids would not accompany him, and that I would expect him to be on board with all the Jewish holidays — no bread in the house for Passover, lighting Hannukah candles, big family dinners, etc. In the meantime, I told him I would like him to attend more Jewish events with me to get a greater understanding for what he is getting into. I made the deal with him that I would accompany him to church events/services as well, when he wants me to, as proof that I am not trying to convert him and encourage him to keep his faith… but that he could not expect that our children would go with him.
Also, my synagogue is very religious; the men and women sit separately which makes it difficult for him, so I told him I would find a conservative synagogue in the area that we could attend instead so that I would be able to sit next to him and explain what was going on. I was raised in a conservative synagogue and intended to raise my children (especially any girls) the same way, so this will just make me make the move there a little earlier.
I feel alot better having had this conversation, and I’m lucky that he is so understanding and willing to give me what I need. Thanks to all the posters who shared their insight, and success stories (or non-success stories).
Congratulations on finally having the conversation you needed to have. Isn’t it nice to have that weight off your shoulders? Best wishes to you both for a happy and long future together.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.