Home › Forums › Advice & Chat › At odds about church
- This topic has 66 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 9 months ago by Firestar.
I used to post here a lot more but life kind of got in the way. I need a sounding board right now with an issue I’m having, because I’m trying to be certain I’m not just speaking in an echo chamber when I go to my friends/family on this one.
Backstory: been with husband for 10 years. I’m all the time I’ve known him he’s gone to church maaaaaybe 10 times? Usually either at Christmas or Easter. His mother is very involved in her church. He half heartedly tried to get me to join his church at one point, but I’m atheist/agnostic and lean more towards the atheist side of things currently. All I’ve ever asked is that when it comes to religion, we stay in our own lanes. I’m not going to try to convince him of my beliefs and vice versa. Before we got married, we compromised about having kids: he’d take them to church occasionally and I wouldn’t go. Seemed fair.
Then our child was born. He wanted to have a “dedication” for our baby at the church. I said that’s fine, but I wouldn’t plan it and probably wouldn’t go. He’s really very much a person who drops the ball on planning things, so this dedication never happened. His mother, despite my making it clear I wasn’t going to be involved in this, tried to get me to plan it. I resisted and she tried to convince me by saying that it wouldn’t get done if I didn’t plan it. I told her to talk to her son.
Finally, a few weeks ago, I get a text from my husband telling me he’s planning it. I told him to NOT make it for this past weekend because it was not only our baby’s first birthday, but my family was coming down that weekend for a visit. Well, a few hours later, it’s all planned for exactly the weekend I told him not to. Not really surprising, as he often does stuff like this (example: planning his bachelor party for the same date as the wedding of a close friend of mine).
I was annoyed, but nothing much I could have done. Then earlier last week, I ended up in the hospital, and will likely need surgery in the coming weeks to fix the issue I’m having. I’m tired, in pain, and then on top of that, I end up with a cold. I stayed home all week from work. My husband repeatedly tells me I don’t need to come to the “dedication”. Then his mother sends an email to us telling me that “it’s not an arduous thing” for me to come and that I should still come. She also sent the flyer for this week’s church service and it’s not a dedication. I’m apparently supposed to be taking “Vows of Christian Parenthood”. This was never, ever how it was described to me. That evening, my husband reiterated that I didn’t have to go.
Then, the night before, he tells me that he hopes I’m planning on attending. I told him that I wasn’t planning on it because I’m sick, my family is in town, and I don’t feel comfortable taking these vows, as I’m not Christian. He doesn’t speak to me for the rest of the night, and then barely speaks to me the next morning, only to tell me what time he wants me to have the baby ready to leave by.
When they later get home, I find out that they had also planned a birthday party for the baby without my knowledge. So I missed my baby’s first cake/candle blow out. He tells me that his mother is very disappointed in me, that she’s very upset, and that it seems as though nothing will ever be important to me simply because it’s important to him, and that’s what spouses do. He also tells me that I need to come to church in the coming months to thank everyone, and that I’m expected to come in the future when he takes our son because it’s important to him, his mother, and our son. I….don’t agree with this.
I feel SO manipulated right now. From the way the whole thing was misrepresented to me, to the lack of concern over my health, to the attempt to guilt me over this when I never stated that I was going to go to church or participate. But the way he’s talking to me about this is making me second guess myself. Did I do the wrong thing by not going? Am I wrong for not wanting to go in the future when I said I wasn’t? Am I unbending and too rigid about this? I’m not sure what to do. Everyone I talk to says I made the right decision not to go and that I shouldn’t bend and go in the future. But like I said, I’m not sure if I’m in an Echo chamber or not. Does anyone have any ideas or insight here?FyodorGuest
Did you guys have any conversations about the role of religion in your childrens’ lives before you got married/had a kid?FyodorGuest
Never mind, missed that part.JanelleGuest
Not attending your OWN child’s christening is atrocious! Seriously. Many many people have their children baptized regardless because it is important to the family. Anyone I am with will have to deal with my child being baptized even though I do not regularly attend church. If you had not refused to participate in any way you could have controlled how religious it was, instead you chose to act like a child and put your head in the sand.
That being said your husband sounds manipulative. You should have seen his lack of regard at his bachelor party and not walked down the isle. That being said your head in the sand but get mad later mentality is equally manipulative. So perhaps you are made for each other.
Wow. This strikes me as pretty serious because the implications are so wide-ranging, from communication issues to religion & kids to family to changing goal posts (or whatever, not sure what the term is) of your marriage. I don’t like how your husband is blatantly disregarding your requests, preferences, previously agreed-upon terms, and health, while letting his mom beat you up.
Have you had any counseling previously? I’d call your work EAP and talk to someone about what’s going on in your life, then have a come-to-Jesus with your husband about how you’re feeling and the need for getting the hell onto the same page, and ideally do some sessions of couples therapy to smooth things out and get your communication on track.
This is serious.PortiaParticipant
Wow. It sounds like your husband is trying to play both sides so that he’s the good guy, and guilt you into something you are not at all comfortable with. You’ve been very upfront about your feelings on this, and you’re sick, and your husband put this off forever anyway (sounds super important to him too…). Honestly, I think you need to sit him down and remind him clearly of you stance on this, that nothing on your end has changed, and he’s got to figure out how to deal with his mom without making you the scapegoat. And if he doesn’t change his tune, I second counseling, this sounds like a much bigger issue on communication. Also, if it were me, I would stop taking the MIL’s calls until he figures this out.
If my husband pulled this shit, I’d be pissed.Jessibel5Guest
Janelle, this wasn’t a christening at all. It was described to me as an “introduction” or a “dedication”. It turns out that it wasn’t, that it was supposed to be me taking vows; it wasn’t about the child.
I know I asked for other opinions, but wow. Way harsh, Tai.FyodorGuest
Kate, good work on the come to Jesus double entendre.
To be fair, I’m not sure your own communication here has been great, and you’re developing/harboring resentment that needs to be addressed. I think you’re both going to need to work to get back on track. You are also going to need to re-address and maybe re-negotiate the church attendance agreement. It might not hurt you to attend on special occasions, though taking vows is probably off the table.
Portia/Kate: when we talked about it last night, I told him I felt like I failed a test I didn’t know that I was taking, since he had repeatedly told me that I didn’t have to go/he understood it didn’t jive with my beliefs. We’ve been in counseling before, but it was weird. I felt like nothing changed because he agreed to do things while in the sessions, but nothing really changed much in our day to day lives. I’m also not mad per se, I just feel really uncomfortable, like I’m being manipulated. But no, I never once changed my stance on this. This church doesn’t baptize until age 13, it’s a “consented baptism” or I think that’s the term, the individual has to actively choose to join this church. I will absolutely go to that if at 13 my son decides that he wants to join the church and this is important to him, but I’m squicked out by the whole “you need to come to church as his mother” makes me feel like I’m not human and not considered as myself? Especially when the agreement we had beforehand was not that.
Right, it’s really messed up and I can totally understand how you feel. I just don’t think you can properly navigate through this and come to an understanding without some help. I would absolutely not just let it go.