Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Weighing conversion for religious boyfriend

Carolyn Hax on

If it will help you make a decision without what-ifs, then, by all means, learn more about his faith and explore your options.

But if what you see isn't something you can embrace fully -- meaning, if your commitment would ultimately be to the man and not to the faith -- then you need to consider that you'd enter a marriage with him with distinctly different ideas of what that marriage means. And that's a tough obstacle to clear.

Re: Religious differences:

In my case, I'm the religious one and my husband is the atheist. We've been married a long time, and our views have changed over the years, but my husband has gradually become more and more hostile to religious beliefs. For me, the test was when we were asked to give a prepared speech with boilerplate language about faith. My husband absolutely refused to parrot words he disagrees with so thoroughly. I supported his decision fully and could only admire his integrity. I'm proud that he won't fake belief.

-- The Religious One

Re: Convert or Bust:

When you marry someone, you often marry not only your partner, but the family -- to greater or lesser degrees -- and you marry a culture. In my case, I come from a very proper (or uptight, depending on your view) Episcopalian background, but I married into an untamed Irish Catholic family with free-for-all dinners and far more noise than I was used to.

It's not that one is right or wrong, but you both need to accept this is all part of the package -- or you shouldn't do it. Your partner does not exist in isolation.

-- Anonymous

Well said, thank you both.

Partners don't exist in isolation, yes, but our experiences with them do, in a way -- we process them in the solitude of our own minds. That's why the decisive opinion has to be how the letter-writer feels in the company of someone as devoted to his faith as this boyfriend is. This could pre-empt all the rest.


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(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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