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    Allie & Ryan

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    Allie & Ryan

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Faith and Love

Things have been busy, not quite routine yet, but slowly getting there! My work schedule and rehearsal schedule shift and vary but we are starting to get the hang of it! My blogging has slacked (surprise surprise) but I am determined to keep it up! Ryan starts Sergeant's Course next week which will also throw us some more curve balls but we can do it! And the looming sequestration is raising a lot of worry, my job having some ties in particular, yet I will not blog about it today.

This is an entry that has been floating in my head for awhile but I have never found the time or reason to feel the need to actually publish it. More recently it has gently been nudging me so maybe now is the time. I don't normally blog about religion or anything too hot topic, I know some bloggers thrive on that but I am I guess more of a fluffy blogger. I write about things that happen in our lives to keep people in the loop and very rarely have a rant or a very deep deep discussion.

I am Catholic, my husband is Southern Baptist.

No big deal.

But sometimes I find myself wishing we were both the same religion. We are both Christian and have the same fundamental beliefs, that is amazing, but every now and then I feel a small twinge knowing there are certain experiences, more so maybe in the Catholic faith, that we cannot take part in together. Would I ever pressure him to convert? Of course not! Would I be thrilled if he did? Hell yes.

I was born and raised Catholic. When I was in high school my mom started working at our Church as the Parish Secretary. My church in New Jersey was up the road from our house and I got so spoiled by the wonderful parish we had. The priest became like another uncle to me, he worked closely with my mom and I saw him all the time. He was around my mom's age and much more open minded than a lot of the older priests. Father Tom took the time to listen to people and really made our church a wonderful place to be. Ryan and Father Tom even spent hours at my graduation party discussing religion over quite a few beers. He is the man that married my husband and I and we still keep in touch with him. That church was like a second family to me. Almost everyone knew me and I knew them. I was in the youth group, a lector (reader) and always hanging around the office with my mom when I was home. Knowing this couldn't be the church I attended the rest of my life really ... well... sucked. I attended Catholic University as a theatre major, so I was able to keep my core beliefs and still be theatrical and a little more left at the same time. I always said I like to be Conservatively Liberal or Liberally Conservative (depending on the day you ask!).

By the way, please read this blog. I wish I wrote it! It is a wonderful tie in to being Catholic and because of that, supporting gay marriage. I agree whole heartedly.

Now when I met Ryan he wasn't routinely going to church. He was Southern Baptist but probably had not been since before boot camp (which when I met him had been about three years before). The first time he came to New Jersey with me to visit my family, he went to church with me... and every other time after that. If he spent the weekend at my apartment he'd usually tag along to mass with me. The first time I went home with him we went with his grandparents to a Baptist service, which I enjoyed but felt a little out of place at. When he deployed I never missed a single Sunday... regardless if I was sick or had an opening shift at Disney (hey 6am mass!) I went. I was determined to not miss the entire time he was overseas. When he got back and we got engaged he started driving form DC to New Jersey to see me every weekend. And he went to mass with my family and I every Sunday.

Once we got married I found a church in Alexandria and we continued to go. We learned quickly the first church we picked was not right for us so I found another one which we attended until our PCS. I know when Ryan was in 29 Palms he did not go to church, but I continued to go. When we moved to North Carolina I found another church and we have been attending that one since.

Ryan occasionally asks if we can go to a Baptist service and I always tell him yes. Just look up a church and find a time and we'll go. But he wants me to do it. I told him I wanted to go to Catholic mass, I researched and found the place and times and we went. If he wants to go to a Baptist service he needs to do the same. In the five years we have been together he has yet to do that even once. I know because of his grandparents, particularly his grandfather, he will always be a Baptist because that is what they were. He did go a lot when he was younger but now as an adult he is happy to go with me... but just as an observer. We did have a Catholic wedding service, not a mass since only I am Catholic and you both need to be to have a wedding mass, but we did have a Catholic service. Basically we did everything but communion and that was that.

He has agreed we can raise our children Catholic as we baptize in infancy and it is very important to me. I also promised he can take them to a Baptist service whenever he wants. And I promised if our children want to try other religions, anything from Baptist to Methodist to Buddhist, I would support it. But I want our children to at least grow up in a faith. I want them to know how important it is and go to church on Sundays and have that in their lives. When they grow up they can change their minds, but if they are under our roof they are going to church (whether with us or on their own).

I know this has been a lot of nonsensical rambling, I am trying here! I just wish on Sunday my husband could receive communion with me. Or want to go with me to mass on Ash Sunday or Good Friday or any other Holy Day of Obligation. Usually if there is mass in the middle of the week, that is it for him. He will either do that mass or Sunday, not both. More often than not I go to church alone for Days of Obligation. In all fairness he is not Catholic and therefore not obligated... but still. I wish we could do Lent together, it would be easier to not eat meat on Fridays if he didn't order a steak in front of me! Same for fasting the few days a year we do it. But, the thing is, overall he is very religious... his faith and core beliefs are there. He just doesn't always like to go to church to express it. Some days I am convinced he knows more about the bible, or even Christianity as a whole, than I do myself.
If I don't feel well or need extra motivation on a Sunday to get up and go he usually doesn't give it to me. If I don't push us to go to church, we won't. And now with me working weekends it is becoming harder for me to go every Sunday like I want to. If I don't go, he definitely does not go.

And that is what makes me sad. I wish we had that same central core to push one another to be stronger in our faiths. I wish we could share in the traditions I grew up in and together raise our children in them. I know if I ever drop the ball, that would be it. And sometimes it does feel like pressure when I know it shouldn't. Faith is not always easy, but it is not always supposed to be hard either. I know our fundamental beliefs are the same but is it selfish to wish for more? Even though we don't have children I am already fretting over godparents, at least one must be Catholic (and I'd probably ask my brother) but as for a godmother? I have no idea. The other person would at least have to be at least baptized as a Christian and practice in their faith. Catholic godparents are chosen as people to help lead the child in their religious lives... it isn't the same as a guardian or as some other religions do it. In Catholicism it is a secondary guide for faith after the parents. Of course I want Ryan to pick someone as it is a big deal, but I have no idea who that would be. Yes it is a major pre-emptive worry, but I still fret about it all the same. Don't even ask me about what to do if we have more than one child.


This became much longer than I intended and if you did read it, thank you. Has anyone experienced this before? Any thoughts? Sometimes I feel so petty for feeling this way... I really do. My husband is a great man and definitely has strong beliefs, I just wish ours were the same. Like I said, petty, but still existent.


  1. I don't think it's petty or unusual for you to feel this way. I would go crazy if Joe and I didn't have the same beliefs about everything.

    That said, have you thought of looking up a Baptist service for both of you to go to? He probably has a hard time asking you to go since he knows you don't really want to. I'm sure it's different and a little awkward for you, but it could go a long way to helping him. I'm Southern Baptist as well and I know I'd probably go crazy if I didn't feel like I could go to a church I was comfortable in.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that if YOU come up with the idea and a few places for him to choose from, he might be more likely to go. I know that you like to go to mass, but have you thought about attending a Baptist church more often? I know the beliefs, traditions and things are different, but if you go more often, you might find that you like it. If you like the pastor and the people, of course. That's a big part of it.

    I can't imagine how difficult it is to deal with different faith backgrounds in a marriage. I hope you guys can find some sort of balance!

  2. My husband and I are the same way. I was raised Lutheran, he is more of the nondenominational thinking. We essentially believe the same things, but there are still differences. He wasn't big on baptizing as infants, where I feel it's my duty as their parent to do it. I went to church all the time when I was younger and I went to a Lutheran school, but not so much now. He refuses to go to a church unless it's a nondenominational. I'm not overly picky, I just think we should go, but we don't. Shame on us, I know.

  3. this would be a huge struggle for me...because yes they are both Christian at the core, but they are so very different. I don't know if he was more devoted to going that it would make it easier or harder you know. But more importantly, this is not petty!! Don't feel bed or lame for feeling or saying anything that you just said. It is all perfectly valid and extremely important. I wholeheartedly understand everything that you say, especially when it comes to the ceremony of the Catholic church and the varying traditions are followed in a certain way. I pray that you find peace in this situation, whatever path it continues on. I love that you talked about this, and you did it well. so many, I think, can relate to this.

  4. Honestly, Roo and I grew up in the same church, and we both believe similarly. I would say that it makes the fundamentals of what we believe in the same arena, but he is much more opinionated about the church we attend.

    We recently stopped going to the church we had always gone to in the area, because he didn't feel comfortable with some of the decisions being made. The people there talked about reaching out to the community, but they never did. And there was one occasion where we were given a leadership role, but no one seemed to support us. Anyways, after Christmas he asked if we could just stop going to church for a while since we were about to move. I agreed under the assumption we would try another church. Well, we eventually realized that it was just easier to not go during this transition time, and I can't help but see how much he and I both have liked the break.

    I will say though, I know that without me finding our previous church and being involved, I don't think Roo would have gone on his own. I think the big draw for us as women is the relational aspect (is for me anyways). I like talking to other people and being encouraged by other people. I need that. Roo on the other hand, welcomes a relational break. If he can go 48 hours every weekend with only communicating with me (occasionally. lol), he is a happy man. I think part of it is the egotistical personality he has to put up with during the week. I think once the weekend hits, he avoids people because in his mind he is avoiding possible confrontation.

    We were both raised Southern Baptist, and I know from our experience it follows the scriptures very closely, but the drive to go to church every week is sometimes pushed down your throat. Although the Southern Baptist Doctrine in it's written form is not legalistic, many of the people can be.

    Anyways, I would just say pray for him. (I'm currently praying Roo would take the reigns and help find a church or at least want to go in our new location). Prayer does make a huge difference. Also, have you thought about trying to find a Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Methodist church? Maybe meet in the middle? There is a Presbyterian congregation that seems pretty traditional to me, and they meet in the White Oak High Auditorium.

    I'll be praying for you and your husband to find a good community of believers and that he would step up to the plate and be the spiritual leader.

    All the best!

  5. I really liked this. Sky and I aren't really on the same page with this topic, and it's a challenge sometimes. But he's been really open to things, which I appreciate a lot.

  6. What a wonderful and insightful entry. You described the first 7 years of my marriage. Now we share the same religion but I understand your frustrations and wishes. Thank you for sharing this.


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