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Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By rincedragonflymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:34 PM

Oh dear, I never thought I'd be having this conversation with him. Now I feel really uncomfortable.

Growing up, my boyfriend was REALLY into church (Baptist). Did a lot of church events, was a very spiritual person. His senior year of high school, he really lost his way and got into drugs and skipped school and all sorts of negative crap. So he has not been involved in the church since then.

As for me growing up, we were not a religious family. It's not like we were anti-religion or anti-God or anything, we just...weren't anything. We aren't spiritual people.

So last night we were sitting on the couch and the boyfriend brings up that he wants to start going to church again, and wants me to come with. Okay, cool. I'm alright with accompanying him. Then he gets into "if we get in a car crash tomorrow, I know where I'm going, and you aren't going to the same place." Um...uh? I know what he means, but geez, that seems really extreme. Then he goes on to talk about how he wants me to be saved so that we can spend eternity together (which honestly, my opinion, that's a load of crap. When you die, you die. End of story. You don't get to go spend time with your loved ones in some other place.), and that he is going to be a better man for me because he will be a man of God. That we will rid our lives of alcohol (excuse me, I like getting to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and read my book) and sex until we are married (seriously? Stop now?). I got really upset about everything because it seemed like he was pushing religion on me, and I started crying just because it was so much and would mean such a HUGE change. I don't know if I want to change myself. Well, I do, but the parts I want to change aren't going to change through religion.

I'm not really on board with this yet. Anybody been through something similar that they could share their experiences?

43 Replies to Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.

re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 01:18 PM
No advice, jut hugs. That would be a total, absolute deal breaker to me.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 01:29 PM
I'd give it a week or two. Maybe he had this crazy epiphany and he'll realize how insane he is with a little time. After that time, if he's still spewing that nonsense...

It would be a 100% deal breaker for me, too. Also, it's not like he was a perfect upstanding guy to begin with. He's already screwed you over once — drastically altering his religious views and basically stating that you're going to hell would count as strikes two and three for me. You know what comes next — YOU'RE OUT.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 03:14 PM
Are you KIDDING?! You need to be doing cart wheels at the idea of this guy wanting to get rid of alcohol in his life (for those not keeping score at home, this guys been arrested TWICE for DUIs).

The rest of that would wig me out too, but when he got to no alcohol, I would have offered to throw a party.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious. (karma: 2)
By LeSoulierVertmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 03:25 PM
Reading your posts about this guy never fails to make me cringe.

When are you going to leave him?
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious. (karma: 1)
By Ampersandmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 04:21 PM
I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I really feel I need to say it anyway.

This just sounds like another attempt to try and have some sort of upper hand or control over you. Whether or not he is earnest in his supposed interest in becoming religious again, this is really not the way to go about it.

rincedragonfly wrote:

Then he gets into "if we get in a car crash tomorrow, I know where I'm going, and you aren't going to the same place." Um...uh? I know what he means, but geez, that seems really extreme.


The religious part of me gets what he is saying, but the rest of me thinks he found a really stupid way of bringing it up and trying to change your mind. If he really genuinely feels like this is something he needs to do with his life then the changes need to come from him first, and really have nothing to do with you. If at some point his changes in lifestyle are so drastic that you two are no longer compatible then you either need to decide that it is important enough to go along with those changes (like so sex, no drinking, etc) or if it's a deal breaker. Until he has committed to the things he is dictating to you then I don't feel you need to follow them. That's what makes it seem to me like he is using this as an excuse to have the upper hand.

Someone who really cared about you, and who was actually invested in working this religious thing out for themselves, wouldn't make you do it with them. They might ask for support in some way, but they wouldn't dictate to you that you had to go along with it too. That really defeats the purpose I think. It's not something you can make people subscribe to, it's something each person needs to figure out for themselves if they want to.

Anyway, I don't think you need to be on board with this at all. You can say to him that you wouldn't mind accompanying him to church once in awhile, but that the other things may take you awhile to come around to, that is if you ever decide to make those changes. He can't force you to do this, and if he tries then I think that's even more of a deal breaker than him doing a complete 180 in his belief system. You guys don't need to get in stupid arguments over this, you don't need to try and convince each other that one of you is right and the other is wrong. I just think you really need to step back and see if he is honest in this interest or not. If so, then you need to make the decision as his significant other if you can handle supporting him through some of these proposed changes or not. We can't decide that for you, but in order for you to decide that for yourself I think you both need to have a calm discussion about it and not spring anything crazy on each other like that anymore. That's really only going to get both of you upset.

My boyfriend and I have different belief systems. I don't push mine on him, and he doesn't push his on mine. It helps that on the basic things we agree, like don't kill stuff, don't be a jerk to people, etc etc etc, but sometimes there are things he says or does where I have to hold my tongue because I think he is wrong. I am sure he has the same reaction to some things I say. If we ever got married (which, I don't think we will, but thats another story) it would take a lot of compromise to work out even just the ceremony, not to mention how to raise kids, etc. So all of that is something to think about. It can be easy to date someone with different belief systems as long as it isn't something either of you are pushing down each others throats. At a certain point though, it is definitely hard to ignore, and can be a much bigger issue than you thought. That's just something to think about though.

Good luck on dealing with this issue. I hope in the end you make the right decision for yourself regardless of what he decides to do.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious. (karma: 2)
By Odessamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 04:22 PM
This happened to me. Mark and I had been together for four years when last year he started getting interested in going back to church. We were both brought up Catholic, but 15 years ago my mother died and I left the Church, and in the time since have put alot of distance between me and Catholicism (last time I was in a church, I accidentally almost set it on fire, for heaven's sake!). I have many issues with the institution that are unresolvable until the institution changes, but no fundamental issues with Jesus himself, and many of the teachings of the religion are in line with my personal morals - not because they were taught to me by the church, but because "do unto others as you would have done unto you" is just common sense.

So when Mark told me he was going back to church all these worries started swirling around in my head. I was worried he'd want to "reclaim his virginity" and I was worried he'd start opposing gay marriage, and start making bullcrap excuses for child sexual abuse, and decide he was anti-choice, and start trying to convince me that condoms increase the spread of AIDS in Africa, and the rest of it. Mark is NONE of these things, but I couldn't reconcile HIM with the church. When I look at the church I see bureaucracy, lies, misogyny, coverups, misinformation and an institution that rewards child sex offenders instead of punishing them. And Mark is NONE of those things and holds none of those opinions. It was a confusing time for me.

We had LOTS of arguments that we were never able to resolve and for a few months it looked like it would be the end of our relationship. But then he started going to church and didn't turn out to be anti-choice, or anti gay marriage and didn't tell me I was going to hell and didn't agree that the church had handled the child sex abuse cases properly, and didn't suddenly decide that they were right about condoms making AIDS worse in Africa, and all my fears evaporated.

Church has been great for Mark. It's mellowed him out and given him a different view of the world. He has a more nuanced approach to things and is far less strung out now than he was previously. Mass centres and relaxes him. But he's still the same left-wing hippy he always was. His opinions on abortion, gay marriage, pre-marital sex, climate change, the AIDS crisis, etc haven't changed. All my fears that my partner would become a different person to the one I knew have evaporated, and his going to church is no longer an issue for the two of us.

However - if his desire to go back to church had relied on me joining him, and had contained warnings about how I was going to hell if we died tomorrow, and was contingent on us not drinking or having sex anymore, we would have broken up. Religion and the expression of ones beliefs is extremely personal, and if your boyfriend wants to go to church, that is on him. He has no right to guilt you into going with him, and no right to tell you that you'll go to hell if you don't. If Mark had brought up with me the issue of church like that, I might have left him on the spot, simply for being boorish and insensitive.

Think long and hard about this, because I think this is just another way for your boyfriend to manipulate you. He wants to keep you under this thumb and I think he is using this desire to go to church and live a "clean life" as an excuse to dictate how he wants you to live your life. A true man of God lives and lets live, and allows his behaviour, not his preaching to set the tone and be the example. Your boyfriend is doing neither of those things right now.

Erin.
::righteous babe::
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Cienmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 05:43 PM
Do YOU feel like you need to be "saved"?

...Then you don't need saving, and that should be the end of the story. Clearly, with him it's not, and I think that's something you need to reevaluate about him.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Shortgirl75member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 05:54 PM
I'd run like hell from anyone who tried to tell me that they were going to heaven and I wasn't.

This seems REALLY controlling. Spirituality can be a wonderful thing when it is shared between a loving, secure partnership. Using it as a tool to prove how you are better than someone is pure horse dookie.

My husband I were not very religious when we dated but decided that we wanted to set a stable foundation when we got married. We share the same views, and even when we don't we aren't on the same page we still respect each other about it. And it doesn't sound like that with him. It sounds like it is his way or no way.

As much as I love God, more harm has been done in his name than any others. And this should be a good experiance for a couple. If your first reaction is that this isn't the right fit for you, I would go with it.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 08:01 PM
It's not only what he's saying, either. It's also that he's gone from 0 to 60 and is expecting you to do the same, without forewarning or discussion! I mean, religion issues have the possibility of working out, but only when both parties are willing to discuss and compromise so that both parties are happy. This strikes me as 'out of left field' and "Oh, bai te way, chastity prohibition controlling religion. K thx bai."

You get to decide: Is this a deal breaker immediately? Do you want to let him know that he's just gone from here to there and you're willing to work on the relationship if he's willing to work as well? Is this something you could learn to live with? (I don't recommend the last option, but it is an option...)
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Nyssasisticmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 09:50 PM
rincedragonfly wrote:

Then he gets into "if we get in a car crash tomorrow, I know where I'm going, and you aren't going to the same place." Um...uh?


You need to inform him that, at this moment, he FOR SURE IS GOING TO HELL BECAUSE HE'S NOT DOING ANY BETTER THAN YOU ARE. For Christs sake (literally).

My husband and I are different religions. His church doesn't recognize our marriage, so to his church we're living in sin. He's started out with the "we have to get back to church" talk, but he's VERY aware that if we were to die in a car crash tomorrow, according to him/his church we'd both go straight to hell.

If your boyfriend is going to pull this on you he at least needs to have the balls to acknowledge that he's just as much a sinner as everyone else.

Other than that, you can totally support your boyfriend going to church without converting. Just be encouraging of his spirituality while maintaining that it's HIS choice and that you choose not to believe what he does. If he has any respect for you he'll be okay with that (to an extent. It'll still bother him but he won't use it to belittle you and will certainly stop telling you you're going to hell).

If you have any other specific questions, seeing as how Hubby and I are doing pretty well with balancing our own faiths and raising our kids bi-faithful (ha! I like that! bi-faithful... Pahaha), please feel free to PM me anytime.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Coccinellamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:11 PM
Regarding the whole second thoughts about having sex thing, I've been there with my ex! His family we're serious practising Catholics and every few months he'd change his mind on whether he felt comfortable having sex. Eventually, I started to feel like crap about because I never knew if he was into it, or was secretly going to regret it afterwards. He made me feel like some sort of terrible tempation sometimes. But, guess what? It takes two to tango, baby! It sounds like your guy needs to find a happy medium with his faith life.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By SiyoNqobamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 02:23 AM
Edited by SiyoNqoba (34789) on 2010-08-16 02:25:40
Yeah, I think that if this is the way he wants to go with his life, then that's totally cool, but he shouldn't be trying to force you to go there with him. Straight up, if he's going to the extremity of not drinking alcohol or having sex, then he should be going to the extremity of not being unqually yoked. You kind of can't pick and choose. And you certainly can't expect your non-religious girlfriend to wait until marriage if that's what you haven't currently been doing. It isn't really fair for either of you to stay in this relationship.

It could be that he loves you, and doesnt want to lose you, so that's why he's trying to get you to convert. But he needs to understand that religion is an intensely personal choice. No amount of talking at you is going to make you want to convert. He needs to let you make your own decision.

I agree with the others that this should be a deal breaker. This zealousness may go away for awhile, but then it will come back and he'll blame you for making him "fall" again. I can just see it happening.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By ShadowLunaCatPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 02:46 AM
I'm not sure what you mean by "church." Also, and maybe I read this too quickly, but there was no mention of religion or denomination.

How much room is there in your relationship for compromise?

I'm hoping a lot.. as you could both have your church, and have some loose structure as well.


there are quite a few institutions with a variety of belief systems.

But, my first thought that it might prove prudent to try a UU (Unitarian Universalist) church, maybe google some services, find out what the standard "format" is.


????

Shadow.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By imadanseurPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 06:15 AM
^^first sentence said he was raised Baptist and sounds like a strict Baptist, and if he is talking about an afterlife and being "saved" that would mean religion is involved. It has to be a very conservative church if they are promoting no tolerance for alcohol at all.

I still question why you are with this guy. Relationships just shouldn't be this hard and tumultuous. In general a good relationship isn't a roller coaster ride where you feel like you are going to puke most of the time.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Shortgirl75member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 06:50 AM
Some strict Baptists also don't allow dancing.

Just saying.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By SaraTheGrouchmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 08:21 AM
I don't have much to offer on this subject because it's pretty black and white. But I was wondering if you and your fiance have had any more dialogue about the situation? Communication is key.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Krystalmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 02:35 PM
I went through something similar to this with my now-hubby. We spent four hours in a coffee shop talking about church and religion and beliefs...basically ended up with me going to his church because I knew I had to get involved again and quit acting like it didn't really matter. (But really, that's just MY opinion and if you don't think it matters, then...okay. I don't mind :) )

I hope you guys have talked about it and reached an agreement. That part of my life was sooo hectic and I personally felt like I was missing something. I was actually mad at him at first for even trying to get me to go back to church, but hey. It worked out and now we're both official youth leaders and all that good stuff.

About the "being saved or else" part. That's honestly how I feel too, BUT. I don't shove it down anyone's throat or force them to believe the same that I do. It's their mind, their beliefs, they can do what they want with them. I don't think Jesus shoved people against a wall and said, "BELIEVE IN ME OR ELSE," so I'm definitely not going to do that either!

Good luck, if you want to PM me about the situation you can.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By rincedragonflymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 05:20 PM
Yeah, we talked it out last night a little more...when he was sober. I see now that I didn't mention before that he was drunk as a skunk the first time it came up. :-/

I asked him what his expectations were of this whole new religion in his life thing...he said he just wanted me to go with him, that's all. If I like it, cool, if I don't, that's fine. I don't have to be involved. He thinks I'll like it, because the type of Baptist churches he likes are the ones that use music for praise, and he knows I really like music. But he is okay if I don't like it.

I brought up the whole "you're going to hell, I'm not" thing again...and he sighed and just said "we all know you're a better person than me. I'm most likely going to hell. I'll be driving the bus, actually." I don't know WHAT got into him (besides several beers and several shots) to make that statement originally, but he doesn't seem to believe it sober. I hate what alcohol does to him, and I am so glad that he finally wants to do something about it.

I know some Baptists do not allow dancing...I talked to my best friend, who was a Religious Studies major in college, and she explained to me a little bit more about religion in general and Baptists specifically, because I know absolutely NOTHING about religion. I talked to the boy about it, and he said that his church growing up actually held dances AT the church. So he is not that strict of a Baptist, I believe.

I still need to discuss it more with him...but it sounds like he's not as crazy about it sober as he was drunk (yay alcohol). I guess we shall see where this goes. :-/ Thanks everyone...I'll keep you updated if I find anything else out.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By TheMidlakeMusemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 07:47 PM
He was DRUNK while he was saying he needed to live a life WITHOUT ALCOHOL?

Uh huh. :?

And you are taking this guy seriously and listening to anything he says...why?

Dani
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By SaraTheGrouchmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 07:52 PM
Girl, you need to get this guy away from the booze before you get married. It is really a serious problem not only for him, but also you and your relationship. Alcohol is no joke.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By AlinWonderlandmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 08:58 PM
Edited by AlinWonderland (176484) on 2010-08-16 21:00:36
Here's what I think, if he wants to be religious, that's great, that's his deal.

If he wants to stop drinking AWESOME.
If he wants to stop having sex, I guess if boys have to wait for girls then girls should have to wait for boys if they love them and want to be with them.

I think telling you that you were going to hell was just lack of tact, especially due to being drunk.

If you don't want to be religious then you shouldn't have to compromise that, and also drinking alcohol is a conscience matter, not a biblical one. No where in the bible does it say, " if you drink alcohol you are going to hell."
He may just want a buddy to help him stop drinking?
Maybe have a talk with him about each specific thing he asked you to do, and it might clear it up all together.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 09:12 PM
^Dude. If he got two DUIs in six months, and STILL likes to get blasted and tell the girl that he supposedly loves that she's got box seats in hell, then going to church isn't going to stop him.
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By rincedragonflymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:56 PM
But he WANTS to stop. This isn't the first time he's admitted that to me. It usually happens when he is drunk because he realizes that he is out of control of himself when he's ben drinking. It's very easy for him to just drink and drink and drink casually, just because it's habitual, and then all of the sudden it hits him that he's drunk, and that's when he admits that he needs to stop. He knows it sober too, don't get me wrong, it's just when he is drunk he realizes how much it's screwing up his life. He's tried as much as he can without religion with just small bouts of success that didn't last, and he feels that if he gets involved in the church again that his success will be more long-lasting and effective.

Yeah, I guess it is pretty stupid of me to listen to him while he's drunk...I don't know, I'm just a stupid stupid girl (obviously).
re: Boyfriend wants to join a church...I am not religious.
By DefyingGravityPremium member
On Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:58 PM
What has he actually done to try to stop drinking other than say (while drunk), "I should stop drinking"? I'm getting the impression, from both this post and past posts about him, that he is 100% talk and ZERO walk.
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