I'm 41 and never married. Six months ago I met a fabulous man and have just shacked up with him. I live abroad from my very conservative religious family, and I don't want to tell them that I'm 'living in sin', seeing as they don't actually need to know. However, I hate lying and would rather live honestly. He problem is that my parents and most of my siblings will heartily disapprove, and there will be grave disappointment and even tears as they believe this decision is a sign that I've rejected God and will therefore go to hell. I have a strong aversion to my family's strict religion because of the mental and moral control they had over me all my childhood (and clearly still do).
I love this guy, but am torn up in guilt. Am I being unreasonable?
I know. I can understand that it will feel like a mean thing to do. But you know that you're not doing anything deliberately to hurt him. If he will experience real difficulty in coming to terms with your choices there is very little you can do about that, except feel a bit sorry for him (you are allowed to feel sorry for him).
If you know that he is fundamentally unpleasable then you also know that there is little point in trying to please him.
MrsC to be honest, I've never felt like I've had permission to have a relationship of any sort, unless it was to perhaps a minister or someone equally religious. I can't imagine getting to the place where we could make vows in front of my family, so not sure if that would make a difference or not. I hope one day I can.
I think its just as much about religion as not ever feeling like it was ok to enjoy my life (ie don't go to the beach on a Sunday, you might enjoy it too much and want to skip church in the evening). And if I look back and think about the 'don't wear short skirts, you don't understand how hard it is for men to behave', 'even your mind is fallen, you can't trust your own rational decisions', the minister shouting at his own daughter from the pulpit because she was whispering through the sermon - then I have to admit that there is much about their morality and teachings that I can't trust. Particularly as both my parents and grandparents 'did the deed' before they were married (they admitted this) so I suspect its more about personal hangups than wanting the best for me.
I've spent so much time thinking about what I believe about this today, and largely due to prompts from this thread I've realised that I fully believe that my family interpret Scripture how they want. I remember asking about why it is shameful for women to have their head uncovered, and being told that it was a cultural thing and so didn't apply...but then that doesn't apply to other things. It's really hypocritical and sometimes used to justify their personal preferences. The other thing I believe is that 'those without sin should throw the first stone' - I don't believe that Jesus wants us to judge each other like this. This gives me some strength towards being able to enjoy my relationship. Very grateful for the support I've had here.
I think you've hit on a good point above aroom - many people interpret Scripture how they want, and, unfortunately, this can be in order to repress people.
I was brought up C of E although I don't follow that faith now. However, I do believe that as long as what people are doing is within the law, then they should not feel guilty about it. I was reared in an environment that said that same-sex relationships were taboo, that 'living in sin' was taboo, that mixed-race relationships were wrong, and that women should be subservient, and that every day should be lived in fear of God striking me down.
Over the years, I have come to see that much of these teachings have nothing to do with the bible, but from people's fears. If I am really logical and rational, I can see it was riddled with hypocrisy. One of my teachers was a lesbian (closet), and one of the church elders was having an affair.
Personally I have mixed feelings about whether there was a Jesus or not, but if there was, considering the people that he mixed with, and what he reputedly preached, then I think many people are following the wrong guidance. He said that we should treat people as we expect to be treated, to not judge, and not to throw accusations about. He hung out with those shunned by society. So it stands to reason that he'd have no issue with anything that I was told was 'wrong'.
I don't buy the line that women should dress modestly because men can't control themselves. I don't have a problem with women WANTING to cover up, and I'm not a fan of those who wear a belt as a skirt/top, but what a woman wears has no reflection on whether a man can 'control himself'. That's rubbish. It undermines the previous argument that women should be subservient to men.
I don't think that Sunday should be any more special than any other day. Every day should afford some time to reflect on the gifts we have in life.
It sounds as though you've thought through your position carefully. After years of being told what to do/say/think, you're making choices that suit you. Enjoy those freedoms.