Dh doesn't agree with me taking dd to church (sorry, long)

(16 Posts)
bouncysmiley Fri 03-Jan-14 03:51:55

He never discusses religion much and although he knows it is important to me and has been supportive of me he has increasingly been letting me know that he is uncomfortable with our dd being 'indoctrinated'. When we met I asked him if he believed in god, and he said he did. We have both been brought up catholic. He never accompanied me to church other than at Christmas or weddings, funerals , christenings, but i do not think you have to go to church to have a relationship with god and i didn't mind going on my own. When dd was born i took her on my own. He had made it clear before we got married that although he had no objection to her being raised a catholic he was not willing to come to church etc. I would like him there to help out but am prepared to take her myself. We haven't been going as regularly as i would like for the past 9 months. Partly due to a change in our sunday activities which make going to mass then difficult (and there is no childrens church in the sat service so she struggles to sit through it). Tonight dd comes in drunk and tells me he doesn't want her being taught how to pray, going to mass etc. He was furious with my dad for saying grace with her at the weekend. When i tried reasoning with him and reminded him that we got her baptised and we were both taught how to pray etc he said that he wants better for her and that he went along with baptism to get her into school as it is what people do. I didn't do it for that reason and am thrown by the extent to which we seem to differ on something i see as quite fundamental. I told him that i intend to share my beliefs with dd and he is welcome to do the same but i am worried at how much he seems to be against this whereas i have thought for the last 10 years that we were more or less on the same page and how this will impact dd growing up.

IrisWildthyme Fri 03-Jan-14 04:21:54

Sounds like you need to have a proper talk with him once he is sober! If you are sure he said to you before you married that he would be fine with you raising any future children as catholic, then you have been perfectly reasonable to have been acting on that - and any change from that needs to come after reasoned discussion with both of you - neither of you have 100% veto rights on this, you need to talk and find a path acceptable to both of you - but you need to make space for a non-confrontational calm discussion, not an argument!

NickyEds Fri 03-Jan-14 05:16:58

Definately wait until he's sober and have a proper talk. I was raised with a quite religious Mum and totally athiest Dad and it just seemed to be something on which they disagreed,- but crucially- didn't fight over. It can be OK to have differing views . I don't think it has to adversely affect your DD but you might have to meet him half way. My parents agreed on my school and I went to church with Mum but by no means every weekend and Dad made the effort at Easter/ Christmas etc. It will be any conflict itself that will upset your DD not the reason for the conflict
Good Luck- this is tricky

3bunnies Fri 03-Jan-14 06:02:26

Also remind him that if you don't take her to mass he will be looking after her. Also she will be more curious if she is not allowed to come. Are you planning a Catholic education for her, how old is she? If he wants a Catholic education then that will be fairly influential, in fact any state education teaches a lot about religion and includes an act of worship. Our dc go to a non denominational, LEA school and they pray in assembly every day. Also they have nativity plays etc. What do you think he will say about first Communion - that is quite a commitment? You can also talk to your priest, it won't be the first time he has come across this issue.

MadIsTheNewNormal Fri 03-Jan-14 06:26:46

I'm surprised if he felt that strongly about it he didn't lay down a few more ground rules before you had children, but perhaps it was because you didn't regularly go to mass then, and he didn't think it was going to be a huge issue? Have you become more devout and more practising in recent years, or since DD was born? He might be feeling that you've moved the goalposts by stealth.

For what it's worth, I completely agree with him - I don't think you should indoctrinate your DD with your religious beliefs at all, but especially if your DH does not share them and is uncomfortable with it - that seems very unfair to me.

If God is real and wants to reach out to your DD though the medium of Roman Catholicism then I'm sure he is more than capable of finding his own way to do that, without your help.

If a child needs a parent to make her aware of God's existence then God is doing a pretty rubbish job by himself, IMHO. smile

I'd leave her alone until she starts asking questions and then try to explain the difference between faith, belief and fact. Let her make her own mind up in her own time and in her own way.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 03-Jan-14 06:42:19

According to OP it's the DH who has changed the goalposts, OP has always regularly attended church pre-DC, she now goes less due to other activities and Saturdays service being unsuitable for children.

Bouncysmiley you need to sit down and talk to your husband properly when he's sober. Does your DD attend a church affiliated school? If she doesn't yet won't they expect more than that she's just baptised ie that you regularly attend church as well?

HavantGuard Fri 03-Jan-14 06:51:16

Is he annoyed about her going to church or is he annoyed that it has been allowed to spill out of church and into everyday life with your father saying grace with her? That would be a big step too far for me.

nooka Fri 03-Jan-14 07:05:02

I sounds like it's the grace that tipped him over, and possibly made him reevaluate the whole being brought up as a Catholic thing. I'm an ex-Catholic, now atheist and my mother has recently started doing grace (not something that we ever did growing up) and it makes me feel very very uncomfortable, and dh (also atheist) very angry. I think because we feel forced to participate in something that we disagree with fundamentally.

I assume that your dh doesn't have quite such strong feelings, but it's possible that his initial apathy is turning into a stronger anti-theist or anti-Catholic viewpoint. Some become more religious when they have children and want to share their faith with them, and some realise that they really don't want their child to be brought up in the way that they were. Neither is wrong, but the clash needs to be discussed and a compromise found.

This does need to be discussed when he is sober.

It sounds like you have become an interfaith household which is common but needs discussion and compromise. If he demands that his faith, or lack of it, is the only faith position in the household then your child learns that atheism is intolerant and you hand her a big stick in future family arguments. However, you have a great opportunity for her to learn about two faith positions if you work at it. She gets to learn about atheism from dad and explores Christianity through mum.

A practical solution to the grace problem could be that if Granddad says grace then you are respecting his beliefs and his relationship with you to allow him to do so but by not saying amen at the end you aren't agreeing with it. This is what clergy do in schools when praying with children. We say that we are going to say a prayer and we are all going to be quiet. If you want to make the prayer your own say 'amen' at the end but if you don't then just enjoy a moment of quiet.

Good luck.

bouncysmiley Fri 03-Jan-14 08:06:33

Thanks all. Sorry i posted and ran. I just wanted to get it off my chest. It worked and I was able to sleep afterwards. I have always attended church, never everyweek, usually once or twice a month. I did become more religious a few years into our relationship, but years before we got married. DD is 2 and if anything I go to church less now. We had just spent a week with my parents which he always finds a bit of a strain so it could be down to this. My dad has always said grace so nothing new there but he hasn't tried to involve dd before because she was too young. I will speak to him this weekend about it. She is starting to talk now so questions/ comments will start to spil into everyday life. I don't expect him to get overly involved but just to continue the support he has always shown me.

Jinglebellsforthebetter Fri 03-Jan-14 08:21:02

Sounds like time for a significant talk.

My role was reversed. X was religious but because of his role at church expected me to take DD every week and keep her amused -no kids church hmm Given that you are doing the taking etc, I can't quite see his problem.

I would object to a very religious grace at meals but not to a secular one.

X takes DC to church fairly regularly now and I use it as an opportunity to discuss the validity of different beliefs e.g. "Daddy believes x, Mummy believes Y".

I agree about schooling having been Catholic-educated and then worked in a Catholic school, it is vital that you sort this out sooner rather than later. brew

HoneyandRum Sat 04-Jan-14 12:33:59

If you were married in a Catholic church then one of the vows you make is to welcome children into your marriage and raise them Catholic. If your DH no longer wishes to practice the faith he was raised in that is his free choice. However, you are also free to continue your practice of the faith and why should your child be denied to be part of a fundamental aspect of who you are and what you believe?

Also the idea that you just be a Catholic on your own time for an hour on Sunday and not let it be expressed in the rest of your life (i.e. saying grace before or after meals) is the antithesis of Catholicism and Christianity. If you believe, it is not a little hobby.

I appreciate that with atheists in the family you make compromises to keep the peace, but not compromise your fundamental Catholic beliefs.

For example in your dad's own home I think he gets to decide if he says grace or not. In your own home, you can say grace when your DH is not there and you can also explain to your child that saying grace can be silent and can be said interiorly.

Church teaching from the Catechism:

2221 The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children is primordial and inalienable.

2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law.

2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgement, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom.

2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and discover their vocation as children of God. The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents. Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.

2228 Parents' respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and emotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.

This is what your DH signed up for. He may have been personally disinterested or disinclined to get involved but it is definitely not JUST to act as if it is a big surprise if a Catholic partner is raising their child Catholic.

cathpip Sat 04-Jan-14 12:52:32

You need to discuss this with him, having a difference of opinion on religion in my view should just be accepted and not argued over. My dm was an atheist, absolutely hated church etc etc. my grandfather (her fil) was a vicar, they agreed to disagree and never a bad word was said by either, in fact they were very very good friends. She did however let him say grace every Sunday lunch, wether it was at his house or hers, and for which he was grateful, and upon his death this was acknowledged at the funeral service which mum found very funny!

sashh Sat 04-Jan-14 13:13:57

IMHO this sounds as though something has surfaces in his drunken state about his upbringing or something that happened as a child or because of being RC.

Talk to him sober and see what he really believes.

nooka Sat 04-Jan-14 23:53:34

Honeyandrum that's not necessarily true. dh and I were married in a Catholic church and he was very clear with the priest that he was/is an atheist (we had a six week prep course so plenty of time for discussion). He didn't have to promise or sign up to anything. Instead I had to make a commitment as the catholic. Unlike my mother 30 odd years earlier who essentially had to sign us all away (very upsetting for her as she was/is a strongly committed Anglican).

HoneyandRum Sun 05-Jan-14 00:26:20

Nooka, you're right and the OP did not get back to us regarding if they even had a Catholic wedding. However, as a Catholic those would be the commitments she would make to any future child - that sounds like it was never in dispute. It could also be the case that only when a child is born does it finally dawn to the non-practicing or lukewarm Catholic that their Catholic spouse wants and expects to raise the kids Catholic. This has never been hidden but many people married to practicing believers whether atheist, agnostic or non-practicing, have never really consciencely realised what the reality of their new family would be.

We are all speculating, hopefully the OP and her DH have talked it through and he was able to explain his reasons and they came to a respectful and loving mutual compromise.

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