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Who am I marrying, him or his family?!


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My partner and I got engaged about a month ago now. We'd only been dating for about 6 months, but had known each other for 2 years prior.

 

Things have always been good in the way of love. I don't really doubt how he feels about me and visa versa. However things haven't been completely smooth;

At the start of the relationship he confessed to me he had some darker issues and was ashamed of himself. Apon learning this I came with him to a counseller for moral support, and after about 2 months counselling he has healed.

 

Ever since then things have been really good. We've had time to just embrace our love for each other without the dark shadows of his issues clouding things.

 

I know the engagement seemed early, but we are both ready. We've been through alot together and already know so much about each other. It just feels right in my heart.

 

 

However (of course this is coming, why else would I need advice?) lately things have been getting REALLY hard for me.

 

I'm studying full time at the momment, with ALOT of home work and he's been asking me to come out and see him every weekend. He lives 3 - 4 hours away. I always commute to see him and don't complain. But because of the distance I end up staying two nights and getting home JUST in time for my classes (leaves me NO time for homework).

 

On top of that stressing me, he's Baptist and I am catholic. Originally I was fine going to his church.. but now it hurts. All his friends there ignore me and I feel like a second class citizen. Last time I went I was so overwhelmed, not knowing what was going on, sitting there alone (my partner plays music for the church so I have to wait alone for him 1 hour before the service then during the service) on my own.

Furthermore, I haven't been to my own catholic church in God knows how long because between the Baptist service and commuting home theres never any time left for me to go to my own church.

I feel like he's replacing my faith with his (even though he doesnt FORCE me to go).

 

Last weekend I told him I feel rejected at his service, and he told me I should put up with it because he puts in the effort to embrace my religion. He's only been to like ... two masses ever. I can't even count how many times I've been to his services even though I think theyre over the top.

 

 

And the last point here is that he has an ENORMOUS extended family, and almost all mine have passed away. Once we were going to a family gathering and i got him to pull over the car. I spent the next 2 - 3 hours crying hysterically in the car because it was my Grandmas anniversary of her death and here I was going to spend the night with HIS grandma. It just hurt me.

Eventually we got to the gathering, and one of the first things his mother said to me was:

"You don't have grandparents do you? Well thats okay, you can share ours instead!"

I tried so damn hard to hold the tears back.

 

Even his brother has been saying I "whipp" him and am controlling. (Which I'm certainly NOT)

 

Thanks for reading all this. Do you think it's worth going through with the relationship when I love him SO much, but his surroundings make me feel like dirt? Is this just normal jitters or something?

 

I just don't think I can deal with the pressure and stress.

 

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

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Hi, Mutebox, and welcome to eNotalone. You've found a good place to get caring and honest feedback!

 

Now, I've gotta say...I was a little taken aback that his environment makes you feel like dirt. For one thing, I thought it was very kind of his mother to tell you that now you DO have grandparents. Do you not see the kindness in that at all? If not, I would really do some self-examination to find out if it could be that you're highly sensitive.

 

Another thing, it seems you're starting to keep a scoreboard here in this relationship. You go to his church more than he goes to your's, you visit him more than he visits you...instead of silently simmering about such things, maybe try to draw up a list of positive, giving things he does for you, as well. That will surely help balance those other issues out. There's always some areas in a relationship where one partner does more, and sometimes, that fluctuates over time, too.

 

But if you can't draw up a list that provides a satisfactory balance for you, then maybe you should reconsider marrying him.

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Religious differences should be discussed before you "THINK" about getting married. Will you be marrying in the "catholic" or "babtist" faith? and yes.. it does matter, do you plan on having children? and in which faith do you plan on raising those children???

 

His family... I know you miss your grandmother, but why would you begrudge him his?? its not his fault your's has moved on her journey.

If his grandmother accepts you into her family circle.. you should feel honored.. how absolutely wonderful.

 

I know now that my grandmother is gone... and I have children of my own. I appreciate my grandmother MORE now than when she was with me. There are so many things I wish I had done and said... and I will never get the chance. Or will I??? I can "LOVE" his grandmother. I can appreciate his grandmother. And I know my grandmother would be standing beside me the whole time beaming a big smile... and saying.. "thats my girl"

 

The answer to your question is YES... you do marry the extended family and friends, for good and for ill. ohhh boy do you. I learned some very powerful lessons from my "X-Inlaws".. lol.. valuable lessons. And no.. I don't regret it. All my experiences have shaped the Woman I am today...

 

You and your fiance... need to start talking about some of the tougher aspects of marriage. Its not all fun and games.. its work darlin...

And that is what this "YEAR" is all about.. Engagements historically were meant to be a compatibility test to see if you truly were meant to be.

 

My advice to you is... Learn the ART of COMPROMISE... and learn it quickly.

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Thank you SO much for the advice!

I know that I did see the kindness in what his mother said... it was just bad timing on her part, and I don't blame her for it. I just felt horrible - that's all.

 

I guess you're all right in ways, I need to accept this change and embrace it. It is a gift. It's very hard to embrace so many new people when you're so introverted and shy as I am. It's a difficult challenge but I guess I need to try my best. I know he's worth it, so that's all that matters, right?

 

It could be worse. His Mum is really nice. I know with my ex, I absolutly hated his parents and they hated me, so this is a big step up.

 

But yeah we've talked about the religious differences, he said he doesnt mind getting married in a catholic basilica/church and would agree to bring up the children catholic as long as they can go to baptist church if they want to as well.

 

I don't mind him being a baptist. I just REALLY dislike his church and the environment there - it doesn't sit well with me at all.

 

I'm being a horrible fiance arn't I? I'm being over critical and over sensitive.

Maybe the problem isn't the family and church.

 

Is it just me?

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No, I grew up in a Southern Baptist church and also went to for one a while again last year. I was really surprised at the change in that faith. A lot of Baptists seem to take a very narrow view to other faiths, and seem to think they're the only ones going to heaven.

 

It can be a jarring contrast if you're used to another kind of church.

 

I do think you two should really hammer out the faith issues. What he's saying now is that it's ok if the kids are brought up Catholic, but he might change his stance on that down the road, especially if his church and family influence him otherwise. That's the one issue I would make sure you two really work together on before you have children.

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Thanks

I wonder how we can sort it out though. Maybe we should educate each other more on our faiths and see where they conflict and how we can understand and compromise on those issues.

I guess since his Baptist church is more like a community/family than mine (we just go to church then leave) he'd want his kids to be involved by reading, music, etc.

And if they end up anything like *some* of the people there, I'd be worried to say the least.

 

But thank you for the advice, I'll have a talk to him about it

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Thanks

I wonder how we can sort it out though. Maybe we should educate each other more on our faiths and see where they conflict and how we can understand and compromise on those issues.

I guess since his Baptist church is more like a community/family than mine (we just go to church then leave) he'd want his kids to be involved by reading, music, etc.

And if they end up anything like *some* of the people there, I'd be worried to say the least.

 

But thank you for the advice, I'll have a talk to him about it

 

I don't understand how you could have decided to marry this person without first discussing your different faiths and how to raise children, etc, which obviously are very important to you.

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Batya - Trust me, we have extensivly discussed the future and until this point I thought we had figured out what we were going to do. The only problem is it's not sitting well with me anymore - so now we have to re-evaluate the situation.

 

Jezille - that's fantastic advice, and I should remind myself that more often. I've decided to avoid chasing after him for a while - and if all I get in return is silence... then I guess thats a bad sign.

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I don't understand how you could have decided to marry this person without first discussing your different faiths and how to raise children, etc, which obviously are very important to you.

 

Maybe because in countless relationships, there is usually one big difference between the two parties involved, but the commonalities and love outweigh that.

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I wonder how we can sort it out though. Maybe we should educate each other more on our faiths and see where they conflict and how we can understand and compromise on those issues.

 

I think that's an EXCELLENT idea. See, you've got a grasp on this compromise thing. This kind of conversation would not only help you two sort things out, but it would also provide an opportunity for you two to just talk about ideas, deeper subjects, your thoughts, your experiences....in other words, the kind of conversation that builds a deeper emotional connection.

 

One thing you should both establish before having this talk is that you WON'T turn it into a "my religion's right on this issue, your's isn't." At least for this first conversation, just make a deal to pinpoint the differences. And to treat each other's faith with respect. It will also be a good idea to spotlight where your faiths are in agreement. The fact that you both follow a faith that believes in a higher power, and in helping your fellow man, should also be something neither of you ever overlook. That says a lot in a world where so many people are apathetic about practicing any type of spirituality.

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You said that you've discussed all these issues fairly extensively. Thats GREAT. As you can see... sometimes you can "think" you have things nailed down pretty well, but once you get into the situation, you'll feel differently. Kind of like walking a mile in someone else's shoe thing.

 

My "X" and I... had WONDERFUL communication skills in the beginning.

That was the one thing we prided ourselves on is that we were able to talk about all the "WHAT IF's" and agree on a plan.... What we didn't count on is... the "LIVING IT"part. and all the lovely little monkey wrenches that get tossed in just to make your day. LOL.

 

As you age... so will your feelings and your views. You will change... and you both need to learn compromise and flexibility. As my grandmother would say... a YOUNG TREE is very flexible. And old tree grow's rigid.. and the branches will snap. Learn Compromise and Flexibility.

 

If I were to give you "ONE" piece of advice to take into your marriage... it would be, draw of a contract for RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. Meaning... learn to communicate fairly... everyone fights and everyone argues...

LEARN to do it fairly, respecting each others views and respecting each other as persons.

 

Before we were married... we needed to attend what is called.. "PRECANA" class with the Catholic Church. They actually had us take a compatability test. And they also talked about.. things we are talking here. We kinda nodded.... YEs yes yes.. we got it. But we really didn't. I do recall them talking about RULES OF ENGAGEMENT... and again.. yes yes yes.. we got it.

 

Seven years into the marriage.. ( LOL.. that lucky 7 eh?) found us sitting in marriage counseling... and again... RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. By this time we were NOT fighting fair. It was cat and dog. This time we photocopied Rules our conselor gave to us. And tagged it to the Fridge. Unfortunately for us... by this time the GROOVES has been set... the foundation laid.. and we'd gotten into a pattern. Screw the FAIR and rules of engagement thing. LOL.

 

So take heed from those who've walked the path before. They've been there... and lived it.

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