“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 May 1, 2014
DEAR ABBY: I'm writing to support "Feeling Coerced in San Diego" (Feb. 14), who is uncomfortable attending church with her husband. I understand her feelings because I, too, am an atheist in a relationship with a religious man.

There is another option besides abstaining from church or attending only on major holidays, and that would be for "Coerced" and her husband to try a different church. One religion that embraces atheist church members is Unitarian Universalism.

UU congregations are often made up of people from different backgrounds -- Christian, Jewish, atheist and more. The focus of the sermons is on living a good life, treating other people and our planet with respect, and following one's own path to spiritual enlightenment. It's likely that "Coerced" and her husband could both feel at home in such a congregation.-- CHELSEA IN WICHITA

DEAR CHELSEA: Thank you for your suggestion -- it's one that was echoed by many other readers. I have mentioned the Unitarian Universalist denomination and its website before in my column. Readers' comments were enlightening:

DEAR ABBY: I, too, am in a "mixed marriage." I'm religious and my husband is an atheist. We agree to disagree on the matter. Religion (or lack of it) is a very personal thing, and however we feel, we owe each other respect for our different views.

"Coerced" is great for trying to accommodate her husband, but now that they see it didn't work, he should stop pressuring her. She can refrain from going to services, but should consider attending the church's social events. This solution worked well for us. My husband and my church friends get along well.

Of course, this depends on the nature of the church. Mine happens to be one of the more progressive. It's worth a try.-- KATHRYN IN OTTAWA, CANADA

DEAR ABBY: I knew my husband was atheist when we married. Our spiritual journeys are different, and we're not going to change each other.

We agreed I would raise our kids Catholic. I never expect him to be at church with us on Sundays, but on important sacraments (baptism, first communion, confirmation), he is there with the whole family because he realizes these events are important for his kids and me. He has become friendly with some of my clergy and fellow congregants, who accept him for the wonderful person he is.

Maybe in the future "Coerced" could attend an event like a church spaghetti dinner, something outside of services, and get to know the people her husband spends time with on Sunday. And he could spend a weekend doing a silent hiking retreat with his wife and her friends.

Respecting each other's spiritual path is a first step toward appreciating each other's differences and growing together.-- BLESSED IN OREGON

DEAR ABBY: "Coerced" is lucky to have a man who attends church and wants her to go, too. She might consider helping in the nursery. That way, she's there with him but doesn't have to listen to the message. Churches are always looking for help so parents can actually attend the service.-- LAURA IN CONNECTICUT

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#2 May 1, 2014
Agree with everybody but the last person. If she is in the nursery, she is not "there with him" and may as well be on planet Mars.


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#3 May 1, 2014
Yawn. They were mostly good ideas, but -- yawn.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#4 May 1, 2014
I do not feel enlightened.

Hancock, NY

#5 May 1, 2014
Boring. My advice is that you need to discuss religion BEFORE you marry. I didn't think it was an important issue. My husband was raised in the same religion my older siblings were (we have different mom's). I grew to have almost no respect for that religion based on what I saw for myself and from what I read. I didn't worry too much because my husband did not attend church much before we married and did not seem upset when I told him that my kids would be raised in that religion over my dead body. After we married, he started getting interested in an entirely different religion and converted. He is a staunchly devout person and resents the fact that I don't go with him. I did go with him for a number of years and respect much of what they teach but lost respect due to a number of their views. Their negative views toward gays and gay marriage is just one example and I find I just can't go along with it. So my husband and I agree to disagree but it is still a divisive issue in our lives. It turns out that religious beliefs are VERY important in a marriage and if you are deeply divided, it can cause a great deal of stress in your life.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Garden City, MI

#6 May 1, 2014
Jeebus, would it kill you to be away from your spouse for a couple hours while they go to church?


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 May 1, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
Jeebus, would it kill you to be away from your spouse for a couple hours while they go to church?
I think it's the spouse that's going to church that can't be without the other.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#8 May 1, 2014
Toj wrote:
<quoted text>
I think it's the spouse that's going to church that can't be without the other.
Correct. She never wanted to go. He pressured her into going with him and she'd rather have that time to herself.


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