Ahead of this morning’s wedding ceremony, Meghan Markle was baptized into the Church of England. While not exactly mandatory, this is the traditional step for someone marrying into the royal family. So the question is, if you were marrying someone would you give up your religion for them?
I was raised Catholic all my life. Went to Catholic school until 4th grade, was confirmed in a catholic church, had been a sponsor twice (3 times as of this post), and volunteered actively with the peer ministry at the time I got engaged.
My husband is Jewish, raise that way his whole life, went to Jewish school, and used to be able to speak pretty kick ass Hebrew. Both of us fiercely loyal to our religions but also incredibly in love with each other. When it came time to decide what religion to follow as a couple, we decided on both. It wasn’t a simple decision, and not one that we took lightly.
So how did we decide?
I go to church if not all Sunday’s, most Sunday’s. I get excited for Lent and spend time carefully considering my penance each year. I pray before I eat, when I get into the car, on family members birthdays, and sometimes just when I am feeling a little off. I spend a lot of time on my relationship with God. Matt’s views on religion is a bit different. I cannot speak exactly as to what his opinions are so don’t hold me to this. From what I understand he believes that there is a higher power and we can go about having our relationship with God without the need for a formal institution. That celebrating with family on high holidays is just as powerful as going to church each week. What we do agree on is that this relationship with God is based out of love and that is how we wanted to build our relationship and our family.
So we decided not to choose against each other. Although I did offer, at one point, to convert so that our household would all be one religion; Matt declined. The reason being that he is not actively participating in his religion. He doesn’t go to temple at all anymore but I got to church all the time so he didn’t think he would be fair to ask me to give that up. Our compromise was to continue to learn as much as we could about the others religion. We agreed to be married in the catholic church (the church does not recognize marriages outside of the church without special permissions), that our children would be baptized in the Catholic church, because that is very important to me, but that the rest of our religious journey would be our choice. We will be here to guide our children and teach them everything we know. In our house we celebrate both Jewish and Catholic holidays. (Not to toot my own horn but I’m getting pretty good at the Hanukkah prayers.) When it came down to our wedding, we had two! A catholic ceremony with just my family, in the church I grew up and volunteered in since I was 12 years old, and a beach wedding complete with smashing glasses and the hora.
I guess my answer to the question is that if Matt needed me to give up my religion for him, I would. 100%. And I still would today if he decided that is something he needed from me. Because I know he is worth that commitment and love. Because I truly believe that God put him in my life to be my husband. Because he values God in his life as much as I do. In our reality, he didn’t ask me to and I like to think it’s because God knew that this was important to me and sent me a man who understands that. Who loves me because of and not in spite of my relationship with God.
I would pick him again any day. Every time.