Frustrated with Christian in-laws

Sent in by JP

I grew up Lutheran and never really had any problems with Christianity until I met my in-laws.

My wife's family is a very staunch,conservative and fundamental bunch. They are anti-homosexual, pro-life, anti-Santa, and very Republican. My family on the other hand is the exact opposite. I was taught to accept others for their differences and to do my best to love others unconditionally (which is a very difficult thing to do, I might add).

Anyway, after four months of dating, I knew Trish was the one. I had met her parents twice prior to purchasing a ring and felt as though they would have no problem accepting me into their family.

I called my soon to be father-in-law and informed him of my intent to marry his daughter. The first thing he asked me was "What are your thoughts on Christianity?" I told him that I do not believe that Christianity is the only way into heaven, that there is truth to all religions, and that I can not ignore that. He then asked me what my thoughts on Jesus were. I told him that I felt Jesus was a common man who had an innate ability to connect with people on a very personal level. I then told him that the true meaning of Christianity was to be Christ-like and to do your best to tolerate and love others unconditionally. My father-in-law then said that I was wrong on much of what I said and that he will not give me his blessings until he has spoken to his daughter. I told my father-in-law that his daughter is a grown woman and can make an informed decision on her own without his influence. He then asked me if I were going to propose regardless of his thoughts, then what was the point in asking. I told him that I figured he would be happy for us and that being a supposed "Man of God" (he's a pastor) that he would love me and welcome me into his family without hesitation. He told me that my thoughts on religion were ignorant and that I didn't know what I was talking about. That hurt me more than anything.

I have never been so disrespected and had never been judged so harshly by a supposed Christian.

Anyway, I went ahead and asked my wife and she said yes without hesitation. My father-in-law did not want to officiate our wedding and things have been very awkward the last two years between us. He really had an opportunity to show me what it meant to be a Christian, and he failed miserably.

Up until a few months ago they referred to me as "the situation" to their friends. I can understand them treating me this way if I had no direction and/or a means to take care of their daughter, but I own a house, I'm a college graduate, and my career is centered around helping troubled youth.

To this day my in-laws pray daily that I find Jesus and that I make it into heaven. My wife does not agree with her parents on any of this. She still practices her faith, but at least approaches things with an open mind.

This world is an ugly place, and religion is the root of it. We have killing in the name of God and organized protesting against homosexuality -- as well as bombings of abortion clinics -- all in the name of God, not to mention a world divided. Where's the good in this?

Anyway, I will never conform to a single religion and never will I conform to religion in order to gain acceptance from others. I am adamant that people learn to accept me for who I am versus how I spend my Sundays.

Christianity will never by my answer to happiness. Happiness solely relies upon you and only you, and when it comes to direction, my moral compass is the Golden Rule. I feel that too many Christians use religion as a crutch and find themselves so far out of touch with the world that it's a detriment to society and their own personal growth.

Anyway, there it is in a nutshell. I love my in-laws very much, and there is a lot of good in them, but to sacrifice a close relationship with me and my wife out of beliefs, I feel is a shame. They are free to believe in what they want, but I guarantee that God would never ask anyone to sacrifice a family member to prove their love for Him. That is just way too egotistical and arrogant for a supposed all-loving and caring God.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

JP,

"This world is an ugly place, and religion is the root of it."

You got that right. Stick to your principles and never cow to religious bigots.

If you would like to get in touch with an ordained atheist minister, go to this site:

www.firstchurchofatheism.com

Good luck in your struggle.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

JP,

I forgot to mention, the ministers of the First Church of Atheism are legally ordained and can perform all of the ceremonies that other ministers can, without mentioning God.

AWLHEART said...

I'm wondering why you love your in-laws? There was not one thing positive you said about them. Is that a part of your Christian conditioning?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I have the same problem my in laws are pentacostal. And her dad is a preacher. They are very nice to me and treat me well. But that is only because I haven't voiced my opinion about religion around them. I see my self as my own god I answere my own prayers. If I am in need of forgiveness I just forgive my self. If I need salvation I just call the cops. and for celebration and fellowship I hit the bar.

Anonymous said...

You love your in-laws? Come on! That sounds as rehearsed and hypocritical as when Christians say the love me.

I'm sorry, but I call that denial. How can you love such as asshole of a father-in-law.

In any case, my in-laws are a real piece of work, too. I like my father-in-law, and I kind of detest his wife.

I looked for approval for the first seven years of my marriage, and given that nothing I did seemed right, I got tired, and stopped my people pleasing behaviours.

So, I don't even visit them nowadays, and when I see them, I am polite, and that's it.

There is no reason to be kissing the ass of people that mistreat us, absolutely no reason. And if your wife loves you, she will understand . I know my very Christian husband tries to understand me.

twincats said...

I think that JP has the right idea and is doing the right thing. I don't see that he is kissing anyone's ass; these people are the parents of the person he loves most in the world and he is honoring that love by creating the best relationship with his in laws that he can.

It's hard to go wrong when you take the high road. It's not always possible to do that, of course, but good on ya, JP!

Anonymous said...

JP,

Just curious,
Are your in laws from Texas?

I am all too familiar with this type of dogmatic, very CONDITIONAL love.

Best
IONIAN

Twazzi said...

In Canada if someone doesn't want the BS of a church wedding they go to a Justice of the Peace, pay a reasonable fee and get hitched. Is this possible in the US?

Anonymous said...

"I think that JP has the right idea and is doing the right thing. I don't see that he is kissing anyone's ass; these people are the parents of the person he loves most in the world and he is honoring that love by creating the best relationship with his in laws that he can."

One thing is to to give people respect and to be polite to them. Another is to LOVE them.

But, hey, if JP wants to love the SOB, who am I to tell him not to?

freethinker05 said...

Yes Twazzi, people can get hitched in front of the justice of the peace, (In tennessee anyway). I did it twice with the same women.....haha
Best Regards, Roger

billybee said...

Dear J.P.

It seems as though you are in a "damned if ya do, damned if ya don't" (no pun intended) situation.

Your new extended family will probably never accept you as a real member of their family as long as you remain true to your convictions.

On the other hand, if you cave in to their pressures and take on some outer facade' of faith, you become a phoney.

You certainly have the freedom to marry whomever you wish. But it sounds like you are surprised at the consequences of your choice.

At the risk of sounding like a jerk, I must ask you a question...

You knew going into this marriage that her parents were hard-core fundamentalists...How did you expect them to act?

I really hate to appear insensitive to your difficulties, but I can't help asking;...What were you thinking..!!?

clair said...

I know what he was thinking, in the way of "But this person loves me so much, everything will be okay" because I've been there. Love really screws up any kind of rational thinking and can turn you into a drooling half-wit. The best things that could happen: 1.You move far away from in-laws 2.You don't move but spouse has their own awakening 3. Your spouse has such a respect for you that there is no anger at you for not sharing their beliefs. Plus, no two-faced behavior on the part of the spouse.
We are human, and we want what we want right now, which often leads us to believe we can force things to go our way. But I can see how a person can actually try to love a hateful christian if they are the parent of your spouse. The emotional burden can be so heavy, so please have an emotional outlet (thank Dave for this site) to avoid heartbreak. Thanks for your story! Clair

Anonymous said...

My maternal grandparents still refer to my husband as "the problem". Heck, my mom's family even banned him from our first family thanksgiving dinner together, less than a month before we wed! I felt betrayed when my parents still attended without us.

My parents recovered from the shock of my marriage after a few months (my father more quickly than my mother). But nobody in my family (sans parents, who love him) would accept that he was here to stay until I got pregnant. Now they really hate him, because he's "stuck" with me!

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