Some stories are just made for a follow-up conversation and one NPR provided this morning is a perfect example.
It raises this question: Can a couple that has a different view of religion be happily married?
Long-married people will see the flaw in the couple NPR used today, however: They’ve only been married a little over two years. Heck, it doesn’t take much to be married for two years.
But one believes in God and one is an atheist. Here’s the story:
The story, part of a series NPR is doing this week on people turning away from organized religion, may be a better introduction to the question of what is marriage — a takeover or a merger? Are we in love with individuals or the positions or religion they hold dear?
Some of the comments on the NPR website offer a varying response and make clear that religion isn’t a deal-breaker:
“My parents were married for 61 years. My mother was a devout Christian, my father an atheist. Two friends of mine have been married for over 35 years with the same relationship. Respect, tolerance, and love are more important than seeing the world the same way.”
“This type of arrangement worked for me and my wife for 25 years. I am an atheist and she is a Christian. Then, suddenly she felt she needed to start spending all of her waking hours doing something at the church, doing social events with church people (I wasn’t invited), or doing some kind of church-related activity. She left myself and our two sons in order to pursue this life.
“I think one thing that Bixby and Peyer had that she and I didn’t is that they talk about their beliefs. Our beliefs were always off limits for discussion–her choice. She would like to come back now, but I can’t see it working. She still thinks God communicates with her, and so at any time could “call” her away to Africa or Timbuktu, or whatever. Of course it is always a little odd to me that thus far, it seems the things God wants her to do align perfectly with the things she wants to do.”
“I’ve been married nearly 20 years; I am religious, my wife is not. It’s a stretch even to say she’s agnostic. I respect her position and she respects mine; we support each other’s decisions. We have our share of challenges and sacrifices in a religious context but are able to work through them. When it came to raising children, we made a mutual decision to raise them in my religion with the understanding that they’d always consciously know they have a choice when they grow older on which religion to follow, or to follow none at all.”
How would — or does — this situation affect your marriage?