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Ask the Patriarch 172
Mixed Marriage

from: Angelique

To open a discussion on this article, please use the contact page to provide your comments.

I have a question, and am hoping this is the proper place to pose it.

I have come to the conclusion, after years of religious uncertainty, that I am Agnostic. My husband, however, is a firm believer in God, a very faithful Christian. As his religious beliefs begin to become more pronounced, and though I admire his heart, I am finding it difficult to not resent him for the fact that he lets this religion and its rules dictate how he lives his life.

My question is this: Do you think an Agnostic mind and a Christian mind can co-exist? 

The Patriarch replies:


Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to your question. Also, there are a lot of factors in a specific marriage (which you have not mentioned) which could be relevant. So my response must be fairly general.

For previous answers to related questions, please see Ask the Patriarch 7, 9 (the two discussion items are quite good) and 113.

Yes, people of different religious viewpoints can have a happy marriage, but it involves compromise, ideally by both partners rather than just by one of them.

From what you write, you have both moved in your beliefs since you got married - you towards disbelief, and him to a stronger faith. People do change, and it is unfortunate that you have moved in opposite directions, and that your beliefs are important to each of you.

If he you want to stay with the man you love, then you will have to find a way to accept that his religion's rules govern his life. But, at the same time, you should make it clear to him that those rules do not necessarily govern your life.

There are quite a few areas of potential conflict depending on which particular version of Christianity he follows. For example:

Perhaps you have an entirely different set of problems. Whatever they are, they should be capable of being discussed, and reasonable compromises made by both sides. What it comes down to is that both you and your husband must want to make your marriage work, and  both of you to respect each others beliefs.

If you want to discuss this further, feel free.