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naomi's mama 03-02-2013 12:17 AM

DH wants to convert. I dont understand...
I've been with DH for 15 years, married 8 years. I'm catholic. His Dad and grandmother were Jewish but when we met and when we got married he wasn't practicing. We had agreed to raise the kids Catholic when we married. I thought he was just not religious which was fine. I was actively practicing, but accepted that him not being catholic was fine.

Well the past 2 years, he has started to learn more about Judaism. Attended a course one semester, checks out books from library, started celebrating holidays and now attend the synagogue almost rgularly weekly. He also told me he wants to convert!

I'm very uncomfortable with this. Kids and I don't go to the synagogue. I feel deceived. Why now? What's missing? He knows I'm uncomfortable but still is moving forward with this.

I guess I'm wondering what you think about this? Our marriage is pretty much good but I just can't get over this.

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MyLovely 03-02-2013 12:28 AM

Re: DH wants to convert. I dont understand...
I think you need to ask yourself why you would rather have him be nothing than Jewish. Judaism is an Abrahamic religion, and the majority of Christian-Jewish families find integrating both to be no big deal.

I also don't say this from a place of judgement. I'm a staunch atheist. If my DP converted to anything, it could easily be a deal breaker. I'm just curious as to what it is about Judaism that makes you uncomfortable. Most people in your position would be thankful that their husband found religion, and something so close to their own at that.

Hi-Dog 03-02-2013 12:34 AM

Re: DH wants to convert. I dont understand...
I assume he is planning to convert. (eta, I thought I read he wanted YOU to convert).

Are you comfortable with your children experiencing/observing holidays of both faiths? I know there are interfaith families who sort of combine traditions. Is he feeling pressure from family to convert or maybe just feeling he needs to "find his way" in terms of his faith or connect with his heritage? It is possible he wants to share a part of himself with his children that he maybe didn't consider or realize was important to him all those years ago when you two made the decision to raise your children Catholic.

You just need to be totally honest with one another about how you feel. He can't force you to convert to Judaism as much as you can't force him to be Catholic.

My husband was raised Jewish, I was raised Lutheran and neither of us are especially spiritual or religious. I had started the conversion process, but we have kind of taken a break from that idea in light of a pretty crappy experience (involving a Rabbi . . . sounds like the start of a bad joke, but I won't go into it).

We have, for several years observed Passover, Chanukah and other holidays (my husband even worked for a Jewish organization for a while). For a shiksa, I make a mean matzo ball! All in all, we are what you call a home of Atheists with a hint of Jewish tradition. My side of the family always gets together for Christmas and although we are not Christian, the element of closeness and fun reunions with family will always be an important part of me and I want my daughter to experience that joy, too. We don't mind her getting a stocking and experiencing secular Christmas.

Even if you don't have the same "path" to G-d, I think it is important to communicate openly how you feel, because this clearly hasn't happened overnight.

Mom23kids 03-02-2013 12:39 AM

Re: DH wants to convert. I dont understand...
I don't really see the problem. People change and evolve when it comes to their faith, to me it's a spiritual journey that we all take, even when it leads to non-belief. I think Judaism is a beautiful religion. My Dh is catholic and I'm not. We are raising the kids to be catholic. The older I get, though, the less I agree with Catholicism for my own personal faith, so I haven't considered it in a long time. I have no issue with dh believing differently, and he doesn't with me. I'm still on my journey, all I know is I'm a liberal protestant christian. I admire that he has found something that works for him.

EmmaGM 03-02-2013 12:44 AM

The only issue I see is the children. I'm Catholic myself and so is dh but if he one day decided to convert after initial shock I would let it be. With one caveat. The children will still be raised Catholic, period. It's something we agree to when we marry in the church.

Mom23kids 03-02-2013 12:51 AM

Re: DH wants to convert. I dont understand...

Originally Posted by EmmaGM (Post 16350177)
The only issue I see is the children. I'm Catholic myself and so is dh but if he one day decided to convert after initial shock I would let it be. With one caveat. The children will still be raised Catholic, period. It's something we agree to when we marry in the church.

That's the agreement Dh and I made when we married in the church. And it will happen, even though they aren't my personal beliefs. I think there are many great things about Catholicism, I'm not 'against' it at all, it's just not me. :goodvibes:

Hillargh 03-02-2013 01:03 AM

Mama, he didn't plan this and marry you with this in secrecy. Don't feel deceived. He isn't doing it to hurt you. He obviously feels a strong calling to this faith. Would you cease to be catholic, go to mass, etc because someone you love was uncomfortable with you going? Or would you expect them to respect your faith and wishes in your relationship with God? In all honesty, it's unfair to expect him to deny his religious calling/faith/whatever you want to call it. Who is anyone to stand in the way of someone else's calling to God?

I'm sure this is a shock, but you say he has been increasingly more involved over time, so surely you knew somewhat that he was serious about it. Have you talked to him or anyone of the faith to find out what conversion entails? Would it be as shocking if he still went the same amount of time, still read the same amount of books, etc? I think the idea of conversion is what is shocking if you had no issue with his practices before.

Why not just sit down and iron out the details of what he wants, intends to do, and what that would mean for him individually, and you as a family unit. Then discuss what you both can agree on regarding the family, how it will affect the children, and go from there.

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jam's mum 03-02-2013 01:04 AM

Re: DH wants to convert. I dont understand...
I'm a little puzzled - what makes you feel deceived?

I confess, I'm rather more in the position of your husband - I was atheist when I married my husband [who calls himself Jew(ish), haha] but am thinking about becoming Quaker. I know my husband is not interested in joining with me, and that's completely fine - but I would be deeply hurt if he suggested that I owed it to him or our marriage *not* to explore or fulfil my spiritual/ethical persuasions. I'm not contemplating religion for his sake or mine - I'm trying to find my way in the world, and it would be unthinkable to me not to have the support of my spouse. He, after all, is part of my world.

Is there something specifically the matter with Judaism in your view? Would it be different if he wanted to convert to the Baptist church? are you uncomfortable with the increasing religiosity of your husband, or the particular faith he feels drawn to?

I know this can't be easy for you, but I'm sure it's no less perplexing - even agonizing - for your husband.

mommy2kaitlyn 03-02-2013 01:17 AM

Re: DH wants to convert. I dont understand...
I am confused also. I believe we owe it to our children to expose them to all beliefs. It is ok for mommy to have one and Daddy to have another. My DD is dealing just fine with mommy being umm Liberal Christian I guess you would say, Daddy Athiest and DD attends a Missouri Synod Church with my mom and Grandma most Sundays! They are pretty darn strict and opposite of me.
Now by exposing them I don't mean practice them or get into all of it but more or less letting them know it is ok to have Baptist or Jewish friends, that type of thing. Enough so they know the basic differences.

As for DH choosing this my belief's have broadened and changed and grown over the years. Life experiences helped me in a lot of those. As we get older we realize a lot more also.

I know this has to be a shock. I understand that. :hugs:

booty hunter 03-02-2013 01:35 AM

Re: DH wants to convert. I dont understand...
I would sit down with your priest and talk with him. Obviously we came from the Jewish faith and we believe in the same God and both believe in the old testament. I think he can help both of you work through this. Also I would suggest meeting with his Rabbi. I think both of your spiritual leaders knowing what is going on would be beneficial. I completely understand why you feel deceived. If dh decided to convert to another faith or leave the Church that would not be ok with me,we had an agreement this isn't something I am willing to change. He is an adult and I can't control his feelings but I would expect him to keep his word and raise our kids Catholic. If he wanted to convert I wouldn't have any right to stop him but it wouldn't understand. I wish I had some words to make it better but all I can say is I understand how you feel and I am sorry this is hard for you. :hugs:

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