Help please! my husband has had a Christian reawakening of his faith and I am so confused

Mom Of Twins + 6 - posted on 08/11/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I am new to this board and this forum, so I hope that my post is appropriate for a newbie. Please pardon my long story, but I am need of guidance. Please feel free to be completely honest with me.

I am struggling.  My husband and I are raising a large, complicated blended family.  I love my husband and I love ALL my children (his, mine and ours) unconditionally.  We have been together for 5 years, married for 4.

I am Jewish.  I was raised in a Conservative congregation as a young child and then shifted to a Reconstructionist congregation as a young teen.  I keep a kosher home and have always been observant; considering my Jewish identity to be a central part of who I am.

When I met my husband 5 years ago he was a single dad raising his young kids alone without help from family or ex-wife.  I had been divorced a few years and also raising a fairly large brood alone without support. We hit it off immediately.  My (now) husband came from a fairly religious Christian family and had been very religious as a young man, but when we met he considered himself Agnostic and was fairly negative about religion of any kind.  After many discussions, we decided that we would raise all the kids together as Jewish since he no longer practiced or believed in Christianity. We felt this would help to unify our family. We had a Jewish wedding, all the kids attending Religious School, and then he decided he would convert to Judaism to further unify the family.  

He completed the year long conversion class through our Conservative Temple and he, along with "his" (but really our) children converted.  That was over 2 years ago.  Last year, while I was struggling with a very difficult and precarious pregnancy with twins, he had a "reawakening" of his Christian faith. I will skip the long version, but the short side of it is I was very hurt, sad, and confused as I stumbled upon the information as he didn't tell me initially until confronted.

I don't feel as though I truly know him anymore.  We have not yet told our children and I have no idea how on earth to do so without creating turmoil and uncertainty within them.  I don't want them to think that religion or beliefs are something that just flip flops in a person.  I also don't want to create this choice/conflict in the children between mom and dad.

I haven't said this to my husband:  but I feel cheated and like I am grieving the lose of "our" Jewish Family. Is that selfish of me? Intolerant? I know that inter-faith families make it work all the time, but I feel this is really different since we didn't enter into a marriage under that understanding. It feels "unfair" to me and I am having a very hard time coming to grips with it.

I also don't understand it. It makes me feel very insecure with my marriage as I don't feel I know him as fully as I thought I did, and that I don't trust who he might become. He is immersing himself in Christian readings and visiting/reconnecting with his religious friends that he lost touch with during his agnostics time. I feel jealous and insecure because he doesn't talk with me about his feelings of faith.  I am not typically jealous and insecure and I know it is damaging our relationship.  Sometimes I feel like divorce is the solution, but then I tell myself that I am being petty and selfish and need to allow him to express his own faith.

If I had known when we met that he had these strong Christian beliefs, I am fairly certain we wouldn't have dated very long.

I went briefly to see a counselor, but all she kept focusing on was my lack of sleep (I have twin babies...that's a given) and trying to get me to focus on improving my daily functioning.

I am so sorry this is such a long post.  I am just really struggling with how to get past my feelings and fears....can I even?...whether I am being unreasonable....and what can I do? When I try to talk with him about my fears he accuses me of being intolerant.  I feel deeply saddened and it has been a year already. 

Thank you for reading this lengthy post and letting me express my feelings openly.

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2 Comments

View replies by

Atty - posted on 11/05/2012

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There is a thread in this group called

Preserving the Jewish faith when your partner is Christian

(Started by Monica Selman on 01/07/2009)

It might be of help to you given your situation.

First and foremost you need to have continued conversations with your DH regarding the children and family unity. Second, after that, you might want to talk to your Rabbi and maybe the Sisterhood at your shul can offer you some support in the day to day struggles.

Third, despite the fact that I'm not reform, I think a reform temple might be able to help you sort this out as they often welcome families that are inter-faith.

Lastly, you mentioned divorce in your post. While divorce is a Jewish concept,we don't use it as a get out of jail free card like the rest of the world does. Are you ready to lose your kids that are biologically not yours? If a divorce were to happen it is likely that he would retain custody of those children and then raise them as he saw fit without your input.

Perhaps discussing with him that you feel betrayed is a good place to begin the much needed conversation.

Best wishes to you and your children. We women are stronger than we think, we can survive unfathomable things. You will get through this and your children will see what grace and dignity are because of how you handle yourself.

Chana - posted on 11/04/2012

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Hi,



I am a Jewish woman in an interfaith marriage. My husband is an ordained minister. He is agnostic now, though he has played a major part in Unitarian Universalist churches. I never attended a service, even when he was giving sermons. He understands and respects the halacha that a child born to a Jewish mother is a Jew. He has not renewed any ties to christianity, but still wants christmas... and bacon. I will try to address your conflict despite the inherent differences.



It seems that a compromise is in order. Remind your husband that, as a Jew, you and your children have entered into the original covenant (or brit). G-d does not forsake his covenants to the Jews and the new covenant (New Testament) is for those who are not Jewish. Your children are Jewish and are protected from 'hell' as the "chosen." Jews need not accept Jesus as their savior in order to be spared, but are pure in the eyes of God. Allow your husband his Christianity for his own sake, but it is not required for the children. Any church that disagrees is seeking profit. Try for a Unitarian Universalist Church. Ask him to allow God to guide your marriage and children without the interference of man (priest, preacher...etc).



According to the 13 principles of faith, we as Jews believe in the coming of Messiah. This coincides with Christianity. They only stipulate that it is the second coming. Allow him to recognize this ambiguity and encourage him to trust Divine Providence. Encourage him to study Revelations.



Remind him that the New testament does not nullify the Old Testament (Torah and Tanach). Rather it 'fulfilled' the Old for the Gentiles and the Jews must still abide until the revelation of Messiah for the Jews.



Have a Chanukah bush instead of an xmas tree. Decorate the eggs on the seder plates... then roast them.



I don't recommend that you follow messianic judaism, but research it and learn where the similarities are. Remind him that regardless of the name of Messiah. G-d is all that matters. The concept of false messiahs is of concern to Jew and Gentile alike. Encourage purity in emuna and allow God to reveal the true messiah.



Raise your Jewish children Jewish and allow your husband his time in church to uncover the truth. If he stays christian, then he does, but remind him that the children are Jewish because of who you are. That's final.

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