Religion cannot be reduced to affiliation. That's especially true today, when religion has become complicated for people. Dr. Robin has friends who chose not to be actively involved in a formal religion. However, she was raised as a Catholic, and he was Jewish, and these strong historical and familial influences constantly showed up as surprise guests in their lives. They thought they had rejected the religious affiliations of their parents, but when they became parents themselves, they found themselves automatically being drawn back. Naturally, this created a serious conflict about which religious influence would dominate their child's life. Because these were not dogmatic people, they eventually found a way to give their child the gift of a mixed religious heritage, but not every couple will find that possible. So when you're having a conversation about religion, open it up beyond affiliation, and find out what religion means to each of you.
- Do you believe in God? What does that mean to you?
- Do you have a current religious affiliation? Is it a big part of your life?
- Does your religion impose any behavioral restrictions (dietary, social, familial, sexual) that would affect your partner?
- How important is it to you for your partner to share your religious beliefs?
- How important is it to you for your children to be raised in your religion?
Excerpted from Lies at the Altar
by Dr. Robin L. Smith. Copyright © 2006 Dr. Robin L. Smith. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.