Yaweh. Jehova. The Lord. The Mother Goddess. All of these are names that each of us (or not, in the case of Atheism) calls our version of a Higher Power. The reason that this is important is because of a lot of things, but the one thing that it is mostly about is that we are raised to believe what and Who we will believe in. Yes, it is true – you can mix a Christian and a Catholic, but there is no way that you can mix either of these with a Pagan (or a Hindu, or a Buddhist…I think you see where I am going with this).
It comes as a shock to a lot of people, or at least did, for them to know that even as I am the eldest of three Pentecostal preacher’s kids, I grew up to be a very good Pagan. While this is never a point of contention for me with my family, I do know that it can be when it comes to the “Happily ever after” part of the wedding. It is hard enough for people to understand one another as it is, and then we have to go and throw our beliefs in the mix. We have to, because those beliefs are what made us who we are to this point in a moral sense. (OK, so really, the moral sense that we have is due to what our mothers teach us…seriously. Yes, even if she is a party animal, we learn that part of who we are from her).
As the woman in a marriage, your place, at least in your own thoughts (and NOT his), is where you know you are meant to be. As a woman with certain (perhaps even strict) religious beliefs, if his is not what yours are, there will be problems when it comes to that one thing, especially when it comes to the children that you end up having. You will be asking each other for permission for things that are very important in the lives of people who believe in a higher power. If one of you is a Buddhist, and the other, a non-practicing Catholic, and the day comes where there is a child between you and who you, dear woman, want to raise as a Buddhist, but he (and make no mistake – his mother has a LOT to do with this…if you asked my oldest what his beliefs are, he would immediately tell you that we pray to “Spirit,” or to “The Mother Goddess,” and who really, do you think he learned that from? Me, of course.) wants that baby who is also his to grow up Catholic, there are GOING TO BE problems, and they will be problems that you nor he will be able to get away from if neither of you can come to terms with the fact that you were both raised differently in regards to beliefs.
It does not hurt anyone at all to ask what you each believe as far as religion is concerned. If it is done prior to the wedding date, you have a chance to discuss and share these things with each other. I cannot tell you how many times I have had the very good experience of a young couple who I am to perform a ceremony for actually having listened to me about this one very important thing. If it is that we are supposed to respect and honor one another within the confines of a marriage, that respect and that honor have GOT TO come BEFORE the wedding, and I do not mean immediately before – I MEAN A LOT OF TIME BEFORE.
Ask what you each believe, and then take it from there, the manner in which you will each go about your singular religious beliefs. It can be done, the shared life with the differing beliefs. It can and does work, better than anyone would think it would.
Ask. It really and truly never hurts to just ask…it could save both you and your betrothed a WHOLE LOT of drama for years to come!