Has anyone here converted to another religion for a spouse?

Just wondering..why did you do it, did you really change your beliefs, did it help the relationship? Did you ever regret it? Opinions on this matter in general?
My aunt did. She said she just studied until she believed (Seventh Day Adventist). It's weird to me b/c if you have to do that, then you're starting out as not believing.

It's one thing if you begin with some level of belief and just want to increase your faith or enhance your commitment. I don't want to brainwash myself into believing something I don't.

I wonder how strong my faith would be under those circumstances when something difficult came up. Would I cling to my faith? Or would I forget about it, since it isn't really "mine?"
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Phoenix:

How does anyone start out already believing? Don't you start believing because your parents tell you to? I think studying and coming to your own realizations about God is much more preferable to just doing it because you "feel" like you've always believed. Otherwise, how are people supposed to proselytize to non-believers? (Not that I'm saying they're are supposed to, but proselytizing is important to some Christian denominations).

Josephine:

My father reverted to Catholicism for my mom. He was already baptized a Catholic, but went to a Baptist church. That's not really the same thing, though. Catholics do/believe some things that look a little weird to Protestants, but it's not really that big of a deal.

Oh yeah, my friend's ex-husband became a Jew. I think he was an atheist before. I don't think he necessarily started believing, but I think he saw (sees) value in the community aspect of Judaism and all that jazz.
3c/4a

Last edited by Po; 02-23-2009 at 10:39 AM.
DH's cousin eloped with a Muslim girl when they were both very young. Her family disowned her and his family took her in. She converted to Sikhism - I'm not sure if it was a formal process, but she was given a Sikh name and was fully involved in all the family religious ceremonies.

Well, 20 years and 2 kids later, she's changed her mind and has gone back to being a Muslim. I guess she converted because she wanted to belong rather than because of religious beliefs and she'd felt something lacking in her life all this time. Its been hard on the family, because her sons who are teenagers were brought up Sikh and now all of a sudden, Mom doesn't participate in religious activities with them anymore, and she goes to Mosque on her own and has cultivated a new set of friends/community.

My observations from watching this family is that conversion might make things easier for the short term but if you are turning your back on something that is important to you (in her case it was not only the religion, but her family and community) then there is a good chance you may regret it. Its good to think long term about it.


Phoenix:

How does anyone start out already believing? Don't you start believing because your parents tell you to?

Well, yes, in a sense, that’s true…meaning we generally believe as we are raised to (which you might say is our parents "telling" us to.). Many of us begin to question our upbringing and then decide for ourselves to stay with it or not.



But that wasn’t even what I meant really. She started out not believing in the SDA faith.




I think studying and coming to your own realizations about God is much more preferable to just doing it because you "feel" like you've always believed.



In my aunt’s case, she married a man who was SDA; she wasn’t. So she basically forced herself to believe. She studied with the end goal of changing her beliefs to a particular and already determined point of view. That’s vastly different than "coming to your own realizations about God." That’s coming to someone else’s realizations about God, which is nothing like studying to determine what you believe. It is brainwashing to me.


However, she was raised Baptist. So I’m not sure how big of a jump that is from SDA. The conversion may’ve been rather easy. The jump to another religion entirely would be harder.


Otherwise, how are people supposed to proselytize to non-believers? (Not that I'm saying they're are supposed to, but proselytizing is important to some Christian denominations).


Are you saying people who grew up Christian can’t effectively proselytize? I’m trying to understand what you mean here.
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Well, I'm an atheist, so I suspect it will surprise no one when I say no, I wouldn't take up religion for a significant other. I find it a little disingenuous when people do, unless it's acknowledged as a purely-in-name kinda thing. If you have faith in one thing, how can you just shut that off and flip a switch and have faith in something new?
"And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
Fun Fact: When you actively avoid being “PC,” you’re not being forward-thinking or unique. You’re buying into systems of oppression that have existed since before you were even born, and you’re keeping those systems in place."
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Gotcha. Although I don't think that's necessarily brainwashing.

The proselytization question is moot now. I misunderstood what you were saying.
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No, and I wouldn't, either.
Well, I'm an atheist, so I suspect it will surprise no one when I say no, I wouldn't take up religion for a significant other. I find it a little disingenuous when people do, unless it's acknowledged as a purely-in-name kinda thing. If you have faith in one thing, how can you just shut that off and flip a switch and have faith in something new?
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
I'm probably in the minority (actually, I know I'm in the minority), but I see religions as equally valid and having similar themes. And the main function of religion, IMHO, is not salvation. So I don't see it as being wish-washy. I'm Catholic, but I wouldn't be opposed to converting to Islam if I married a Muslim, for example. I'd still go to Mass once in a while and celebrate Catholic/Christian holidays. I don't imagine I'd feel any different spiritually. But again, I'm weird like that.
3c/4a
Thanks for the input. I've always wanted to marry someone from my faith(hard requirement/dealbreaker for me) but have been thinking the last year that maybe it's not..in the meantime I've met a wonderful guy that is moving a bit fast for me(emotionally) and is very serious about us so I wanted to be upfront with him about my opinions on religion. So yesterday he said he's thought a lot about it and said he'd convert. But I can tell he's quite religious in his beliefs especially on one that clashes with mine. Also I've never believed in someone converting mainly for another person(we've had a couple of people do this in my family). One of the reasons I want someone from my faith is also for cultural reasons. Anyhow, I'm a bit conflicted about this issue..I'm not sure why I didn't think this would happen since I am open to meeting anyone, just didn't think I'd fall so fast for this boy!
Well, I'm an atheist, so I suspect it will surprise no one when I say no, I wouldn't take up religion for a significant other. I find it a little disingenuous when people do, unless it's acknowledged as a purely-in-name kinda thing. If you have faith in one thing, how can you just shut that off and flip a switch and have faith in something new?
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
Exactly, that's what I think.

Well, I'm an atheist, so I suspect it will surprise no one when I say no, I wouldn't take up religion for a significant other. I find it a little disingenuous when people do, unless it's acknowledged as a purely-in-name kinda thing. If you have faith in one thing, how can you just shut that off and flip a switch and have faith in something new?
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
I'm probably in the minority (actually, I know I'm in the minority), but I see religions as equally valid and having similar themes. And the main function of religion, IMHO, is not salvation. So I don't see it as being wish-washy. I'm Catholic, but I wouldn't be opposed to converting to Islam if I married a Muslim, for example. I'd still go to Mass once in a while and celebrate Catholic/Christian holidays. I don't imagine I'd feel any different spiritually. But again, I'm weird like that.
Originally Posted by Po
That's how my bf thinks. I think it's just being very open about religion. Problem is I dont think I am (though trying to be if that makes sense) and I don't think I'd feel that his conversion is genuine if he still believes in everything else.

Last edited by Josephine; 02-23-2009 at 11:54 AM.
That's how my bf thinks. I think it's just being very open about religion. Problem is I dont think I am (though trying to be if that makes sense) and I don't think I'd feel that his conversion is genuine if he still believes in everything else.
I feel you. I actually would want my bf to convert to Catholicism (even from Protestantism) for cultural reasons even though I say all religions/denominations are valid and I'm not the best Catholic in the world. It's not a deal breaker for me, but it's important.

Who knows? Maybe your bf will actually be genuine in his conversion. Maybe he'll study it and be like "Wow! This is the truth!" Sometimes converts are the best Muslims (Christians, Buddhists, Wiccans, etc).
3c/4a
I'm probably in the minority (actually, I know I'm in the minority), but I see religions as equally valid and having similar themes. And the main function of religion, IMHO, is not salvation. So I don't see it as being wish-washy. I'm Catholic, but I wouldn't be opposed to converting to Islam if I married a Muslim, for example. I'd still go to Mass once in a while and celebrate Catholic/Christian holidays. I don't imagine I'd feel any different spiritually. But again, I'm weird like that.
Originally Posted by Po
That’s interesting Po and I do not see anything wrong with this at all. Unfortunately there are some religions out there they would not support this viewpoint at all. Ones that come to mind immediately are Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even visiting a church of another religion once you have fully converted will be seen as apostasy and would lead to be “kicked out”. Some religions are very all or nothing in their views and believing means following prescribed pre-determined rules rather than coming to your own conclusions like Phoenix mentioned in her post. Well, they say that you should take the time to do your own independent study, but that study better lead you to the “right” conclusions or else.
Formerly ladyjag123
I'm probably in the minority (actually, I know I'm in the minority), but I see religions as equally valid and having similar themes. And the main function of religion, IMHO, is not salvation. So I don't see it as being wish-washy. I'm Catholic, but I wouldn't be opposed to converting to Islam if I married a Muslim, for example. I'd still go to Mass once in a while and celebrate Catholic/Christian holidays. I don't imagine I'd feel any different spiritually. But again, I'm weird like that.
Originally Posted by Po
That’s interesting Po and I do not see anything wrong with this at all. Unfortunately there are some religions out there they would not support this viewpoint at all. Ones that come to mind immediately are Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even visiting a church of another religion once you have fully converted will be seen as apostasy and would lead to be “kicked out”. Some religions are very all or nothing in their views and believing means following prescribed pre-determined rules rather than coming to your own conclusions like Phoenix mentioned in her post. Well, they say that you should take the time to do your own independent study, but that study better lead you to the “right” conclusions or else.
Originally Posted by ladyjag123
LOL!

Sadly, I've seen that happen a few times.
3c/4a
Thanks for the input. I've always wanted to marry someone from my faith(hard requirement/dealbreaker for me) but have been thinking the last year that maybe it's not..in the meantime I've met a wonderful guy that is moving a bit fast for me(emotionally) and is very serious about us so I wanted to be upfront with him about my opinions on religion. So yesterday he said he's thought a lot about it and said he'd convert. But I can tell he's quite religious in his beliefs especially on one that clashes with mine. Also I've never believed in someone converting mainly for another person(we've had a couple of people do this in my family). One of the reasons I want someone from my faith is also for cultural reasons. Anyhow, I'm a bit conflicted about this issue..I'm not sure why I didn't think this would happen since I am open to meeting anyone, just didn't think I'd fall so fast for this boy!
Originally Posted by Josephine
This is probably going to be long, but boy, can I relate.

This was me about four years ago. And the guy said he'd convert. OK, cool. Except it wasn't that easy. My mother flipped (and is still flipping) out over the relationship. He's an atheist, and I'm Jewish. Clearly, our beliefs are quite different. I don't think I ever expected him to change his beliefs. I'm more of a cultural Jew, and I want someone who can participate in things with me. But the divide and his discomfort with the community (we had some ugly run-ins with ultra-Orthodox situations with the community I grew up in) got to be a big problem, and we didn't know how to fix it. When you're coming from two different sides, just saying he'll convert -- that's the easy part. Working out how that'll happen without compromising either one of you, working out how you'll raise the kids and with what beliefs -- that's difficult.

We broke up. Those three months were hell. They ended with him saying he wanted to give it another shot and try to work it out. The religion was really the only thing in our way. My beliefs were evolving as I grew up. His views on religion also were changing. We learned to communicate better and put aside hostility (his toward my old community and religion in general, mine toward the way he approached things) and have more productive conversations about why we believe what we do and where our common ground is. He started going to services with me in the kind of Jewish community I relate to, not the one I came from. He's decided, on his own, to start learning Hebrew. And there's a level of conversion that we think we'd both be comfortable with. We haven't taken it much further than that yet, as there's still a lot to be discussed. The issues with my mother are so huge and so stressful. The issues with what'll happen when my old community finds out are terrifying. But at some point, you just have to realize that it's your life, not theirs.

He will never believe in G-d as I do. But he's willing to have Jewish kids and a kosher home and celebrate holidays with me. That's all I want. But that's going to make a conversion difficult -- we'll have to find someone willing to do it for the cause of a Jewish home. Those rabbis exist, but it may be a challenge finding one.

What it comes down to is that it's not as easy as the guy saying he'll convert. It's so easy to believe, because you're falling so fast. SO is the love of my life. But it's turning into a life I didn't predict, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's come with a lot of growth over the years. Just as he's compromising in having a life he didn't expect, there are things I have to compromise on, too. And we're moving so carefully with it because it's a big commitment, and we want to make absolutely sure this is what we want before we go through with it.

It's difficult. We're so good and right on every other front. I can't say I would get into a relationship with someone outside the religion again. I'm invested now, and he's everything else I want, so we're working on it. But just be prepared for a potentially bumpy road ahead with this.

ETA: Yikes, that's a novel. Brevity is not my strong point.
Under construction.
He will never believe in G-d as I do. But he's willing to have Jewish kids and a kosher home and celebrate holidays with me. That's all I want. But that's going to make a conversion difficult -- we'll have to find someone willing to do it for the cause of a Jewish home. Those rabbis exist, but it may be a challenge finding one.
THAT is the kind of conversion that I can understand. (Not that it matters whether I understand or not, I'm just giving my perspective.) You're both acknowledging that he'll never be as much a part of the religion and the beiefs as you are, but he's willing to (for lack of better phrasing) play along. That is cool.
"And politically correct is the worst term, not just because it’s dismissive, but because it narrows down the whole social justice spectrum to this idea that it’s about being polite instead of about dismantling the oppressive social structure of power.
Fun Fact: When you actively avoid being “PC,” you’re not being forward-thinking or unique. You’re buying into systems of oppression that have existed since before you were even born, and you’re keeping those systems in place."
Stolen.
He will never believe in G-d as I do. But he's willing to have Jewish kids and a kosher home and celebrate holidays with me. That's all I want. But that's going to make a conversion difficult -- we'll have to find someone willing to do it for the cause of a Jewish home. Those rabbis exist, but it may be a challenge finding one.
THAT is the kind of conversion that I can understand. (Not that it matters whether I understand or not, I'm just giving my perspective.) You're both acknowledging that he'll never be as much a part of the religion and the beiefs as you are, but he's willing to (for lack of better phrasing) play along. That is cool.
Originally Posted by MichelleBFT
I agree. I'm not religious and this is all moot for me, but I can't imagine choosing to believe because of someone else. Faith is so personal. But I can see practicing another faith (the rituals etc..) for that reason.

DH and I are different religions. I'm Hindu and he is Sikh. Neither of us are particularly religious, but we feel a cultural connection to our religion. So sometimes we celebrate holidays together, sometimes we don't celebrate then at all, and other times we do each do our own thing. My MIL is religious and she takes my son to temple with her. I don't mind that.

I get the impression that religions that have a formal conversion process are of the "you must reject all other beliefs" type. So it would be hard to convert and still hold on to your old practices.


I think the issue of kids is a big one here. I can see someone converting in name only, or converting for the cultural aspects, etc., to be with someone, I guess. But then there's the issue of kids. Will you raise the kids to learn both "sides" of things, and then let them choose? Will the one person lie when they ask her what he/she believes in? Does the converting person really think it's OK for his/her kids to believe something that he/she doesn't believe?

Personally, I'm an atheist. I don't care what religion anyone else is as long as they don't force it on me. And I believe that raising kids in a particular religion is forcing that religion on them--so I could never be a part of that. As far as relationships go, it seems to work out best if the person I'm dating (no matter how they were raised) does not see religion as a signficant part of life, and has a faith in science, nature, and logic either in addition to or instead of a believe in God.
"I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON
I think the issue of kids is a big one here. I can see someone converting in name only, or converting for the cultural aspects, etc., to be with someone, I guess. But then there's the issue of kids. Will you raise the kids to learn both "sides" of things, and then let them choose? Will the one person lie when they ask her what he/she believes in? Does the converting person really think it's OK for his/her kids to believe something that he/she doesn't believe?
Originally Posted by Who Me?
Yes, this is the next main issue for me.
I was raised a Protestant and DH is Russian Orthodox. They are both Christian religions, but there are HUGE differences.

In order for our marriage to be recognized by the Orthodox Church, we had an Orthodox wedding which was fine by me. I also agreed to raise our children Orthodox. I go to the Orthodox Church and believe the majority of what it believes.

I may never convert because I don't know if I can ever really believe some of the things the Orthodox faith believes. For example, in my church, communion was symbolic of the body and Christ's blood. In DH's church, they believe the bread and wine become the body and blood. I also have problems believing everything they do about Mary (ever virgin, etc). The abortion issue is a biggie too. I'm pro-choice and the Orthodox faith is definitely not.
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