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Girl Talk: (Religious) Family Ties

Q. My husband is religious; I'm not. This was never a big deal, but now that we have a baby, it is. He and his family are pushing church; I'm not interested. Any suggestions?

A. There's nothing like the miracle of birth to spark religious debate. The walls of the status quo come tumbling down. You can't rebuild, because a wall puts your baby on one side or the other. And a house divided.

That's the rub: There's no neutral ground, no Switzerland of spirituality. You either attend a church, synagogue, mosque, or pagan shrine in the woods and follow the tenets of that religion—or you don't.

If you have no problem with your husband's church, then I don't see any reason why he can't take the baby along. (In fact, more higher power to him if he's willing to take his child on an outing.) But if you don't want your baby in church, then you need to articulate your reservations to your husband (forget his family, because you aren't going to change their minds).

The goal is to keep the family together. If his church doesn't jibe with what you believe is right, you need to tell him that. But don't malign all the followers of his faith. That'll only make him defensive and close his mind to compromise. Instead, be specific about what you don't like and ask him if he agrees. After he counters with a constructive response (God willing), you may be able to come to a mutually agreeable solution.