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Non - Buddhist partners

emmakemmak Veteran Veteran
edited July 2005 in Buddhism Today
What are peoples experience with partners who are non - buddhist? The topic of parents has come up, but not husbands and wives? Discuss...

Comments

  • SabineSabine Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Eeeerm, my boyfriend's Christian...
    >.>
    <.<
    Does that count?
    We might get married. >.>
    Maybe. <.<
    ^_^;;; Anyways, he's quite alright with me studying Buddhism and all, even supportive--he seemed excited when I told him that I was going to visit a temple on Sunday. :bigclap:
  • edited July 2005
    My boyfriend Frankie's self-described "non-religious". He was brought up Catholic; I also had a part of my upbrining, from my dad's side of the family, in that tradition. I have wondered what a wedding would be like with me being Buddhist and his family tradition Catholic. My family would be much more amenable to a non-traditional ceremony, as we are a very non-traditional family in many ways. But his family is pretty rigid, and I think he has some ideas about a wedding that reflect that. For instance, I was married before so I don't really relish the idea of donning a big pouffy white dress again (though to be certain, I do sometimes think it might be fun, as well -- I vascillate). Once I suggested I might like to wear red, and he almost had a heart attack. It would be his first wedding, and he envisions the white dress thing. It really doesn't matter, any of it, in the final analysis, but attachment is attachment, and I am human after all.

    Frankie is ok with the difference in our spiritual leanings, thoughthe incense sometimes annoys him. But I do often wish he could go places with me spiritually that he is unwilling to consider. Once, when I was working on developing a guided meditation for one of my patients, I asked him to help me and be my guinea pig. He liked it, but at the same time seemed very conflicted about it. What I do know he appreciates about my interest in Buddhism is the increase in my patience and slower pace.
  • edited July 2005
    My hubby isn't Buddhist, but he's fine with my being Buddhist. He's pagan, but that's about as specific as I can get. He doesn't believe in the whole heaven and hell things so it's not like he thinks I'm going to burn for not believing what he believes. Overall, I think he and I agree on a lot, but we use different terminology. He has more of a belief in magic than I do, and he seems to believe in some sort of afterlife or reincarnation.
  • _BeautifulSpringtime_BeautifulSpringtime Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    My love holds a Buddhist faith but doesn't really study or practice to any degree - so this thread, sort of, applies to me as well.

    I think the major conflict arises when I am not attached to 'our never ending love' because I percieve the inescapable fact that things could one day change (and probably will).

    I don't love her any less - but sometimes she percieves Zen buddhism and my practice as stealing attention away from her. Though when I try to reassure her in terms of my practice it can go horribly wrong and hurt her feelings (which is quite easy as she suffers from mental illness and is hyper sensitive).

    The difference being that I accept these things - as they are.

    For to do any more/less would be to go against my practice.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Would it not be the Buddhist thing to make her feel special? I don't know. That's why I ask.



    Added: I was also reading your post again and noticed you refer to her as "my love". I am just wondering if we are supposed to give, even love, to people. If my wife felt I was focusing more on my studies and she felt neglected or what have you I would make an effort to spend more time with her. I would do this because my love is permanent, even if things go wrong one day and I hate her for some reason. The only way I can hate her is by loving her.
  • _BeautifulSpringtime_BeautifulSpringtime Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Sorry, my friend, but nothing is permenant.

    To think so only leads to suffering.
  • edited July 2005
    My hubby isn't Buddhist, but he's fine with my being Buddhist. He's pagan, but that's about as specific as I can get. He doesn't believe in the whole heaven and hell things so it's not like he thinks I'm going to burn for not believing what he believes. Overall, I think he and I agree on a lot, but we use different terminology. He has more of a belief in magic than I do, and he seems to believe in some sort of afterlife or reincarnation.


    Yeah, we've had the occasional problem with the you're-not-paying-attention-to-me sentiment. Part of the problem we've had is that I am an avid reader and writer, and Frankie, well, isn't. He's more hands-on kind of person, and likes the TV, and I get into a book or something and I can be gone for hours. It's usually not so bad, but now and again I'll find a book I just can't put down (most recently: Oh The Glory of it All) and then I hear about it. It's weird though, because I feel like I sometimes get mixed messages from him: on the one hand, he'll help me bring a little sofa into my "meditation lounge" and schleps to the Asian market when I buy a little Kwan Yin statuette, but I still get this vibe from him that I'm too involved with something he isn't sharing with me.

    I did buy him a book about golf and zen -- golf is one of his loves in life, and he's actually spent some time reading it.

    Piaget talks about how people integrate new information: assimilation, accomodation. I think for some people it takes them longer to wrap their brains around information. Over time, it seems that Frankie's been less rumpled by my explorations in general, and reading.
  • edited July 2005
    Sorry, my friend, but nothing is permenant.

    To think so only leads to suffering.


    I was thinking about how everything is the same stuff, just different manifestations of it. Of how maybe there aren't endings, just changes and evolutions that we call endings, that look like endings, which we dichotomize as being starts and finishes because it is a way the brain organizes the vast amount of information with which it is inundated. Could it be true that nothing is permanent and yet everything is?

    I think of the metaphor of the river: the river is never the same river, yet it is always the river, it is always water, it always is what it fundamentally and essentially is: water, river.
  • _BeautifulSpringtime_BeautifulSpringtime Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Jenna - good point.

    I was pondering this as I walked in the garden this afternoon -

    nothing is permenant, including the idea that nothing is permenant!
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    nothing is permenant, including the idea that nothing is permenant!



    Isn't that where the concept falls apart? If that happens then maybe things might become permanent.
  • _BeautifulSpringtime_BeautifulSpringtime Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    But, that too will not be permenant.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    How do we know not all things are permanent?
  • edited July 2005
    My wife is an atheist as am I (although "agnostic" might better describe my admission that I simply don't know if god exists or not).
    My wife doesn't seem very interested in buddhism but when I do feel like talking about it she is very open and engaging. Any explanation I give her of buddhist thought usually causes her to say "that makes sense". Sometimes I think she practices buddhist thought without knowing it. She's usually calm and logical.
    Today's our first anniversary. We've been together 6 1/2 years though and went through some serious tests.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    About ten years ago this christian lady told me how atheists are really non existent. I can't remember what it is she told me but I remember it was very logical and made sense at the time. LOL
  • emmakemmak Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    WTF? How?
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    All I can remember is that it wa ssomething that atheist still have some sort of connection to God. I really can't remember the rest. I don't even know if it would make sense to me now.
  • emmakemmak Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    No offence to anyone, but it seems a little typical of christians to assume that even non believers are really believers... They just wont take no for an answer.
    Personally, if I can't see it, or prove it to myself, it is not enough to believe just because I am meant to.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    I keep thinking of what she said. I remember it was more that athiests believed in God without realizing it. I don't really know. If any Christians here know please tell us what she might have been saying.
  • emmakemmak Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    I don't know.. I would not like it to be suggested that I really believe in something if I conciously don't.
    To an extent, I can see her point. But that is a pretty big call.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Well who knows. Like I said, it was over ten years ago.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Perhaps she was referring to Saint Augustine's notion of a "God-shaped hole" in all of us.

    It's not an unusual position for 'believers' to take: that everyone who doesn't believe what they do are not simply in error but also in denial! In Islam, for example, nobody "converts", they "revert"!
  • emmakemmak Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    In Islam, for example, nobody "converts", they "revert"!
    Also, a very big call! But an interesting slant on religion. :)
  • edited July 2005
    I keep thinking of what she said. I remember it was more that athiests believed in God without realizing it. I don't really know. If any Christians here know please tell us what she might have been saying.

    "Atheist believe in God, they just deny him because they hate him for making rules for them to live by."

    That's more or less what I've heard from some really illogical Christians. It has several variations including:

    * Atheist hate God, but they have to believe in God to hate him, so there aren't really any atheists.
    * Well, you believe in love don't you? Well, God is love, so you believe in him automatically.
    * You just choose not to believe in him because you don't like his rules.
  • edited July 2005
    In the Dhammapada, the Buddha is recorded to have said "Sabba danam, dhamma danam jinati" - Of all gifts, it's the gift of Dhamma that is supreme.
  • emmakemmak Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Yeah, but what if they are just not open to that? (Thinking of my mumsie here..)
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Tell her to prove why you are wrong and to show references from somewhere.
  • _BeautifulSpringtime_BeautifulSpringtime Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    emmak wrote:
    Yeah, but what if they are just not open to that? (Thinking of my mumsie here..)

    I would look towards accepting that she doesn't want to be open about it.
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Jenna,

    I'm not ripping on you here - just thought I would tell you about my experiences.

    I've been through a marriage instance like yours...

    My wife had been married. Had done the whole white-dress ceremony thing already.

    I hadn't.

    When it came time for marriage, all I heard was, "We can do a small wedding. The cheaper the better. Weddings are just a waste of money, really." I've already been there - done that - don't need to do it again."

    It really cheapened the whole wedding thing for me.

    You mean that since "she was done with weddings because she failed miserably at her first one and now I don't get to celebrate something this momentus in my life because of her failure????" is kind of how I felt.

    How would have you felt if on your first marriage - your hubby asked you to wear red? Or just blew it off and wanted to just get married at the courthouse?

    I'm just saying - this may be a big deal for your husband-to-be and maybe he's not taking it as lightly as you are. He may even be agreeing to your comments and such - without really agreeing with them.

    You might want to talk this over...

    Also - it sounds like you are heading into Buddhism and your exploration really, really fast. I have no opinion about that one way or the other. Everyone approaches things differently. I sometimes jump into something with both feet - because it's just so damn exciting I CAN'T HELP MYSELF!!!!!

    But, if your beau helps you do something like move a sofa into an area that has been set up specifically for you and then you take him out to pick out a statue while you're talking about why you want to do this and this book you read and that book that you read and why he doesn't like your incense and you can't wait to do some meditation when you get home.

    And then you get home and spend all of this time on this new hobby/thinking/philosophy you're enjoying - he's really doing a lot of things involving your Buddhism and this isn't even his gig.

    You even bought him a book on "Zen and Golf". You mentioned that he likes golf. Does he like Zen too? Is that something he likes? Why not just buy him a book on "Golf" instead of a book on "Golf and what you like"? When he goes to the store to help you pick out things or move a sofa into your lounge - does he always make you involve golfing or putting or drivers?

    Am I just being an obnoxious pig? A bull in a china shop?

    That is truly not my intention.

    Michael
  • edited July 2005
    My husband does not believe in God, Jesus, heaven or hell. He likes to believe in what Simon The Pilgrim says: "Fertiliser In Waiting". He thinks that once you die, that's it, nothing else. He needs facts to back things up and most religions just don't have a lot of actual facts to give you, but science sure does! But he is very supportive of me studying Buddhism. Heck, he even set up my meditation area for me in our house! He thinks it is great that I am studying Buddhism and he likes to talk to me about it, so it works out great for us. He likes to know about the things I have been reading. He is very supportive - in every way.
  • buddhafootbuddhafoot Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Sounds like you two have a great thing going.

    I'm very happy for you and yours.

    Michael
  • edited July 2005
    That's so nice of you, thank you! I don't know how I got so lucky - my husband is the most wonderful man in the world. I must have done something right in a past life to deserve him and my daughter!
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Maybe you did something right in this life?



    I don't push Buddhism onto my wife. I do what I do for me. I talk to her about it but I would never buy her a book on it and actually expect her to read it. That would be rude of me.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    Perhaps we need a forum for the partners of Buddhists (a bit like Al-Anon LOL) where they can share their frustration at our strange behaviours!
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    It can be called SAD. Spouse's Against Buddhism.
  • NoiNoi
    edited July 2005
    I used to be involved with someone who was against my religion (buddhism). Even though I never discounted his. He was a southern baptist. It was a bad relationship that lasted for seven years. That experience has brought me closer to Buddha. Now that he's out of my life, I am more content with myself than ever before.
  • emmakemmak Veteran Veteran
    edited July 2005
    It can be called SAD. Spouse's Against Buddhism.

    Bwahahahahaha! I have a member in my house already! :cheer:
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