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Dr. Darrel Ray is an atheist, humanist, and psychologist. He is the author of The God Virus, and specializes in issues relating to religious deconversion. [ more ]
If you have an issue relating to religion but no one to talk to, ask Dr. Ray. He doesn’t promise that he has all the answers, but hopefully he will be able to provide insight and experience that will be beneficial for both you and for the many other young people in similar situations.
Religious In-Laws

Dear Darrel,

I am getting married soon and was wondering where is a good place to get married other than a church or courtroom? My fiancé’s parents are devout Christians, how do I break the news to them that I am an atheist?

From Dr. Ray

There are a growing number of Humanist Celebrants who can officiate your wedding without any references to God or religion. I would contact a Celebrant near you and ask them what they might recommend. If you want a nice building to get married in, one that looks like a church but won’t be religious, consider a Unitarian Church. Many Unitarians are also atheists and they allow non-religious ceremonies. Also, The Ethical Society often has nice buildings. Some Quaker meetings are pretty secular, especially silent meetings; and they might allow a secular ceremony.

As for your future in-laws, it is very important that you and your fiancé establish yourselves as independent, secular, non-religious people at the very beginning. This is your wedding and you have every right to do it as you see fit. You don’t need to make a big deal out of it, but simply find where you want to do it, find the Celebrant, and then tell the in-laws. If the plans are already done and the invitations at the printer, it will be hard for them to make a big deal out of it. Some religious in-laws can be very aggressive and judgmental, and others are working to let go of the vision that they might have held for their child’s wedding day. In both cases, try and be understanding while firmly establishing your boundaries as an independent couple. They might not like it when you establish clear and unambiguous boundaries, they may even throw a temper tantrum; but in the long run they will come to respect you far more because of it.

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