In a devout Christian family, Original Poster (OP) and her husband clash over how to handle their daughter’s questioning of her faith. The tension escalates when the husband’s refusal to communicate leads OP to issue an ultimatum: change his behavior or face the possibility of separation. As the husband departs for his mother’s home, the family is left on the precipice of an uncertain future.
A Family of Faith
OP and her husband are devout Christians who attend church every Sunday with their three children. They have two sons and a daughter. Each parent has a different approach to teaching their children about their faith.
A Husband’s Perspective
OP’s husband believes that the religious upbringing of their children should be non-negotiable. He thinks that imposing faith is the best route to their well-being and eternal salvation. OP has repeatedly disagreed with this method.
A Mother’s Concern
OP feels that the children should have the freedom to choose their own beliefs. She wants them to appreciate their faith, not feel coerced into it. Despite multiple conversations, the husband has assured OP that he wouldn’t force religion on the kids.
Sons Embrace the Faith
The two sons take naturally to their parents’ religion. They enjoy going to church and have even started reading the Bible on their own. This pleases both parents but particularly resonates with the husband’s perspective.
A Daughter’s Doubt
On the other hand, the daughter expresses skepticism about the family’s religious practices. She confides in her mother that she’s unsure about her beliefs. She even shares that she doesn’t want to go to church anymore.
A Mother’s Assurance
Reacting to her daughter’s doubts, OP tells her she can believe whatever she chooses. She also assures her that she doesn’t have to attend church if she doesn’t want to. This decision doesn’t sit well with the husband.
A Father’s Discontent
The husband is upset by his daughter’s choice and OP’s support. He proposes that their daughter not only attend church but also an extra Bible study class. This leads to a heated disagreement between the parents.
A Strained Conversation
In a tense discussion, OP reminds her husband of his earlier promise not to force their faith on the kids. He dismisses her, arguing that the daughter is still undecided. He walks away, frustrated and emotionally closed off.
A Family in Silence
Following the disagreement, the husband stops talking to both OP and their daughter. This silence creates a palpable tension in the household. The two sons sense the disturbance but are unaware of its cause.
A Daughter’s Tears
Feeling the strain, the daughter approaches OP, crying and apologetic. She believes she’s the reason her parents are fighting and offers to go to church to mend the family rift. OP assures her that she isn’t the reason for the conflict.
A Mother’s Ultimatum
Fed up with her husband’s stubbornness, OP confronts him about the emotional toll his silence is taking on their daughter. He responds angrily, dismissing the daughter’s doubts as a “phase.” OP gives him an ultimatum: either stop ignoring their daughter or face separation.
A Father’s Exit
Taking offense to the ultimatum, the husband leaves and goes to stay with his mother. He stops responding to OP’s attempts to contact him, deepening the family divide. The husband’s mother calls OP, blaming her for the rift in the family.
The Weight of Absence
With the husband gone, the children start to feel his absence keenly. The boys miss their father. The daughter feels guilt-ridden, still blaming herself for the family discord. OP tries to reach out to her husband to mend things but receives no response.
A Mother’s Dilemma
Despite her resolve, OP starts to feel the emotional strain of the situation. She knows she’s standing up for her daughter’s right to choose, yet she can’t help but feel bad for the pain the situation is causing the family.
A Family on the Edge
The family finds itself at a crossroads, divided by differing beliefs about faith and freedom. OP wonders if she is in the wrong, even as she defends her daughter’s right to question. The children, caught in the middle, are collateral in a battle of wills and beliefs.
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts her story online for feedback and perspective from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “I had religion forced on me when I was a kid (I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness) and made the break from that cult when I was 17. Having religion forced on me pretty much eliminated my relationship with my family.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “My dad forced church on me. I quit going to church and was kicked out of my house at 15 onto the streets. I’ve been an atheist since (mid-40s) and have had no contact with my parents for decades.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “Forcing religion on a person is incredibly abusive. She will become an angry atheist if he doesn’t let up.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “Your Christian husband is being a controlling bully with your child and you. It is impossible to force religion on someone. It won’t take and will ultimately be rejected.”
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on their actions?
What would you have done in this situation?
This story is inspired by a thread from an online forum.