Opposites Don’t Attract

C8C02577-2BF0-4BA7-9A22-0D3901B6C4A5Mel, over at Crushed Caramel, wanted to know what we would do faced with this situation:

You are in love and the person you have been courting for some time wants to marry you. Although you are very close, there is one main difference in your outlook. One of you believes in a Creator and wants to practice a particular faith. The other does not believe in a Creator and despises all religion. When the two of you talk about beliefs, emotions run high and generally the conversations have to be cut short because it can become hurtful. You realize this may cause challenges, despite the love you share.

In a comment on her post, I wrote:

What would I do? I’d turn around, walk away, and never look back. This is such a fundamental matter and one that essentially defines who we are. It can’t work in the long run.

In a response to my comment, Mel asked me this:

Here is a question for you…and it is not meant to be controversial or provocative, I just wonder what you think. I can see that if one partner did not believe in a Creator and was anti-religion and the other partner was very actively religious and constantly pontificating about it – there could be fireworks. But what do you think of a couple who agree to disagree and decide to talk about it? Or the partner who believes in a Creator does so silently. Perhaps someone who believes in a Creator but steers clear of religions who seem to have their own agenda. Someone who silently prays but does not speak about their beliefs to their partner because they know it would be provoking. I have a few friends in exactly that boat. I have seen a lot of love in those relationships, but also a lingering sadness.

Okay, so here’s the deal. I’m an atheist. I believe that the notion of a supernatural “creator” is a man made creation. I am not, however, anti-religion. My philosophy when it comes to religion is “whatever floats your boat.”

That said, I have no patience for the holier-than-thou religious cheerleaders who are certain that their religious beliefs are right and anyone who doesn’t embrace them is wrong, who go around proselytizing, calling atheists immoral and saying anyone who doesn’t believe in God can’t know right from wrong or good from evil, or who try to foist their concepts of morality or their religious beliefs upon the rest of us through legislation.

My wife, the woman I’ve been married to for more than 40 years, believes that a “higher power” exists, but she doesn’t refer to it as “God” or the “Creator.” She also believes that there must be something beyond our Earthly life, but doesn’t call it “heaven” or “hell.” And while she considers herself to be somewhat spiritual, she’s not religious and finds most “organized” religions to be off putting.

She and I are fine together because religion is not an important factor for either of us, and the fact that she believes in a higher power and I don’t has not been an issue. But in her question, Mel noted that “one partner did not believe in a Creator and was anti-religion and the other partner was very actively religious and constantly pontificating about it.”  And she asked whether such a couple can “agree to disagree” and, thus, be happy together.

My answer is that even if they agree to disagree, each person, in her example, has deeply held beliefs that are fundamental to who they are, and those beliefs are in diametrical opposition. Such intrinsic elements of someone’s being and nature can only be stifled for so long before a pent up resentment for having to suppress their true nature starts to boil over.

Bottom line, in the context of Mel’s question, my response is that opposites don’t attract and love does not conquer all.

Anyone else want to weigh in on this?

20 thoughts on “Opposites Don’t Attract

  1. RuthScribbles April 14, 2020 / 9:28 am

    Politics could be the same. Some can. But…. thankfully I don’t need to think about it. 😉

    Tho with family…. it is hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango April 14, 2020 / 11:50 am

      You’re right. Politics can be a real challenge within a family.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stroke Survivor UK April 14, 2020 / 10:06 am

    With you on that, buddy. I also caught a “despise” in the question, which sounds pretty clear-cut. /i’m not sure I could be with anyone who despises anything, that’s one strong feeling to live with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paula Light April 14, 2020 / 10:28 am

    I agree with you, not with Mel, though I think “ideally” it would be sweet if two people who otherwise got along splendidly could agree to disagree about a fundamental rift on the God question. But practically it’s not going to happen. First, if someone truly believes, it’s really hard for them to stay silent, especially in hard times. They want to share. They want to pray. They want to help. How could they bear their loved one’s suffering, knowing that they could help, and not? But if I were sick, and my partner began chanting prayers at me, it would make me so mad. It would strike me as terribly selfish ~ they were doing it for their own peace of mind, not mine, and here I was the sick person! That’s just one example. I used to think I’d be fine with someone who only did minimal surface secular stuff, such as putting up a Christmas tree, but the older I get, the more I realize how I wouldn’t even want that in my home. It would really annoy me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango April 14, 2020 / 10:57 pm

      I have to admit that if anyone ever said that they would pray for me, I’d tell them to fuck off.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melanie B Cee April 15, 2020 / 1:45 pm

        AH! But there are those who pray for you without you ever saying a danged word. Ain’t saying it’s ME who does that, but I ain’t saying I don’t either. Where’s the harm? It doesn’t hurt YOU, although it is against a core belief of yours clearly. Maybe it’s the disrespect and disregard of that core belief that is what really pisses you off? The whole God question can be a real briar patch, can’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Fandango April 15, 2020 / 11:16 pm

          If someone says to me, “you’re in my thoughts,” that’s fine. If someone says “I hope everything works out or turns out okay,” that’s fine, too. But “I‘ll pray for you” to me is an empty gesture. Who are the praying to? A god that I don’t believe exists? Don’t bother.


  4. Marilyn Armstrong April 14, 2020 / 10:34 am

    Garry is an honest-to-God Christian and would probably go to church if they didn’t want him to be there before noon. Also, he thinks whatever you believe is okay with him if you aren’t pushy about it. He was good friends for a long time with Boston’s Cardinal who was always saying “come back to the church” with Garry saying “it’s not MY church … it’s yours” and they got along fine. I got along fine with him too and he never asked ME to come back. Jewish doesn’t go back, except occasionally to a more orthodox kind of Judaism … but even that’s pretty rare outside of Israel. We only started going to a church at all because it was Easter and we asked Kaitlin what Easter meant and she said “chocolate.” We figured she needed at least an understanding of what was involved so she could make a choice. If you know nothing you can’t choose. It worked out fine.

    Everyone in this family has a different religion and no one goes to church. It’s too early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melanie B Cee April 15, 2020 / 1:46 pm

      Haha. My church starts at NOON (well it did ‘before’ ) . No excuses left people! 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Christine Bolton April 14, 2020 / 10:37 am

    I’m with you on this. I think the space program and science made it quite clear there is no one living up in the sky in a meadow.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sadje April 14, 2020 / 10:42 am

    I think if the belief of both people are strong, the relationship will not prosper smoothly. I agree with what you’ve said.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. CARAMEL April 14, 2020 / 10:50 am

    I think I do agree.
    As I mentioned, I have been so deeply in love with someone who did not see the universe as I did. It did not make me love him less. I still loved him desperately. But it;s hard to explain the sadness when you can’t share something that touches you in a way it does not touch them.
    It’s a delicate subject and I think it’s been fascinating to see so many different views and feelings. I do love LOVE though. When someone is willing to sacrifice part of themselves out of love for someone else – it can be beautiful, but it can also be painful.

    Aaaaah – sigh! Not easy. Matters of the heart are sometimes very hard to swallow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melanie B Cee April 15, 2020 / 1:49 pm

      You keep on being EXACTLY who you are Mel – belief and all! I find it refreshing that you carry on, especially in light of things you’ve had to endure. How could you not praise God? I don’t share your viewpoint about love, which is another sticky wicket. Maybe that’s how atheists see the God question? Bears thinking about on my part.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Marilyn Armstrong April 14, 2020 / 11:07 am

    Actually, I should add that sexually, opposites often attract … for a while, until all that OTHER stuff gets in between.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Marleen April 14, 2020 / 12:12 pm

    I may have little bits to say in more than one post. To start, I am very *atheist-friendly… for a few reasons that I observe. One is that I highly value a person being honest about themself — and, hopefully, self-aware… certainly not a given (for an atheist or a religious person or a person who considers him/herself spiritual… anyone). Two: What would be the point in having people say they believe things that they don’t? Three: I allowed myself to “doubt” (one concept or another or anything), in order to seek truth (and still do) and be real. * I admit, I perceive myself to prefer “agnostic” to atheistic because it is (I think) more similar to my openness for learning or realizing something different. There are so many permutations of this, it’s not anything like definable… I don’t enjoy people who are simply whooshy-washy or people-pleasing when it comes to supposed deeply-held views on reality.

    I agree that the people postulated won’t relate optimally in a personal form [while they could build a functioning and even rewarding life] unless both or one of them changes (in a genuine way). And you can’t expect that. I can’t really grasp what is meant by a loving relationship that involves hurting each other when there is a discussion of what they really think or feel. There are different kinds of love, so… okay. The words can be said. But what level of relationship are you looking for? I am aware there are atheists who are also happy to participate in “a particular faith” in the sense of a tradition. That could work, in a way. But there is more conveyed of these two. They disagree is one thing; they hurt each other (or someone hursts the other) is something else.

    {By the way, keep that in mind if you are a person of faith. There are people present in institutions or meetings for many reasons that might not have anything to do with faith. (They may or may not clue you into this little detail. They might not even “get” what faith is.)}

    Nevertheless, there is a full panoply of values to consider when deciding to be together or not. I don’t know how these people have become “close” without an ease of interaction, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think this means physically. Another possibility would be having grown up together. If there is a child involved, it’s likely worth the effort. (I’m assuming neither person is abusive, per se. But that might not be a safe assumption.)

    Maybe I’m going to fit enough into one post.

    Nope; have to take a break.

    There was only one post when I started this.
    It’ll be interesting to see what else popped up.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. leigha66 April 15, 2020 / 1:01 am

    I agree that if both peoples beliefs are felt strongly they would not stay together very long in my opinion. For some of the same reasons stated… suppressing how they feel is not going to work in the long run. You are then trying to hide a part of you to please the other person. You have to be able to be open and honest and 100% yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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