Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Explaining Paganism to the Non-pagan Spouse

You know, I sometimes marvel at the things about me that surprise my husband. He's known me since we were twelve, and I have always been religious.Yet, the depths of my paganism seem to be a source of unexplainable perplexities for him. I suppose I can understand how it is very different to be with someone who belongs to a group rather than to a solitary, but the idea that me being religious surprising is, well, surprising. More importantly, I think it is a testament to have far we have grown apart.
I have recently been reading quite a bit of poetry. A friend is finishing his second book of poetry, and I have been going over a few things with him (that, and he is a fabulous writer, so it's been more of a joy than anything to read his work). A lot of the poems deal with longing and love, stirring my romantic and dreamy side. I asked J on a whim the other day to write me a poem. He, of course, laughed and said, "No." I countered with a request for a letter. He said no to this, too, but then set his alarm for four am so that he could send me an email while I was at work. It was cute and very sweet. :)
I sent him a reply, and he didn't respond. When he got home from work that evening, he told me that the email I sent him absolutely floored him. he said that was the most I've talked to him in months and that he had no idea I felt the way I do about our relationship. You see, I assumed with all the fighting about me going to Grove events and whatnot that he may have some negative feelings about us ending up here, because I'm pretty sure he never anticipated a conversation about raising our children in any religion, let alone paganism. And honestly, he's just hard to talk to about things we don't have in common, which is quite a bit nowadays.
Fast forward to the weekend, and J goes on a camping trip for four days. I found out this evening that they had a pretty serious conversation about me being a pagan. Some of them asked him if I really believed all this stuff or if I was in it for the fun of it. They asked if he thought I would ever "grow out of it." I know how awful that may sound to those of you who don't know them, but I can tell you these people care about me and are genuinely trying to understand, but with all the fighting between J and me surrounding it, they've not had the guts to ask.
So, I am sitting here trying to compose a letter to J and a couple of his/our friends about why I do what I do. I've decided to draft it and then sit on it for a day before editing. There is a good chance this will make things worse, not better, when he realizes I DO believe all of this. I'll post it when it's done.


Julia Ergane said...

I'm so sorry about the communication gap between you and your husband concerning religion. I know that I am lucky as my husband completely endorses me. However, he is a humanist and does not believe in the type of personal god promulgated by Christianity. He thinks that my Hellenic polytheism actually makes more sense ;-). However, even though you might not like it, it might be better to describe your religion as polytheistic rather than "pagan" because that is what it actually is. And, yes, I am a bit of a language nerd.

Rev. Bee said...

Thanks. It's a struggle sometimes, for sure. "Pagan" is the word that he uses the most, so I've kinda of just gone with it. Maybe a switch would help. I used to use the word "Hellene," but he thought I was worshipping Helen of Troy. That was a long conversation. :)

Thank you for your insight!