We spent Christmas with my boyfriend's family. This was the first time I was meeting his extended family. I was a little nervous about the topic of religion coming up because they are very Catholic. I am so interested in religion and people's beliefs, that the subject often comes up around me without me intending it to. I promised I would work harder to keep my mouth shut about it and I assured my boyfriend that there would be no reason for anyone to even think to question the religion of a white girl at a Christmas party.
He isn't all that concerned about it. He has told his immediate family that I'm not Christian and they seem to be okay with it and he says he does not care what the others think. I worry about it more.
My last serious boyfriend was someone who did not ever want to get married and was very serious about never having children. Yet, when one of his aunts found out about me, she was extremely concerned that she was going to have Hindu nieces and nephews. She was someone I liked a lot and it pained me that when we left that day she said she would pray for me.
It's one thing in the abstract to say that you're okay with your child dating someone of another religion, but what happens when they realize how serious we are about each other? What happens when they find out that we would have a Hindu wedding and raise Hindu children? I'm distressed that this will cause issues down the line.
This boyfriend is the only one I've had who has ever been okay with my eastern culture. I told him how the others had been confused by the times when there were culture clashes and they could not seem to understand that even though I'm American and white, I grew up with different values and ideas than they did. My boyfriend asked if they would have the same issues if they were actually dating an Indian girl. I've wondered that myself. Perhaps they would never choose to date an Indian girl. Perhaps it just surprises them too much to find that culture in me, where they do not expect it.
My boyfriend is very supportive and has been researching Hinduism. He has said he is fine raising our children Hindu, as long as when they get to an age when they can reason for themselves, that he be able to explain his beliefs to them as well and that I be okay with them choosing their own path in life. I've agreed to that, with the understanding that I'll give them a good strong foundation of religion first. He thinks it's awesome that I speak some Hindi and he's been learning some himself.
Christmas did go just fine. No one noticed that I didn't cross myself during the prayer before eating and no one ever thought to ask about my religious background. I enjoyed his family very much.