"Our Two Faiths Are Tearing Us Apart"
Her Turn"He's Putting His Faith Before Mine"
"No one is going to tell me whether or not I can baptize my son! Michael is 9 months old already, and I want to take him to the Catholic church in Venezuela where I was baptized. But Steve's mother insists he should have a Jewish naming ceremony first -- and, as usual, Steve won't stand up to her.
"Religion was never all that important to either one of us, but now I feel that Steve is putting his faith before mine. Though I'm not a regular churchgoer, my family celebrated all the holidays. I grew up in Caracas, and for me, faith was tied in to our culture: the food, decorations, music. Mama raised me and my siblings alone. I've always had a difficult relationship with her; in her eyes, I never measured up, and I was criticized for everything.
"The nuns who taught me encouraged me to pursue a career, so I went to graduate school and eventually entered a foreign study program in New York City to learn English. At a party my first night there, I met Steve, who was a resident in pediatric cardiology. I hadn't planned on becoming involved with anyone, but I fell in love. Steve convinced me to stay in the U.S., and when he asked me to marry him, I said yes instantly.
"The first hint of trouble came as we were planning our wedding. I wanted a Catholic ceremony, but his mother said that no son of hers was going to be married in a church. Steve said, 'It's not worth upsetting Mom over' and I didn't have the nerve to insist on what I wanted. We finally had a rabbi marry us in his study.