"Our Two Faiths Are Tearing Us Apart"

Kristina and Steve never thought their different religions would come between them. But having their first child, and facing the holidays, changed everything. Can this marriage be saved?
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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. 

Continued on page 2:  Her Turn, continued


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