NPR: Making marriage work when only one spouse believes in God

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 2:30 p.m. MST

Because Bixby and Peyer got together just a few years ago, they didn't have to hammer out a compromise on the children. Her children from a previous marriage are being raised Lutheran; his don't go to church. But these tools — communication, humor and compassion — help them work through their differences on other aspects of faith. And it's work they're grateful for.

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Our take: In the past, when people entered into a relationships where faith was divided, one partner would usually make a change whichever person had the stronger conviction would set the terms. But these days, couples are redrawing the lines.

Maria Peyer and Mike Bixby are one of those couples who just seem made for each other. They hold hands when they sit and talk. They're happy to spend the morning cooking brunch with their children in their home in southern Washington.

Bixby and Peyer have known each other since they were young, but got married only a few years ago.

"It just hadn't been the right time, until it was. God bless Facebook," says Peyer.

"She Facebooked me, and asked if I remembered her, and then it just went from there," Bixby says.

But there's one big issue where they do not see eye-to-eye. Peyer is Lutheran. Her father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all pastors. She's an assisting minister. Bixby is an atheist.

"I do not believe that there is any sort of a higher power. I've made several attempts to go back and have faith, and it just doesn't work," he says. "It's not an open question for me anymore."

"I would really like it if he could feel God's love the way I do. And it's one of those very few places where I feel like I can say, 'I hear you, I understand what you're saying, I love you and I think that there may be more to it,'" Peyer says.

Read more about Making marriage work when only one spouse believes in God on NPR.

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