Ask Angela: I'm meeting his atheist family for the holidays, help
I’m meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time and I am both excited and nervous about it. I am a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he is not. In fact, he’s an atheist. Surprisingly, this works for us. We have great conversations about morality, he will occasionally attend church with me and, honestly, even though he talks about being “good without God,” it’s amazing how many gospel principles I see him living on a daily basis. He is a very good man.
I’m nervous about meeting his family, though. They have had bad experiences with religious people in the past and I don’t want them to think I’m a certain way because of those past experiences, you know? I also worry that they’ll think I’m silly for believing what I believe and therefore consider me not good enough for their son. I honestly just want to go and have a great time. How can I prep for this trip? How can I not feel so nervous?
Dear The GF,
I think you have to plan on being yourself and getting out of your own head about the whole thing. Don’t feel like you need to right the wrongs of their past experiences or prove that you’re different or good enough or whatever. Just go to their home, be gracious, be respectful and enjoy learning a little bit more about who your boyfriend is and where he came from.
They are opening their home to you, so to some degree, that’s evidence that they are hoping this meeting goes well, too. Let that thought start to neutralize your worried feelings.
The last thing I’ll add is that in every belief system, you’ll find intolerant people. But for the most part, despite differences, people want to get along, be friends, share mutually enlightening experiences and have a good time. I think if you go to his home remembering that his “atheist” family is really just a family, you’ll feel less intimidated and ready to enjoy the holidays.
Let us know what happens.
Readers: How do you think "The GF" should prepare for the holidays? What about the boyfriend's family? Should they prepare in any special way for The GF's visit?
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Angela Trusty is a millennial writer who lives and writes about the Latter-day Saint experience. Twitter: askange_column
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