Dear Margo: I have been dating a wonderful man for four months now. He is very kind and sweet in every way. We are much in love and happy together. There is only one problem: We are different religions.
I am a Christian; he is agnostic. I have invited him to church, and in four months, he has accepted twice. He is adamant about me not pushing my religion on him. My faith is very important to me and has made me who I am today.
I want a man who will share my faith and stand beside me in my church. I know that down the road, our moral differences will ensure arguments. He has mentioned marriage a few times, which makes me so happy, and yet scared at the idea of being committed to a marriage that is "unequally yoked."
Should I end this relationship before we disappoint each other, or should I wait to see whether the seeds I have planted get a chance to grow? — Waiting for Jacob
Dear Wait: Since you and this lovely man are not oxen, I, of course, had to find out what being "yoked" referred to.
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, says, "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers." This would seem to be your fella, rather specifically. And he is not exactly of "a different religion." More precisely, he believes in no religion.
Regarding growing the seeds, I have a hunch nothing would sprout, given his thinking. As sad as it makes me because you say you are much in love and happy together, I think your religious commitment would, indeed, make you "unequally yoked," and therefore, you should probably end it. — Margo, regrettably
THE GREEN-EYED SISTER
Dear Margo: I am a 16-year-old girl, adopted at a year old by a loving, wonderful family. About five years ago, I became reacquainted with my birth father's side of the family, including my younger sister.
I love our visits and recently flew down to my native state and stayed for two weeks.
My sister, at first, was thrilled to see me and was oozing sweetness. However, as time passed, her affection for me turned to dislike and then to hatred. She was so jealous of my blossoming relationship with my birth father (her father) that she was mean, sarcastic, bossy and violent.
I mentioned this to her father and his family. Their reaction? "Ignore her. She's jealous. Don't let it bother you." I felt like nobody was listening to how hurt I was. I tried numerous times to tell them how I felt but was brushed off. I decided I was done putting up with my sister after she slammed my leg with the car door, requiring six stitches. I left a few days later.
My birth father has expressed how much he loves me and how he doesn't want his other daughter's treatment of me to affect our relationship. His failure to control or discipline her, however, really put me off. Honestly, I went home not knowing whether I truly needed these people in my life. I know that the way his daughter treated me shouldn't affect our relationship, as he is a sweet man.
How can I express to him my despair at how my visit went without burning bridges? — Confused and Upset
Dear Con: It sounds to me as though you did express your despair, but were not heard. I agree with you that your birth father's not dealing with the jealous sister shows a lack of control, or at least will.
There is jealousy, and then there is jealousy expressed by causing a need for stitches. Totally unacceptable.
I would tell your birth father that you want to be in touch with him, but you don't think there will be any visits from you in the near future. Leave the door open.
And the good news is that your actual family is "loving and wonderful." — Margo, honestly
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers' daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dearmargo. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.