Dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to re­li­gion are likely to drive cou­ple apart

Imperial Valley Press - - FOCUS - JEANNE PHILLIPS Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Abby shares more than 100 of her fa

DEAR ABBY: For the first time in my life, I am in love.

We met about a month ago. I know he’s the man I have waited my en­tire life to meet.

I am 33, so I know what I feel isn’t just lust. We have one huge hur­dle, though: re­li­gion.

He’s ac­tively re­li­gious, while I am not, and he doesn’t be­lieve our re­la­tion­ship can sur­vive this dif­fer­ence.

On ev­ery other level, we are won­der­ful.

We want the same things in life and share sim­i­lar val­ues.

Our dif­fer­ence isn’t that I don’t be­lieve in God. I do. But that isn’t enough for him.

I told him I would go to church with him, and raise our chil­dren (his and mine) in a Chris­tian home, but when they are old enough we should al­low them to make their own de­ci­sions.

He says that would be “just go­ing through the mo­tions” and I’d even­tu­ally re­sent him for it.

Must I let him walk away? Or should I fight for what could be (next to my kids) the best thing that’s ever hap­pened to me? -- HEART­BRO­KEN IN TEXAS DEAR HEART­BRO­KEN: In what way do you plan to “fight”?

Do you plan to con­vert to his re­li­gion and de­vote the kind of time to it that he does?

Think care­fully about what that would mean. While his fer­vent re­li­gios­ity is laud­able, what this man doesn’t re­al­ize is that re­gard­less of the ex­am­ple he wants to set for his chil­dren, even­tu­ally they are go­ing to make up their own minds and live their lives the way they wish.

This “one dif­fer­ence” is a deal-breaker. He is looking for a spir­i­tual clone.

You’re not it, so let him go.

DEAR ABBY: The com­pany I work for re­cently switched to digital phones that show the caller’s name and lo­ca­tion on a screen no mat­ter where they are in the build­ing.

Years ago, I formed the habit of in­tro­duc­ing my­self when plac­ing a call: “Hi, this is Sally from mar­ket­ing. How are you, Trent? Great! I’m call­ing be­cause ...” I have been in­formed that what I’m do­ing is old-fash­ioned, un­nec­es­sary and a waste of ev­ery­one’s time.

The pre­ferred method would be to launch into the heart of the con­ver­sa­tion with no in­tro­duc­tion, just “Hi. I need in­struc­tions for the new pro­jec­tors,” be­cause the per­son al­ready knows who is call­ing. To me, this feels rude, es­pe­cially when talk­ing with some­one I see rarely.

I can’t help but won­der what the long-term of­fice cli­mate will be like if ev­ery­one is so terse.

On the other hand, many of my younger co-work­ers would pre­fer not to talk at all and con­duct busi­ness by email or text.

ANY con­ver­sa­tion feels ex­ces­sive to them, and they are hu­mor­ing me by an­swer­ing the phone. Where is the mid­dle ground here?

How can I main­tain what feels like ba­sic good man­ners and hu­man in­ter­ac­tion with­out an­noy­ing my col­leagues? -- PO­LITE IN CAL­I­FOR­NIA

DEAR PO­LITE: There are cer­tain niceties that make in­ter­ac­tions with oth­ers more pleas­ant.

While you may no longer have to an­nounce that you are “Sally from mar­ket­ing,” it is po­lite to in­quire how the per­son is do­ing or how the day is go­ing. It’s a pleas­ant con­ver­sa­tion-starter and a tran­si­tion into the busi­ness you will con­duct.

Be­cause you are get­ting flak for it, go to your em­ployer or H.R. for guid­ance in nav­i­gat­ing the new sys­tem.

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