Advice

On holy fucking matrimony

I’m a white woman married to a black man. He goes to a black church. A year into our marriage, he still won’t bring me to his church or any church functions because he says it “might make black folks uncomfortable if they think they’re going to be in their community but someone starts bringing white people around.” I thought that was reasonable, but my friends are saying I’m “blinded by white guilt” and that he’s ashamed of me. Are they right?

 

Your husband won’t take you to his church. One more time now. Your husband won’t take you to his church.

Are you fucking kidding me? Your husband is a gigantic asshole for excluding you from that aspect of his life, and you are a fucking doormat for putting up with that level of outrageous disrespect.

If you want to go to church with your husband, then go to church with your husband. If he refuses to take you, then tell him he can choose between one of two options: Either find a new church, or find a new wife.

Despite my own personal opinions about organized religion and the institution of marriage, this kind of shit is a dealbreaker. I’m not kidding. He doesn’t get to make this about black and white. You are his wife. Matrimony is holy. If he won’t even let you stand by his side and worship together, then he is a dirtbag husband and the worst kind of hypocrite.

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130 thoughts on “On holy fucking matrimony

  1. Daffodil says:

    Yeah, that is total bullshit. Either he doesn’t think you’re good enough to be seen in public with him (in which case, OMG, run now, I 100% guarantee he is going to continue shitting on you), or there’s another woman there. Listen to your gut, and not the part that thinks it’s okay for people to treat you badly.

  2. Just an opinion says:

    The problem isn’t the contradiction in hiding your holy union from his congregation. It’s his unwillingness to even consider potentially alienating his community for his relationship. Dude isn’t ready for the consequences of interracial marriage. Gotta break some eggs sometimes. And with the number of congregations in the US, there is no excuse not to find one that is primarily black but regularly welcomes people of all ethnicities.
    Whatever you do, don’t have mixed babies yet.

  3. Dots says:

    Most regular churchgoers I know not only insist that their spouses accompany them to church, but also want to get married in the church they attend. Racial considerations never seem to apply.

    What you describe is to a red flag what the Hindenburg was to a child’s balloon.

  4. J says:

    This is a bummer, and I’m sorry you’re dealing with it. I would be SO incredibly frustrated. If anything, bringing you to church is such an excellent way to show the community at large that you’re a strong, open and accepting couple. Him saying it “might make black folks uncomfortable if they think they’re going to be in their community but someone starts bringing white people around,” is a reflection of exactly how HE feels, not the people at church. Fuck that. Sit him down and tell him how it’s going to be, or get out. If church is important to you both then it should be shared.

  5. Richard Johnson says:

    Not the first time I’ve heard this story. The woman was my mom. The boyfriend who lived with her for 10 years had a whole other family and was an upstanding member of his church.

    Even though she way predated the other family, she got labeled the home wrecker and whore.

    Anyone who won’t take you to church is living two lives one way or another. Bail.

    • J Lynn says:

      Yikes! What a f’ing hypocrite. What a heartbreak it must have been for your mom.

      The story halfway jogged a memory, though — didn’t one of the high-profile televangelists or right-wing Evangelical political figures turn out to have a secret family?

      • ThankDog says:

        Well, not a religious leader, but Strom Thurmond had a child with his family’s black maid. He was 22, she was 16.

        The list I found by googling ‘evangelical scandals’ had a *lot* of homosexual affairs, a few heterosexual affairs, a few child molestations, and a couple of tax evasion / fraud cases, but no one with a second long-term stable relationship that included children. There was one who fathered a child with his brother’s wife, and one who had an 8-year affair with his choir director, but that’s as close as I could find.

        • J Lynn says:

          Hmm, it wasn’t Thurmond I was thinking of. Wish I could remember. That’s a pretty impressive list you turned up, though. Thanks for the research!

  6. Court Marie says:

    This is a very simple situation which he is trying to complicate by incorporating race. Very simply put, he is prioritizing the feelings of his fellow church goers ahead of the feelings of his own wife. Tell him if they don’t accept you, and he accepts them, then ipso facto, he doesn’t accept you and that’s how it makes you feel. You’re his wife. Don’t let white guilt stand in front of your needs in this relationship.

    I agree with Coke, either find a new church or tell him to find a new wife. Good luck lady.

  7. coskel says:

    When I was in college, I had a group of friends I hung out with regularly.
    2 of them were mixed race.

    I remember feeling horribly offended when 2 of us asked them to go hang out somewhere and they replied that they wanted to go be with “their own people” and that whites weren’t invited.

    KEEP IN MIND THEY ARE MIXED RACE.

    Now that I read this letter it makes me think this is a thing in the black community that we really aren’t aware of?
    Anyone in that community care to elaborate?

    • Somebody says:

      You know you’re the worst right?
      Do you really need someone to explain why ppl of colour don’t want to hang out with white people sometimes? Again? Really???
      This is so unrelated to the LW’s question.
      Also, stop referring to black people as “the black community” and someone might just care to explain.

      • coskel says:

        re:Do you really need someone to explain why ppl of colour don’t want to hang out with white people sometimes?

        Actually, yes because it would never occur to me to flip the situation. In my mind, people are people and not defined by race.

        And I say “community” because that is how I was raised. No offense was intended, and I’m not “still angry”, just curious because I truly don’t understand it.

        • JC says:

          What you aren’t getting is that black people have to take on a certain veneer to exist in a white-dominated society. Sometimes they want to shed that for a while.

        • Cuttlefish says:

          Of course it would never occur to you to flip the situation. The two situations are not analogous. You are not burdened by a weight of existential exhaustion from being a white person in a black man’s world. If you were, you could compare apples to apples.

    • S.C. says:

      These are two very different situations.

      The OP’s situation is about her husband using his wife’s own racial empathy against her to keep her isolated from his church community. I’ve brought white partners to church before. None of the black churches in my life have shut their doors on a white person. If you have honest intentions, you will be welcomed in the community.

      Re: your experience,
      Mixed race people have super complicated experiences with race and community, and often face racism from their own parents & extended white family. They don’t feel 100% in either of their communities. It makes sense that they would need a break every once in a while to be with people who understand their experience.

      I mean it seems like they weren’t excluding all white people from their lives? To be honest, your response and indignation after all this time make it easy to understand why they would want to decline your request?

      There is no monolithic black community, no one black person can speak for all black people.
      If there is “a thing,” it’s nothing new. People w/ marginalized identities have always reached out to each other for support.

      Isn’t it human to just want, even for a short amount of time, to spend time with people where they don’t have to explain themselves? People who know what it’s like and understand.

      • VeryClear says:

        “None of the black churches in my life have shut their doors on a white person. ”

        I think that’s why some of us are quick to believe there’s something more going on. 🙂

    • WhoAmI says:

      Sometimes I hang out with friend groups that are 0% heterosexual. It feels good to take a break from time to time. Have a party where nobody is gonna make insensitive comments (or at least not the ones I hear all the fucking time). Where people share the same life struggles and some common interests. So I totally get why black dudes or latinos or whatever only hang out together more often than not. Can’t say it doesn’t piss me off a bit sometimes but it’s just my white ass thinking I have to be integrated everywhere all the time, you know.

    • Oh, Hello... says:

      Sure. Black churches are historically safe spaces for people to express their grievances about living in a white supremacist society. As soon as a white person shows up, it becomes about making them feel safe and comfortable. Because internalized racism ‘n shit. SO I kind of understand. But in this case, there is probably a better way to balance having a time to be with your kin and not completely alienating your spouse. Probably.

      PS I’m mixed and you better believe there are times I just need to be around people who understand without having to explain myself.

  8. Pamela says:

    Hmmmmm, I’m not sure…

    I do think this church is allowed to create a safe space for themselves.

    And black lives > white feelings.

    HOWEVER. That does not mean that there can’t be something more nefarious at work. Maybe his church community, which is like an instant-family to him, has always disapproved of his marriage to you?

    Or he wants to have to things in his life that are incompatible: white woman + black church, and sortof tries it until it explodes on either side?

    I’m very very torn on this one.

  9. VeryClear says:

    He probably doesn’t want to cope with some real or imagined stress. Instead of starting with the ultimatum, try to determine why he won’t take you. Then, work out strategies that you can use to meet these challenges together. There’s a strong possibility that there’s a division between how he presents himself to you and how he presents himself to that community. Once you’ve announced your intent to join him, do not let a period of time go where he is there without you. The reason for this is that if there is any dishonest subterfuge behind his motivations, he won’t have time to spin it. If he gets angry, take that as a huge red flag. This shouldn’t be any more than telling him that you’re going shopping with him.

    You need to know whether it’s an open and accepting community or not. If such a church really would reject you, and religion is a part of his life, then why would you want to continue as persona non grata?

    I also recommend steeling yourself for some sort of shock.

    But definitely make it a deal breaker.

    • Kittyninja says:

      I was thinking there could be many possible avenues for compromise. We don’t know the size of her city or location which could make finding another black church pretty difficult. However, maybe there might be a Unitarian church that they could attend one Sunday and/or Wednesday a month. Like you said, there are definitely ways to go about this that isn’t just presenting an ultimatum.

      It’s important to keep our communities that feed our soul, and it’s also important to honor the agreements we make in our relationships. OP is definitely being excluded from this spiritual area of his life, and that doesn’t benefit the longevity of their relationship. But hey, he just might be a little shitty like the rest of us and needing the push to be more inclusive.

  10. Grouch says:

    This is bullshit. I’ve never known a non-white congregation that didn’t at least pay lip service to welcoming anyone. Somehow I suspect that it’s not actually really about race, he’s just latching onto that as an excuse for something.

        • VeryIrritable says:

          I would normally agree with you. But there’s this thing that I will call “racial presentation” that some people adopt. My guess is that the way he acts is different in these contexts and he is anticipating some kind of stress in reconciling these aspects of his identity. I hope he gets over it and takes her and that it turns out to be laughable in retrospect. That would be a hopeful thing for everyone.

  11. Soooooooooooooooo says:

    I’m a black woman from Chicago. There are black people who do not want to be around white people. We live in a white society all the time and sometimes we just want to be unapologetically black with no need to tap into our double consciousness (read Dubois).

    With that said, he’s wrong as hell and coke is right. No one at his church that he goes to every Sunday is going to disrespect his union. If they do, he needs to take it up with the pastor or leave the church.

    Mind u, I doubt anyone will be surprised that he married a white woman. His comment “black folks…” Leads me to believe that.

    He better stop trying to blame the church goers for the fact that he’s a pussy. I could half way see if he was scared to bring a BOYFRIEND to a black church, but not a white wife. It’s 2016 he better get out of here.

    He probably does have some secrets. Plus, I’d love to hear his reaction to his wife standing up for herself and demanding some respect.

    Oh, and he’s definitely not ashamed of u. I’m sure he loves the fact that he’s with u. He’s ashamed of the fact that everyone knows that he loves the fact that he’s with u.

    • Soooooooooooooooo says:

      Like maybe he acts all Bryant Gumbel at home and Steve Harvey at church. Perhaps he doesn’t want YOU to see him in his true personality. Maybe he’s exercising double consciousness around u, and he’s actually the one that would like to keep the church a white free zone. Talk to him.

    • S.C. says:

      Love this response.

      Imo, most all churches (of all races) will welcome anyone to service, but it takes time to become a trusted member of any small community. That’s not a black thing, it’s true of most every church.

      Black people let motherfucking Trump himself attend service….. And then he started stumping at the pulpit.

    • VeryClear says:

      I think that letting people be “unapologetically black” in the presence of other people is exactly how this world will heal. I think one reason I have black friends is that I don’t make them uncomfortable being whoever they are or want to be.

      Break down these walls.

      • Soooooooooooooooo says:

        I agree. Not a lot of black people (including myself in different places) feels comfortable talking, looking, acting black. Especially since most of everything we do has a negative connotation attached to it.

        But I won’t act like all cultures don’t deal with this same issue to a degree.

        • VeryClear says:

          Clearly you’ve never been to one of our “white” parties where we all get together and act unapologetically white intentionally. 😀

          Microbrewed beer is served with stinky cheese.
          Mostly we stand around listening to taylor swift and reading restoration hardware catalogues. Occasionally the subject of Vespas or a TED talk will pop up. A fight broke out one time when someone mentioned cultural appropriation, but we all forgot about it when someone mentioned a football team.

  12. Angie says:

    There’s a huge difference between going to the church as a spectator to watch the way another group celebrates religion and going to church to support your spouse’s faith. You aren’t trying to be a tourist.

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that your husband is doing anything wrong, while he’s there, he just seems immature and insecure. If he married you and his loyalty is supposed to be to you. He didn’t say, “You are welcome to go, but some of the members can be pretty vocal about there dislike for white people and I’m concerned you might feel uncomfortable.” He said he is worried THEY might feel uncomfortable, which is his own insecurity.

    I mean… This is also a question of do you actually want to go? If the answer is yes and you feel hurt, just make him take you and deal with the (highly unlikely) repercussions. I mean, I’d pick and choose battles. If he proudly shows you off in every other aspect of his life, then it’s probably not shame or another woman, but an offensively worded view of how he perceives his church folks. (Imagine a gay person having to “come out” to their homophobic grandparents – it takes people time to face fears, and asking the partner to compromise may not be the best thing or an accurate view of the church members, but isn’t necessarily disloyal).

    Don’t do things just because your friends say to either. Friends need to stay out of relationships.

        • VeryClear says:

          I was not bragging. And it’s terrible that you would suggest so.
          Fuck off.

          It’s really sad that we live in an environment where having and recognizing diverse friends could ever be construed as bragging. But if it must be, then let it. I have a lot of friends and I’ll stand up for all of them. And I won’t let some petty little twat like you chase me away from the idea that I would know what color they are or that they have different presentations in different social settings or that their experience is different from my own.

          Get back on topic, please. To wit; Sowing a seed of mistrust in the midst of an argument is an awful thing to do unknowingly, and cruel if intended.

          • Pouet says:

            Dude, chill the fuck out. It was funny.
            You keep getting into spats with folks here over perceived slights. You should be confident enough to know you’re an open, kind person if that is the case.

          • VeryIrritable says:

            Thanks Pouet.
            Sometimes it’s hard for me to joke about racial issues in this climate. Every single day there’s another unarmed black guy shot to death and nothing I can do except speak up. I really don’t think my paltry few emails to senators are helping. But yes, you are right, I do need to chill the fuck out and nothing seems to help.

            And after thinking about it…if bragging about having black friends would make it more socially acceptable then I would rather be counted as a douche in the moment than a bigot in the long run.

          • Cuttlefish says:

            “I think one reason I have black friends is that I don’t make them uncomfortable being whoever they are or want to be.” That isn’t “standing up for” your friends–that is all about using your friends to validate your own ego. White people have been using the “some of my best friends are black” defense to cast themselves as “one of the good white people” for generations now. I understand that it’s easy to be defensive in response to a flippant criticism, but your friends of color are not props for you to bring out in order to showcase your own enlightenment, and I promise you that any sentence that starts with “I think one reason I have black friends…” is gonna be fucking cringeworthy to anyone except the most clueless and tone-deaf of white people.

          • VeryIrritable says:

            @cuttlefish welp. Here we are back at “fuck off.” I didn’t “trot them out” to support my ego. You’re projecting from your own past experiences; And that’s understandable for the reasons you supply. However, If you read the sentence carefully you’ll see that they accept me as much as I accept them. There’s an equivalency there that isn’t present in “I have black friends.” And when I wrote it I was considering exactly that, the privilege. It’s a privilege to have anyone as a friend regardless of color.

            And guess what, I am “one of the good ones.” Go ahead and cringe all you want, it’s in you, not me.

            As for the definition of “stand up,” I am willing to concede that’s pretty weak, but no less heart felt. I mean, go ahead and try to scare me away from stating facts in an attempt to make it a social norm. But recognize that by trying to beat people with accusations of ego in such cases isn’t informing anyone or making the world a better place.

            If you want to fucking enlighten me on a topic of racial bias, tone, or presentation, you’re going to have get specific.

          • Brynn says:

            “…stating facts in an attempt to make it a social norm.”

            I thought it was fairly obvious this was what you were doing.

          • Cuttlefish says:

            I read the sentence carefully. Maybe you could pay me the same respect and quote actual words that I said rather than paraphrasing if you’re gonna use quotation marks?

            Anyhow, no matter how many times I read the sentence, it still says: “I think one reason I have black friends is that I don’t make them uncomfortable being whoever they are or want to be.” There is nothing in there that isn’t about YOU believing that you make your friends comfortable because YOU are so extra-special accepting of their authentic selves. Obviously having a diverse group of friends with whom you share mutual respect is a great thing. No one would disagree with that. But your assertion is actually even more lacking in self-awareness than “I have black friends,” because you are saying YOU have black friends because you are some super evolved white ally who knows how to make black people comfortable. It does come across as bragging and even tokenizing your friends, but it’s probably pointless for me to even say that because you just don’t get it at all. You are far too defensive, and you don’t seem interested in having your worldview on this challenged at all. In fact, “Fuck off” seems to be your default any time you are asked to own even a little bit of your tone-deaf bullshit. I believe I was pretty darn specific about what irked me in your statement, and I wasn’t trying to “beat [you] with accusations of ego” or “scare [you] away from stating facts.” You WERE coming from a place of ego, even if you refuse to own it, and I’m not trying to “scare” you out of shit. You said some clueless white shit that made me cringe, and I responded with a clear and critical explanation as to why. That’s how this kind of thing works on a forum like this.

            And I would be very interested to know what “past experiences” you believe I am “projecting” onto my response. Seriously. Lay it on me.

          • VeryIrritable says:

            “I think one reason I have friends is because I let them be who they are.” doesn’t address the fact that they are of color in the context of this conversation nor does it meet my requirement of making it a social norm.

            You’re the one pulling all the judgement shit out of your ass.
            You don’t get to tell me I’m “tokenizing” just because I didn’t mention why I’m thankful for them or whatever the fuck your criteria are. I don’t “make” them comfortable. It just happens that way. You know…like friends…cuz that’s how friends fucking work.

            Your opinion means nothing to me personally at this point.
            So, feel free to keep blathering, I’m not reading any more of it. I’d keep going around with you but I can’t think of any way to make it entertaining for everyone else or informative for myself. You’re tiresome. (Irony Intended)

            Done.

            I return to my default mode after having laid it upon you.

          • Rosa says:

            Damn, Cuttlefish! That was a brilliant takedown of a terrible comment, which led to cringeworthy squirming and thrashing around by the OP, followed by another excellent takedown by you. Thanks, it takes a lot of emotional energy to be able to engage with that particular tone of commentary, and I for one truly appreciate that you actually called them out on their shit.

    • Soooooooooooooooo says:

      I thought about side chick Sunday’s but a side chick wouldn’t b the reason he wouldn’t take her. Ho better know her place.

    • VeryIrritable says:

      Red flag! Whole lotta dirty hippy fucking goin on. But what’s worse is the high end style pretending to be “counter culture.” It’s where the line between pretense and hallucination truth is covered by blowing sand instead of blurred by alcohol…well, that too.

      If you’re serious. You need to drill into that.
      If you’re not serious, that was the most genius response I’ve seen in a long time.

      • Jessica Harris says:

        I’m serious. He says I have a “drug problem” and he’s a drug and alcohol counsellor. I wish I had the power to cancel the event. I’m just so manipulative and immature.

        • VeryIrritable says:

          I literally cannot tell if you are fucking with me. The reason why is that last sentence is too self aware and on the nose. You start with a plea for seriousness or legitimacy and end with irony or a paraphrase.

          You’re serious or not.
          You have a drug problem if he exists.
          Lots of people wish they had that power. But seriously, it’s not wrong to wish something that would benefit you. There’s almost no wish that wouldn’t cost someone else some sort of liberty.
          You’re manipulative and immature or…a joke.

          The last sentence seems like it came from someone else, probably him.
          So now I have to believe you’re in a possibly unhealthy relationship with your counselor. (Making an assumption that’s how you met?)

          It makes me wonder if he has a problem too and he doesn’t want you to see how fucked up he gets.

          Problem or not, it’s up to you where you go and what you do. Hopefully you won’t make a mistake with that freedom. You already know it has consequences. If he’s in the way, you should probably discuss why exactly and see if there aren’t terms on which you can agree for attendance.

          If your relationship is the most important thing, then seeing how that event can bring you together could be a focus. Otherwise you’re just being dependent on him for your own restraint I should think.

          • VeryIrritable says:

            You don’t have any proof that it’s a joke and stranger things have happened! So in my mind it exists as both a genius joke and a bizarre reality. For every point I can find that makes me think it’s a joke, I find another that makes me think it’s not.

  13. Clipper says:

    Church is obviously a safe space for the black community. Like it or not, having white people in spaces that people of color have created changes the dynamic for the worse. You have to be more careful about what you say and how you say it, it’s exhausting.
    Let marginalized people have their spaces. If you feel like he’s ashamed of you in general, look into that, but in this case he’s completely on the right side.

    • VeryIrritable says:

      He is not “right.”

      You are the reason the ridiculous phrase “reverse racism” was invented. It’s wrong to assume that a white presence is necessarily a bad thing. How would anyone ever bring us closer together by maintaining the distance of a “safe space.”

      All space should be safe.

      Seriously, if I hear the phrase “safe space” referring to anything other than a bank vault or migraine room again I am going to beat someone with a book on trauma.

      What if we made safe spaces for white supremacists so that they don’t have to feel threatened by an unaccepting society? I mean, they’re clearly outnumbered and have every right to feel threatened. Any time a black person is present the dynamic is always for the worse. They are almost a literal minority in their own country and will be guaranteed as such by 2046. Any time someone tries to confront them with uncomfortable truths, they can retreat there and swaddle themselves in knitted swatstika binkies while fondling an assault rifle.

      The basis for anyone’s presence in a social gathering should begin with invitation and be sustained by contribution. The only place it’s okay to demand entry is public grounds.

      • WhoAmI says:

        If your reason for discrediting safe spaces is that you think the whole of society should become a utopia of acceptation you mayyyy want to think about it again. I’m not even gonna mention the white supremacist comparison.

        • VeryIrritable says:

          No. I don’t believe the world will ever become Star Trek and everyone will be cool. But safe spaces are ridiculous. I’ve never read about one that wasn’t purely there to further entrench an abhorrent lack of awareness. They’re excuses.

          You know what a safe space is? It’s a fucking library. It’s a college. It’s a classroom.

          • WhoAmI says:

            What you’re talking about are safe spaces created artificially and outside the community. Something doesn’t have to be willingly labelled a safe space to be one. Hell, the Orlando terrorist attack is so scary because gay nightclubs ARE safe spaces.
            Also there’s no chance in hell a college is a safe space for any possible minority. Have you ever been to college ? Rich white boys getting away with raping girls. People putting hangmen in trees over the weekend. You know. Fun, safe spacey things.
            There may be a problem with your definition of safe space I think.

          • VeryClear says:

            “There may be a problem with your definition of safe space I think.”

            I’m willing to see that. This is one of those times where we really should be specific. This thread has just piled up so many frames that it’s impossible to unpack a statement without violating another’s premise.

            We need to create a safe thread where individual responses in the minority, or majority, can feel comfortable discussing, or not discussing, only things that align carefully with their context and personal experience; and that require no change or consideration, or as much consideration, as an individual would like.

          • Rainbowpony says:

            @whoami
            I really hope that’s not your baseline impression of colleges.
            Colleges aren’t safe because the world isn’t. Not being a safe space is not like something special and particular colleges did. I think many colleges experiment with and have faculty supporting all manner of safe spaces.

          • WhoAmI says:

            Oh no, totally ! College is no different from the outsiee world. And that’s exactly why it isn’t a safe space. Some colleges try to make a difference, sure, and that’s a good thing.

    • Rainbowpony says:

      You can’t have a safe space away from your wife. And maybe he needs to respect the needs of this particular church, but then he needs to find a new one to go to, with his wife.

  14. Nat says:

    I am not religious. He might really love his church and want to carry on going there without rocking the boat too much. Church could easily be a safe space for many of the people there.

    Maybe OP could go to church with her husband once a month/for special events (easter/whatever), maybe she could let him know when she’ll be joining him at church and give him a chance to let people know that she’ll be there if he feels they need to prepare, maybe he will also see that things aren’t so uncomfortable if she does (maybe not – I would guess probably not), and (if she wanted) they could sometimes go to a different church together, too. I get the feeling they haven’t talked properly about this.

    In the same way that I would not put up with any romantic partner (incl. a fictional spouse) stopping me from seeing my family, if my church was my family, I wouldn’t necessarily be willing to move churches to accommodate my spouse (who of course is also a part of my family, but not the only important member in it). It would have to be a compromise. Not ‘finding a new church’ and leaving the old one behind, not making everyone else at church uncomfortable, some kind of splitting of time. Does that make me “a giant asshole”? I guess so.

    If he flat out refuses to *ever* take her to his church or to swap churches for part of the time or to compromise in any way, then at that point it’s really unreasonable, mean and disrespectful of him, but so far she definitely doesn’t “need to leave him” and she’s not a doormat. It just seems like this wasn’t that big a deal to her at first, they’ve communicated poorly, and then she feels a bit left out/expresses that to her friends and they react with suspicion/outrage. The response in the comments feels so out of proportion! Clearly they need to talk about this, but it just needs some discussion, not an ultimatum.

    Couples (yeah even married ones) should be allowed to maintain as much independence as works for them; separate bank accounts, separate beds, separate churches, whatever works for them..! For me, I love separate bank accounts, I hate separate beds and neither of us go to church, but different things work for different people. Ideally those kinds of things (along with do you want kids/lifestyle choices/location choices) should be worked out before marriage for less surprises, but if you’ve committed to being together no matter what then surely compromise > ultimatums.

  15. Annie says:

    The contortions people are working themselves into to try to justify this guy’s behavior are astonishing.

    People who are invoking the–I want to emphasize, *completely valid*–need for members of marginalized communities to have safe spaces to justify LW’s husband’s refusal to take his wife to his church are missing the fact that she’s not just some spectator. She’s not some random white friend. She’s not someone insisting on invading a space that is not for her.

    She. Is. His. Wife. If you’re a church-going type, you *cannot* separate your marriage from your spiritual life. Coquette doesn’t bat 1.000, but she’s 100% right here.

    Someone refusing to take a white friend to a black church would be–in my experience–pretty unusual, but hopefully something that friend could understand. Marriage is different. Your wife is not your nosy buddy. Your wife is not your overzealous coworker in H.R. who wants to see how *authentic* and *different* your Sunday services are.

    Frankly, if he thinks he would be alienating members of his church by bringing his wife around, as far as I’m concerned, he’s already alienated them by marrying a white woman in the first place. If he has put his congregation in a position where they have to either compromise their sense of community or disrespect his union, he’s a lousy parishioner.

    If you can’t make someone part of your spiritual life, and that spiritual life is important to you, then *don’t fucking marry them.*

    And I shudder to think what will happen if/when they have kids. Will he refuse to take his mixed-race kids to church? Or will he exclude his wife from the religious upbringing of ~her own children~?

  16. Food for thought says:

    Coke,

    I think that whilst your advice is ultimately correct, the way you’ve lead the discussion and quickly dismissed the factor of race is frustrating to see as a black person. You pride yourself on someone who only gives advice where she feels capable – but I wish you were more capable of seeing how limitations of your own white experience has allowed you to easily dismiss the OP’s husband as a “gigantic asshole” and the OP as a “doormat”.

    I am Black/indigenous. I am in a closed nit relatively black conservative community of a lower socioeconomic background that use church groups/community centres as a means to gather as a safe space away from white society. We can be “black” here. Whilst a white person is not barred from out groups, there are those in our group who have recieved enough trauma from systemic racism to wish that our space was for only black to congregate and air their grievances. I dont quite agree with not letting White people into our group, I can see how OP’s husband could feel the pressure and fear in invading this space. I think at the end of the day OP’s husband could be using excuses and should suck the fuck up. However, OP needs to inquire more about what her husband is thinking — but to do this complex conversation on race, congnative dissonace, community against personal choice and supporting your fucking wife need to be laid out on the table and discussed to gain a full picture and hence, solution.

    You’ve been to dismissive on this one Coke and avoided a big much needed racial dialogue within the current context of identity politics and black lives matter. Its really disappointing to see.

      • Food for thought says:

        There is a huge difference between personally choosing to marry a white person versus bringing them to a space where OTHER people gather to avoid white people.

        I think OP’s husband is out of line and obviously avoiding having a conversation with his church members but dont discount the politics around safe spaces

        • WhoAmI says:

          That’s like being ashamed of your only white friend and not wanting to bring him at anything you do with all your black friends. I totally understand the feeling and can’t say I have never done something similar but that’s still dumb as fuck. Are you really his friend to begin with if you do that ?
          Maybe that’s just me, but my bf will by default be invited everywhere i’m invited. Except if he doesn’t want to or there are preexisting tensions between him and some of those people but that’s, like, Life In Society 101.

    • The Coquette says:

      There’s a difference between dismissing the factor of race and prioritizing the sanctity of marriage over the sanctity of church/safe spaces. Swallow your disappointment. It’s wasted on me. Instead, take a moment to notice the irony of how the much needed racial dialog you’ve complained about me avoiding is literally the exact thing in which you’re participating.

    • Lea says:

      Agreed, Food, 100 per cent. As a brown person in a relationship with a white person, one of the greatest gifts my partner has given me, since day one, is the full understanding that it is not him I need space from, it is whiteness. It remains one of the most powerful and deeply human things he could have done for me. Marriage isn’t between classless, raceless, genderless entities, it’s an agreement between people who with all sorts of diverse identities, and the magic’s in how you navigate them, how you realise that these things are much larger than the individuals in the relationship, how systemic violence affects the most intimate and personal of our choices.

      Coke’s answers around race are amongst her weakest as many folks have noted earlier, but more than that, I have never seen her respond well (save for a single instance) to people who articulate why her response might be messed up around this issue. And that reflects in the readership of this blog too, or at least, in the ones who take the time to leave comments here. Look at this comments section for instance; out of more than a 100 comments, there are about three from people who self-identify as black/POC, and all of them say that while yes, this sounds like a messed up situation, the question of race absolutely needed to be addressed better here. But even that appears to be too much to ask! Check out any of the responses that address race, and you’ll see the same trend. This isn’t a good place for those questions, unless you’re a white person looking for easy, easy answers to make yourself feel better.

  17. Food for thought says:

    Sure, we are engaging in a dialogue, but only because of the nature of OP’s question and the frustrated black people tryna get their point across because of the nature of your answer.

    You only just clarified the fact that you are prioritising the sanctity of marriage over church/safe spaces. If that had been in your original response than sure, I would have actually understood your point more because you actually address the race. In your original response you point blank avoided the conversation about race when it was clearly an element of the OP’s question/uncertainty. Hence, the conclusion that you dismissed race.

    (White) People see you as an authority and they sure as shit take your advice. Having you discuss race has a lot more weight than shitty anonymous commenters throwing around tumblr terms in your comments section. Having you seem as if you are dismissing/avoiding discussing race in your original response gives easy answers to your followers.

    • WhoAmI says:

      Those games are for two players. White people who don’t work in the field aren’t gonna magically come up all by themsleves with informed, detailed, logical answers to race issues. That’s so fucking obvious. And using so many time and words to complain about it again and again, is going to be fucking obviously painful to read.
      Signed : a white person.

    • Annie says:

      “He doesn’t get to make this about black and white. You are his wife. Matrimony is holy. If he won’t even let you stand by his side and worship together, then he is a dirtbag husband and the worst kind of hypocrite.”

      That sounds like directly, clearly, and expressly “prioritising the sanctity of marriage over church/safe spaces” to me. I’m not sure what to say to you if you disagree, but it seems like you may be incorporating the fact that Coke has flubbed/partially mishandled questions involving race in the past into your reading of this answer.

      • Food For Thought says:

        Alright let me fucking break it down for you white cunts.

        “This isn’t a white or black issue” is literally on the level of saying “I don’t see race”. It is discounting WHY safe spaces have been created by black people through community/church.

        Clearly, the husband’s cognitive dissonance with bringing his white wife into a black space comes from the inherent discord between institutionalised racism, growing racial tensions, white imperialism, colonisation between black and white communities within America. His grandmother, grandfather, mother and father, elder relatives, family friends who attend this fucking church grew up in a time where white people did not see them as people. They grew up during a time of where they had to sit at the back of the bus. A time where they would be lynched and arrested for no good reason a side form their blackness. A time where white men could easily rape black women without the bat of an eyelid. A time where they wouldn’t be given jobs because of their blackness. A time when the word “negro”, “nigger” and “blackface” was okay. A time where when they were finally “desegregated”, white people would picket and protests them to entering their schools. Where they were bullied, stereotyped, judged, oppressed for the simple fucking colour of their skin. A time where they experience insurmountable trauma. A trauma that gets fucking passed on through the generations. You feel your parents anger growing up from the stories they tell you to the first time they teach you:”You are a black person – and society is going to keep reminding you about this”. You feel guilt from the trauma they received. In this current generation, white fucking people forget that THERE ARE BLACK PEOPLE STILL ALIVE WHO GREW UP IN A TIME WHERE TREATING BLACK PEOPLE LIKE THEY WERE NOT HUMAN WAS OKAY. Oh, and it still happens.

        Do you wonder why there are safe spaces? Do you understand the overwhelming sense of dissonance a black person feels if their community experienced this and then have to orient themselves in a white society?

        The husband is being a fucking pussy for not backing up his wife. I agree. But Coketalk is being a fucking asshole for hugely brushing this off as “it’s not about black or white”. The husband is being forced to be a cultural mediator – he didn’t ask to be this, he clearly doesn’t want to take it up, but because of a fucked up history of institutionalised racism this role has been thrust upon him and he has to suck it up and play the part because that’s the only way we can build towards cohesive community and honour his decision in marrying a white women. He needs to accept what that means within his experience of institutionalised racism. He needs to communicate to his wife better so she understands this. He needs to communicate this with his church. And yeah, he needs to honour his fucking marriage.

        Coquette shouldn’t answer the fucking question if she can’t give it an adequate response like this. If she can’t identify why safe spaces are important to the black community and then mediate that with why the husband is being totally fucking bullshit than she needs to shut the fuck. She has again and again jumped the gun and answered questions about race and given bullshit simplistic answers, which her white followers lap up like her shit is made of biscuits. Once again white people don’t need to question how race affects other peoples lives because, holy fuck, they’ve never had to grow up in a society where they were worried about how the colour of their skin affect a HUGE part of who they are and how the world sees them.

        The very ACT of her answering with an answer in a simplistic way like this NEGATES BLACK NARRATIVES and allowing white people to DISMISS or SIMPLIFY how race affects our lives. Look at the fucking comments in this thread. How many white folk are even going to look my response? Or give a shit? Coketalk has a platform. She needs to use it wisely. The excuse “white people don’t understand” is not good enough. Next time leave it up to a black person to answer these questions because you clearly don’t understand.

        • The Coquette says:

          So you came all this way to agree with me, but still call me an asshole because I answered the question clearly and concisely without paying homage to your identity politics. Got it. (How’s that for simplistic?)

          • Food For Thought says:

            Your answer isn’t clear and concise. It’s simple, reductionist, and you goddamn know it otherwise you wouldn’t have responded to me to defend yourself.

            You’re an asshole for saying shit like “this isn’t about black and white”, because it is. This entire mess in the marriage, the communication break down, is because of race and and our difficulty with dealing with it. You’re literally silencing black narratives by not even touching upon how race plays a part and continuously dismissing it. You’re not acknowledging how race affects POC lives (for the husband) – implicating this shit runs on a level playing field. Look over your comments section, and look at your followers discounting the importance of black spaces.

            This occurs because you don’t take the time to explain or acknowledge the racial element. The questioner is ever more clueless over how to approach her husband about what the fuck to do with their marriage and his church/community.

            It’s ironic as fuck that you criticise Lena Dunham, because you sure as shit are emulating her response to racial criticism right now.

          • The Coquette says:

            Perhaps you don’t understand what the word literally means, because engaging with you in the comments section of my own website is literally the opposite of silencing black narratives, but hey, I get it. I didn’t answer this woman’s question to a degree of political correctness that you deem appropriate, so now I’m Lena Fucking Dunham. Okay. Clearly, I’m the one with the problem, and you’re the one contributing to a thoughtful discussion about safe spaces. Keep up the good work. You’re really winning over hearts and minds.

        • Annie says:

          I’m not white. I’m also not straight and not Christian, so by all means, call me a cunt and accuse me of dismissing safe spaces entirely while claiming the moral high ground. It’s a great look, really.

          And no, “He doesn’t get to make this about black and white” (not sure why you insisted on misquoting Coke when a simply copy-paste would have been easier) is not “literally on the level of saying ‘I don’t see race'” or “discounting WHY safe spaces have been created by black people through community/church.” It’s doing precisely what you asked her to do– expressly prioritizing the sanctity *of his marriage*. Unless you read Coke’s “this” as “the existence of safe spaces such as black churches” and not “this particular situation about your marriage which you have written in to me about.” Which is a…tenuous reading.

    • Chris says:

      White guy here – well, lighter skinned Italian guy, at least:

      When discussing marriage and church, would the church be a “safe space” from the man’s wife if they don’t have a church home where they worship together?

      I can agree if he attends church for fellowship and mentorship, but not if he embraces the concept that marriage is a holy union, and that he has a responsibility to be a spiritual leader in his home, as many devout people do.

      This discussion has opened my mind, particularly where one poster noted that it’s a white person’s world, which I agree with. I can’t relate to the difficulty of being a minority in a system that is built in a way that its modernization invokes the idea of tolerating me. Just considering it as an idea sounds painful.

  18. Soooooooooooooooo says:

    Food ur comments r supposed to be said in our safe places only lol. You know why.

    *shucks and jives back to the rest of this site*

  19. Monique says:

    Ok. Coming from a black Beyonce Lemonade Christian church myself , I can reassure you this isn’t as harmful as it seems (assuming your husband isn’t just a flat out asshole).

    Black churches are a safe space for black people. Old black people. Black people that have lived through the end of Jim Crow law. Black people that exclusively live amongst black people, and only see whiteness on TV. Black people that are traumatized by the white man and are praying to God about it out-loud with each other. Now think about your place there and your comfort level.

    As far as I see it, your husband doesn’t intentionally mean any harm he’s just trying to do you, him, and his deep-rooted community a favor. But yes, Coke is right if you wanna take it there. Your matrimony is holy, he definitely should worship with his wife. I would suggest finding a new church for both of you, as you are now a new interracial family and need to grow up and act like it. That means zero segregation. In fact, you should take it there. Get a new church.

    I don’t think he’s ashamed of you, it’s funny some people took it there, and it’s ridiculous to think he’s hiding something. Lol I mean, this nigga married you, with all his friends and family there, didn’t he? Assuming you don’t have issues outside of the church thing, I don’t think there’s a ulterior motive here. He’s just trying not to open up a can of worms and I get it. You’ve got to pick and choose your battles, and that’s fine, he’s just gonna have to pick and choose a new church.

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