I have been reading about Jane Fonda and the end of her marriage to Ted Turner. At the time, it was widely alleged that the cause of the break-up was her newly-found faith (she became a born-again Christian in 2001; he has been reported to be anti-religion). Both she and Ted Turner have since said that the main problem was a lack of communication and not religion. He said he was upset that she didn't talk to him about it, while she has claimed that she feared that he would talk her out of it if she had.
I understand what it's like to have faith so young and fragile that you worry that the slightest attack will completely snuff it out. So you try to protect it and stay away from negative influences as much as possible.
However, Ted and Jane would not be the first couple with almost diametrically opposing perspectives (in 1 or more areas) who have successfully lived together (or at least appeared to do so), so what makes the difference? Is it having shared values that transcend a particular faith? Openness and communication? Flexibility? Plenty of humour? Or something else? I suspect that it probably comes down to a mixture of the above.
My musings are not just in reference to faith; it could relate to attitudes to life (e.g. Adventurous & Risk-Taker vs. Fearful & Cautious); political views (e.g. Liberal vs. Conservative); values (e.g. Feminist vs. Patriarchal).
And this brings me to the next point: where do you place the person who has views that would ordinarily be considered conflicting? For instance, being a Christian and a feminist? At a conference last year, I was reminded that as feminists we need to embrace all women into the movement irrespective of individual situations, abilities and sexual orientations. As a Christian, certainly not all things are acceptable. I've always been a big proponent of safe sex for people who are sexually-active and not married. As a Christian, pre-marital sex is a definite no-no. I have always felt strongly that a couple should be equal partners in their relationship. However, while men and women have equal standing in God's kingdom, within the family unit, the man is the designated head. So, this leads to another set of internal wranglings and I suspect these will go on for me for a while.
As a naturally introspective person, I am constantly analysing and questioning. I believe it was Socrates who declared that the "unexamined life is not worth living", and while I agree that digging below the surface is important to do, it is also very tiring.
So what to do? Live a life governed by one set of rules so that there will be no contradictions in any of your views? Be or partner only with people who share all your fundamental values, so there is no push and pull? So many more questions added to my already full head......
By the way, I am always interested in finding out about women who are both Christian and Feminist, so I'm pleased to see that Jane Fonda has a blog. I'm going to check it out, though from a cursory review it looks like she she's more comfortable sharing about her activism and professional life than her faith.