Reading Time: 2 minutes

An ongoing series of five-minute posts while I’m writing a book on the secular/religious mixed marriage.

Wedding4I’m working on the intro right now, which starts with a bit about my own wedding to Becca, 22 years ago this month. If major religious differences doom a marriage, ours really should have been toe-tagged at the altar. Our religious differences were arguably about as major as they could get — a committed Christian believer marrying an equally committed atheist.

I’d identified as an atheist for 15 years at that point. I read the Bible critically at 13, argued theology with classmates in high school, and debated preachers in the plaza in college. I was a vocal critic of many aspects of religion and still am.

Becca was a born and raised Southern Baptist. I’d recently witnessed the adult baptism ceremony that confirmed her in the faith. Her stepfather, uncle, and grandfather were Baptist ministers. Her parents met at a Baptist college. She went to church every Sunday and planned to continue doing so once we were married.

So why was I crying tears of joy as she came down the aisle? Why was she smiling so enormously as she approached me? And why are we still very happily married 22 years and three kids later?

The short answer is that people are more interesting than their labels. The long answer is this book.

I’m not just looking at secular/religious marriages that have worked, but also those that struggle or fail. My hope is to figure out what accounts for the difference.

(REMINDER: If you’re in a secular/religious marriage, please take the survey and submit your stories!)

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.