I am a firm agnostic/atheist, yet married to a devout Christian of the Methodist flavor. We respect each other's (non)beliefs. You and the Mister seem to be on a strong wave of "together" via religion. Did you and the Mister come from similar spiritual backgrounds or did you find God together?
Since this is the easiest answer left in the group of questions, and because it is pretty close to this question... the one right down there... from Lazy Bones... yep, that one... I'll tackle them BOTH! TOGETHER!!! AT THE SAME TIME!!! Because I'm awesome, that's why.
Sure, I'll take you up on the questioning! Were you and The Mister both raised in the same religion you practice now, or did you choose another one as adults? And was there a formative experience that drew you in, or did it happen gradually over time? I don't practice any religion, but I think about and wrestle with spiritual questions/concepts all the time, and I think fondly of religion, especially Catholicism, as I was raised in it, and my mom still practices. It never clicked with me, but I still feel fondly toward it, for being the background to my childhood.
Yes, MAW, The Mister and I are very "together" on the religion issue. Issues. It happens to be very handy, but that's only a side-effect of the togetherness, not the reason. We mostly come from the same sort of background as far as church is concerned. He grew up attending the United Methodist church we currently attend (which is four houses down the street from us, and also across the street from his parents' house... also handy).
I attended an Assembly of God-turned-whackadoo church as a child. The pastor was a David Koresh type, and built a huge house for himself, his wife, and any other wives or daughters in the church who wanted his "Spiritual Blessing" *ahem* if you catch my drift. They all eventually moved to an Even Crazier Whackadoo Establishment in another state. It was MESSED.UP. If I remember correctly, the pastor's brother was the assistant pastor, and he kidnapped his children and went into hiding. Who does that?
I know, you're all thinking, HOLY CRAP. And you're totally justified in thinking that, because that's not even the tip of the iceberg of what I think about it.
After that whole debacle, we took some time off from church as a family, and started attending the United Methodist church I spoke of before. When I went to college, I didn't go to church except when I was home on vacation, and come to think of it I pretty much ignored that part of my life until late 2000- early 2001, when my parents' marriage fell all to bits. And that is a whole 'nother story, believe me.
But as far as a formative experience that drew me in? Not so much 'formative' as in During Childhood, necessarily, but during that whole Parental Marriage Situation, I was really drawn in. I'm sure many of you have experienced divorce, and I don't need to suggest the many different possibilities or permutations of how that could have an effect on you. But I will tell you that having parents divorce, especially under the conditions that were present in their house? It is hard. I cannot imagine how a child can process that. I was a college-educated adult, with a career and my own place to live and all of those grown-up things, and I really struggled with it.
One night, I woke up in the middle of the night (this was way before the shorties, and just didn't ever happen) and felt that I needed to open my Bible. Saying I felt is not nearly as accurate as it looks as I read this. I was compelled. I needed to find my Bible and open it. I had.to.do.it. And honestly, I had no idea where that thing was, and I was not about to get up and tear my room apart at 3 in the morning when I had to be up for work a few hours later. But I couldn't sleep. The voice in my head kept tugging at my soul. So I got up, and found the Bible.
I opened it, and scanned the page, and this is what I read:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.*
I was feeling quite weak. There were things in my life I didn't even know how to express, or even think about, let alone pray. Was there even a morsel of truth in that statement? I didn't know. But the sense of hope it brought my spirit that night was so refreshing.
It brought me hope. And promise. And that night? Hope and promise were a good start.
*Romans 8:26, English Standard Version