Q: My partner wants our daughter christened as it's 'tradition'. His family even has a special gown! However, he is not religious. I am not either and I think christening her would be hypocritical seeing as we don't go to church and it means nothing to me. It's now leading to arguments. Am I being unreasonable or should I compromise?
A: Having a child christened is a rite of passage for some and pointless exercise to others! While it isn't unreasonable for you to say and explain that you don't want to have your daughter christened, perhaps you should at least find out exactly why your partner is so keen.
Have you actually sat down with him and got to the bottom of the issue? Maybe he doesn't want to let his family down; or maybe it is the tradition that is important to him, rather than the meaning behind the ceremony?
Equally, perhaps you could at least give it some serious thought, purely for the sake of a happy family life? If the service means nothing to you, do you think you might be in a position to go through with it on the basis that it means nothing, so what harm could be done?
If you feel you simply cannot compromise on this, perhaps you could suggest the possibility of a naming ceremony instead. There are a growing number of venues that now offer a non-religious ceremony to celebrate the arrival of your daughter into the world. This way there is still an element of tradition without the commitment to religion.
Some churches also offer blessings rather than a full christening, which again would keep the traditional and religious aspects of the day, without being as formal as a christening. Or, if all else fails, a simple naming party at home with friends and family could be another avenue to consider.
If you really cannot reconcile yourself with a ceremony of any kind, then you need to explain this calmly and sensitively to your partner, if you have not done so already.
However, it may be worth keeping in mind that the wonderful - and often frustrating - world of parenting can sometimes mean compromising your principles for the sake of peace, harmony and a happy daughter.