Recalling the early years of her first marriage to Professor Stephen Hawking, Dr Hawking told leading Christian dating website Christian Connection: 'At first we lived in harmony, each respecting the other’s point of view. Because Stephen had been given such a damning diagnosis, I could well understand that he would not be inclined to believe in a loving God, let alone the complex nature of his researches into the origins of the universe. He has to be able to see the proof of everything in mathematical terms.'
Saturday, 07 November 2015 22:11
DR JANE HAWKING: Marriage Across The Faith Divide?
LONDON, November 9, 2015 |Christian News Service |-- DR JANE HAWKING believes it is possible for a marriage to work between a couple who do not agree about matters of faith, as long as both are 'fairly relaxed' on the subject.
Faced with the challenges of her husband's illness and disability, Jane Hawking found her faith 'a rock and a blessing.'
'I believed there was help and support for me in all the challenges I faced and that things would resolve themselves eventually,' she said.
She admits that the weight of her husband's scientific study put pressure on her, recalling in particular a trip to Israel when Stephen received a prize in the Knesset.
'He seemed delighted to tell the media he was an atheist,' she said. 'I found this very hurtful and disrespectful – in Jerusalem, of all places, the most holy city in the world. I visited the Old City several times and found great inspiration there – but on my own.'
Jane is now married to Jonathan, a Christian. 'We think the same way and believe in the same religious principles. We both find much of our religious inspiration in music.'
She does not think it is essential for couples to share the same religious beliefs, however.
'It depends whether the couple argue about faith in advance or if one of them is particularly evangelical, or the other dismissive about faith,' she told Christian Connection. 'If they are both fairly relaxed on the subject then they have a better chance of living together happily.'
The Hawkings' three children have had different faith journeys. 'I let the children find out about faith for themselves with a little guidance,' said Jane. 'My eldest son is a churchgoer with his family, the other two recognise that there are deep unanswered questions and will ponder them.'
Jackie Elton, founder of Christian Connection, believes one of the biggest issues facing members of her dating website is whether they could or should marry a non Christian.
'It arouses major debate and soul-searching,' said Jackie. 'Our members really desire Christian marriage but it isn't always easy to find a person with shared beliefs unless they are able to meet at Church or on a site like ChristianConnection.com. It is not always easy to be "relaxed" about faith differences in a marriage. It will require deep love, respect and true feeling for the other person's perspective.
'Jane Hawking brings real life experience, insight and balance into this question. The marriage was truly one of both great blessing and hurt. Thousands of less well-known couples with different beliefs have had to face the same issues.'
Jane Hawking's story has been told in the award-winning film The Theory of Everything and also in more detail in Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking.
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Notes for editors
* Full article: http://blog.christianconnection.com/jane-hawking (Please direct any links to the main site at www.christianconnection.com)
** Christian Connection is an award-winning Christian dating website. Since its launch in 2000, thousands of Christians have found love and marriage through the website. Visit http://www.christianconnection.com
*** Jane Hawking's book, Travelling to Infinity is published by Alma Books, www.almabooks.comT: +44 (0)20 8940 6917