Religion is a make-or-break topic for many relationships. Personally I believe in the church of faith and the importance of being a good human being above all else. Though religion might not factor in to my daily values as much as I believe it might some day when I am a mother (so I’m told at least), I respect and recognize that for some, it is incredibly important to find someone who shares the same religious beliefs.
Although not much of an issue in the early days of dating, religion and your individual beliefs have a big impact on any long-term relationship. Faith is an important part of who you are. However, when you have another person’s thoughts and feelings to consider, trying to keep everything on an even keel is difficult–especially if the teachings you abide by conflict with theirs.
Even if you both belong to the same faith, your opinions on important matters–such as whether there should be female bishops–might differ. Here are a few situations religious couples might encounter.
Views of family members
Faith is important to many families. Parents who raise their children to follow a particular religion and uphold tradition usually expect their offspring to do the same. If you fall for someone with a different religion, it can create a difficult situation between close family members.
Sound familiar? It’s likely you want to respect your family’s feelings and not alienate them. However, your new partner needs to feel accepted. The last thing you want is future family gatherings to be frosty, or worse: non-existent.
Try to calmly discuss things through with your family. They want you to be happy, so explain how your new partner makes you feel. Ultimately, it’s down to you as a couple to decide the best course of action, though.
Same religion, different levels of observance
When it’s important to have a relationship with someone of the same faith, online dating websites like eHarmony will match people with the same beliefs. However, while sharing beliefs eliminates some problems, there’s still the chance one half may not be as strict as the other. While major religious holidays may be observed in your household, your thoughts on everyday life might differ, such as the role of women in the home.
It’s important to be understanding of one another’s thoughts and feelings. An honest discussion can lead to a compromise you’re both happy with, which won’t impact too much on your individual beliefs.
Converting to a different faith
When religion is integral to a way of life, it’s possible one of you is considering converting. When converting to a religion such as Judaism, this doesn’t just involve following the Jewish faith but accepting its history and culture. This is a big commitment and needs to be discussed openly and honestly.
If you find yourself in this situation, think about whether you’re converting to please your other half, doing it for yourself or working with your partner to build a future together. A rash decision based on blind love alone won’t bring you happiness in the long run.
Having no faith
There are plenty of options to finding religious partners. For Muslim dating, eHarmony will find the perfect match with the same beliefs as you. However, it’s still possible to fall for someone with no religion. Even if they’re not against your personal beliefs, it can be difficult for them to understand how important your faith is to you. From your point of view, this can be very frustrating. Help them to understand your religion. A great place to start is by taking them to your place of worship.
Have you ever faced a situation where your religion has impacted your dating life? What advice would you give?