Religion can be a tough topic to bring up with anyone, especially your significant other. Inter-religious relationships have become the norm in this day and age. While I think its great that we can put our differences aside for the sake of love, it’s not healthy to completely avoid the matter either.
I was raised WELS (Lutheran). I attended a private grade school, middle school, and high school and was present at church almost every Sunday while I was growing up. Naturally, my beliefs have become an important part of who I am as a person, and I would love to share that with the person I marry someday. Of course, falling in love doesn’t always happen within these desired boundaries. Right now, I’m seeing someone with no religious background whatsoever. We’ve sort of talked about religion here and there, and he has attended church with me. However, it’s definitely not as easy as dating someone within my own religious circle.
Many people don’t realize that religion is a huge factor in an individual’s culture. Even if you don’t consider yourself a religious person, you may have a religious family background. Maybe you’re a Catholic woman who hasn’t attended mas since you were young, and you wish to marry a man who loosely identifies with the Jewish faith. Will the wedding be held at your church or the groom’s synagogue? Will you two celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah? What beliefs will you teach your children? These are all problems that can build into something catastrophic if not dealt with ahead of time.
So, how do you go about actually talking about religion? Well, there’s no easy way to say it. You certainly can’t beat around the bush. You’re going to have to put on your big-kid pants and attack the situation like a mature adult. Here is my recommended plan of attack:
- Bring up the topic in a private location that allows you an ample amount of time to talk about these things. Don’t bring it up 15 minutes before he has to head to work. You’ll be less stressed in the right setting and time frame.
- Be completely open and honest about your relationship expectations from a religious standpoint. Don’t be afraid to be blunt about what you want.
- Listen to what he has to say about your feelings. If he doesn’t give you proper feedback, question him further. Ask him about his beliefs. What are his religious ideals in a relationship?
- Fix the problem. This is the part where you create common ground. What can be changed to accommodate both interests?
- Don’t be afraid to end the relationship if this isn’t what you want. You shouldn’t feel that you have to change yourself. He probably wasn’t right for you anyways.
This image has been modified by How to Survive Modern Dating.