Our Earth is filled with different religions and spiritual beliefs, but should that play a part in a relationship?
As an agnostic atheist, I have no problem dating a woman of any spiritual or religious background. It doesn’t matter to me what beliefs they hold.
At the same time, I have never been in a relationship with a religious woman or any relationship at all, but I can imagine how it would be like.
If I was in a relationship with a devoted religious woman, I can imagine myself sleeping on Sunday mornings while she attends Catholic Church or eating while my Muslim girlfriend fasts during Ramadan because I don’t follow her religion.
If I see a huge spider, my girlfriend of Buddhist beliefs would probably shoo the insect away from the house while I wait outside the house for it to be gone.
The problem in interfaith relationships stems not from beliefs but when one or the other challenges or imposes their beliefs.
If your spouse asks you to attend church but you have no beliefs, or if they ask you to pray with them before eating food, what do you say? Do you go along with this to make your spouse happy, or do you politely decline because you believe it might infringe on your own beliefs?
Or what if it was the other way around? What if they ask you to stop attending church because they may not see a point to it, or ask if they could eat while you pray before you finish?
It’s okay to discuss and debate your beliefs. What is not okay is challenging each other’s beliefs rather than focusing on the relationship.
I may not attend church with my religious girlfriend every Sunday or pray with her, but I will support her in whatever belief she has. I will never belittle her belief because I don’t follow a religion or any spiritual ideas, nor will I let anyone else disrespect her beliefs. If you are in an interfaith relationship and your spouse, whether religious or atheist, who does not respect your belief, I suggest you either talk to them or leave the relationship.
I would want to know why she has this belief, not because I want to change her perspective, but because I want know to know more about her.
Dale McGowan, author of “In Faith and In Doubt: How Religious Believers and Nonbelievers Can Create Strong Marriages and Loving Families,” said that for any interfaith relationship to work, the couple must focus on values, not beliefs.
And who knows what values you guys might share? Both of you could have almost everything in common except a belief system. And if both of you love each other, why should one disagreement over religious beliefs end a relationship?
Religion should never be a part of a relationship, nor should it affect it. A relationship should be about being with the one you love and appreciating the differences you two have, even with differences in beliefs.
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Email Alex Ayala at firstname.lastname@example.org