Could you date someone who doesn’t share your religious beliefs?
One hundred years ago, an interfaith relationship may have been a major taboo. Today, the meeting two people who practice different religions has become quite common. If you find yourself attracted to a man or woman of a different religion, how can you go about pursuing a happy and healthy relationship?
1. Avoid the Religion Talk — At First
Six percent of singles claim that they would be turned off by a man or woman who talks about religion on a first date, according to Glamour magazine. The first few dates in a relationship should be light on emotion. Spend your time in the first weeks of a relationship making sure you enjoy spending time together, so that your future selves will be compatible when you do begin to discuss weightier subjects.
If you’re interested in your date’s religion, inquire about it in a different context, such as asking if they have traveled to any major religious centers like the Vatican, Jerusalem or Mecca.
2. Withhold Judgment
Religion involves identifying what is fundamentally good and what is fundamentally bad. Diverse religions overlap on what’s identified right and wrong, and subjects of judgment can cause friction. Religious rituals and holidays may seem strange, or even extreme, but for the sake of a potential relationship, act impartial and respect different faiths.
Educate yourself about a person’s faith. For example, according to a 2012 Jewish Journal report, “over 73 percent of the American Jews in unions with non-Jews were cohabiting and not in marriages.” Equipped with education and a religiously open mindset, interfaith relationships and cohabitation can work. You may even be surprised about how spiritually enlightened you become.
3. Don’t Preach
Your role in a relationship should be as a supportive partner, not a challenging one. If you have absolute faith in your religion, recognize that your date may be 100% committed to theirs as well.
Rather than trying to bring them into your flock, empathize that your romantic prospect is dedicated to their own life, beliefs and choices. Pastor Ed Young of the Ed Young Fellowship Church recommends following the ASK formula — always seek knowledge, so that you may question yourself about what you hold dear, rather than force your beliefs upon others. Educate yourself with cross-faith services instead of demanding that your date adhere to your own set of religious principles. You may find yourself developing a deeper relationship with the divine than if you merely continued your spiritual status quo.