Couples with Different Religions
Dating someone from a different religion or faith is far from unusual. For some people, ‘religion’ merely refers to the faith into which they were born and is something they may no longer actively practice. For others, religion is very important to them and a core part of who they are. In either case, dating across religions can bring its own challenges, but with a little bit of guidance and advice, inter-faith dating couples can develop happy, fulfilling and successful relationships.
How Important is your religion to you? | Make it clear in your Dating Profile
At arelakeeper.ie, we found that asking someone to identify their religion in their dating profile is only useful when we combine that with a separate question, ‘how important is your religion to you’. This is because religion can tell us something about a person’s background, as much as it can tell us about their values and beliefs.
For daters born into a certain religion, but who don’t necessarily regard it as an important part of their life, other users can at least see something about their cultural background. For those who identify their religion as important to them, we can see that they hold their religious beliefs and practices highly and that they expect any prospective dating partners to be respectful in this area.
Completing your dating profile accurately in all areas is vital to finding reliable matches on any dating website, of course. However, this is especially true of questions regarding ‘religion’. Don’t hedge your bets here. Sure, if you’re an atheist who doesn’t particularly care about the religiosity of your potential dating matches, then you have the option to shape your dating profile on arealkeeper.ie to reflect that. However, if you do identify as Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or any one of the other many religions listed on the website and if your religion is important to you, then make this clear in your profile. Doing so will give you a much greater chance of finding appropriate dates and potentially lasting love.
Dating by Religion | Making it Work
In addition to being clear about your religion and what value you place on it, you should also consider the following advice when entering into an inter-faith relationship.
When you’re in a relationship with someone of different religious views to your own, always be respectful of their faith. There are bound to be things you don’t agree on, but accept that different religions hold different opinions and as a couple with differing faiths you will be no different. Of course, this is a two-way street and your partner likewise needs to respect and acknowledge your beliefs and views too.
Don’t Try Converting Your Partner
Your religion and beliefs might be very important to you. They are part of who you are and, as such, are deserving of respect. However, as much as you wish that your dating partner shared your views, you should never try to convert them to your faith.
Of course, if your partner introduces the idea that they might like to convert to your religion, don’t punch the air triumphantly or run around the room whooping with delight. Instead try to understand their reasons for contemplating a conversion and explain that, while it might make you happy, it isn’t essential in order to make the relationship work.
If, on the other hand you don’t hold any strong religious beliefs and possibly identify as atheist, then never mock your partner for their faith. Hopefully, you will have ironed this one out before your relationship gets serious, but if you haven’t, remember the golden rule again – be respectful of the other person’s views.
Oh, and the two-way street thing again, don’t ever feel pressured into converting to the religion of your dating partner. If you feel that happening, take a moment to sit down together and discuss it, patiently and compassionately.
Interfaith Relationships & Children
For those couples that enjoy dating success and form a loving and lasting relationship, the conversation about children will almost certainly come up eventually. Perhaps at the outset of your relationship, in those first flushes of the romance, this was the furthest thing from either of your minds.
If, having discussed it, you both decide to have children in an interfaith relationship, you will need to agree very early on how you foresee their upbringing in terms of religion and faith. For example, will they be raised in one religion, or learn about both and then decide for themselves when they are old enough to do so?
An interfaith marriage is like all marriages in so many ways, but is different in this one respect. Consider this difference a special part of your relationship and something that can be a virtue when it comes to raising well-rounded, respectful children. As their first teachers, you can show them how differences among people can be a positive thing, allowing us all to learn more about our world and be understanding of other people’s beliefs.
You can achieve this through ‘doing’ your interfaith relationship well, rather than just speaking of it as a positive thing. For children, it is important that they are reared seeing both parents demonstrating respect for each other's faith.