Dating and Religion

By Brie Crites

Many men and women have a certain thing we like to call “The List” when it comes to dating.

You know all about this… it’s the list that women whip out mentally every time we see an interesting or interested man. Or the list that men seem to discuss with their “bros” while knocking back a couple of beers at the sports bar. 

Whether your list is on actual paper or not, you probably have one.

So, what are some things that we place on our lists? Height? Check. Body structure? Check. Kids or no kids? Check. Religion? Umm….

Often, a contrast of dating and religion is a deal breaker. Usually, a Christian seeks to mate with a Christian. And, usually a Jew desires a family with another Jew. But, this isn’t always the case. 

As we become a more tolerant and understanding society, we are witnessing more and more inter-faith couples.

It isn’t odd to see a Christian and a Jew raise children together or an atheist and a Catholic marry. 

However, there is sacrifice and compromise that comes along with dating and religion and this distinctive union.

Being raised in a particular religion can make it difficult to break a pattern of thinking. If this pattern of thinking is not broken, it will make it very problematic when it comes to dating and religion.

But, love knows no boundaries, right? So, what happens if you are attracted to someone of a different religion? How does that play out in dating and/or marriage?

When speaking to one of my friends, she explained her issues with being with someone of a different religion. She, a Nepali woman of the Hindu faith, married a Christian man.  She stated her concerns with raising children. When they decide to have children, she would like them to be exposed to both religions. But, she, nor her husband, is sure how to do that without confusing the children or creating separation in their family.

My friend also expressed the guilt that she feels about attending the Christian church with her husband every Sunday; yet, not having any time to travel an hour and a half to attend the closest Hindu service.

She feels as if she has not only abandoned her religion, but also the principles on which she grew up on and that her family back in Nepal still believes in.

When asked if she thought of this while dating, she said yes. However, she was so in love that she figured that they would work it out. And, they can. It will just take a tremendous amount of work.

A couple can overcome a difference in faith. But, it takes extra doses of patience, understanding, and a willingness to learn each other’s beliefs.  It takes more communication to discuss differences in opinion.

Compromise is key when settling on how to incorporate both religions. The responsibility to listen is given to both partners as well.

Dating and religion can be tough. But, is love worth it?

Crites is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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