Love, as they say, is the most powerful force on earth. When you’re attracted to someone, it seems as though nothing can stop you from getting close to that person. But what if you find out your potential partner has political and religious views that contrast sharply with yours? Are you willing to go the extra mile for this person?
Apart from personality issues, the differences in these core beliefs can become one of the primary reasons why couples part ways. But some can and do make it work. If you’re thinking about how to date someone who doesn’t share your religious beliefs and views, read the useful points in this article.
Being Open With Interfaith Dating
Online dating sites are often a hit as people of any gender, age, and sociopolitical as well as religious status can communicate, meet, or date. There are sites that are more exclusive, though, such as Catholic Match—a faith-focused matching and dating platform.
While some prefer to have shared beliefs, it’s not a requirement for everyone. An online dating site for mature singles has found that 63% of US adults remain open to dating someone practicing a different religion. Younger women or those aged 18 to 34 share the same opinion at 62%. Young men of the same age are less open with only 52% believing that it can work. As they get older, though, they get more tolerant of someone’s faith, raising the openness for interfaith dating at 70%.
Now that these are out of the way, check the tips below to make interfaith dating work:
Respect Is Key
This is a must-have in every relationship and not only in couples with opposing religious views. Because of the potentially polarizing nature of religion, you need to broaden your horizon and respect other people’s opinions and beliefs.
Giving due regard for an individual’s thoughts, traditions, and culture also go with respecting them. When you keep an open mind, you’ll be able to plan out your dates better and spend more time knowing more about each other.
During the early stages of seeing each other, singles tend to mask or suppress their negative thoughts, feelings, and reactions, so they can continue seeing the person for a string of more dates.
While religiosity isn’t included among the main preferences in a mate, it can be a deal-breaker to some. It’s not a sin to make your preferences known to your date, but do it in a way that’s inoffensive and unobtrusive.
Accept That Nobody’s Perfect
If you’re the idealistic and perfectionist type, throw away the list of attributes your date must possess. Being analytical about everything won’t help you in having a healthy dating experience.
When you’re with the person you’re attracted to, you often see them in rose-colored glasses as if they’re perfect. Later on, as the honeymoon stage wears off, you’ll begin to see how this person possesses a lot of quirks you’re not entirely fond of. Accepting the person for what makes him or her unique is one way of establishing a good relationship, and this applies to all, not just in romantic ones.
Stop Stressing About Your Differences
You’re all familiar with the adage that says opposites attract. While some couples are inclined to attest to this, others would beg to disagree. A couple should have complementary personalities to make their relationship work. It suggests that individuals prefer their partners to possess certain traits they don’t have. So, when seeing someone, think about what your complementary characteristics may be instead of your differences.
Focus On Your Similarities
Never try to sway your date’s beliefs so as to mirror yours. If you decide to go this route, you’ll only be headed for trouble. What you can do is to find out more about the core beliefs and practices of your partner’s religion and see how they’re similar or relatable to yours. Do this with an open mind and don’t criticize nor judge.
Ask questions to show you're interested in knowing the person and where they’re coming from. For instance, if your date’s religion requires him or her to keep a Rapunzel-length hair, ask why. Some religions are deeply rooted in traditions, so be aware of that.
When you’re in the early stages of a relationship, try to set limitations. This isn’t to sweep the issues under the rug. It’s more to see and test what works for you and your date. Assess how you can keep being dedicated to your religion and be with someone who holds a different religious view.
Consider how you may respect your partner when you’re together. Be open when they need to do or avoid something in relation to their beliefs. For instance, you may be willing to join in one of their services but you can draw the line if they want to indoctrinate you.
At the same time, discuss with your partner what they can do or ask you about your religion and the other aspects of your personality. Establish these limitations early on to avoid misunderstandings that could lead to epic fights.
Find Out What Works For Both Of You
Getting to know your date also means you have to make some adjustments in the way to deal with them without being condescending. Discover which areas of your religious beliefs you can support each other. Finding a way to compromise and meet in the middle can make your dating experience more enjoyable. Without a willing and open partner, this may not work.
The keys to interfaith dating aren’t at all different from any other romantic relationship. These include keeping an open mind, showing respect, communicating, and understanding where the person is coming from. These are the cornerstones of a great and loving relationship.
If your date is willing to do the same for you, it may be a huge mistake to let them go. Always give love a chance no matter what other people say. Cut through all the noise and let your heart speak the language.