Wondering about your thoughts on different faith commitments in a relationship. Dealbreaker? I know this question has been “done” a lot, maybe you even talked about this in an older blog post– I checked but could not find.
…the reason I ask is that I’ve been crushing on this girl who is not a Christian, however I’m a pretty committed follower of Jesus myself.
We’ve gone out a bit, she’s great, but I’m pretty reluctant to go any further, because I suspect it can’t end well…
Actually, I know it can’t end well. Its just hard to convince myself to “back off”, when (a) This is pretty much the first time things have started to come together for me–lady-wise (I’m a late, late bloomer) (b) She’s great (already mentioned) (c) I see her often and (d) There appears not to be a super-abundance of eligible, compatible Christian ladies at the moment.
Talk me down….
i’m glad you asked this particular question, because i’ve been putting off writing about it for about a year.
i know, i know…i’ll leap head long into porn issues and calling people out on bad behavior, but the interfaith thing makes me jumpy?
it also makes my head hurt.
i originally was going to make it part of my “deal breaker” series, but that just didn’t feel right. is it a deal breaker?
yes. it is.
no. it isn’t.
both those answers are absolutely true. see why i avoided this one now?
for some people, marrying outside of their faith is forbidden. whether it be by decree of the faith or a personal boundary that is immovable, the result is the same. total deal breaker. Christians like to throw out the “do not be unequally yoked” verse for this, even though it’s not specifically about marriage.
for others, they don’t even really consider it a factor in whether or not the relationship should move forward. GENERALLY SPEAKING, for this to work one or both people must either be more or less indifferent to their own faith or absolutely committed to the Universalist ideal.
but since you asked me what i think, here it is…
it’s a bad idea. i believe God is the author of common sense and gives us the tools we need to make wise decisions. sometimes He gives us a hand by giving clear direction through scripture by saying “do not do that”. sometimes He doesn’t and we have to look at the principles and make the best choice we can.
i’m going to put things in terms of two different faiths, but the same principles apply for one person possessing a certain belief system while other does not.
why i think it’s a bad idea:
1. it puts the relationship at an automatic deficit. before it even begins, the relationship has an issue to overcome; how to reconcile the two different belief systems. whose church are you going to attend? will a conversion eventually be expected? are there conflicting beliefs or practices? it just doesn’t make sense to me to have work your way to ground zero.
2. commitment to a religious belief changes over time. what might be no more than a shoulder shrug right now, could become a renewed, deeply held belief over time. there’s no guarantee either way, but it is still enough of a possibility to contribute to eventually becoming incompatible.
3. differing moral compass. without sharing the same faith and running on the same rules, you face the probability of conflicting morality. who’s going to compromise? someone is going to have to.
4. can cause conflict in parenting. by what system of belief are the kids going to be raised? if a decision is made before the kids are born, how can you be sure you will both still be on the same page when the kids actually arrive. i know it’s an extreme example, but we have all heard the stories about children being abducted by one parent who decides the children should be raised in a certain faith and the other parent spends years trying to locate the kids, then trying to get them back. obviously this can occur in varying degrees, but why would you want to risk putting children through any of it?
i know all of these can be overcome and that there are successful interfaith relationships that happen. kudos to them for making that work. James Carville and Mary Matlin? how does that work?
i just tend to err on the side making things less difficult, not more difficult.
i guess the question you have to ask is how important is your faith to you? if it’s first in your life, then you should probably find someone who feels the same way. if not, well, weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision you can.
for me, i can’t imagine being married to someone who i couldn’t engage God as i understand Him with. it’s an intimacy that can not be replaced in my opinion.
oh so sincerely,
what do you guys think?
other reason why it’s a bad idea?
reasons for it?