As if finding someone to call “the one” isn’t hard enough. Add the complication of differing religious views and you’re bound to find your head spinning. If you are seriously considering taking things to the next relationship level with someone of a different faith, I encourage you to take time to consider the following points.
Being clear from the start about your expectations is key to ensuring resentment doesn’t grow between you and your partner. You should never feel that you have to short-cut or avoid your passions for the sake of a relationship. Religious commitments are often lifelong decisions that could possibly require time out of your schedule, impose financial restraints, and serve as a guide for your most vital life decisions.
Making these points clear to a potential partner from the start will ensure that there are few surprises. In some cases, your honesty and commitment could draw your partner to have a deeper understanding of what means a lot to you.
If you choose to date someone for the mere reason of trying to ‘convert’ them or impose your thoughts and beliefs, this can come off as manipulative or shady. Inversely, if you are drawn to a person and feel the only way to establish commitment from that person is to pretend that you hold the same beliefs, this method will ultimately backfire as well.
It never hurts to ask questions! A misunderstanding can often be completely avoided if a question had been asked in the first place. When we assume things, particularly in relationships, this leads to points of frustration and argument.
If you find that you are not the one asking questions but instead have the questions being directed at you, be open. A partner who is open to learning about your passions is demonstrating their commitment to you. Your interests are becoming their interest- that’s never a bad thing!
When in a long-term partnership we internalize small things, such as how often a partner attends services or how much is given as an offering from their budget each month. These considerations become shared challenges and commitments if the relationship becomes serious.
Be mindful of how the other person may feel about your actions. It’s easy to become submerged into your faith and leave a partner feeling like they’ve been left behind. Ask them how far they’re willing to go to compromise, and be willing to give a little yourself.
Any and every relationship faces some level of difficulty. But you have to take time to prioritize long-term and short-term issues. Long-term issues have little to no chance of adjusting due to an individuals personal convictions. Examples of this could be choice of clothing, food preferences, or social habits.
Short-term issues can be adjusted via discussions, counseling or compromises within the relationship. Keep in mind, short-term issues can easily become long-term issues if neglected and resentment builds.
Ultimately, any relationship founded with honesty and genuine attraction holds potential to make progress. What helps to maintain the closeness of two people is their ability to positively express their interests and dedication to the relationship by communication.
Choosing to speak honestly and setting reasonable expectations sets pace for a positive relationship. We all want a romance where we feel treated with respect and have a partner we can be open with. Being true to yourself is a lot easier than living up to another’s expectations.
What advice would you give to interfaith partners?