Why Would a Person Choose Religion Over Me?

Dear Evan,

Have you ever dated someone who was really religious and he/she chose religion over you? The thing is, I’m not of any religion, but I’m pretty open-minded. Someone I used to be with is Catholic and recently discovered that he wants to pursue his faith more seriously. I don’t mind at all but he ultimately felt that because I don’t believe in the same thing, he’ll end up making decisions in the future based on his faith that I won’t be able to fully understand. He says I won’t be able to support his decisions and/or I’ll resent him.

An example is if we were married in the future, he would want to donate lots and lots of money to the needy because he’s willing to sacrifice his own selfish needs to help others as God would want him to. But I said although that’s admirable, I’d rather take that money and pay off our mortgage or save it for the kid’s college funds.

I honestly don’t know if his religion is just an excuse because he fell out of love for me or if it is really true. During our course of relationship, he led me to believe that we were meant to be together and it’s so easy for him to see us married. I guess I just can’t comprehend how someone can choose religion over another person especially when he says we were made for each other.

He must’ve really had a change of heart and I realize that that can happen, but I feel led on and a bit hurt and angry.

Evan, I’d like to know what is your take on this issue?

Sandra

Dear Sandra,

My girlfriend is Catholic and I’m Jewish.

I don’t take her to synagogue, she doesn’t take me to church.

We saw my family over Thanksgiving, we’re seeing hers over Christmas.

We don’t agree on anything spiritual, so we don’t even discuss it.

Sometimes, I’ll let my secular biases out, and she always forgives me.

She knows I love and respect her, even if I don’t always love and respect the influence of the Christian right.

This is how you have an interfaith relationship. Respect each other, without trying to change each other.

The problem is that most of us can’t really respect when someone sees the world completely differently than we do. In order to have that strong connection we crave, we look for someone who is like-minded. I’ve got clients who want someone who can dance, because dancing is important. I’ve got clients who have to find a dog-lover, because their pets are like children. And yes, I have clients who value religion above all, and demand that a partner feel the same.

These are all arbitrary deal-breakers, which often serve to keep these people alone for a really long time. The thing is: you can’t tell them that they should change. People want what they want.

I wrote an article for Yahoo called “Setting the Bar Too High,” which focuses on the deal-breakers we impose on relationships. There’s nothing wrong with having preferences; the problem comes when our preferences serve to box us in and restrict our options in love….

I used an example of a Jewish woman who wanted to marry Jewish (which is normal), but also wanted to insist that her man be an animal activist as well. And if she simply multiplied the odds of those two deal-breakers (2% of the population is Jewish; .1% might be considered male animal activists), she’s essentially declaring that only .002% of the population is even DATEABLE. This says nothing about whether her man is also kind, attractive, successful, emotionally available or interested in her.

And yet we wonder why finding someone is so difficult.

Some people (including some industrious person who sent me an anonymous copy of Why Marry Jewish, and another who compared me to Hitler) get really bent out of shape about this – as if I was saying that religion doesn’t matter. Not true. Religion absolutely matters – if you make it matter. Loving dogs absolutely matters – if you make it matter. And height and weight and age absolutely matter – if you make them matter. Just don’t be surprised when the more rules you have for your partner, the harder it is to find a partner.

Just don’t be surprised when the more rules you have for your partner, the harder it is to find a partner.

To bring this back to you, Sandra… People have their self-imposed deal-breakers and they always will. It doesn’t matter if he fell out of love, is making an excuse, or really resents that you’ve got no desire to start tithing your income. Anyone who chooses religion over you is not your future spouse.

Which brings up a bigger point: let’s stop obsessing about WHY people do things. The truth is, we’ll never know people’s motivations for acting. “Why didn’t she call me back?” wonders a guy after a first date. It could be any number of reasons – she’s getting over her ex, you have bad breath, she didn’t feel that spark, you talked too much about yourself, she’s seeing three other guys. And since you’re never going to get into her head, why drive yourself nuts about it?

I’m a big believer in searching for answers, but only where answers can be had. Which is why I don’t spend much time worrying about how we got here or where we go when we die; nor do I obsess about why someone doesn’t like me. If there were feedback forms on every date, it would be useful, but we’re never gonna really know why others do what they do. So how about we just look at their actions instead?

Your boyfriend dumped you for Jesus. Let him go.

21
14

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Marc

    I’ve been dumped for Jesus, Buddha, Jehova, and that Hindu dude with the elephant head. And I’ve been thankful to all of those women for ending it before the relationship went too far, and we had to argue about whether to send the kids to public school or an ashram.

    Consider yourself lucky, Sandra.

    1. 1.1
      Tiffany

      LOL @ Marc. Love it!

  2. 2
    Markus

    EMK is 100% right. Maybe the guy is lying to you. Maybe not. It really doesn’t matter. Walk away. And like he said, people are allowed to have whatever conditions or dealbreakers they want. It’s a free country. Unfortunately all most of these things do is keep us alone. That said, I need to comment on the Catholic thing. I was raised Catholic but am more spiritual and open-minded now. However, I’ve retained a lot of what is referred to as “Catholic social teaching” and it means more than “tithing”. I understand what the guy is saying because being altruistic is very important to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of putting more into my mortage, aside for college and retirement too. But what this guy might be saying is that he’d rather live a more modest life and be able to do some donating to charity than he thinks you would want to. Again, his choice. Just trying to help you out with where he’s coming from.

  3. 3
    Sam

    He mustve really had a change of heart and I realize that that can happen, but I feel led on and a bit hurt and angry.
    Evan, Id like to know what is your take on this issue?

    People learn about themselves as they date. Dating a non-Catholic (or non-Christian, even) taught this man how important his faith was to him. Maybe the faith and desire to live a Christian life were always there, just that dating a non-Catholic/non-Christian brought those feelings to the surface.

    OR, perhaps this man did become more religious over the past few months. If Catholicism has become a big part of his identity, you can’t expect him to go out with someone who isn’t a Catholic. If he wants to be a Catholic father to Catholic children you cannot expect him to be comfortable with a non-Catholic wife.

    He didn’t choose “religion” over you, he chose a whole lifestyle over you.

    I don’t think he led you on. Either he discovered something about himself or he genuinely changed. People should be forgiven for their inexperience and for changes which they cannot help.

    1. 3.1
      marie

      Sam,,I definitely agree with you!!

  4. 4
    JaguarRose

    You have to understand that true Christianity is a lifestyle. It’s not about having a religion, it’s about a relationship. A set of values that you subscribe to. Praying daily, bible study, attending church service, seeking a closer walk with God, trying to become Christlike. Christ in our lives changes us gradually (for the better) and someone who is not walking that path may not be able to support or understand. It’s about loving God and receiving God’s love. Knowing that one God created the heavens and the earth, believing that Jesus Christ is our savior. Unfortunately there are many people who carry the label “Christian” who have no relationship with Jesus Christ. There are many Christians who go to church on sundays but really don’t have an understanding of what the messge of Jesus Christ was all about. The Bible teaches Christians that we are not to be unevenly yoked with unbelievers. That’s a basic principal of our faith. That does NOT mean that we can’t have great friendships with all people. We are supposed to show kindness and compassion to everyone. I have friends with very different beliefs and I respect them all; but when it comes to the man that I will share my life with and raise my family our faith has to be in agreement. There are many issues he and I can agree to disagree on, but that is not one of them. If you call yourself a Christian it means you believe the bible, not just the parts that are convenient or what you personally agree with.
    Any Christian who ignores this either doesn’t know better or doesn’t care. Whenever I talk to people who are in “mixed” relationships I find that neither of them is particularly serious about their walk with God and treat “religion” is more about rituals and traditions. Their faith is generic and they are reluctant to follow their faith with real commitment, which is why is easier for them to have that type of relationship.
    People who don’t believe the Bible have a hard time understanding this, but I still think it should be respected, just as anyone else would want their belief to be respected.

    1. 4.1
      Abba'sgirl06

      Amen!  You hit the nail right on the head…

    2. 4.2
      Dan

      This is possibly the most self-righteous, arrogant and obnoxious thing I’ve seen today.  How dare you derogate the faith of people you’ve never even met? (like the author’s wife).  How dare you lump everyone who doesn’t think and behave exactly like you into one category of “fake Christians” and declare that they have no “real” relationship with Christ?  HOW WOULD YOU KNOW? How dare you declare that every Christian faith (all 41,000 denominations) that doesn’t interpret the bible exactly like you do is wrong??? Christian indeed. 

  5. 5
    Sandra

    Thanks for everyone’s feedback and thanks, Evan, for your’s too. I have to say, by the time Evan published this, I was already over him and have moved on! I am much happier where I’m at right now and no longer care as to why he didn’t choose to be with me. I’m very much at peace with it all.

  6. 6
    Cindy

    I had the same thing happen to me. We were friends for 3 1/2 years before we decided to try a romantic relationship. Everything was great. I spoiled him, he loved it. It was comfortable and safe and felt right. Then I could tell he was feeling too comfortable and I knew his fear of past relationships repeating themselves would surface again! We were on again off again for a while. The final straw was when he told me that since I was not a born-again, I was not assured a place next to him in heaven. Ok….. if that’s how you feel. I kissed him on the forehead, wished him luck, and we’re still friends. I’m not gonna even try to compete with that!!!

  7. 7
    WannaGetMatzoBalled

    I think this is actually a very practical matter and nothing more. Forget about the whole realm of spirituality, because no one is on the same path really, any more than they’re on the same path of personal growth.

    But day to day practice–there, I think it is much more harmonious to be on the same page.

  8. 8
    Alan

    I just love the punchline. Kudos for that one.

    Incidentally, I’m generally wary of people who are very religious. Could just be the skeptic in me. This has nothing to do with anything here except I smiled at comment #4.

    (Cheers!)

  9. 9
    downtowngal

    If your faith and values are so important to you then you should only date someone within your faith. If marriage and children are your goal then religion becomes a greater issue. Otherwise you’ll only hurt the person with whom you become involved.

    I disagree with Evan to a point – being Jewish, for example, if you live in a city with a large Jewish population (LA or NY) and your faith is that much of a issue you, then there’s enough of a dating pool for you to target. If you really believe in being Jewish and raising a Jewish family then there are enough ways for you to meet other Jewish people.

    Lots of people grow up with a certain sense of values based on faith. I’m not saying it’s wrong or right, just that, as someone who grew up with a rich tradition based on faith I can understand why someone would feel this way.

    Alternatively, if you date someone outside of your faith and realize you love this person then you have to make a decision. And many people decide to go with the person. If someone decides that their faith is more important then move on. Either way realize that it’s not you, it’s them.

  10. 10
    Kat Wilder

    Faith is a very individual thing, and some people can practice theirs independent of a partner and others want share it with a partner with the same vision and values. There’s no right or wrong; it just is. And if that partnership decides to have kids, well, that adds another layer.

    As Evan says, we often don’t know the “why” of things, and as disturbing as that may be, it’s just something we have to accept. If you live your life honestly and mindfully, then you don’t have to beat yourself up wondering “what did I do?”

    Glad to hear you’ve moved on and are at peace. Maybe this has even forced you to look at your own faith and clarify its role in your life.

  11. 11
    JenNYC

    Evan’s final sentence is hilarious! Though I truly think two people need to be on the same page about religion, and well, most things when it comes to being in a relationship. My boyfriend and I, for example, have talked about whether or not I will work when we have kids. We BOTH agree that if I need to work, or I want to work, than I will work. If we are financially able for me not to work, than I will not. (The truth being I WANT to work as of now so there is no argument.) Okay, so this is nto the same as the religion thing, but we are on the same page and both made it very clear to each other what we expect so as not to have many suprises about our feelings in the years to come….and of course things and circumstances change.

    Your man very honestly expressed to you what he feels he wants and must do in the future, so THANK GD (Jesus or whomever) that you know now, and not when you are married, with two kids and living in a one bedroom apartment because he donated 60% of his money to charity when the rent was not paid and the kids need shoes. I do not mean to be funny, but seriously, wouldnt you rather know this now that move forward and wind up resenting him and perhaps even divorcing him?????

    It hurts and I am sorry he made that choice, but in the end, after the tears and anger dissipate, you will see how this was truly the best thing that could have happened. Good luck, and you will find a great man who believes as you do!!!!

    Jen :)

  12. 12
    Stephanie

    Evan is right. But, there really comes a time when you need to give up something when you choose to live spiritually. because it can hinder your relationship to God. In our love seminar, I asked the question: Is it alright to have a non-Christian (spiritual) partner? The only main thing the Pastor and his wife gave is based on the Bible. “Do not equally yoke with an unbeliever.”

    We might disagree on that. But it is what it is. The main thing there is you just have to make sure you won’t be one with the world or you won’t be astrayed if you choose someone unspiritual. I know not everyone will understand my point and i do not mean to tackle more about this as many might war me on this.

    When one becomes a spiritual Christian (catholic, Pentecostal, Evangelistic, Seventh-Day adventist,etc), he reads the Bible, attends church regularly, be active in Church, and living the life God leads him, it is where he learns the value of sacrificing life to God. So it’s like, “God or that special someone?” It is also, “Love means obedience of the heart.” As simply as that, I think.

    1. 12.1
      Dee

      Wow Stephanie I couldn’t have put it better myself.  I love the ending  “Love means obedience of the heart.” As simply as that, I think.
       
      God sacrificed His best, His only Son for us, would we not stop and think before entering into a relationship that could cause us grief or harm later.  All in all take time to see God for the answers.

  13. 13
    Stephanie

    Also, there’s a great difference on someone being religious and someone who’s spiritual. Anyone can be religious as he believes on his faith, he believes on God. But a religious person may not be a spiritual person. A spiritual person is one who exercise his faith–that means— living what he has believed. Your boyfriend is spiritual, though. Coz he really acted according to his faith.

    It doesn’t mean that your boyfriend must donate the whole money on the poor as he wants to help. That is great, really great! But it doesn’t mean that HE SHOULD LEAVE HIS RESPONSIBILITIES & PRIORITIES HE WOULD HAVE AS A HUSBAND OR AS A FATHER TO HIS CHILDREN. Of course, he has to pay the mortgage, spare some for the kid’s college fund. And if he has extra money, then that’s the time he should donate. NOT ALL OF HIS MONEY. Coz how would you eat, how would u live if you dont have your primary needs, right?

  14. 14
    Susan

    I’m just wondering if this devout Catholic was a virgin? Or did he pick and choose the parts he believed in? He talked the talk, but did he walk the walk?

    1. 14.1
      George

      I was heavily agnostic all the way into my lower thirties. By then, I had divorced twice, and had spent most of my life pursuing the american dream of money and success. I got a lot of the middle class american dream, and it was really a nightmare married to women that also lusted for money and the stuff that the american dream. Most people spend most of their lives thinking that if they just make more money, then everything will be better and they’ll be happy. So they sacrifice everything to get there, including a real spiritual life and they never get there. I got there, and that is when I saw that money didn’t fix it, you need a spiritual life that is plentiful.
      So, marrying a wife that is from a different religion or of no religion will lead to an unhappy life. If you can’t share your spiritual life with your spouse, out of respect for their beliefs or whatever, you will not be able to have a happy life.

      1. 14.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        I’m sure you’re right, George. I’ll bet there are no examples of successful marriages with differing religions – apart from the 50% of Jews who marry non-Jewish women, including me.

        1. RustyLH

          Clearly it can and does work, but it can also bring other issues into play.  But I think having good discussions about it in advance can solve those issues.  For instance, will the kids be raised Jewish or Catholic?  I have a feeling grandparents can (but not always) add pressure here.  I also believe that it can be harder for a Christian who is very strong in their beliefs.  After all, whether they are right or wrong, Christians believe that without accepting Jesus as the Son of God, you will not go to Heaven.  I do not expect everyone to believe that to be true but it is the foundation of Christian belief.  So it would be hard to love somebody so much and at the same time accept that they are not going to Heaven.  It would also be near impossible for such a Christian to allow their children to be brought up as anything but Christian.
          So I do think that a lot is going to depend on how much religion is part of the person’s life, and also whether they can sit down and work out the details of such a relationship.
          In some cases, I could see a Christian not being strong in their religious beliefs, getting married, and maybe even agreeing to the Jewish Grnadparent’s wishes for the children to be brought up Jewish.  Then, later coming to a point where their Christian beliefs strengthen, which causes them to rethink that agreement.  Same could also happen with the Jewish or even a Muslim person.  As I stated before, I know people where the man was Muslim, but mostly in name only, but then changes, and it became a nightmare for the women.
          Your ability to communicate does give you an advantage over some people.

  15. 15
    WannaGetMatzoBalled

    You’re right about the yoking up part. Which is why I yoke up exclusively with cute, funny, smart Jewish guys.

    A nonbeliever just wouldn’t suit me. :)

  16. 16
    Stephanie

    Kudos to number 4 too! That’s what I wanted to imply. I had hard time trying to express my point but JaguarRose did express it accurately. Hehe, though my boyfriend is an Aglican. he believes on God but he doesn’t believe much on the Bible coz for him, it’s more of stories. Well, I use to emphasize, it’s more than stories. It’s about God opening the way for mankind. Well, the Old Testament are more of stories but REAL! If the Bible isn’t true, then why it is arrurately put into one place, the whole things in the Bible are consistent.

    And oh well, coz we have different beliefs, and for him I am religious at times, we rather not discuss it coz i know it’ll just lead to disagreement. But even so, I try to let him see that I walk the walk and not just talk. :)

  17. 17
    Megan

    I sort of agree with Evan on this but not entirely. I am agnostic. I wasn’t really raised religious and don’t have any religious feelings for the most part. However I seem to attract Jewish guys and my most significant relationships have been with Jewish men. My last and probably most significant was such a wonderful experience, partially because he is Jewish. Though I don’t have the same faith he has I was genuinely interested in learning about it, not just for the sake of knowing more about him but also because I genuinely cared about who he was and that was a big part of what made him the kind and loving person he has become. Of course we discussed the issue of religion and when we talked about marriage it was sort of a given that it would be a mostly Jewish ceremony though he in no way expected me to convert. So in this case our differences brought us together instead of driving us apart. I think thats part of a good relationship, embracing each other’s differences and learning about them without wanting to change each other.
    On the other hand we broke up so what do i know!? I have a hunch that a large part of our very sudden breakup had to with his mother not wanting him to be with a woman who isn’t Jewish. I don’t know for a fact that this is why but there are indicators and well so be it. Not much I can do about that now, however my point is that his being Jewish is part of what I LOVED about him and I appreciated that he appreciated my wanting to know about his faith even if I didn’t agree or want to convert. So I think differences can be just as much an asset to a relationship as they can be a hindrance. Best of luck.

  18. 18
    Goldie

    I’ve been on all sides of this issue. Born and raised Atheist, converted to Christianity in college, went through several different denominations over twenty years, finally left church last year after a lot of deliberation and research. My guess is, the guy is not lying. It is very much possible for religion to occupy a huge place in a person’s life, determine their lifestyle, and take top priority. If that happens to your partner, and you’re non-religious yourself, I’d say you’re better off separating, as your lifestyles are so different at this point, there’s no way for you to work things out as a couple. Personally, right now, when I look online, I look for non-religious – just because I don’t want to push the religious folks into violating their principles for me – I know it isn’t going to work anyway. I did receive a letter from a guy once whose profile said he was looking for a godly woman, and I replied to him that, while he seemed a nice person, it would not work between us, because I am not a godly woman at all, not by a long shot!
     
    To the OLW, if he’s as devout a Catholic as he says he is, odds are he doesn’t believe in birth control anymore. Unless you planned on eleven kids, consider yourself lucky that he left.
     
    As far as the part of the article about things that don’t matter if we don’t make them matter – I’m torn on this. I’m pretty ambivalent about a lot of things in life, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere – it’s called having a personality – it’s one of the things that attract men to you in the first place. And some things are just not feasible to give up on – like if I have kids, and the man doesn’t like children, then oh well, it’s not meant to be. Even dogs. I have a dog, and that dog is not going anywhere. If I meet a man who cannot stand dogs, what am I going to do, give my dog away to make him happy? Eh, no, that’s just not done. In that regard, I liked a comment I saw yesterday about “must-haves” vs. “nice-to-haves”. Nothing wrong with having a “must-have” list IMO, as long as we keep it brief and to the point.

  19. 19
    Katharine

    Comment number 14 .. lol.
    To the die-hard Religious Folk..
    If I loved someone with my heart and soul I would never dream of choosing my Spirituality over them. Why must we chose? Surely compromise is the key. I believe that sometimes people who are quite strong in their religious beliefs get so caught up in following their Bible that they forget that “unbelievers” are people too. EQUAL people. I am so damn tired of being talked down to by Catholics/Christians/Whatevers. I understand your faith is important and that is wonderful, but looking down on someone for walking a different, yet equally good path is unfair. I am slowly falling in love with a Catholic friend and I really don’t like organized religion, but his faith makes him the sweet man that he is, so I wouldn’t change him. He is very Catholic, yet he, like any logical person, does question things, even aspects of his religion. That does not make him inferior to someone who follows blindly. If following your religion blindly makes you feel whole and happy then that is absolutely wonderful for you, but don’t dare judge someone else for believing in a way that feels right for them. It’s amazing that a die-hard can perceive themselves as a saint because they are friends with “unbelievers” -how bloody patronizing. We are all different. Grow up and accept that.

    1. 19.1
      will

      Dang I cant agree any more with Katharine. I love how she put it. If you are a strong believer of any God or Gods and the other one is not spiritual why should you look down up on them especially if they are not making you change. Who knows your influence might help him just don’t force them. If they respect you and ask for the same back would it not be easy for the believer to get his or her way with the subject of kids because I sure wont have a problem with my kids to be Christ-like or guided by any other religion and i am a believer of God just not so good with religions because of the blindly believers that will look down on you for questioning or just not believing everything just because you have too, who are you to say who goes to Heaven I thought only he would be on the day of your judgement. 

      1. 19.1.1
        starthrower68

        I think it’s aI can understand why you might feel that someone is looking down on you if they leave a relationship with someone who does not share his/her faith but I would be careful about making that a knee-jerk reaction.  I have courage in my convictions but that doesn’t mean I believe myself to be better than anyone else. As a matter of fact, as a believer, I should be humble, teachable, and have a heart toward others. Unfortunately, as in all walks of life, some have not modeled such a spirit, or have not been winsome in sharing their faith, and as a result, many are hostile toward faith.  But as a Christian, I should guard against a “missionary dating” mindset.  I can lead others toward faith, but if one experiences a true conversion to faith, that is not up to me.  I can only share; what happens beyond that is divine providence.  

         

  20. 20
    mia

    totally agree is #4, my ex husband, pulled me out of the church. I am African American and my gifts are singing which I love to do and dancing and my pastor has asked me to start a Liturgical dance ministry in my church. I am used to church being a large part of my social life, my friends and what I enjoy. I recently met a man who has said he will not go to church even if I was singing or dancing because I would be doing it every sunday (probly true), but also because of golf, football, etc. Needless to say since one of my dreams in a man to have someone who unlike my ex, enjoys church activities and worship and who will also be a spiritual leader of my household, his declarations are clearly a deal breaker. We will always be friends, but he is off my list of serious suitors. Quiet as its kept, church is fun and I am not about being with someone who is so closed that they wouldn’t even consider sharing something with me that is enjoyable.

  21. 21
    Dean

    #19 ty for ruining this blog with your obnoxious rant

  22. 22
    bekah

    People of religious backgrounds share certain values. They tend to have the same morals and aspirations. This guy is Catholic. He believes in the Bible. Did you think he was just playin around? Maybe the real problem is that you didn’t take him seriously. People without religion always stand there acting like “what???? what did I do????? I just said that religion is a stupid fairytail made up for people who are afraid of death. Why are you so mad?? I don’t think you are stupid. Just everything you believe in…..but it’s okay honey…..because I will excuse your stupidity because I want a partner…..see how benevolent I am??? You’re welcome…..and by the way, when I cursed your God last week….I was mad….but there is no real God, so don’t sweat it.”

  23. 23
    Jeanne

    One of the main reasons my marriage failed was religion, or rather an unhealthy devotion to a religion.  My ex-husband valued his church, his families opinions (they are part of his church) and the folks at church’s opinions and feelings over mine every single time. He assumed I would convert (I am easygoing) and I didn’t because in my heart, it felt wrong. It was a gut decision. I was content in my faith before I married him.
    I even went as far as to have two church ceremonies, one in his church and one in mine to be agreeable. Every person I knew thought it was nuts. I did it b/c I loved him and it was important to him. In hindsight, I now see how “important” this was, he was jus grandstanding.  He is uber important in his church community. No amount of great sex, cooking, child rearing and nursing, space to follow his dreams, working a full time job, support, kudos etc. could compete with the love and adulation his church community offered him. It was an addiction for his ego.
    Looking back, my not converting was the last form of control he would have over me and our children. He even donated money to church we needed for the household without a thought of family needs.
    Count your blessings!!! Make a list and thank whomever you believe in that you made the right choice. The pain and sacrifice I endured for the sake of his faith was extremely painful both emotionally and financially. Oddly enough, I am not scared by this. If you ever met me, you’d find that I view every relationship as a learning process. What did I learn? Be me but not a doormat and realize I have feelings too :-)
    However, a “churchgoing” man I not one of my wants any more. What we “need” is way more important. I read this somewhere. You need to see what you need regardless of a dumb ass list of wants.  This I take with me when finding my new man.
    Take it from experience, his devotion to the less fortunate may seem noble unless it spins out of narcissistic control.  Be glad and move on. You were spared a trauma you don’t want or need. Mr. Fabulous is out there!!! You are awesome!!!

  24. 24
    mayor

    It is very good that one marries who they both share same religious belief. Marrying against such will not only affect the two but also generations unborn. It would create division in the marriage.

  25. 25
    Sunshine

    Hello,
    Same thing happened to me. My ex was in deep love with me. I didn’t hide anything about me. I am a non-believer of god or any religion and believe strongly in mankind. He is a muslim. He knew I believe in mankind not in islam religion. We were supposed to get married soon. All of a sudden he said, he is looking for a muslim girl. Then he said he will marry me only if I become a muslim. I said, i don’t believe in any religion if I become a muslim then that’s dishonesty. He said, then its over.
    I text him, “I will marry a Real Man who has his own mind. He does not borrow mind from religion or any culture. And he does not treat people as hindu, muslim or buddist in 21 century.
    I let you go.”

  26. 26
    Phil

    Mmm. Interesting to read the range of perspectives. I recently met up with guy at uni for lunch after he asked if I would like to catch up some time for a coffee. We had a fun, friendly converstion in which I mentioned my beliefs. I wasn’t thinking along the lines of date, but rather lunch with a new friend and was hoping to share the Gospel with him. I guess at some level with the other sex you always have interest at the back of your mind but I think that is ok! Before considering dating, I want to be good friends! Having shared the Gospel with him, he responded with interest but for my sake and not of a personal nature. We were very much attracted to each other but as a follower of Christ I do live by my beliefs and in order to date (consider for marriage) his status as a new creature, born again, regenerate (haha is that a word?!) is a non negotiable for me and I believe that this is what the Bible teaches. We can of course ignore God’s commandments and ‘follow our heart’ but from experience I know that this is the long way round. God can still use the situation for good but this is rather an abuse of grace to do so intentionally. After meeting up a second time to clarify things and leave him with a tract, I realised that he was seriously into me and that he had formed the impression that my beliefs were no barrier to our (potential) future together :) That makes me a bit sad to realise that there are some Christians out there that would be willing to compromise their beliefs (it is a commandment not simply piece of sound advice) as I probably would have at one point in my walk also. I respect him and can do no more than let him make up his own mind which is his God given freedom. The one however does negate the other if you take this stance. Friendship is always on the books but nothing more.
    In terms of a ‘successful marriage” it might work otherwise if the two are not too serious about their faith – observing traditions and the like as someone mentioned earlier, but if it is an issue for you it is an issue. If the question is in your mind, you already have some doubts! Prior to marriage, you may be able to reason doubts away but from then on it I believe it will cause tremendous heartache if you really want to get serious about your faith (growth – assuming that you are already saved/born again). Imagine not being able to share some of the most important joys and promises from the Bible with the one that you love? For me this is incomprehensible. I would encourage from my reading of Scriptures and some of the comments here to make the decision at the beginning with your head before your heart gets involved…Sorry D, You are a sweet guy. I will try to be more overt next time. – Hope to see you in Heaven some day :)

  27. 27
    Diane Crane

    Generally a well-balanced discussion with no one getting too hot and heavy.  Very refreshing.  The Bible has never been of ultimate importance to me, and I get very tired of this “my religion’s better than yours” attitude.  Yes, attitude is everything.  it’s all about how you treat other people.  Right now, my boyfriend is at church making confession.  My way of thinking is, I don’t require a middleman.  My parents once considered becoming Unitarians.  I get along well with most everyone, but I must admit the extremely religious can test my patience sometimes.  And there ARE some people I know at this time that I would not want to be around in heaven!!  I wonder if we get to choose – I hope so!

  28. 28
    Julie

    I remember a good friend of mine came from a Muslim family. He really really liked me, thought I was beautiful, but he admitted to me that he couldn’t bring home a blonde, blue eyed American girl home to the parents.
    A few years later, he ended up in a relationship with a Catholic girl and enjoying all of the benefits of fun and casual sex. This went on for a year and a half before I asked him where his relationship was going. He clearly wasn’t in it for any long term implications. Because she hadn’t clarified with him her hopes and intentions, he was under the impression she was also okay with this arrangement.
    I set him straight. I told him that if she is a Catholic girl, especially a practicing Catholic, she was most definitely in this relationship in hopes of it turning into a marriage. In fact, I YELLED at him and told him to end the relationship now if it turns out that was what she really wanted. I told him that he needed to get serious and find a Muslim girl. He was so upset with me initially that he complained to all of our mutual friends about it. We didn’t talk for a year and a half. Two years later, he found a Muslim girl and married her within the year. He’s really really happy and we are back to being really good friends.
    At any rate, people of faith really shouldn’t pursue a marriage commitment with nonbelievers if they plan on building a life with someone. Can you imagine arguing with your partner about whether or not to have the children attend church? No thank you. It’s fundamental.

  29. 29
    Kristine

    I am going through a painful separration.  ultiminty due to my fiance’s obsession with his church and faith! not has been an uphill battle for me with him because he never wanted to grow up and be an adult. That is why I never tied the knot! Thank God because after all I’ve been through he left me because he became a born again christian. The crazy part here is that I am a preachers daughter and a missionary’s kid of the same faith but in my adult life choose to not go to church and to follow my faith in my heart and live my life with the core values and morals I was raised with. We both did this but now he’s joined a church and has become fanatical about it giving all his time and energy into this and nothing for us! He has with held his love  and affection from me in hopes it will force me to join him! It’s ludacris! He’s finally walked out of our home  and it has left me devastated for 6 months now!  How someone could change that drastically over “faith” even when you basically believe the same core values! It’s ubsurd!  He’s preaching at me and judging me it’s disgusting! He said he would come back if I join him! I refuse! This is why I can’t stand organized religion! I’ve now lost 20 good years and I’m forced to start over. It hurts so much he could fall in love with Jesus Christ and fall out of love with me. Isn’t he supposed to become a more loving partner after finding God? People change, it happens everyday it’s just a tough pill to swallow especially because I did nothing to deserve this!

    1. 29.1
      Jason

      I don’t like organized religion either. It’ snot like any of you actually follow what’s in the Bible and the majority of you don’t even know what’s in it so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, it says the man is head of the wife just as Jesus is head of the church, right? Yeah like any woman these days would go along with that in this feminist country.

  30. 30
    Desean

    Shoot, #25/29 spoke out to me… My girlfriend and I broke up a week ago over religion because she wanted to find Jehovah and give him her praise… I a man who love and has his own relationship with god but not in the form of making every decisions through him and devoting all my time and life to religion… Not being able to live a life without choice is not a life I was willing to commit to….
    To back it up a bit…. When we first met she had told me 3 years prior to netting me she was in a relationship and marriage that lasted 10 years… My first question was, how did it end after such a long time… She told me that when they were first together things were great because they were doing them and loving each other, but somewhere down the line things had changed and he wanted to devote his life to Jehovah and said our household will participate… Over the course they also had a son… She was not devoted to that religion, it was forced upon her.. She told me that it was awful because she did not love Jehovah, she loved him… After her faking that she had loved Jehovah she left him and the church to live her life…. Now 3 years later she met me… We called it, “The Perfect Timing… Things were great… We weren’t living in the same sate so together we decided that I would leave my basketball career and move out to her… It was hard but I did it…  I moved to her because I loved her and at the time the sons father (ex-husband) had full custody over their child… I agreed but asked her to promise me one thing… I asked her to promise me that she would make our decisions after this year once we get the child support changed and we would move on with our life and move to somewhere we want to be… She happily promised me… We moved into a beautiful new apartment together and things were great.. We had our ups and downs as all couples do… My fear was that she was going to live on the shadow and hurt her ex-husband left on her… And her fear was that I couldn’t love her…
    One day it got to the point where she felt she had to up and go to church… Very odd… She left that morning around 11am and didn’t return till 7 that night… No text, no call.. Nothing… I was crushed.. When she came in she told me she just needed comfort.. I asked where she had went to church and she had told me she went to the kingdom hall (Jehovah witness)… I was even more hurt and confused because she told me previously all that that religion had done… Then she tells me she went out drinking, which we agreed that we didn’t want that in our lives… At this point I’m angry and hurt and leave.. I pack a suitcase and tell her I can’t take this… After a day of me leaving she texts me saying that I will move on fast and on to the next girl… I told her that, that was not going to happen because I loved her and that we had something special I just needed time…. A few days later she had texted me telling me she was giving herself to Jehovah and of I couldn’t join we wouldn’t be together… I was instantly turned off and angry….I took a step back for the remaking of the week and figured myself out and what I really wanted… And what I came to realize what I really wanted was her and that I need to prove it to her… I came to realize that half of her going to Jehovah was my fault because I wasn’t there to give her comfort… From that moment I realized I needed to be a better man for myself and her… I changed… And for the better… She told me she couldn’t love me anymore.. Instantly I stopped my little vacation and caught the next flight home to save my relationship… When I arrived I moved back into our room.. When she came home she was shocked to see I was back.. I told her I’m here and I’m here to stay.. You may not see it right now, but I am going to show you how much I love you every day… She then asked, have you seen anyone or talked to anyone. I said no… I then asked her.. She said no… I reached for her phone and saw messages to her ex-husband… Talking sexually… And her sending pictures of herself to him in our home… I was crushed… Because while I was changing and giving her my all she was on back to him and devoting herself to Jehovah… A life which she said destroyed her… I cried and told her that I’m sorry because half the reason all this is happening is because of me… And i didn’t give you my all… She replied and told me she didn’t love me anymore… She loved him… I cried and she held me… We began to make love and she told me she wanted my last name and wanted to have my kids… After it was over she looked at me and said, you really have changed and want to give me your all… I then asked if she truly meant berating while we were making love… She stood quiet… I knew then that she was just saying those things and making love toe because she need someone.. Not me, anyone… I fought for a week being turned down to And looked over for Jehovah… Then the next minute being told I am everything she wanted… Her ex-relatives would contact her telling her she can’t love me and live with me and that I needed to move out because it was Jehovah’s way… I asked… Is this what you want or what Jehovah wants… She replied… It’s what he wants and me… And I fought and eventually told her I would devote myself to Jehovah… And I sat back and realized that I would be living a lonely lie… I was willing to give all of me to 1 person and put her first… But she was putting me last and ranking Jehovah above all… I then told her… You realize what you’re doing to me is exactly what your ex-husband did to you… She replied it’s the only way…. Before  I moved out she told me she would find me one day and that we would be together….. I thought to myself… How is that possible?  Because she will never be able to put me number 1, we will never live our life, we will only live by Jehovah’s law….
    Truth is… If someone can’t give you all of them and put your first… Then they aren’t in love with you and it’ll never work… Yes, they may have love for you… But they definitely aren’t “in love with you”… I believe in god and have my own relationship with him… But it don’t believe gods wants us to devote our lives to him and not think for ourselves… I believe god is so selfless, the reason he died for us and gave us life was to show us that if you are to find true love and someone you want to spend your life with that they have to come first and above all things.. I believe god is so selfless they he wants us to put our other half before all things and himself … in love you have to be selfless… I gave her my all… But how can you fight for one who doesn’t want to give you all of them? It just won’t work wwithout the two of you hand in hand making decisions together and living your own life as one and making devisions “together”. It has to be an… “Us Against The World” type of love for it last… Exactly what I was willing to do but she wasn’t…

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