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.

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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.

    1. 2.1
      Erika

      Just an idea here; if you were Catholic, I am surprised you would assume he is lying. As a devoutly Catholic woman in a secular world, I have fallen in love with many men who aren’t even religious at all. In fact, I am more likely to fall for an agnostic than a protestant, because they are indifferent; whereas, the protestant has opinion, and heretical opinions at that, in my opinion. However,when you start to think of marriage, things get real: “Oh dear, he won’t pray the rosary at night with me.” “What if we have kids? I will want to save their souls, that is my DUTY as a parent”. The primary goal of marriage is children, and helping your partner reach heaven. I don’t care how archaic this sounds to anyone, if you want to know what he is thinking, he is thinking around these lines. If anyone could possibly put themselves in our shoes for once (I am forever thinking of how this looks to everyone else), then you will see how frankly terrifying that is. I am actually on here, because I am heartbroken about this myself, but no amount of heartbreak is worth losing my soul over, period.

      1. 2.1.1
        Paula

        “The primary goal of marriage is children, and helping your partner reach heaven. I don’t care how archaic this sounds to anyone, if you want to know what he is thinking, he is thinking around these lines. If anyone could possibly put themselves in our shoes for once (I am forever thinking of how this looks to everyone else), then you will see how frankly terrifying that is. I am actually on here, because I am heartbroken about this myself, but no amount of heartbreak is worth losing my soul over, period.”

        This is precisely my thoughts and unfortunately the last sentence rings 100% with me. I’m trying to live a Godly life and it’s hard when life throws those curve balls which sway my determination. But ultimately for me, I keep praying to stay strong in the faith and I keep reminding myself in these trying times that life is short, Heaven is forever. God Bless.

      2. 2.1.2
        Saige

        Wow, that line was intense! “I am heartbroken about this myself., but no amount of heartbreak is worth losing my soul over.” I really liked this guy, but he left me because he was not religious. I was hurt by this because I had hoped to see where it could go – it was early on and we had amazing dates. I contemplated why he didn’t want to see who we were as people before making such a big decision. But, I am trying to let him go without begging my way back. Having a faith is important to me. But, your line says it all. If I had to give up having a faith to be with him or the pursuit of faith in a family or for his own soul not be able to want the best, it is not worth risking it. I wish he would change his mind or come back. But, I cannot change him. And, like Evan said if a guy wants to be with you he will just do it. No excuses! Thanks to Evan and you I think I will use this over the next couple weeks to realize my situation is probably for the best, although it doesn’t seem like right now.

      3. 2.1.3
        Ann

        Are you serious? You think leading people on when you don’t want anything serious with them is a Christian thing?

        And leaving them for it, too? What about that part when a wife’s/ husband’s love saves her/his spouse? Maybe you should read the Bible, on occasion. It is about love, not about rules. Think of Moses and his wife! And of what happened to Miriam when she talked like you do…Doesn’t that scare you? You really should think of where you want to go.

        As for the Catholic thing… The Pope said Protestants were not heretics. Isn’t he Christ’s vicar to you? Saying no to him for a Catholic is like saying no to Him. Pope Francis said it is better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic.

        It is obvious that objects mean far more to you than the spirit of Christ and you are driving people away from Him instead of drawing them closer – including yourself.

  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!!

    2. 3.2
      Ann

      Sorry, but according to Catholic laws, if he slept with her he should have married her. Had he really taken this thing so seriously, he would have done that, instead of using her. It applies to newly converted pagans too, and if they have more wives they must marry the first.

      So you think lying (repeatedly) about marriage when he has been aware of his girlfriend’s wiews all along is not leading her on? Then what is? You are inexperienced in love it seems, otherwise you would know why it is important to keep your word. I am a Christian myself and would never break a promise – not even if I was pagan or atheist, but that is another matter. Yes, people learn themselves as they date, but they don’t bring up marriage as long as they don’t mean it.

  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. 

      1. 4.2.1
        Erika

        I feel the same way about your comment. Who are you to tell us that we are wrong? Is that your absolute truth, that we are wrong? What makes your flaming self-righteous indignation any better?

        1. anti

          May be if you read the case ,you could find your error. When you date with somebody build a relationship and after kick to the person by religion speak  very bad  of you.  if religion is so important for me i put the red line before  of build some realtionship else  only  is play with this person. Relious people call me ” Sister” , “dear” but  only  is a facade …and ending when not be suitable for their religion

    3. 4.3
      HDA

      He can love the world “out there” but not the one in front of him? The one in front of him is rejected and turned away because the world “out there” needs him. What a crock of self-righteous, loveless drivel. He didn’t put God before Sandra, he put himself before her.

      1. 4.3.1
        Sandra

        We should enjoyour life even in getting closer to God.  Maybe this person should have re-evaluated before making an hasty decision if he is trying to get the spiritual realm of any religion.   We should enjoy our family and friends not pick them apart and leave them because they are not current on the spiritual journey.   Pray for them and God will make the decision if this person needs to be out your life.  Matter of fact if they do,  he will take them out of your life without your assistance.

    4. 4.4
      CZ

      What does it say about a Christian who seeks out to date someone who said they were non religious.  Dates them and then says oh I can’t continue dating you because you aren’t a Born Again Christian.  I didn’t know the rules, I do now, but he did.  Why even date someone who is not when you are?  I was Catholic but no longer am.  I do believe in God.  I do agree with the others that to say everyone else but you is going to hell is totally foreign to me.  The only one to judge or make that decision is God.  Everything can be interpreted in different ways.  Who’s to say yours is the right one.

      1. 4.4.1
        Sandra

        So true

    5. 4.5
      Linda

      you sound like an Adventist

    6. 4.6
      Dee

      I posted my dilemma earlier about this same subject. I was temptation to him and that was it. 6 years of hoping this man would come around didn’t happen. He had to stop giving into to me and get right with God and told me I deserved a loving caring man that would love me for me. He didn’t know if we could be anything more as he’s trying to drive out sin and I was it. So I get the door shut on me and left with a broken heart. He doesn’t know  deep down what he wants and is trusting God to lead him and wants that for me too. It sucks for me. I keep hoping he will come back but I must move on and let him figure it out. I learned a lot in this relationship and I know what not to do next go around. Stand strong and just rely on God to lead you to the right people in your life.

    7. 4.7
      Bret

      Thank you JaguarRose!!! You have explained my beliefs as a Christian precisely! And I am suffering heartbreak because my Catholic girlfriend cannot and/or will not understand what you so eloquently wrote. So many people call themselves Christians but think that going to Church on Sunday is all the requirement of having a relationship with Jesus. They are unwilling to understand that like all relationships, a relationship with Jesus, requires and investment of your heart and mind. When I opened up to that relationship and began the daily practice of reading the Bible, Devotionals, prayer, giving thanks, meditating on His word, my life and my heart changed. I have become a better man! I actually understand what God expects from me. The Bible has become the greatest love story ever for me. It has freed me. Reading it and having faith that that what Jesus calls us to do, love Him with all of our heart and all of our soul, love ourselves the same and to love our neighbors the same as well, are the key elements to developing a relationship that will transform all others. That is the whole point of having a relationship with Jesus. That is why I wanted the same for my beloved. Relationships fail for many reasons why not adopt beliefs that are like an insurance policy if you will, to living a great life, and having a great relationship.

      From the very beginning of our relationship we talked about putting Jesus at the center. We talked about loving Him first, then each other. Although she was a little confused about what that meant I thought we had an understanding and that she put that understanding at the same level I did. We had a long distance relationship, so over time the challenge of being apart became very real and more intense. A trial. I surrendered it to Him daily , and although it was hard I felt peace through Him and had faith that Gods will would prevail. She, on the other hand, became filled with fear, doubt and worry. A pattern I had been seeing play out in other areas of her life. She became more insecure, regardless of the many ways I tried to reassure her through actions and words. Finally, during a conversation over her needing reassurance I asked her if she had faith and if she believed that Gods will would prevail. She then asked “what does that mean.” When I said that its meant that I believed we would be together, nothing had changed. That I believed in Gods will and that whatever happens I will be ok with the outcome. That kicked off hours of conversations on our rational mind vs faith, Gods will over our will, whether what is written in Gods Word, the Bible, specifically the New Testament is the foundation for our life. I reached a point during our conversation where her unwillingness to even consider what I was saying caused me to say “I’m done.” I asked her to read the Jesus Calling devotional and the accompanying scripture daily and to allow it to change her heart and  life. After several days we were still having the same conversations. Sadly, it appears that she is unwilling to surrender her will to God. When I mentioned to her that by dying to herself (sin) to live through Him, and thus have a better life,  she said I was talking in Riddles. What I realize is this, if we have strong beliefs regarding what foundation our relationship will be built on there must be absolute clarity. Without a foundation or clarity explains why divorce runs rampant.

       

        1. Ann

          Agree. People should marry for love and that includes God whether they say it out our He is in their heart. Oh, and love is forever. Some people are not Christian they just say it so they feel superior…

    8. 4.8
      Penny Yang

      Amen! Thank you for sharing.

    9. 4.9
      Ann

      Exactly. Some people never understand what it is all about. LOVE, you know. Check this out: 1 Corinthians 13:1–3 . What many people here are talking about is not Christianity as it is about rules and not love. Have you read about Moses? Or Ruth? She wasn’t exactly following God when she got married. Still, we all wish we were like her. What would have happened if that guy had rejected her for not being one of Jacob’s daughters?

          

       

    10. 4.10
      Ann

      Yeah study the Bible. Read Moses. I am amazed how many people here go to church and never read the Bible…

      Anti, you are absolutely right!

  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.

    1. 5.1
      Tiffany

      That’s awesome! Thanks for letting us know as I just read and was wondering. 2017 I’m kinda stuck in a situation like yours with our 6 1/2 year old. Hes changed and it get’s more complicated.

  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.

    2. 12.2
      Dee F

      This is a different Dee from the other post that says wow Stephanie in the comment line. I guess I should be a last name initial.

       

    3. 12.3
      Ann

      So your pastor doesn’t belive that love and faith can save somebody?

       

  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.

        2. Kelvin

          Do you guys have children ? in which faith are you guys raising your children ? Just curious Evan. Thank you

    2. 14.2
      Ann

      Exactly. So much of him and his devotion.

  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.

    1. 17.1
      Ann

      I think so too! It makes life interesting 🙂

  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.  

         

    2. 19.2
      SoldierforGod

      Katharine,

      The word of God is true today, yesterday & forever. I’m sorry that you have had your share of run-ins with religious zealots, but perhaps you may be taking things a little too personally. The word says that, as Christians, that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. It also says to “choose whom this day you will serve…God or man.” Man doesn’t have a heaven or hell to put you in–only God does. No man can do what Jesus has done for me. For me, it is important that my future husband not only knows Jesus, but he actually has a real relationship with him. I’m not perfect by a long shot…none of us are. There was only one who has that claim to fame…& His Name is Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are only supposed to witness to others who Jesus is & why He came to earth. He came to save the world & not to condemn it. It’s entirely up to you what you do after hearing it. I’ll admit that some Christians want to preach “doom & gloom” to the unsaved; and again, that is not the way that it’s supposed to be done. I am taught to love people right where they are, but I’m also taught to witness about Jesus to them. God uses imperfect people to do His perfect Will. You can receive or reject. In life, we have choices, decisions & consequences. For those who don’t believe, Jesus is soon to make His return to retrieve His children. The Bible is what it is…no chaser…it’s just straight up. I don’t judge others because God already has that job “on lock.” I will simply say that I have chosen Jesus over man when I gave my life to Him. For me, it is an easy choice; and whomever God blesses me with in terms of a husband, then he’ll feel the same way if he’s truly sent to me by God Himself. I thank God for my relationship with Him. If a man can’t accept the fact that God is first in my life, then he can keep it moving. My faith makes me who I am. I don’t pretend to be any better than anybody else…I still make mistakes; but when I do, I know that I can go to The Father to ask Him for forgiveness. His love covers a multitude of sin…because He knows that we’re imperfect people serving a PERFECT GOD! I wish you nothing but true peace & love in everything that you do. Best wishes & God bless you! 

       

      1. 19.2.1
        Hanmej

        I totally agree with you. That’s what I’ve chosen . 🙂 the best is to choose the only man whose love is Eternal, un changing ,and unconditional none other than The Lord Jesus Christ . <3

      2. 19.2.2
        Kelvin

        Amen!!!

      3. 19.2.3
        Buck25

        I’m sorry you have had your share of run-ins with religious zealots

        @ Soldier for God

        Really?? Of course you aren’t one of those, right? Your handle says otherwise, at least to me. By the by, wasn’t it you, just a post or two down from here, who told all us heathens, infidels, non-believers, and heretics to “GET RIGHT OR GET LEFT !” How noble of you!

        Just as an aside, if you want to make an impression on the rest of us, why don’t you, and especially the institutional church which you have in effect turned into your “god”, try actually living by what’s in your own book. You can start with loving people where they are, as they are, without threatening, browbeating, shaming, or judging them. You can try talking with your actions instead of your mouth (it works better that way), or your t-shirt that  claims “God said it, I believe it, that settles it”, and all the other slogans you substitute for both critical thinking skills and (more importantly) love, caring understanding and empathy for your fellow human beings. You can try realizing that truth can stand hard questions; if your “faith” and institutional church cannot, perhaps you had better rethink that idea that either has the total monopoly on “truth” you claim it does.

        As it is, your institutionalized version of “faith” has taken the Bible, one of the great all-time gifts to human literature,, and rather than appreciate all the history, all the wisdom, all the historical law, all the poetry, and even the simple message of love, tolerance and understanding, you have instead trivialized it into  a rulebook, according to your own brand’s interpretation (often badly flawed, intellectually and historically) of what those rules mean). You might be surprised to learn that I likely know more about what’s actually in the Bible, and what isn’t, than you do. I’m pretty sure on that point because if that isn’t true, you have a serious problem with memory, comprehension, or both, and those are usually individual issues, not the kind of mass epidemic one sees here.

        I cannot find any “god” I recognize among your stained-glass windows, or altars filled with finery, incense and incantations, however pious. The only “god” I see there is your institutional “god” of wrath, vengeance and retribution….and of guilt, shame, and degradation of the human spirit, in the name of institutional control of the “sheep”  I suppose people who need fear to keep them from behaving badly, project that same need onto everyone else. What a small, petty, pathetic concept of a deity; rather like some combination of celestial accountant, bookkeeper and angry tyrant. I seem to recall knowing a different, much larger, more expansive God, one I see everyday, reflected in every human face I see; for even the worst among them has within a spark, however imperfect, of the divine. You want to touch that? Then do so with your actions and your attitude, not your “witness” of words, slogans and proselytizing. Someone much wiser than I once said”never mind what a man says he believes; watch what he uses”. I think he might have added, “when he thinks no one is watching”.

        I do not hate you, Soldier for God, but how I do hate many of the things you do! You took a simple message of love and hope for humanity, something I believe was intended as a message for individuals, not a basis for an institution, and warped, twisted, folded, spindled, and mutilated that spiritual gift; turned it to an excuse for all manner of bigotry, and hatred, and callous disregard for the very human souls you say you would save.  Right here in this thread, we have Christians, whose “faith” encourages them to reject as a mate someone who has neither wronged nor betrayed them, who has done nothing but love them, as “unworthy” and “a bad influence”, for the sole “offense” of not subscribing to the same “brand name” you chose to give your allegiance to? You call that “faith”? I call it something else entirely. Ghandi once observed, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians”. I understand exactly how he felt.

    3. 19.3
      DianaC

      I agree with you so much Katharine! tonight me and my guy friend just broke up after 10 months of dating because he realized that he was becoming more connected to his faith, and he realized that he wants his spouse to be the same as well. (Going to church, open minded etc.) and at the beginning of our relationship we had a conversation about this and he said that as long as I believed in God that we were OK but now it’s more about Jesus and having faith and everything like that, when I prayed to god for the truth, I was shown a more spiritual route & not religious. I am more spiritual and open-minded and tonight as we were having our conversation I got so upset that I even started crying because I said to him exactly what you’re saying right now. Explaining that I am a human being, a great person, give back to the needy, a highly & moral young woman and I don’t see why our religious differences & views is going to just end our relationship. When I have been nothing but excepting of his views but in return he couldn’t be excepting of me.. and that really really

      hurts me to the core..

    4. 19.4
      Ann

      I am a Christian and agree with you wholeheartedly. These people don’t follow Christ, as you see, there is hardly any love in them 🙂 They just want to feel superior 🙁

  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.

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