It’s not a secret that when it comes to the relationship, opposites attract. Whereas the union of different characters can become a source of balance in the couple, different values can become a fundamental problem.
What can you do if you and your partner don’t agree on the religion? How to cope with the serious challenges that come along with different religious beliefs in a relationship? We’ve gathered the top pieces of advice from DoULike relationship experts to help you find your way around this uneasy situation. Let’s dive in!
Find something common
When you and your partner have different religions and your relationship starts to suffer, it’s very important not to let this issue grow. After all, many religions and even cults are not that different at their core. Most certainly, there are some commonalities in beliefs, basic morals, values, and even rituals. If you feel that having different religions becomes problematic for your couple, the first thing you need to do is change perspective. Instead of dwelling on differences, start focusing on similarities. Dig deeper to see what are the fundamental values of your partner, how they see their future family, what qualities are important for them in a partner and in themselves. After all, you don’t necessarily have to worship the same god if your core values overlap. Religion is just the source of virtue, not the virtue itself.
Educate each other
A common mistake that couples with different religions often make is developing judgments about other religions without taking time to fully understand what that religion is like. Unfortunately, people are susceptible to influence from media and they tend to believe in misinformation and faulty representation of many things. If all your knowledge about your partner’s religion comes from the internet, TV, or arguments of other people who haven’t studied that religion, you need to educate yourself on this matter. If you have some controversial ideas about your partner’s religion, don’t google your answer. Instead, ask your partner to explain to you those things that you find confusing or don’t understand. It’s always better to get this knowledge from someone who actually represents that religion and knows the real reasoning behind some rituals, practices, or beliefs. Just be honest about it and put your judgment aside before you actually learn the truth.
Respect each other
Different religious beliefs in a relationship should not be the reason to disrespect each other. Of course, you can have your own opinion about many things, you can agree or disagree on what is acceptable and what is too much. But if you want your relationship to be happy despite those differences, you must never show any signs of disrespect to the religion of your partner, and neither do they. Acknowledge your differences, talk about it openly to make sure that you can find a compromise in tricky situations, but never be disrespectful towards each other’s beliefs. This also applies to the situation when one person in the couple is religious and the other is not. The slightest shadow of disrespect can become a source of serious conflict.
Be transparent and talk
If you notice that the religious differences in relationships become uncomfortable for you, don’t postpone a conversation with your partner. The sooner you talk about it, the more chances that you’ll be able to find common grounds. Even if you don’t, at least you’ll know from the start that there is no point for you to stay together. In any case, if your religious beliefs become a problem in your relationship, you absolutely must talk about it because religion is not something that can be changed easily or at all. A lot of interreligious couples get married and live together happily ever after, but you won’t manage to overcome those challenges if you base your judgment on your assumptions and don’t discuss fundamental things that are bothering you.
Take part in the religious life of your partner
If you demonstrate your support and willingness to accept the traditions of a different religion, relationship will only benefit. As we’ve said before, you don’t have to worship the same deity to share common values or be respectful towards each other. And one way of showing that you care is by participating in the religious life of the other person. If you are planning to start a family with this person in the future, you can’t just opt out of important traditions because it will lead to serious disagreements and create a wall of misunderstanding between the two of you. Support each other’s desire to incorporate some traditions in your daily lives. For example, if one of you celebrates Hanukkah, the other should join. Do as much as you can to tolerate each other’s beliefs even if they don’t match. That’s the secret behind happiness in the interreligious couples.
Couples with different religious beliefs are not doomed to break up. If you are truly deeply in love with each other and if you are ready to work on your relationship, you’ll be fine. Just be respectful, discuss everything openly, and find a way to meet in the middle.