Post # 17
Excellent points. Our Christian faith is the very foundation of our marriage, and it affects almost everything in our lives, including how we interact with each other, how we make our decisions, how we resolve conflict, how we spend our time and money, how we handle disagreements, how we are raising DH’s children, how we view world events and issues, etc. Both my DH and I had as our most important criterion for a mate someone who would love and be committed to Jesus more than he or she would ever love and be committed to the other person (because, by first and foremost loving and being committed to Jesus, the other person not only would be obedient to God’s command to put God first but also would be better equipped to love and remain committed to us.)
ETA: In fact, having a common belief system was essential to the very viability of our dating relationship as well. For example, my DH and I both believe that God requires sexual purity before marriage (and sexual fidelity within marriage.) It’s highly unlikely that a man who was not also committed to resisting sexual temptation before marriage would even have had any desire to be in that type of a dating relationship.
Post # 18
As a believer that marriage is a sacrament, it is important to me to marry another Christian, though I could most likely marry a different denomination as long as we agreed on how to raise future children, etc.
To me, I needed that support in my faith, someone going to Church with me, someone who understands my beliefs and respects them. If I were married to an athiest, he would most likely not go to church with me, not want to participate in prayers before meals, not want to have meaningful conversations about heaven, or holidays, or how I view politics. Deep down I would feel worried that my DH might not get into heaven with me possibly, or that I would start believing less or participating in my religion less due to his persuasal or lack of support. In short, it matters… to me at least.
Post # 19
- Wedding: November 2019 - Canada
that’s exactly why I left my Christian church! I felt like I would never be good enough, and it was more of a ‘popularity contest’ than high school, it was awful! I still believe everything, but no one gets to tell me ‘how to believe’ anymore. My Fi is non-religious and it’s never posed a problem. Although I imagine we’ll have to work something out when we have kids.
Post # 20
I don’t think there is anything wrong with the difference in beliefs but I think it can definitely be difficult. If you are not at all on the same page about religion I have seen it cause a LOT of problems in marriages especially when/if kids come along.
ETA: This is by no means a statement that it will always be an issue but the marriages that I personally know that this was a huge issue were: devoutly christian/devoutly muslim, jehovah’s witness/other christian, southern baptist/muslim.
Post # 21
It depends on the particular people and the strength of their beliefs or lack thereof I think.
I’m a very strict atheist… I just couldn’t marry someone who was religious, especially very religious. I would be biting my tongue all the time and maybe making jokes about bursting into flames. Not good.
Fi is a very laid back atheist. He’s just nicer and more tolerant of that stuff than I am. He could probably tolerate an equally laid back religious girl as long as she didn’t try to convert him.
Post # 22
i wouldnt try to convert my spouse. I believe religion should be done privatley. If i wanted to go to church, id go early and be back by round 10am that way i wouldnt waste too much of a sunday 🙂
Post # 23
Neither me nor my fiance is religious. I was raised in a somewhat religious household and he wasn’t at all (he attended a Quaker school in DC). But what I love about him is how supportive, respectful, and open-minded he is. If I were to become religious (doubtful), I imagine he would be curious but not disparaging. He’s this way with everything. It’s one reason I really do love him.
Post # 24
Right on. Then I think it would be ok. I think the important thing is that you each have space for the spirituality of your choosing. 🙂
Sometimes sharing that stuff with people who didn’t ask just invites unwelcome comments: (semi unrelated anecdote) When I was a teenager, my mom (a very sincere Protestant) would always leave bibles and teen literature where I would find them, knowing I couldn’t resist reading anything under my nose. All I did was mock it, then realized later that she had left it out just for me! Oops.
Post # 25
i love my mother dearly, but with religion we dont see eye to eye. I can still practice. I dont mind not talking about it with my spouse. I barely talk about it already!
Post # 26
I actually broke up with DH years ago. Completely broke my heart to do it, but I had to. When we first got together, neither of us was Christian. Then when I became Christian I tried to keep dating him even though it felt wrong. I loved him so much and wanted to marry him, but the closer I got to Jesus, the more I changed. We couldn’t see eye-to-eye about so many things: sex, marriage, work situations, etc. We were still both passionate about social justice (this was how we got together) but we approached it with such different hearts. I thought about being married and never being able to pray with my husband or discuss the things I was learning because he couldn’t understand. Also it was heartbreaking to see him struggle with certain things that I knew God could heal, but he couldn’t see it. I hurt for him. And even when he started to ask questions about Christianity, he connected it so much with me that he wasn’t able to really explore it on his own. So I finally listened to God who had very directly told me to let him go, as hard as it was.
While we were apart (a few years), he chose to get to know God on his own. He sought out other people to learn from and grow with. And eventually he asked to come to my church with me. When we got back together it was a completely new relationship, where we both brought each other closer to God and aimed to love others better. It is still a source of tension that he’s “newer” than I am, but our faith is our foundation. Whew, if Id stayed with him when he was an atheist we’d probably have been married long ago and divorced by now!
Post # 27
You sound like a very wise young woman who has learned to obey God’s commands, and to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and who understands the Biblical principle of putting God first in every area of your life. I’m so glad that you chose to honor God, even if that decision had ultimately cost you your relationship. As difficult as that decision must have been to make, I’m sure you realized that, even if God had not changed your SO’s heart and had not brought him back into your life, God would have had another, even better plan for your life.
I went through a somewhat similar experience with a former Fiance who was actually a believer, but who was from a different branch (not the correct word, but I cannot think of a better one) of Christianity. I loved him and wanted to marry him, and he loved the Lord, but God showed me that we would not have been equally yoked in the manner in which we were being called to serve God, and I had to let him go. I cried buckets of tears, because he was the best guy I had ever dated up to that point in my life (and I was 30 at the time), but I had to cancel the wedding and end the relationship. I had no idea that God would not bring my DH into my life for another 15.5 years (17 before we were married.)
You also raise an excellent point about the sensitivities inherent in your DH being a newer Christian. Although this definitely can work, it also can be challenging for a woman who has walked with God longer to be able to — and willing to — follow God’s plan for husbands and wives in marriage. The principles found in Ephesians 5, calling for wives to respect their husbands and to submit to their husbands’ leadership, and for husbands to love their wives **sacrificially** as Christ loves the church, are not at all easy even under the best of circumstances. For the Biblical model of marriage to work properly, it definitely takes two believers who are both fully submitted to God. One of my own criteria for a mate was that he had to be someone whom I could entrust not only with my own life and future but also that of any future potential children. He had to be someone whose God-given authority I could respect and trust, because I was 47 years old and *extremely* independent by the time I finally married. I had walked with God on my own for decades, and I had a fantastic and wonderful life. I had no interest in adding a layer of spiritual authority in my life and in being yoked together with someone else unless I knew that I could trust his ability to hear from and obey God, and to enhance my life, and to help take me to the next level spiritually.
Post # 28
@dicapriosimaginarywife: and @Bebealways:
I would just like to respond to something you both said about religious beliefs being private.
I definitely respect your rights to believe — or not believe as the case may be — whatever you wish, and I definitely understand why hearing about someone else’s faith actually may be quite annoying to many people.
However, I would like to help offer an explanation as to why many Christians do seem to insist on talking about their faith to others. It is because the very nature of Christianity is relational, and it must be shared with others.
Jesus himself called his message the “good news,” and he actually commanded his followers to communicate his message with their words and especially their actions. There are many scriptures that address this, but this is one of the most well known (sorry about the spacing — I tried twice to fix it but can’t seem to do it in the text box):
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
— Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
So, it’s not that Christians are trying to annoy others by sharing their faith with them. It just is inherent in our “job description” of being a Christ follower. I am someone who believes that how a Christian acts is even more important than what he or she says, because, if we “preach” something that we’re not living out in our own day-to-day lives, we actually cause more harm than good. Many people have turned their backs on the Christian faith, in large part, due to the hypocrisy that they have seen in the lives of Christians. That (hypocrisy in the lives of Christians) should not be so.
Post # 29
OP, Religion doesn’t matter much to me. Faith means everything to me. A relationship with God is one of the first things on my ‘must have’ list for a spouse. I can’t go into a marriage with someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs as me because we wouldn’t be able to make our marriage work. I have to put God first, before everything else. If I’m married to someone who doesn’t share that belief then we’re in trouble. We have to rely on God for everything and trust in His plan.
My future children need to have parents who are on the same page with how to raise them and not sharing the same belief would impact that. Once again, God comes first when I think about raising my children.
I just don’t see how a marriage works when you dont’ share the same beliefs.
Post # 30
I think you should marry someone who is different than you in the little things (like some hobbies, musical taste, etc) and has the same views on the big things, like politics, families, religion.
If you’re a Christian but don’t really practice or care, this is different than if you are a devout active one. If you are religious and it matters, you should definitely be with someone who sees eye to eye with you or is NOT religious. Especially if you plan on having children.
You can’t change people that don’t want to be changed. If they say they’re an atheist or Jewish or something else, they’re not going to come see the light of Jesus unless they want to. So when you go into your relationship, you need to be happy with them the way they are. If you think your perfect partner is perfect EXCEPT for their religious beliefs, then they aren’t the perfect partner.
So in short: If religion isn’t an important factor to you, different backgrounds are okay. If they ARE important to one of you, you’re going to have issues.
Post # 31
That’s fine if people want to do that, I don’t love it but I’d defend to the death their freedom and right to say this stuff even if I don’t like it. I just wouldn’t get romantically involved with them.