Should you only date and marry within your religion?

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image: singleblackmale.org

 

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. The conversation started out with me talking about why I felt it was okay for me to marry outside of my religion. I said something like, “It’s important for me to find an honest and educated man who believes in God and does his best to live by his belief system – if he’s a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that’s fantastic, if not, we’ll work it out.”

 My friend, opposed me, saying, “That’s really nice, but I grew up in a family like that. Both of my parents were religious at first but one faith didn’t require the same dedication as the other and ultimately my dad stopped worshipping anything at all. This of course upset my mother, and their marriage suffered – and worse, we kids suffered. It’s a very hard situation that from the outside doesn’t seem like it would be so bad. Are you willing to do that to your children? Because that’s what I think about when dating and who I choose to date – how will this relationship be for me? And how will this relationship be for my kids? I know now the best thing is to marry and date within your same religion.”

 Then we kind of stared at each other with these awkward disagreement type faces. LOL.

 But I’ve been thinking a lot about what she said, my parents were part of the same religion and their unity in faith created a great foundation for our family. I don’t know what it would have been like if it had been different. I’m sure it would have been different, but I also know that they are good people with and without their faith. That feels weird to say, but you know what I mean.

 Still, I heard my friend. I could feel where she was coming from and I agreed: “How will this relationship be for me?” “And how will this relationship be for my kids?” Those are great questions to ask. I want to give my children even more than I had (which was a lot) and certainly I don’t want to give them less. What I felt, and still feel though, is how can you even predict what’s going to happen in the future? Deciding only to date within your religion doesn’t guarantee anything, right? People change, people love, people stop loving, people believe, people stop believing…so how could dating and marrying within your religion be the answer for everyone? Or protect against a difficult family life for you or for your kids? I don’t think it is the answer for everyone. Do you? If so, why? And How?

 I think for myself, ideally, I would find this great guy who I loved who also was a member of the same church that I attend (for a lot of reasons that I’ll write about later)– but if not and even still, I’d want to find out what it takes to keep faith strong in a marriage. Because then I would have something tangible to work with when/if problems did arise.

 

What are your thoughts? How are you dating? Does faith play a part in who you choose to date/love?

 

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2 thoughts on “Should you only date and marry within your religion?

  1. I honestly think that being the same religion and honestly believing/living it to a similar degree is one if the most important predictors of marital happiness. That is not a popular notion, but when you have kids, it is extremely difficult when one believes something from the Spirit and does not have his/her spouse’s support. Spencer W. Kimball taught about this numerous times. Here is a link to one talk he have at BYU:http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=706

    1. Thanks for this great comment! I think honestly living your shared faith would definitely improve your opportunities for marital success…what if along the way one of you decide it’s not for you? Has anyone had that happen? In that case, how do you keep the marriage strong?

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