Can a relationship work if one person is religious and the other isn’t?

Profile photo of Noel Noel (@noel) 5 years, 11 months ago

Hi guys. I just became a member literally like 5 mins ago but this question has been on my mind forever. The only two serious relationships I’ve been in, both guys were more religious than me. The first one, the guy was just way too intense. I ended it and he became a pastor, so it all worked out best in the end. And now the guy that I was dating (we’re on a break right now) is still more religious than me though not as much as the first guy. I’m still trying to figure out my own beliefs so I just feel lost when it comes to this topic. What do you guys think?

October 19, 2011 at 11:00 pm
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EEL (5,363) (@mindlessfreak30) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

I think if anything religion would play more a crucial role later on like when it comes to getting married and having kids, but if its not looking anything serious like that, at least not as of now, then in the mean time I would say just see where you go from here. If you enjoy the person and are happy then just stick with it. Now if they are constantly bombarding you with their religious views or don’t agree with you than perhaps it will just be more of an annoyance and possibly just let them know you aren’t sure of your beliefs yet and you’d rather enjoy them rather than debate over religion.

Religions never been a very big role when it came to dating, but then again maybe I’ve just never been with someone who is extremely religious.

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Ray Butler (1,422)M (@trek79) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

Religious people are one of the hardest to reason with, especially on matters that seem to conflict with the source of their belief. However I have seen such relationships working, at least for as long as I watched. There is the idea of like-minds relationships versus opposites attract relationships. Opposites open each other up to new things and even compliment each others ways, whereas the like-minded enjoy all the same things.
I can just say it is possible but, like any relationship, any impasse can arise especially the firmer a persons mindset is.

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Kevin (536) (@placid) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

It really depends on the person. If both people in the relationship aren’t concerned about the other’s religion, then it should work. However, typically they are concerned (even if they say the don’t, they probably do subconsciously). Then it becomes an issue and an annoyance.

@ray “There is the idea of like-minds relationships versus opposites attract relationships. Opposites open each other up to new things and even compliment each others ways, whereas the like-minded enjoy all the same things.”

I always thought opposites attract was a myth and like-minds are always attracted to one another. But they way you defined opposite attraction makes sense.

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R.V. Star (150) (@rickvonstar) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

I tend to avoid religious women because before you know it they are trying to get me to go to church and if the woman is religious her parents are probably religious, which means they probably wouldn’t approve of their daughter going around with a moral reprobate heathen like myself

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Kirsten (1) (@kirsten) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

Yes, it most definitely can work.

In fact, I’m attending my boyfriend’s sister’s engagement party in a couple weeks. She is an atheist, as is my boyfriend and their whole family. Her fiancee, on the other hand, is Christian, brought up around a strong faith-based family. She brought this issue up to me in their earlier days of dating (they got together after my boyfriend and I), and was a little worried about it. But it turns out they really just never talk about it, not because its a sensitive subject, but because it doesn’t factor into their relationship at all. When it comes to their love for one another, they see past their differences, as all people should

I’m not quite sure if they’re getting married in a church or what. We’ll just see, I guess. :)

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Gina (1) (@frizdirection) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

My boyfriend and I are the same. He’s Christian. I’m..whatever. Haha. We really just never talk about it. I don’t know how it will factor in later(like with marriage and kids), but that’s something we will tackle when we get there. There are usually always going to be some differences you have with your significant other and its up to you to look past it, accept it, or reject it.
I personally think there is always a happy medium. :P

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James (18) (@jameslarson13) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

yes. as long as neither of you are preachy assholes. im not religious, and i have had stable relationships with girls who are. my last girlfriend, catholic, also the smartest person i know, perfectly reasonable person. we had a great relationship until college.

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Ellie (1,356)M (@tangledupinplaid21) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

It is doable, but not something I prefer to do. I dated a Christian for about 2 months and we got along great except for the couple times his faith came up and I asked (non offensive) questions.. which would turn into arguments. The fact that certain areas were off limits and required walking on eggshells wasn’t cool with me because communication is the most important factor to me in a relationship. However if you both can refrain from being offended at each other’s differing beliefs, it can work.

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St Emilion (2,991) (@manimal) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

Of course it can. A relationship works if you want it to, that’s what it comes down to. A relationship is just a deal between two people, what it entails and how they get along is all about their willingness. This is in your own control.

Don’t make things complicated when they’re simple.

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paul_g (21) (@paulg) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

you could tell him what’s on your mind, and that you were contemplating on the two questions of whether a couple can work if they have different views on religion, and how it was for you two in particular. then see how the discussion goes. IMO, that’s the key indicator for a relationship: how well you can talk about stuff. also, my question back to you: how does what you described above make *you* feel? what do you think it makes *him* feel like? why are you on a break, because of religion, or what? also, how old are you two roughly? if you end up noticing that it is very important to you to be with someone who is similar to you religiously, then maybe in the future you will start asking that question before you get very attached :) but seriously, it really mostly depends on what kind of people you are and what the exact variants of your belief systems are. all the best, -p

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Jordon (0) (@jordonh) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

My most recent ex of about 7 months was a religious Christian but didn’t practice often. I am a non-practicing Jew, and she always felt scared to talk to me about any religious matters, weakening our relationship due to the inability to communicate. Anyways, she ended up starting to go to church again, and it definitely changed her a bit, and changed our relationship. I’m sure it’s possible for two people of different faiths, or lack of faith to work out, but from my experience, I wouldn’t try it.

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Jennifer (0) (@jbuttner) 5 years, 11 months ago ago

When I met my husband, back in ’97, he was an Atheist. I was a strict Seventh Day Adventist. So when he first asked me out, I said no. I really liked him but I thought it would never work because of our religious differences. He asked me out every day for 4 months before I eventually gave in.
When we started dating, we made an agreement not judge or pressure the other person into believing or not believing. We didn’t avoid religious conversations. Instead, we really listened and tried to understand where the other person was coming from.
Not to brag but I feel the main reason this worked, and still works, is because we are both open minded. Unlike a lot of religious people I know, we honestly think about what the other is saying before accepting or rejecting it.
Together we have grown, and both have our own individual relationship with our Source. I am extremely grateful to be in a relationship with someone who makes me think about what I believe. Someone who makes me ask questions. Because when you stop asking questions, what’s the point?
Hope this helps. :)

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jess (0) (@jessupyo) 5 years, 10 months ago ago

Greatly depends on the couple. It wouldn’t be possible for me since I joke about God and religion all the time. Non-religious with a belief in God might be ok. Ultimately, I should stick to agnostic or atheist.

Thinking back to college, it’s kind of a bummer too. I remember hanging out with a really cool chick in my discrete mathematics. She programmed her calculator to play super mario brothers and had this cute, nerdy personality. She turned out to be a mormon though :(

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Stephanie (1) (@stephaniesinfl) 5 years, 10 months ago ago

As of today, this topic has become crucial to me. My fiance is discovering that his religious beliefs and spiritual guidance are more paramount in his life than he originally felt when we began dating 1 1/2 years ago. I told him then, and I feel now, that I’m agnostic. Open minded to a higher power, not affiliated toward any one religious group, and generally a skeptic when it comes to organized religion as a whole. He wants to continue growing and discovering his religion with his partner, and I understand that.

I’ve gone to church a few times, and I like that I can take parts of the sermons and relate them to my life. But I’m not sure what I believe. I feel cynical and sometimes hypocritical for even being there.

It feels like a line is being drawn in the sand: become a Christian and accept these beliefs so we can marry and raise our family as a united Christian front, or don’t and lose the greatest love I’ve ever known. I respect his honestly, but he doesn’t respect my hesitation. I had faith in love and family, and I’m afraid that love will not conquer all.

Any advise???

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Scott Warren (0) (@scottydoowop) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Sorry to revive an old post, but I can really relate to your story.  How did things end up?  Thank you.

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Ellie (1,356)M (@tangledupinplaid21) 5 years, 10 months ago ago

I was raised in a Christian family, and the rule against dating someone who isn’t your religion is a strict rule. I always thought it absurd even when I bought into that religion. I strongly believe in “To each his own” and am very weary of any belief system that is threatened by different ideas… That is how we grow and change as humans. I would not go along with something that doesn’t sit well with you for the sake of a relationship, and he shouldn’t ask that of you.

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Ray (4) (@brainofmorbius) 3 years, 3 months ago ago

What usually happens Noel is that one person adapts to the other’s religion or belief system. Just being from two separate Protestant denominations can make a relationship unworkable… Or you can go into a relationship thinking you both have the same belief system, find out you don’t, and then it fails as well.

It all comes down to what you as a person are willing to tolerate. What do you think about the “soul mate” idea, that there is someone out there perfect for you? If you firmly believe in that, then that someone is going to share your beliefs very closely, and anyone who doesn’t, the relationship likely won’t last.

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vilaza (0) (@vilaza) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Honestly, I have been struggling about it with my boyfriend. But I think it is more a matter of attitude towards it. If one wants to make it a big deal, it will become a big deal. Delicate topics such this one must me carefully discussed until the limits are clear for both of the parts. Otherwise it will always be like an elephant in the room. From my experience so far, each part needs to understand that there are minimal chances to change something that is so deep founded in the heart. At the same time none of the parts have the right to provoke or tease bringing up polemic subjects that will certainly become endless discussions. Discussions are important, but they can hurt the other person if not done wisely. I think respect is the key, by knowing the rituals that are important and to behave accordingly in some occasions. An open heart is important also, because even though they see their beliefs going in opposite directions, what made a couple get together was the feeling they felt in the first place. Finally, if you love him, his beliefs should not get in the way of how you feel about him. If this happens, the feelings might not be that strong.

PS: in case you are wondering, I do love my boyfriend, and I am sure we will work it out  :)

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Anonymous (149) (@) 2 years, 5 months ago ago

Acceptance of each other is the KEY.., also try to not make beliefs
and religion a big thing in the relationship that usually creates
conflict, but if that’s the way you and your partner are then by all
means be open to talking about it and whenever he feels down learn some
things about his religion to cheer him up and get him up on his feet but
just cause you say things about the religion doesn’t mean you have to
believe it, you do it for him.  Vice Versa, your partner also has to be
leveled with you on understanding eachothers needs or desires and not bash you for not believing what he does (idk if that’s the case but that usually is im assuming).

You’ll
most likely always bump heads with someone else’s beliefs but you
discuss is so much, especially if you don’t really know what you believe
in then i’d think it would create more conflict since you’d be curious
and sort of be the devil’s advocate (or just plain curious questioning)
in discussing religious beliefs with others.

To me, everyone has
their own truth, through experiences in life and one great fundamental
truth in relationships or in life is acceptance & a willingness to
understand the unique nature of an individual.

“You must
allow everyone the right to exist in accordance with the character he
has, whatever it turns out to be: and all you should strive to do is to
make use of this character in such a way as it’s kind of nature permits,
rather to hope for any alteration in it, or to condemn it offhand for
what it is. Live and let live….
To become indignant at [people‘s] conduct is as foolish as to be angry with a stone because it rolls into your path. And with many people the wisest thing you can do, is to resolve to make use of those whom you cannot alter.
  –Arthur Schopenhauer

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Raymond Foster (6) (@RJFoster) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

Ya a relationship can work if one person is religious and the other isn’t. you just have to find someone who will except you for who you are. I think you should talk to the guy your with about it and try to come to an understanding between each other.

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nixx (0) (@nixxxw) 2 years, 4 months ago ago

I know this guy that I have been friends with since highschool. We hung out a few times over 10 years or so, everytime the same, we would get messed up, have sex somewhere and then I wouldn’t see him again for so many years. Fast forward to today, I have a kid who’s 6 years old, parents bought us a nice sized house to live in very comfortable. Now this guy comes back into my life seeing this, and immediately wants to get serious with me. He hasn’t been a practicing anything for his whole life, but now that I told him about The Purpose Driven Life, he is starting to even read that and take that seriously.

side note, this isn’t me but a friend I know, this would be coming from here, and a side of me(his bff). 

So being as it’s such a big step to go from a non-believer to being evangelical, what can she do help see he’s in it for the house, and will do anything, even giving himself to jesus or whatever. This guy is so far from that, I mean he is super simple and I think he probably seeks out meaning than anyone else. But still it makes me sick. One because he’s willing to be turned into a religious nut, and two because she is too blind to see that he’s just there for the house and security. 

I was jealous until I started researching that book and found how strange all of that is.

side question, is all religion like this book, or is this just some hardcore style that guy came up with. I wish I understood more about the different religions, but in the end I have enough on the table than to have to devote my life to something a book claims to be true.

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Shivers (0) (@Shiveringrose) 2 years, 2 months ago ago

I’m in a relationship where my boyfriend is a different religion than me. He tends to take religion a bit too serious. It looks like he’s thinking of becoming a pastor and his religion isn’t kin on other religions. 

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Bigs (14) (@Bigs) 2 years, 2 months ago ago

A rational person with an irrational person isn’t likely to go well, no.

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vote4logan (1) (@vote4logan) 2 years, 2 months ago ago

I believe any relationship can work as long as you are able to openly communicate any issues. If he is religious, that’s okay. Just as okay as you not being, but the issue happens when you’re not able to communicate openly with each other. He should feel like he can’t talk to you about religion, just as you shouldn’t feel pressured into his religious beliefs. It’s a dance, but finding your own solution, by talking with him, is the best solution. Let him know how you feel when he says “____” and allow him to say how he feels. Be aware of why you feel how you feel, in relation to you and your past experiences and not him and his actions, and encourage him to do the same. Relationships are about discovering yourself and each other.

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Darth Million (0) (@Erik-Hamm) 1 year, 8 months ago ago

I married a girl that was raised Christian but didn’t seem very serious about it at the time. I’ve been an Atheist since I was very young and l’m not changing my mind about it. I hoped it would not be an issue but it became a major problem after our son was born. She seemed to become much more religious and of course her Mother was involved and might as well be a pastor. It wasn’t what ended the marriage though.

The more you are together the more problems seem to a problem. It’s almost like you view the world through a different lens than the other person. This for me is a huge problem especially when you factor in you are going to disagree about raising children, going to Church, how you handle death, how you talk to others, who your friends are, and on and on. I personally would not recommend it. I see it as a deal breaker for any future relationship. Right up there with wanting kids or not and liking Game of Thrones. 

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