When I was younger, my mother tried to set me up on a date. It was cringe worthy, to say the least. Please, take a moment to picture this: me being nagged everyday about if I talked to Christopher, how Chris was doing, her waving to him across the parking lot when she picked me up after class as I shoved my head under a rock somewhere. What I find most interesting about the whole ordeal is that my mom did not base her desire for us to end up together off his personality; in fact she barely knew anything about him. Except that he was Catholic. And that’s all she needed to know. Perhaps then I am saying this because of how I was raised, but to me, religion should play key role in determining relationships.

Religiosity can affect choice of significant other. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)
Religiosity can affect choice of significant other. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

Religion is a powerful thing; it shapes our perception of the world, can change our lives and bring comfort to some of our most unanswerable questions. I like the idea that it would be easy for religions to merge together and for couples to be able to accept each other’s beliefs, I just don’t think it is. The problem with mixing different religions and dating is that for many people following your given religion is the sole purpose of life, so how can you end up with someone who practices a faith that challenges and questions everything you base your life on? The bible warns Christians to not be “unequally yoked.” I honestly thought this was Jesus being creative with some random cooking lesson about how to equally share your eggs, but it just means marry within your faith. But it raises a point that as followers of a faith, you take on the responsibility to obey what that religion asks of you. I’m not saying I think it’s mandatory one marries within their marriage, I just think that doing so prevents a lot of problems down the road.

Being with someone of the same religion helps establish better grounds for agreement in the relationship. To me it seems that, even if it was not intended, the way you were raised was greatly affected by your religion/culture. Your values, life goals and your beliefs are many things that you as a person will want to pass down onto your children. But that contrast in faith is going to create a barrier in communication, and arguing with someone you love over his or her beliefs is an extremely awkward situation.

On the other hand if you truly love someone, religion will probably be the last thing on your mind. Finding somebody you connect with and establish a long-term relationship with is not simple. And if you find that special person, it would seem trivial to give them up for, what may seem at times, an intangible world of promises. But I guess that’s where the factor of how religious one person is. If religion is not a large part of your life then it is not going to matter if you find a partner that fits your religious practice. But if it does matter to one member in the relationship, it complicates the situation.

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In my mind, if I meet someone I truly love, it would be horribly difficult to place my faith first. Even if in the back of my mind I will know the whole time that it’s something I should do. And even though marrying within your practice is encouraged, finding happiness, whether it is with the person you love or through the religion you follow, is the most important thing. It’s just key to remember the challenges that come with merging different religions and the hindrance it may have on that happiness.

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