Originally published at: YourTango.com Photo credit: Your Tango How important is sharing the same faith in a relationship?
With the rise of interfaith marriages, and divorces, even religious singles seem to be asking the question: how important is sharing the same faith in a relationship? Is it necessary, or just another restriction that might blind you from finding the one? According to a study in 2015, while marriages of the same faith still dominate in the US (69%), interfaith marriages have increased 20% since people married before 1960. Interestingly, most interfaith marriages take place between a Christian and a “not religious” spouse. The Warner Brother’s 2008 movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II and one of our Matchmakers In The CityBachelorette’s dating experiences provide surprising insights into the problems with dating someone of a different, or non-existent, faith.
Lena, a pretty, shy blue-eyed college first year, meets Leo in her art class, before he models…nude. Although he is very different, and has more muscles, than any man she’s ever dated, she feels attracted to him, and they start seeing each other. One night, he prepares dinner for her on the rooftop of his apartment building with the sparkling lights of the city and his colorful pillows as their backdrop. Lena feels like she’s on top of the world and falls in love with his soulful, light green eyes. Yet despite all of the romance, something bothers her. She asks, “Do you believe in soul mates?” Leo replies, “No, not really. I know that's not the answer you wanted to hear.” Lena appreciates his honesty and continues the relationship, but deep down yearns for something more.
One of our Bachelorette’s Elizabeth* had spent two months getting to know her new boyfriend before they made it official. She visits his family in Rhode Island one weekend, and they have an off day. Inspired by The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II, she asks him as he drives to his parents’ house, the same question that Lena had asked. Elizabeth’s boyfriend said that it was all about location, that they would have someone else depending on where they lived.
The problem with dating someone without faith is that your partner lives without the notion that God has a plan for his life. As a result, everything becomes temporary, superficial, easily replaced, and meaningless.
Both Lena and Elizabeth decide to end their relationships in favor of the opportunity to meet men who feel more passionate about having them in their lives. For Lena, this man was her former flame from Greece who crosses the Atlantic to win her back. Now Elizabeth is in a relationship with a man of deep faith, and she is grateful for all of the experiences that she has had as a result of the painful breakup with her ex-boyfriend.
*Name has been changed to protect confidentiality.
Statistics take from: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/06/02/interfaith-marriage/
Movie quotes take from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Parts 2 screenplay by Elizabeth Chandler.