With the emergence of religious niche dating apps such as Christian Dating, Jdate and Muzmatch, the question must be raised; should you date someone religious? Is sharing religion the key to a good relationship? Statistics state only 16% of married couples say shared political opinions matter when it comes to a successful marriage. However, the same study showed that 44% said shared religion was a key factor.
Religion – The New Dating Niche
With only 53% of adults in the UK identifying as ‘non-religious’, dating someone religious is a challenge now more than ever before. While it may appear a divisive issue, couples who cited religion as an important issue put it further down on their list of priorities. This was behind aspects such as shared interests, a satisfying sexual relationship and even a good income. Does religious disagreement hold as much weight as you think in a relationship?
Values and Lifestyle
So, what makes religion such a divisive factor in dating? The issue with dating someone religious is most people don’t want to date anyone who will force their values on them. This also applies to extreme atheists. Similarly, religious beliefs and values can spill over into one’s everyday lifestyle choices. Christians go to Church once a week, Muslims can’t drink alcohol and most religions prohibit premarital sex.
These values create potential conflict and disagreement in typical Western culture. In other words, dating someone religious only becomes a deal breaker if it is forced upon someone else, or if it creates conflicts within a couple’s lifestyle.
Maybe it’s not a religious issue…
Of course, not all religious people are looking for the same thing when it comes to a relationship. The same can also be said for non-religious people who may have their own extreme values. Similarly, they may refuse to date people with different political affiliations or people who refuse to accept their non-religious stance.
Perhaps a more accurate way of looking at the issue is on a spectrum. The issue of dating someone religious may not be a matter of religion at all. Both Non-religious and religious people can easily tolerate and accept the differences between their values, if they are flexible and respectful enough. There will always be extreme believers and non-believers who will refuse to date someone else with differing views to their own.
Where to draw the line?
Dating someone of a different religious view is commonly accepted, if there is respect where neither partner forces their view onto the other. Some say dating someone religious with differing views doesn’t affect their relationship at all. However, others say it can (sometimes) lead to rather heated arguments that they have to work through.
On the other hand, other couples value the experience of dating someone religious and having their perspective challenged. This can help to keep each other grounded, while also building up a mature and mutual respect. However, other couples are happy to ignore their religious differences…
The long term implications
The potential conflicts that arise in an interfaith relationship surface much further down the road. Some Churches raise more of an issue when marrying someone outside of their religion. Meanwhile, non-believers find a minor issue in reciting marriage vows that they don’t actually believe in. Furthermore, deciding what religion to raise children in may be an issue. However, some people let their children decide later down the line. However, will this ever be a decision completely free of bias?
In the end, a successful relationship comes down to mutual respect. Both partners need to feel that their differing views can be accepted without forcing their views onto the other. This is an issue that is not necessarily tied to religion. Of course, there will always be some people who will refuse to date someone who disagrees with their own religious stance, but everyone is different.