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Dawn.wonderer's picture

Dawn.wonderer

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Christian dating an Agnostic

 I'm looking for some advice from practicing Christians.

I'm a Christian, and come from a very strict Christian home. I've been dating someone outside my faith secretly for 2 months, because my family and church are openly against interfaith relationships.

My personal belief on this is that my boyfriend's morals and beliefs are similar to mine, but he has not attended a church since he was young and is not saved. But our beliefs are similar enough that the practical issues of inter-faith relationships are not really an issue.

I know about "do not yoke yourselves with unbelievers", but I've recently been told that 'unbelievers' is closer in meaning to 'carnal people' or evil people...

So I want to know... is what I'm doing wrong, morally, according to the bible?

Or are my family and church being too judgmental and exclusive?

Are there Christians who believe that this is okay?

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Motheroffive's picture

Motheroffive

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It sounds as though you share a similar value system -- to me, that's where the rubber hits the road in terms of relationships. I don't believe you are doing anything wrong at all nor do I hold the same belief as do  your family and your church on this issue.

Northwind's picture

Northwind

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I agree with Motheroffive.

 

I grew up with an Irish Protestant grandmother who had some strong opinions about this type of thing. If my mother had married a Catholic man, my grandmother would have disowned her. No question..... By the time I was adult, she had softened a lot. Had I married someone Catholic she would have thought I was nuts, but would have still loved me. This black and white way of thinking made me realize just how hurtful it can be. We cannot work in absolutes and the right person for us may come in a package that challenges our beliefs.

 

I guess the bottom line is whether you have a similar value system and if you can respect the differences you hold. That is, he can respect your faith, and you can respect his views. If he ridicules you for your faith, or tries to change you, then he is not right for you. If you try to change his views and convert him then you are not right for him.

 

Good luck.

Dawn.wonderer's picture

Dawn.wonderer

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 Thank so much to both of you :) It helps a lot just knowing that not every Christian thinks like my church. 

carolla's picture

carolla

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I agree with the other posters ... from my perspective it's entirely okay.

 

Last week I went to see the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" - Have you ever seen it dawn.wonderer?  Although it's been around for a long time, it was the first time I'd actually seen it.  Its central focus, to me anyway, is the story of a man who lives by cultural & religious "traditions" of his community - until his daughters, each in their own time & in their own way, cause him to re-examine those traditional rules and change some of his own thinking.  Indeed, we parents can learn from our children ... IMO ... but not all are willing.  

nurse91's picture

nurse91

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I am fairly similar with my boyfriend - we may not necessarily share the same specific beliefs, but our values and what we want together are in line, which I see as more important.  We have decided together that neither of us will try to force our beliefs on the other; so I go to church, he doesn't - that's how it is, and it's no big deal to us. 

That being said, I think my beliefs are definitely on the liberal end - which is probably one of the reasons that I am okay with my relationship being like this.  I also have fairly conservative parents and extended family; and my parents are okay with it.  My mom and I talked about it, and she said that while my choices that I'm making aren't necessarily what she would choose, she still loves, supports and is proud of me.  Communication is key... with all involved :)

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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You're under 18 and looking for values ?

How bout fun ..... an emotional connection , a sexual one , common interests ....

You're almost an adult you don't have to be part of the kook klan anymore .....

When i was 18 i was looking for a guy with wheels

 

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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Dawn.wonderer wrote:
I know about "do not yoke yourselves with unbelievers", but I've recently been told that 'unbelievers' is closer in meaning to 'carnal people' or evil people..

 

You're not yoked with him. You won't be yoked to him until some time in the future should you choose to marry.

 

If such a time occurs, you should seriously consider just how you will raise any children that may result from your union. In what faith will you raise them? Will you baptize them? Will you take them to church? Will you read to them from God's Word?

 

There are complications and challenges involved in any marriage, more so when there are interfaith and/or intercultural issues to work through.

seeler's picture

seeler

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Dawn-wonderer - welcome to the Cafe.  This is a great place to explore questions such as those you are asking right now. 

 

As I see it, you have a friend, who you have fun with.  You enjoy his company.  You both have similar values.  Except that you are a Christian and go to church - and he has doubts.   Right now I don't see any problem.   In sharing what you think about religion and spirituality you might learn from each other.  However, since you are a minor and I would imagine that you are still living at home, you have to decide what to do if your parents forbit this relationship to continue.  I don't like secrets.  Either be honest and stand up for what you believe in (that there is nothing wrong with this relationship) or respect your parents wishes and obey them until you are independant.

 

If at some time in the future this relationship develops further and you are looking at a long term commitment or marriage, you have a lot of questions to ask yourself and to discuss with your boyfriend.  How will you feel going to church alone while he lounges in bed?  How will he feel when he wants to plan something for the weekend and you are committed to going to church Sunday morning?  What compromises are you willing to make?  What about the religious upbringing of the children - will they attend church with you?  Will you all go as a family even though the service means nothing to him?  Or will he object to the children attending Sunday School, youth activities and church services?   But these are questions for later.

 

Dawn.wonderer's picture

Dawn.wonderer

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 Thanks. I have been talking with him and thinking hard myself.

The problem is, I won't be a minor much longer. I'll be 18 in a few months but likely living at home another year. I think it will be very hard for my parents to realize that I am no longer their little girl, and that I do not share all their beliefs... I'm not really sure when or how to go about telling them.

And I'm worried that if I tell them, they wont assist financially with my education unless I end my relationship.

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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Well in that case i think you education is a bit more important than some guy if push comes to shove ....  and they give you that ultimatium ...... there will be other guys this is not the only one LOL 

 

Olivet_Sarah's picture

Olivet_Sarah

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Hi Dawn - as someone married to a culturally-Jewish agnostic, this can work. :) A few things to encourage you.

 

1. First, you're young - not in the condescending 'relationships at this age don't last' kind of way, I was only a year or two older than you when I met hubby, but just in the, it IS okay to be happy with someone who treats you well and whose company you enjoy at this time in your life - if there's a future (which with shared values, interests, etc., there very well could be), fabulous! If it turns out there isn't, wouldn't it be a shame to have wasted the good times of this relationship worrying about something that ended up being irrelevant at the end?

 

2. My only advice, if and when things get more serious between you is to be prepared. You probably WILL face resistance from your folks, and you WILL have choices to make about whether or not, and how often, he accompanies you to church, whether you even get married in one (which I would guess would be important to to you but quite the opposite for him). Certainly kids are the obvious biggie and having an understanding before you embark on those issues is helpful. Hubby's an open-minded agnostic and I'm a liberal Christian, both of us from very open-minded families, and very open-minded ourselves, and we still had some things to smooth over, discuss, work out. But if you ARE prepared, know the challenges ahead and he's still worth it? Don't give up what makes you happy in order to shut up some naysayers. It doesn't make for a very happy long run.

chansen's picture

chansen

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Dawn.wonderer wrote:
 Thanks. I have been talking with him and thinking hard myself.

The problem is, I won't be a minor much longer. I'll be 18 in a few months but likely living at home another year. I think it will be very hard for my parents to realize that I am no longer their little girl, and that I do not share all their beliefs... I'm not really sure when or how to go about telling them.

And I'm worried that if I tell them, they wont assist financially with my education unless I end my relationship.

 

It sounds as if you don't exactly believe as your parents do, either.  I'm assuming your personal beliefs are somewhere between those of your family, and this guy you're dating.

 

First, faith is but one aspect of a relationship, and it appears to be one that you and this guy have no problem navigating around it.  For now, at least.  That's fantastic.

 

The most important thing, is that you two get along.  Everyone else is secondary.  Parents, though they can be reluctant, often come around to nice guys of any background.

 

Will your folks cut off financial support over this relationship?  That's harsh, and it wouldn't say much for your folks if they did.  I don't think there is an easy answer here.  I might be very inclined to keep the relationship out of sight until you're sure you two are in it for the long haul, and cross that bridge later.

 

BTW, I am in a long-term inter-faith relationshop of 18 years.  My wife is agnostic, and I'm an atheist ;)  Aaaaaand I just realized we started dating the year you were born, and now I feel very old.

Dawn.wonderer's picture

Dawn.wonderer

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thanks to all of you :) 

Its really encouraging to me to see that inter-faith relationships can work, but whats still bugging me a little is I'm wondering... would God would agree to this?

I love him, he loves me, we get along great, and I feel like he is a real blessing to me... but if he's not a practicing Christian, then could he really be who God wants me to be with?

Am I over-thinking this? lol

jon71's picture

jon71

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As has been said you've got a lot to think about and talk about. The biggest question is kids, how will they be raised? You're starting down a very difficult path and I hope you look at all the pitfalls coming your way. Regardless of your decision I wish you well.

chansen's picture

chansen

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Kids are't the question at all.  That's putting the cart before the horse.  If the relationship is sound, then the kids will likely grow up in a healthy environment.  If the relationship does not work, well, hopefully you were smart about protection and there were no kids produced in the dating process.

 

If it does come to kids, "How will they be raised?"  I'd like to think the answer to that should be, "Very well."  Any answer of "Christian" or "agnostic" should be null and void.  They're kids - the religion (or lack thereof) in which they are raised should not define them.

 

If it's a question of WWGD?  I don't give a flying fig.  I think what you're really asking is, what would your family, congregation and religious friends think?

 

I'll write it again:  Loving parents want to see their kids with significant others who connect with them and treat them with respect.  With all the inter-faith pairings I've known, the parents always came around.  In one case, it was after the wedding, but they always came around.  To your parents, a loving agnostic should trump a disrespectful believer every time, but only they can confirm that.

seeler's picture

seeler

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You ask 'would God agree to this?"   

 

In my opinion God loves us and wants us to be happy.  God created us to be in relationship, not only with God, but with others.  And particularly it seems to me that God's wish is for each of us to have one particular other - a friend, partner, and eventually if things work out a spouse. 

 

I would think that if this boy is right for you at the present time - if you have a lot in common, if you respect each other, if you care for one another - you will have God's blessing. 

Olivet_Sarah's picture

Olivet_Sarah

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dawn -I think one could see God's work in this relationship in many different ways, depending how it plays out. And I think that's true of any relationship - God doesn't send people into our lives without cause. Perhaps God wants you to understand his world and the people in it a bit more deeply than you have had the chance to so far, and as such has put someone in your path who is different from what you have been used to to this point. Perhaps it is an opportunity for you, to show you that your faith is your own, and that those who don't share it are not a threat to your own beliefs - you can still practice, go to church, etc. even with an atheist partner.

 

Now that's for people coming into our lives. As for *staying* in our lives - does God want you to be together longterm? That will reveal itself in time. But in the meantime I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and if you've found someone in the meantime who shares your values, treats you well, and whose company you enjoy, I have no doubt that's God's work, and he'd want you to explore that relationship and whatever purposes he has for it.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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Olivet_Sarah wrote:
Now that's for people coming into our lives. As for *staying* in our lives - does God want you to be together longterm? That will reveal itself in time. But in the meantime I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and if you've found someone in the meantime who shares your values, treats you well, and whose company you enjoy, I have no doubt that's God's work, and he'd want you to explore that relationship and whatever purposes he has for it.

 

Yes, yes, what Olivet says.

lastpointe's picture

lastpointe

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My daughter is 18 and if she was dating someone on the sly I would be upset.  I would wonder why?  Is there something she is hiding?  What?  and of course imagine the worst. ( gangs, drugs, ....)

 

Perhaps your parents are terribly strict but at the same time , if you have attended public school they know you will meet many kids of different faiths and values.

 

It isn't unusual for kids to vary from their parents in how they live their faith.  More devote or less so but it can be hard for parents to come to understand.  SO give them time to discuss ito 

I would introduce your friend to your folks.  Keep it casual.  Have him drop by to pick you up before a date and give a quick introduction.  I think it highly unlikely your parents are going to grill him at the door.

 

Then later, if they grill you with "what church does he attend", you can simply say he is a searcher on the road and leave it at that.

 

As to long term?  I think a happy marraige is built on some common values and ideals.  At some point it will be up to you both if the meshing of your faith and his non faith can work with each of you giving space and respect to the others position.

 

But I think sneaking around on parents when you live at home is not grown up or mature and will only lead to problems.  Ultimately, if your parents get upset, you will have to deal with it but putting it off is not going to solve it.

 

 

musicsooths's picture

musicsooths

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"But I think sneaking around on parents when you live at home is not grown up or mature and will only lead to problems.  Ultimately, if your parents get upset, you will have to deal with it but putting it off is not going to solve it."

 

Iagree with this you are in a relationship that is important to you and our of respect for this relationship and the one with your parents it would be better to let your parents know about it and let them meet the person is question. Yes the fur wil  fly.

 

No this relationship is not wrong it  just should be in the open. If you care about each other and treat each other well what is the problem.

 

Olivet_Sarah's picture

Olivet_Sarah

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I agree sneaking around is only going to add to the concerns dawn faces when her parents inevitably find out - but she is also young and I don't blame her for making this choice initially. Why risk the fur flying for a guy who might not last?

 

But dawn - seeing as it has lasted a couple of months now and you are starting to ask some serious questions about your relationship's future, I would start to work into making your parents aware of your friend. You don't need to start with 'we've been sneaking around for two months', and I wouldn't even recommend it. But at least get a 'A friend I made at school is coming over to study', or 'I'm getting a ride to the movies/party/whatever this weekend with someone I'd like you to meet' ... and go from there. I get the instinct to avoid something that is going to be difficult and unpleasant, and I don't blame you at all; I'd have done the same until there was something to talk about; but since there now is, and you are almost an adult yet still living under your folks' roof, you might go a long ways to encouraging their trust in your judgement and maturity by starting to introduce them to this idea. They'll respect you and your decisions more in the long run, however difficult this discussion might be now.

Motheroffive's picture

Motheroffive

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I have some concerns about recommending that this relationship be made known to your parents. I understand the rationale behind the advice but am concerned in the same way that I am concerned when a young person who is gay or lesbian discusses coming out with their parents.

 

You are dependent on your parents, Dawn.wonderer, and that calls for caution in terms of both doing things that they won't/don't approve of or telling them of things you're doing that you know they won't support. In some families, disclosing this kind of information is to risk your physical upkeep. Do you think that might be the case in your family? If that's so, I would advise not risking it since you need to get to the place where you are capable of independence first. Only if you aren't risking your place in the family home, would I recommend that you give this disclosure careful consideration...

 

Many blessings as you work through this situation -- it can't be easy and my heart goes out to you.

Olivet_Sarah's picture

Olivet_Sarah

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MO5 - and that thinking is exactly why I didn't offer this advice earlier - because I understand how scary it must be as a minor to reveal something you know intuitively your parents won't approve of. I guess I'm looking at the reality of the possibility that her parents find out anyway. If that would risk a breakup in the family home, it would anyway; but less than that and she could make a tricky-but-manageable situation into a less-manageable one by giving them reason to be concerned - ie, by keeping the relationship from them. And at 17, in the family home, I don't know how long this could be kept a secret. But your point is definitely well taken (by me anyway ... lol ... not my relationship).

pnayplayr's picture

pnayplayr

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have fun...you're 18!  not to sound pessimistic, but you'll most likely not end up marrying him anyways. i mean, i know people who marry their h.s. sweet heart, but for the most part, they don't.

that aside, it depends how highly you regard your own personal belief.  i personally wouldn't date an agnostic/athiest.  datin a catholic alone is complicated enough for me, throw in a completely non-believer would be a choas for me.

i have a very strong faith and in what i believe in.  if i can't grow spiritually with my partner, then i'll be taking away a huge part of my life.  if i am down, praying together helps me out a lot.  how can an agnostic/atheist pray with me, when they don't even believe what i believe in?

with that being said, i wouldn't date someone that is of "different yolk" because i'm now dating towards marriage.  if i know ahead of time it won't go anywhere, why waste it, instead, be open to those who'll be better suited for me, who can grow with me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  to me, you date someone as is, not date them hoping they'll convert.

i have no problem with those who are dating outside their fate/culture/race. it's upto them, but i hope they are wise enough to look ahead and be smart about the upcoming complications it *might* bring later on.

chansen's picture

chansen

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pnayplayr wrote:
have fun...you're 18!  not to sound pessimistic, but you'll most likely not end up marrying him anyways. i mean, i know people who marry their h.s. sweet heart, but for the most part, they don't.

that aside, it depends how highly you regard your own personal belief.  i personally wouldn't date an agnostic/athiest.  datin a catholic alone is complicated enough for me, throw in a completely non-believer would be a choas for me.

With that rigid of an attitude, something tells me you don't have line of atheists beating down your door.

 

pnayplayr wrote:
i have a very strong faith and in what i believe in.  if i can't grow spiritually with my partner, then i'll be taking away a huge part of my life.  if i am down, praying together helps me out a lot.  how can an agnostic/atheist pray with me, when they don't even believe what i believe in?

They can't.  They can, however, be there for their significant others, which to me, trumps calling on a spiritual third party for assistance every time.

 

pnayplayr wrote:
with that being said, i wouldn't date someone that is of "different yolk" because i'm now dating towards marriage.  if i know ahead of time it won't go anywhere, why waste it, instead, be open to those who'll be better suited for me, who can grow with me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  to me, you date someone as is, not date them hoping they'll convert.

Why would they need to convert?  Why couldn't you convert?  Why does anybody need to convert in the first place?

 

pnayplayr wrote:
i have no problem with those who are dating outside their fate/culture/race. it's upto them, but i hope they are wise enough to look ahead and be smart about the upcoming complications it *might* bring later on.

*facepalm*

 

It's about the PERSON, not the faith, the culture, or the race.  I can't believe I'm reading this.

seeler's picture

seeler

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pnayplayr - in every belief system (and I believe in every group of non-believers) there is a spectrum of ideas on every subject.  Even in your parents church there will be people who believe differently from one another and from their Pastor.  In my church (the UCC) there is a wide range of belief. 

 

Dawn-wonderer states that she and her boyfriend agree on many things and have a lot in common.  They respect each other.  They are both young, both growing and changing, both on a journey which may or may not lead them together or apart, and may or may not lead them closer together in their beliefs.  In time he may come to see value in her spirituality; in time she may come to question some of the teachings of her church and see value in the search of understanding of God and the world we live in.  Or they may grow further apart.

 

Right now I see a lot that is positive in their relationship.

 

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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Dawn-wonderer states that she and her boyfriend agree on many things and have a lot in common.

All that means is that they are on the walking-on-eggs phase .... can they agree to disagree ? only time will tell ......

 

 i personally wouldn't date an agnostic/athiest.

LOL they might not date you either ...... whatever happened to long walks on the beach

 

Charles T's picture

Charles T

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Dawn.wonderer I get the feeling you are trying to ask some sort of question like, "What does the Bible say about this?"  Actually I just double checked you did ask that.

Well, unlike a lot of people here I have a pretty conservative orthodox position on the Bible as God's Word, but I have to tell you - it is not a rule book.  Too often we turn to it looking for a rule that we can follow in doing or not doing something.  That is living under the law, not walking by the spirit.

 

That being said, there is not a whole lot in there about this sort of thing.  Actually in one of Paul's letters he talks to wives of unbelieving husbands, of course this was likely one where they were unbelievers when they married and she converted, but the marriage was to continue.  Look at Hosea called to marry Gomer, who by lifestyle was probably not a very devout Jew.

This concept that many young girls, especially, in the church have of finding the guy that God has for them I do not agree with.  The concept of soul mates is only mentioned once in the Bible, as far as I know, and it is in regard to David and his best friend.  I really don't think God pre-ordained me to marry the woman I married.  When we met she said something I thought was profound, "The only reason I will ever dump you is because of sin."  This basically means that any two people who were somehow perfectly healed and whole in any respect would probably be able to maintain a relationship.  Sure sexual attraction helps, but given the way our bodies can change over time, and even say an accident to our faces, the person we are with may not look anything like that even tomorrow after a car accident.

 

The reasons we can't maintain a relationship is usually because of sin.  We either can't take their issues, or they can't take ours, or one of us uses unhealthy means against the other.  Note - I think that anything that is not loving is sin, this is why I can say this.  If something is loving it is going to draw us into relationship, not away, unless we have some sort of issue.

 

All that being said, in practical terms there will be a lot of questions you will have to ask yourself, and this guy, and possibly your parents.  Lots of these people have already brought up.  My wife and I are both Christian and we do not agree in all matters of faith and theology, sometimes this is an issue for us.  I know for myself I would have a very hard time with someone who was not a Christian.  This is for a number of reasons, but it is such a huge part of my life that I think of it as my identity.  I have good friends who are not believers, but those are not as intimate as my relationship with my wife.

 

To ramble on a little more - some have said - don't worry about it, he's not your husband, just have fun.  Well, in one sense I would agree.  You are not married, and any dating relationship can help you figure out who are.  On the other hand I believe that the goal of any dating relationship is to be marriage.  If you cannot see the potential of marrying the person then why are you dating them?  Just to have fun?  You can do that with friends.  For sex?  (You don't sound like that, but I know there are people on here who would counsel you that way)  I do think that the best is to only have sex in marriage.  Reasoning for this is not rule based, but relational.  If you have sex with every boyfriend you feel you love, how many people will that end up being?  How many people do you really want to have sex with?

I think sex is something that is a fulfillment of intimacy, as well as a continual drawing into more intimacy.  There is NOTHING more intimate than sex.  Why would we want to do that with a bunch of people before our spouse?  This takes away from the specialness it can have.  It makes it just a means of pleasure.

 

Anyway, I shall end this rant

Olivet_Sarah's picture

Olivet_Sarah

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chansen wrote:

pnayplayr wrote:
with that being said, i wouldn't date someone that is of "different yolk" because i'm now dating towards marriage.  if i know ahead of time it won't go anywhere, why waste it, instead, be open to those who'll be better suited for me, who can grow with me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  to me, you date someone as is, not date them hoping they'll convert.

Why would they need to convert?  Why couldn't you convert?  Why does anybody need to convert in the first place?

So true! *applauds* My bottom line here is, as anyone who's seen almost any of my posts is, I'm living proof this can work. I am a practicing Christian married to a Jewish agnostic, happily going on 5 years, and almost 9 of dating. Is there discussion and compromise and challenge ahead? Yes. Does one need to be aware of that? Yes. Can it still work? Yes. Conversion is not necessary, and in fact I think if one of us DID convert some respect would be lost because one of the things we most admire in each other is the strength of our convictions.

chansen wrote:

pnayplayr wrote:
i have no problem with those who are dating outside their fate/culture/race. it's upto them, but i hope they are wise enough to look ahead and be smart about the upcoming complications it *might* bring later on.

*facepalm*

 

It's about the PERSON, not the faith, the culture, or the race.  I can't believe I'm reading this.

Again - agreed. If this is a dealbreaker for dawn, as it is for pnaypayr, that's one thing and her right; and if she's concerned as a minor about her parents' attitudes, also fair enough. But it's ultimately her decision at the end of the day. And as pnayplayr says there will be challenges, but they aren't necessarily un-overcomeable. Not only is my relationship interfaith, we were also long-distance for 3 years - as such very little patience in either category when people say 'that can't last'. It can, if the people in it want it to and work at it.

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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 On the other hand I believe that the goal of any dating relationship is to be marriage.  If you cannot see the potential of marrying the person then why are you dating them?

For sex and for fun ......

 I do think that the best is to only have sex in marriage.

Would that explain the high divorce rate ? by that reasoning why have sex if you are not gonna have babies alone

 If you have sex with every boyfriend you feel you love, how many people will that end up being?  How many people do you really want to have sex with?

It's called a varied sex life not just being stuck with one dud for eternity ......

How many people should one have sex with well i guess that is an individual choice ..... as many one is comfy with ........

I mean at 17 you don't know what you fully want , what fully fullfills you and want will turn you on down the road .... these are things you have to safely explore .... or just be miserable for the rest of your life with "the one"

jon71's picture

jon71

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pnayplayr actually has some good points. In addition to the Bible talking about the whole "unequally yoked" thing it's just good common sense. Let me put it this way. A persons core beliefs about GOD, faith and the afterlife are a pretty big deal. If two people are trying to build a life together and they're miles apart on such an important issue, don't you think that'll cause problems. While couples don't have to agree on everything it sure helps to be in the same ball park on the big stuff.

seeler's picture

seeler

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jon71 - I didn't get the impression that these two young peoples core beliefs were much different.  She said that they had a lot in common.  She seems to be questioning some things about her faith.  He is questioning the whole idea of God.  I think that they have a lot to talk about and a good opportunity to learn from each other and grow in their understanding and appreciation.  No two people are going to think and believe exactly alike.  I find two people who are questioning and searching much more apt to find a common ground, than when one of the couple knows all the answers.  If her friend was anti-religion or anti-church, I would think differently. 

 

 

chansen's picture

chansen

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Exactly.  It's not like she's dating an anti-theist like me.

seeler's picture

seeler

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Chansen - I can't see an agnostic or an atheist being happy in a long term relationship with somebody who continually told him that he was going to burn in hell for his unbelief or taking it upon her shoulders to turn him from his evil ways and save him.

 

Nor can I see a Christian being happy with someone who ridicules and insults her belief. 

 

But two people respecting each others opinions and searching for common ground - yes, I think it could work.

 

dancin.hobo's picture

dancin.hobo

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 I must say, I've found discussion interesting so far. It's obvious some of you have very... specific ideas of what you think is right or wrong or acceptable in terms of relationship and/or intimacy. No doubt much of these opinions have been formed from your own experiences and/or beliefs.

 

I do agree with Charles T, in that if you're dating someone, if you do not see any sort of future with that person, then there isn't much point to the relationship (unless it's been determined it will be a short term fling... like a summer romance, etc. And I do think those short romances can teach us a lot about ourselves and we want look for...) That being said, it doesn't mean that you have to think you will actually marry every single boyfriend you have, only that as long as the potential is there, it is still worth your time and energy.

 

I do disagree with everyone who says sex should be left for marriage. I agree with jesouhaite777 in relation to divorce. I do think that sex does play a role (sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller) in a relationship's success and failure. I don't think some people realize the impact that sexual compatibility plays in a healthy relationship. If your libidos don't match up, that can lead to frustration in the bedroom which will spill into other aspects of your relationship... 

 

A healthy and compatible sex life is as important as emotional intimacy and having similar morals and beliefs. I am by no means recommending you go and have sex with your boyfriend right now... but as a relationship grows, it's a natural progression. Physical love is another way to express yourself to each other. What's important is that you have discussed it before and are clear on boundaries of what you're comfortable doing, as well as safety measures to take (i.e. condoms and/or other safe sex practices). Also, remember if you start something and become uncomfortable, you can stop. If your partner tries to say "well you said..." and pressure you to continue, then he doesn't respect you. If you cannot talk with your partner about sex, then you are not ready to have sex, wether you're 17 or 20 or 71. Also keep in mind, sex is not just intercourse, there are many different ways and kinds, always play safe.

 

Dawn. wonderer, I applaud you for asking questions and going on this journey, but take all these suggestions and advice with a grain of salt. We're all offering our opinions on this matter, none of us are a higher power, to tell you what to do and how to do, then your own spirit. I encourage you to pray, journal, meditate (whatever you find helpful) and do what feels right to you. And keep in mind, sometimes what feels right is not the easy thing to do. But like others before me have suggested, I too recommend that you keep yourself safe and don't put yourself in unnecessary danger.

pommum's picture

pommum

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Your parents and your relationship with your parents should also be considered.If they disagreed with your marriage partner would they cut you off from their lives? If this would happen could you deal with the loss of your relationship with your parents? Many parents do come around once their child is married but what if they never do - your feelings would depend on your relationship with your parents and what it means to you, as this could be a source of unhappiness in the future...just something to think about. But it is your life to live, and you should follow whatever path you believe will make you happy.

Dawn.wonderer's picture

Dawn.wonderer

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 Thank you everyone, it's great to have somewhere i can get advice.

About my parents- 

I tried talking to my mother about my boyfriend once, not too far into the relationship. She already knew he was my friend and I asked her if it would be okay for me to go to a formal dinner for my graduating year with him.

It didn't go very well at all... I ended up telling her I wouldn't go with him, but I did. I felt terrible for lying. 

Ever since shes been paranoid about if I'm going anywhere, asking who will be there, and if he's coming. She never told my father, who is even more close-minded than she is.

I feel like I am not comfortable letting them know about us until after I've moved out and am independent... but If they found out, it would be problematic...

 

As for sex, we've talked and he completely understands that I've chosen to be abstinent. I believe it's wise to wait until marriage, and even if I didn't, I have a medication that required me to sign a release saying i wouldn't have sex until i was off the medication, 

so sex isn't really an issue here and now.

jon71's picture

jon71

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Dawn I'm so sorry for things being like they are. I do have trepidation over the fact that you're considering dating someone outside your faith but while I would advice caution and reluctance it should be a decision that as someone on the cusp of adulthood you should make, you should not be bullied into it. While I tend to agree with your parents positions I find their methods detestable. You aren't a child and you'll be fully adult soon enough, needing to make your own decisions. That should be respected. I do hope that GOD give you comfort and shows you HIS path, whatever it may be. I wish you the best regardless of what decision you make and I hope you keep us all informed. Best wishes.

pnayplayr's picture

pnayplayr

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just to be clear, i'm not anti-athiest, i'm simply stating from experience.  i had a friend who is an atheist.  i say "had' because he was the one continuously calling me stupid because i chose to believe in God.  he's the only one i know personally that's an atheist...and i'm sure not all non-believers are that disrespectful.

 

my aunt is married to a person with a different belief and it made my cousin felt bad hearing his parents fight over something so important.  i hear my mother cry over the fact that my dad doesn't take religion as something serious as her..she felt unsupported.  i'm upset at my ex when i did a sermon and when i needed him to show his support...atleast for me, he didn't go...because he didn't feel the need to be at church.  a child i taught in sabbath class hated his father.  at the age of 6, he was cussing his dad because he didn't support his mom's belief.  i'm surrounded by people who has bad situations due to their choices.  btw, divorce isn't an option in most filipino marriages.

 

chasen:  you question about, why would anyone need to convert?  have you been around many inter-religion relationships?  in some instances, one *must* convert to be married (again, not all).

 

you've done an excellent job disecting my post, as if i was belittling those who are married to someone in a different religion.  i've stated it MIGHT be a complication.  i wasn't imposing what's right or wrong, i was clearly stating my opinion by saying that in MY opinion, it's probably not going to work.

 

you're succesfully gone through my reply attacking me...not so much the post.  thanks!

chansen's picture

chansen

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pnayplayr wrote:
chasen:  you question about, why would anyone need to convert?  have you been around many inter-religion relationships?  in some instances, one *must* convert to be married (again, not all).

Big deal.  You tell the minister that you want to convert, then after the wedding, they never see you again.  Millions of people have done that over the years.  In my case, I never suggested to the minister that I believed, or would convert.  My wife's family had given so much money to the Anglican church over the years, they would have married us if I had a pentagram carved into my forehead.

 

There are lots of ways for those of differing faiths to get married.  The important point is, faith is not the primary definition of a person.  Just finding someone you want to spend lunch with is difficult enough.  If you find someone you really want to spend the rest of your life with, religion shouldn't prevent that.  If you let religion get in the way of a good thing, then I suggest religion isn't making you a better person, and perhaps apostasy is right for you.

 

pnayplayr wrote:
you've done an excellent job disecting my post, as if i was belittling those who are married to someone in a different religion.  i've stated it MIGHT be a complication.  i wasn't imposing what's right or wrong, i was clearly stating my opinion by saying that in MY opinion, it's probably not going to work.

 

you're succesfully gone through my reply attacking me...not so much the post.  thanks!

In that post, you wrote, "i have no problem with those who are dating outside their fate/culture/race. it's upto them, but i hope they are wise enough to look ahead and be smart about the upcoming complications it *might* bring later on."  I assume you meant "faith", not "fate".  If there is a statement on WC that should bring about a facepalm, it was this one, or anything written by blackbelt.

jesouhaite777's picture

jesouhaite777

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Ya know pentagrams are symbols of protection against evil .... not evil in itself

mgagnonlv's picture

mgagnonlv

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Dawn,

I have to agree with others' comments on the likelyhood of it being a permanent relationship. But to come back to the original question: "Should you date this guy?"

I think you might have one or two extra questions to ask yourself, notably with regards to your beliefs and his. Notably:

– Are you comfortable in going to church alone, or having a faith community by yourself, or do you secretly hope to bring along (or even convert) your boyfriend at some point?

– Same question for him: do you think he would try to get you out of the church?

– Are either of you a "zealot" (i.e. my way is the right way, yours is not)?

– I know it is way to early to talk about children, but will he insist on agnostic kids? Or will you insist on devout church-going kids?

 

I would add that as a practicing Christian, I would feel more comfortable with a spouse that is a real agnostic or atheist, or with a practicing Muslim or Buddist than I feel with a so-called Christian-by-name.

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