Having different religious views undoubtedly causes a lot of problems in the world. But what do you do if you're dating someone who is from a different faith or has no faith at all? This can make a relationship impossible if you're expected to date within your faith. But interfaith relationships can work perfectly if you respect each other's different views. Here are some ways to make a relationship work if you have different religious views …
If you're in a relationship with someone of different religious views to your own, always respect their faith, even if you don't agree with it. Even if you think that yours are the correct views, they have different opinions. Each of you needs to respect and acknowledge that the other has the right to their views.
2. Don't Try to Convert Them
Your faith (or lack of) is obviously important to you. But however much you wish that your partner would share your views, you shouldn't try to convert them to your religion. They may decide to do so, but it has to be in their own good time and their own decision. Equally, if you are an atheist you shouldn't denigrate your partner's beliefs - if you're that against religion, you shouldn't be with someone who has a faith.
If you decide to have children in an interfaith relationship, you will need to discuss how you want them to be brought up. Will they be raised in one religion, or learn about both and decide when they're older? Again, it is important that they are brought up seeing that both parents have respect for the other's faith.
Since faith can have a major impact on a relationship, it's essential to the health of the relationship to talk about the issues involved. Don't ignore them and hope it will all resolve itself. Talk about how your families react, where you would get married, and how you will raise your children.
5. Open Mind
Always keep an open mind about your partner's religion or atheism, even if you don't understand why they feel the way they do. If you have a strong faith, or no interest in religion at all, it can be perplexing or upsetting that your partner feels so differently. But accept that they have the right to their opinions, and that nobody is 'right' or 'wrong.'
Try to learn something about your partner's faith or lack of. That doesn't mean you have to change your views, just that you should try to see things from a different perspective. It will also be interesting to learn about a different faith; every religion (and atheism) has its merits, but should also be open to questioning.
7. Support Your Partner
Finally, support your partner and their right to hold different views. It can be very challenging if your family dislikes you dating outside their faith, but if you want the relationship to last you will need to defend your partner. If they face hostility, and you don't speak out, it will undermine the relationship.
Dating outside your faith is a challenge, but can also enrich your life. More interfaith relationships could actually be a very positive thing - we shouldn't forget that we're all human! Have you been in an interfaith relationship, and what were the challenges?