Losing (or Keeping) My ReligionPosted by Alex Johnson for BounceBack.com
With the holiday's in full swing that usually means that religion will also become more profound over the next couple of weeks. Those that only celebrate this time of year will suddenly become more religious/spiritual and those that are practicing all year long will look forward to this time because that is when the spirit will be at its most alive and present.
That being said, with all that we get to look forward to over the next few weeks I couldn't help but wonder when it comes to religion…How does religion effect how we view our current or future relationships?
As I sit here writing this article and as timing would have it, a commercial on my television just came on for a specific religion and the single people out there that search for that person who practices that particular faith. This only goes to prove to me, that not only does religion factor into our own personal belief system but that it is just as important for our love life.
If we really think about it, it is not only on our television commercials but also in main stream movies. The one movie that comes to mind is, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. These two people, who are perfect for each other, fall in love and want to get married right away. But the one thing that is keeping them from doing what they desire is the woman's religion and family. The man came from a different faith and her faith had the louder bark so therefore, the groom converted his religion for the woman he loves. Talk about going the extra mile. Of course, that is Hollywood but as we all know most things that come from mainstream media is based on some personal experience or something that they have heard or witnessed.
Another example is from television series, Sex and the City. Again, the character Charlotte, met the man who she had been searching for her whole life and the one thing standing in their way was that he could only marry her if she was of the Jewish faith. So this woman put away Christmas and embraced Hanukah all for the man of her dreams. In both of these cases, it wasn't even a battle of the sexes, to me it really boiled down to whom's religion was barking the loudest.
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Which brings us back to the original question of, Does religion factor into how we view our relationships? The answer is easy…Absolutely. Do we always have the choice to let religion make a difference in our romantic life? No. That is the rather frustrating part, especially when two people who are right for each other. I have seen it time and time again where families and their religious beliefs have come in between the two people from ever having a future together. Do I believe that it is the right thing to do? No. But I also know that it is none of my business and it is up to the two people involved in the relationship to make their choices, as difficult and scary that can be.
With people converting for the ones they love. While it can be viewed as a person going through an awful lot just to get to their happiness. The flip side to these choices is how romantic, bold and brave it is for a person to let go of something they were brought up with and to close that chapter only to start a new one all in the name sake of love.
Religion and relationships can be a lot like oil and water. It simply does not mix. It is extremely important that if you are searching for someone that needs to believe in the same religion or spiritual beliefs that you do, that you do search specifically for that niche. Because like the oil and water that will never mix, chances of your relationship working will be strained right from the beginning. What it really boils down to is the big "R" and that is RESPECT. I know lots of couples that are different in their religions they just don't let it come between them. Rather they respect their partner's beliefs and sometimes even participate even if they don't understand or believe in it. It is about their partner and supporting them and above all…compromise. The same can be for ethnic backgrounds, financial differences or even age.
We have progressed so rapidly with online dating, speed dating and all the other avenues on finding our perfect match. When trying to find our partner before technology, it was limited to bars, social mixers for set-ups and now we online dating. Of course when online dating started, there was never a website out there that catered to your religious beliefs. Now, we have so many dating sites for every single religion or spirituality belief out there. Same goes for our ethnic preference or even our sexual orientation. If you can think of something specific that you are searching for in a mate…chances are it already exist and is just waiting for you to create your profile and begin dating.
The fact that we have narrowed our search for love down so specific to our needs still leaves me puzzled at the amount of single people still out there. I guess that just goes to prove that we are some pretty picky people or that our great love is just around the corner.
I have always believed that for all the religious and spiritual beliefs out there, that the one thing they all have in common is one universal law: Treat Thy Neighbors as You Would Want to Be Treated. Of course, with all things written, it is easier said than done but how great would it be if we all practiced that one law and saw the difference in the world. Now, does religion factor into our romantic preferences? Yes. The real question you need to ask ourselves is do I keep, lose, modify or accept my partners belief system.
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Alex Johnson is a freelance writer and is currently living in New York City. Follow his blog about love, dating and all in between at: www.updatenyc.net