Why Religion Matters in Dating
Losing My Religion
Dear April Masini,
" I was raised in a very religious family, and while I am not outrageously religious, I still hold those values close to my heart. I have no problem with friends of mine not sharing the same religious beliefs as me, but I recently began dating a man who says he has no religion at all. I really like him, but this is a huge stop-sign for me. Is it right to dump someone because they don't share my same religious background?
Sincerely, Pray Together, Stay Together
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Pray Together, Stay Together,
The best dating happens when people know what they want -- both from themselves and those they are dating. If religion is important to you, then, by all means bring it up sooner rather than later. If you know that you will or won't marry someone because of certain religious beliefs, and marriage is what you ultimately want, then it's not fair to yourself or the other person not to disclose your "deal-breakers" early on.
Everyone has different criteria for what they want in a partner. Some of them are sex, money, religion, and politics. Often there are other criteria like race, geography, occupation, and children. Family, health, and education can also be factors. Regardless of what they are, these subjects are only taboo if you make them taboo. If you bring the subjects out in the open then they are just part of the conversation that is getting to know your date.
While there is no rule about when to bring these topics up, once a woman sleeps with a man, she will be more invested in him emotionally, and it will be harder to stop seeing him, so definitely bring up your "deal breakers" before you sleep with someone. And if not the first or second date, then, definitely the third date.
And when it comes to sex ...
We are attracted to each other because of how we see each other in our partners' eyes. When we have sex with such a partner, and truly let go of all physical and emotional bonds, we enjoy true union with our partner and the sexuality we enjoy raises us to a spiritual level where true union is the result and the process. Most religions encourage communion with God. Spirituality is a modification on traditional religions in that sexuality brings us in contact with the God-liness in each other and ourselves, making the union of sex, spiritual as well.
Getting there, when in real life there are carpools, dinners to defrost, clothes to pick up at the dry cleaner, and other mundane but essential facts of life, is a discipline. Making sex a priority is tough, but worth it. If we recognized it's importance to our physical, social, emotional, and spiritual lives, we would have sex with the same regularity that we attend church, get physical check ups and go to PTA meetings. (Hopefully with greater frequency than those events, but with the same regularity.)
Perhaps the reason that spirituality and sexuality are more integrated in Eastern cultures than Western cultures is because the history of the Western world is founded on individuals forging new land and being independent. Moving past the independence is the challenge of Westerners.