My wife is Baptist and that makes things pretty interesting. When we married, I still associated myself (loosely) with the Catholic church. About 3 years or so into our marriage, after months of thinking on my own, I arrived at my current religious status which is "None" The last 5 years have brought about a mixed bucket of emotions whenever spirituality is brought up. As I have worked my way further out of the closet recently our discussions have become quite intense.

Do any of you have experience with dating, living with, or marriage with someone who has strong religious convictions? What is it like? Has your relationship changed significantly because of the religious divide?

Tags: interfaith

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In a way, i think you're lucky because you found someone that you get along with (except for religion). Sometimes, i wonder if I my dating life would be better if i were still catholic. Maybe, I should just keep my mouth shut, and get a xtian girl. I gave it a shot with a xtian girl when i was in transition from catholic to atheist. Religion is what tore us apart, and now, i just can't understand how people do it. A similar life philosophy would have to be there. I can understand how girls who claim to be religious will flirt, and not be aware of a guy's stance on religion. But, when it gets serious, the girl starts getting religious. Yuck. I saw my ex girlfriend in the mall, and her husband looked like the biggest wuss i've ever seen. The body language was so obvious; she wore the pants in that relationship. Poor guy. If i were a woman, i wouldn't find xtian men attractive at all. Maybe that's why alot of those women leave their pansy husbands and find someone who makes sense. I hope your wife will slowly come around. If not, i hope you work it our to your satisfaction. You had something that brought you together in the first place, so maybe that's still there? I would say good luck, but i don't believe in luck. So, best wishes.
I dated a Methodist for about a year. We got along great 98% of the time, having only two major arguments. They were both about religion.

This relationship didn't work out, me putting an end to it for a couple different reasons.

I came to the conclusion that he was obligated by his religion to convert me (Mainly, he wanted me to go to Heaven), and I understood his postition and didn't hold it against him. Unfortunatly, I can't pretend to be someone I am not and still look in the mirror and respect myself. It would be a blatent form of dishonesty (Pascal's Wager).

He would also bring religion up, and when I had HARD EVIDENCE to the contrary, it was completely ignored. I therefore, lost respect for him.

He also got upset because I went to an atheist meeting. (second heated argument). It was important to me because my area is trying to get a chapter of FFRF started. He accused me of cheating on him, called me brain-washed, and my group brown-coat Nazi's.

When he did this, the first thing that came to my mind was, "He doesn't trust or respect me and he thinks I'm stupid". Without trust & respect, a relationship is doomed. The second thing that came to my mind was, "The pot calling the kettle black". I went home, and gathered proof that he was wrong. I first got a copy of what FFRF is all about and why it is important to him as a Methodist. (You know, "Who will rule if Christians take over the government?"), got a copy of the definition of brainwashed & all of the Inquistions, Hitler's Catholic support, religious bigotry towards atheists, and brought it to his ass. I told him, at least when I sing it, I CAN bring it.

I will never date someone of faith again.

I wouldn't bring up religion if I were you, (you will get enough of that from her). Try your best to remain calm and not get flooded by emotion when the subject comes up (not easy do do). If there is a debate, bring your evidence, (even though it might be completely ignored).

My situation was completely different then yours BCarries. You are in love with, living with & married to a Baptist. If this is bothering both of you, I suggest you sit down, and have a honest discussion about where you both stand, and HOW to go forward from there. Compromise, compromise, compromise.

Do you have children? If not, I wouldn't have any until you all can come to a compromise. The last thing you want to do is drag children into this. If you do, you and your wife need to have a serious discussion as to where you stand, and what you all can do to get past this, so your children have a mother and father. I suggest, letting her go to church, and she leaving you alone about your non-beliefs.

Good luck to you. You have my best wishes.
Thank you both for your comments.

Yes, we have kids together, both before and after my coming out. You were both right in that yes...we had plenty that brought us together and plenty that has kept us together for over a decade. What gets me is that no matter what, and I really mean no matter what, there is nothing that would ever make me stop loving her short of her turning into some crazed person who would posed a physical danger to me, our family, or the kids. Through the years I have learned to like and love everything about the woman (including the things that I don't like or love about any other individual because these are the things that make my wife who she is) and I don't think my life would be as fruitful or fulfilling if she had not been in it this past decade.

What gets me though, is that at times this feeling is not reciprocated; Usually when the subject of religion comes up. Her convictions to religion are a respectful choice of faith in my eyes; my atheism and reasoning behind it does not garner the same respect from her. I try to compare, for her, my attitude, mannerisms, morals, and behaviors before I left the church to those same qualities since and there are no differences other than the "church" factor. If anything, through growing as a man, husband, and parent...I have actually gotten better in our relationship and in the way I deal with others! After conveying this perspective to her she states that she always saw herself with a person of faith. I told her I realized that but people can change and I would be doing her (and us) a greater injustice if I attempted to live a lie.

The long and short: I love her and would never want to lose her. I want to see us get old together, have grandchildren if we're lucky and enjoy every moment from this moment to that one.I think overall she feels the same. I hope she is happy enough with me in her life to want to stay together, also.
I'm currently in a relationship with a Catholic girl and all of my past relationships have been with believers. I think I got pretty lucky with my girlfriend because she isn't a very religious person. She believes in a god but thinks the bible is just a bunch of stories for the most part. She enjoys discussing religion and is fine with me not believing in any gods. I can imagine that it would be impossible to date certain people of faith, but so far that hasn't been an issue for me. While there are times when there might be some conflict because of different religious views, I don't think that people should completely rule out dating someone who believes, but based on things I've read, it's at least understandable for some people.
I think that it depends on the level of delusion of the person of faith.

The person I last dated, was spoon feed Christianity from the womb, making him very delusional.

I think if I am asked out again, I am going to tell them that I am an Atheist on the first date. This will weed out anyone who's mind is in a box. I will also ask the following questions.

Are you religious?
Which faith?
Which branch of that faith?
Do you go to a place of worship? How often? If more then twice a year, all bets are off.
Do you take your Holy Book Literally? If yes, it is definatly not worth my time or theirs.

I would prefer dating someone who is an Atheist, Agnostic, or a Skeptic. They tend to have a more open mind, and are less likely to be a blind, hypocritical, bigot, on real world issues.

Unfortunatly, I live in Christland, where the delusional come in droves, and non-believers are slim to none. :(
It's a damn shame non-believers get such a bad rap in the Bible Belt.

Alex, In your state, can your daughter choose who she lives with when she becomes certian age?
I dated a girl briefly while I was going through my discovery or agnostic phase. It was a very painful time for me because I was really seriously having a crisis of ideas in my head. When we had first started talking/dating I told her I was not affiliated with any specific religion, this was fine. But then when the issue for me started to become more of a question of questioning the outright belief and practices of not just Christianity but all faiths...thats when the problems really started. Slowly over time I tried to explain to her my stance and more importantly my reasoning behind taking such a stance...but to no avail. She kept insisting I was in denial and that I was simply angry at GOD for things that had happened in my past. We had great times together but when I mentioned I was an Atheist after years and years of careful consideration, thought, and studies I had done on the subject and finally ready to reveal this to her...it all came crashing down like a house of cards. Hurt me for quite a long time. I know for a fact I can't be with someone of faith on this because if we ever decide to have kids...this knowing myself will be a serious problem.
I guess I'm really lucky with my experiences in the dating world. I go to a pretty liberal university so religion doesn't come up that often. I'm just worried about when I start to seriously consider marriage and then later having kids.

There is a somewhat related post over at friendlyatheist.com that talks about a couple who's faith got in the way. It might be worth checking out.
My girlfriend knew my views from before we were even dating and it never bothered her then or now. She believes in god but she calls herself a "terrible Catholic". I don't think it will be a problem with her, but I guess I'll find out as things progress. Knowing a person's religious beliefs from the beginning is kind of important to me. I think it's nice to try to casually mention something about religion and try to find out as much as possible without just bluntly saying, "hey, I'm an atheist and this isn't gonna work if you believe in god"
I once dated a Christian (Seventh Day Adventist) and she was wonderful. We didn't have any problems regarding religion even though we talked about it alot. I am still really good friends with her (We broke up when I left for college because long distance relationships don't work).
This question is one of the reasons I came here ~ to Atheist Nexus ~ to find others in the "same boat" to see how/if it can work. I've been in a relationship for almost a year and we're talking about marriage. I told him upfront that I was an atheist. He's Baptist. Between he and I there's never been a problem BUT now that marriage has come up...he's worried about the reactions of his family. I haven't met them yet and that's been a little sticky too as he's sure that will be one of his mother's and/or grandmother's first questions then, once I've been truthful (which I would be without a doubt!) they would apply pressure on him to end our relationship... For the time being, we've decided to back off the idea of marriage, we're both happy with the way things are. But...is that just sticking our heads in the sand and putting off the inevitable? Are we compounding the issue? Dunno.
My parent's relationship went to hell when my mother left the faith, but they're divorced now so it's cool.

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