Any discussion of religion is a conversation that skates on thin ice because for many people religion is not a concept or a thing to be debated, but rather it is the ruler by which life is measured. It is the thread that holds together the fabric of their lives. When one discusses religion, one is not only just conversing but rather tugging on the thing that holds people together. However, it is because religion plays such an important part in people’s lives that it warrants discussion as it relates to intimate relationships between two people. Now this is not a discussion on any particular religion. According to ProCon.org there are over three hundred religions practiced in the United States. So, without getting religiously specific, I will say this:
Keep religion in or keep religion out.
I have seen many instances where religious people in relationships sort of pick and choose when to insert guidelines from their religion. These people claim to be believers of a particular doctrine and yet abandon certain precepts when it benefits them to do so. I think that this behavior is detrimental to a relationship. When a believer of a certain faith based system cherry picks which guidelines apply to the relationship and which do not apply, then ultimately one’s desires reign supreme. The message one sends is “my perspective is greater than the perspective I profess to believe is greater than my own.” If that sounds confusing, imagine dating that.
The other pitfall of cherry picking one’s religion is that the cherry picker’s partner will eventually lose respect for the cherry picker’s faith. The partner experiences the "picking and choosing" first hand and so even when the cherry picker is making a valid point, the message is lost due to the absence of consistency. In most cases, it would be better just to leave religion out of the relationship completely.
I say the purpose of religion is to control or dictate behavior. While the three hundred plus religions may vary, they all share one thing; a message on how one should behave as a servant of that religion’s deity. It is possible to adhere to the message without ever telling anyone you are doing so. In this fashion, one would just simply appear to the world as a good and decent human being. Also, without revealing one’s fundamental beliefs, one saves themselves from being judged by the watchful eyes of those around them. Especially one’s significant other.
I am a fan of keeping one’s religion private. However, I am fully aware that I live in a world where religion is quite public. And so, for those who publicly proclaim their religion, I suggest that when you get in relationships, bring your religion with you and keep it with you. Don’t abandon it when it conflicts with your wants and desires. Don’t abandon it when it conflicts with the wants and desires of your significant other. Do not use it as a weapon to get the things you want in the relationship. And do not use it as a crutch when you have made bad decisions. It is better for you as a public believer to be strict in your obedience to your message of choice.
I don’t believe one way is better than the other. But I do believe that there is no grey area here. When it comes to relationships and religion, keep religion in or keep religion out. Period.
Remember. No always. No never.
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