So you’re contemplating being together with this wonderful person.
She or he is everything you’ve ever wanted. You have compatible tastes and enjoy each other’s company. You click. And then somehow religion comes up. You’re X and s/he is Y, or no religion at all. You start discussing it and you find out either she or he feels strongly about it or doesn’t. And you’re the opposite. So, what should you do?
I think it’s a good idea to get some premarital or pre-commitment counseling with a counselor both sensitive and knowledgeable about religious issues. The counselor may have you talk to her or him both separately and together. S/he will try to find out what religion means to both of you and whether your religious beliefs have demands that can affect your relationship.
Some examples should be mentioned. Does your religion say that men should do one thing, women another? Does your religion say that people can or can’t have premarital sex? Does it preclude gay sex? Does it demand that if you have children, that you raise your children in that faith? Does your partner have to sign a prenuptial agreement to that effect? Does your religion expect you to socialize only with its members? Does your religion expect you to follow certain practices, both within the religious organization and at home? These practices may include prayer groups and celebrations of certain holidays—or non-celebration of some or all holidays? Do these practices also extend to children?
You need to find these preferences out beforehand. You don’t want to go through major arguments at home—especially if there are children. You can have your counselor help you find out where you can compromise or let go, or if you’re willing, convert. Statistics show that there’s more marriage between people of different religious backgrounds. That doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Work with your counselor before issues come up and, if necessary, afterwards. And remember, always keep respect in your heart!