Is it a priority for you to date someone that believes in the same God(s) you do?

For the majority, the answer is yes. We want to be with someone that has a similar belief system because we’re gonna have many of the same values, and we’re going to be able to speak a similar language when it comes to spirituality. This helps to establish a foundation that we can easily build on.

I can say with 99.3% confidence that the majority of SBM readers are Black, Christian women. We can look across the internet at similar sites you frequent and see the same trend. Additionally, there’s no shortage of articles on the topic ranging from how the church is keeping women single (bleh) to how come there aren’t more men there every week? You can also tell from your discussion amongst friends that spirituality is a big deal and most of the folks you associate with are probably Christian or of a similar faith. If your friends aren’t into spirituality and you are, you may want to find some new people. The best inspiration comes from circles. I’m not saying ditch your friends. I’m saying find some new ones that enhance this aspect of your life.

So let’s say you find someone that believes in God or the deity of your choosing. You get excited because they’ve met one of your most important requirements when considering a sustainable relationship. They say what church they go to or share a couple lines about what they believe in. You move on to the next topic and things continue to go well for the next few weeks…or months. Faith hasn’t been a huge deal since they’ve claimed to be god-fearing so you’ve been focusing on developing all the other aspects of the relationship.

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You’re really happy about the situation and see the potential for a long and prosperous future with them because they treat you well and inspire you to be a better person. Everything is great until one day you get into a discussion about the in-depth specifics of your faith, and realize you’re on a completely different page in terms of how to get to the same happy place when you shed the flesh. Let me pose a question for you:

What happens when you believe in the same higher being, but believe in different ways of getting your spirits to the same place? What if you really love the person you’re with, but they interpret the Bible or most important book in your faith differently?

When you come to this realization, you have three choices:

  1. You accommodate each other’s spirituality the way an interfaith couple would, and work through the challenges.
  2. You compromise your beliefs to be more aligned with the other person.
  3. You break up and continue to look for someone that believes in what you believe in or goes to the same church.

Follow Up Question: Which would you be most likely to do today? Which would you be most likely to do if you aren’t married in five to ten years?

Let’s look more closely at each option:

Accommodation
The most common thing I hear when it comes to spiritually-based relationships is the concept of being “equally yoked.” Personally, I think that being equally yoked is both relative and overrated. If a person is striving to become a better person, treating you well, and living life in a way that sets an example for those around them and makes both of you better, you can still have a happy and thriving relationship without believing the exact same thing. Every book has multiple interpretations, so there are multiple ways to happiness.

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You can raise a family that welcomes and appreciates diversity of thought, but isn’t divided. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s possible. That’s the accommodation. But there’s something to consider that we sometimes forget when we caught up in bliss and loins.

At the most basic level, your spiritual journey is exactly that: your spiritual journey. Nobody should be able to slow you down or make you suddenly veer off course to a different path, unless you’ve decided within yourself that it’s time to make a change. It happens to folks everyday. They have the epiphany that what they’ve been following for years upon years isn’t the route they wanna go, but that’s what they did because that’s how they were brought up.

Compromise
I look at compromise differently than accommodation. In the way that I’m speaking here, compromise is about altering your beliefs to make a relationship work so that you can live happily ever after. It’s a double-edged sword. On one end, it shows that you’re flexible and willing to make a sacrifice for the “greater good.” On the other, you’ve adjusted your core values for someone else. That’s not an easy thing to do. And if it is easy, then you must not have been as deeply rooted in your faith or values as you thought you were. There’s nothing wrong with that realization. It’s how you process it and move forward that determines who you really are.

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Breaking Up
It’s a tough situation to be with someone that puts butterflies in your stomach every day, then have to turn around and accept that they aren’t the right person for you. It takes a very strong moral character and high level of faith to know that if you opt out of something with someone that makes you happy, you’ll find someone that’ll make you happier. Are you willing to take that leap? I’m willing to bet many of us aren’t. It’s an easy game to talk, but a tough pill to swallow. Pause.

I don’t say all this to tell you what to do. I say it because it’s important, and because it’s a part of the discussion that often gets missed when talking about faith/values requirements.

So how would you handle it if someone believes in the same deity you do, but has a completely different mindset about how to achieve the ultimate desirable outcome? Are you willing to compromise or accommodate? If so, what does it take for you to make that shift? Are there other options than the three I provided? All other thoughts are welcome!

I Really Ain’t Preaching Though,

P.S. Check out the latest post on TRSJ and take the next step in your career:Landing Your Dream Job: How to Write a Cover Letter That Wins

P.S.S. Are you guys ready for SBM’s Holiday Happy Hour at the Empire Room in the Empire State Building on Friday, December 23? We can’t wait. It’s going to be a dope time! Tell a friend to tell a friend and until then … stay tuned and stay focused.