Dating religious differences
In deciding who they want to date, most college students say they do not think about marriage or children.
But the choice to date someone may have unexpected implications—especially if that person does not share your religion, Summer says. Bhaskarabhatla ’09, who is Hindu, says he thinks “a relationship shouldn’t focus on a person’s religious tradition and background but mainly on personal characteristics and compatibility.” His parents would not agree.
Thankfully, those differences keep things interesting (and to be fair, we do share a TON in common, too: a very strange sense of humor, the desire to travel to crazy places, wine, you get the picture.) At the beginning, I assumed that religion might makes things a trickier, but boy is that an understatement - especially if one of you (him) comes from an extremely religiously observant background.
He could've been an alien from the Planet Crazy Ass Boyfriend and she still would've loved him, accepted him - and more importantly, accepted us. We both drew our lines in the sand early on - and yes, it was uncomfortable - but we both knew if this relationship ever had a fighting chance, we needed to see if we could agree on The Important Things. That is, until he realized he physically couldn't. One of you will backpedal on the aforementioned Important Things.
This view differs from the mainstream college culture in which sex is common in romantic relationships, says Chiduzie C.
Madubata ’06, an Episcopalian.“Christians consider sex to be something more than some pleasurable act.
She says that when she ran for the position of Hillel President last year, some notable people in the community expressed concern over her involvement in an interfaith relationship.“It was not a huge issue,” she said, “but it was something that I had to justify.”Many Harvard Jewish students say that both dating and marrying within the faith are important to them.“I think that dating within the faith..a strong value that many Jews have.
“It would be impossible for me to consider spending my life with someone who did not agree with what I spiritually believed in,” says Sarah H. CULTURE, GENDER & (NO) SEXWhen it comes to interfaith relationships, religion often dictates broader differences in opinion beyond strict theology.
Many observant Christian students, for instance, say they do not believe in having sex before marriage.
Faced with these complexities, many students say they will not date members of other religions, and those who say they are willing to do so admit it isn’t always easy. Interfaith dating forces many students to make a difficult choice: conceal their relationship from their parents, or face fighting with them about it, Bhaskarabhatla says.
He adds that many Indian families would not support interfaith relationships, and that this attitude is characteristic of many other cultural traditions as well.“A lot of parents feel that you’re going to dilute your culture if you date someone of a different culture,” he says.Takeaway: People in love say a lot of things they don't mean. At this point, I'm more inclined to make a visit to the Justice of the Peace to eventually make it official, but then I think: Hey, wait a minute, why do I have to give up MY childhood wedding dreams just because our families might be super-weird together? Before I met Alex, I'm ashamed to admit my ignorance resulted in a few off-color Jewish jokes; the same goes for him and Catholics.