The Importance Of Dating Within Similar Beliefs
We've all heard the slogan, "opposites attract." You know, the whole 'we complete each other' and all that jazz. Dating someone who is different from us can often strengthen our relationship. There are benefits to finding a mate who has strengths where our weaknesses lie. So the question becomes, is there such thing as too different?
What is 'too different?'
I'm not talking about differences in culture, skin color, or even eating habits. Keep in mind, I'm in an 'interracial' marriage with a man born in a country vastly different from my own. I'm a firm believer that (while often challenging) differences can be overcome and even strengthen the bond between two individuals. But where do the differences begin to create a gap?
'Different' becomes 'Too Different' when there's a disconnect between core belief systems.
Only you know what your core belief systems are. This goes deeper than where you worship. Some experience their spiritual high while watching football. Some attend a house of worship, a mosque or a synagogue. But even if you don't consider yourself religious, what do you believe? What do you live for?
Does life begin at the moment of conception or not? Is gender fluid? Should animals be hunted? Are minors able to consent? Are you Liberal or Conservative? Are you okay with a gun in your home?
Would you ask any of these questions on a first date?
The myth of not talking about religion and politics on dates
When I hear people tell me that they don't talk politics or religion on a first date, what I actually hear is that they're willing to compromise their long-term happiness to create a short-term good impression.
I guess I can understand wanting to steer away from certain topics if you're just meeting for a quick coffee, but what happens when you start to really like the person, and the urge to keep them around becomes stronger? What do you think? Will talking about politics and religion become harder or easier?
The reason why you've been advised to steer clear of these topics while dating is because, by nature, these topics are highly controversial and could end a connection before it even begins. But my question then becomes,
"Why would you want to get emotionally involved with someone who could potentially bring deal-breakers into your relationship?"
Sure, you might be able to make an agreement to stay off certain topics for a while, but when their life is suddenly wrapped up in yours? Aren't you just prolonging an inevitable heartbreak?
A Series of Unfortunates Dates
That's what I call my young-adult life before I met my husband. To be honest, I don't like talking about it, but I'll do it for you. I know, I know, I'm a natural-born Mother Theresa.
I used to think wise people could learn from the mistakes of others. Guess who didn't follow her own advice. This girl. As a natural Violet Baudelaire in the world of dating, misfortune often followed me around. I can't say I hadn't been warned, but until I lived it, I didn't really see the big deal.
You see, I'm a Christian. In High School, I ran the actual club for a couple of years, and I loved it. The problem came when a boy became interested in me, a boy who'd hardly ever stepped foot in a church.
If church-going was a casual thing for me, dating someone who wasn't a Christian would have been fine, but I knew that for me, Christianity was more than a box to check on a form. It was my life. Reading my Bible, praying, and serving in my local church was at the very core of who I was and what was important to me... so I did what any hormonal teenager would do.
I tried to change my boyfriend.
I know, I know. I told you, I don't like to talk about it.
Long story short, our relationship lasted just under a year at which time I took it upon myself to 'nudge' him to change everything from the way he dressed to the way he carried himself. It was awful.
Instead of recognizing from the get-go that this wasn't going to work out, I ended up trying to mold a young man to my liking in order to fit my selfish ideals, and I'm sure that in the process, I did nothing good to help his self-esteem or to appreciate him for the person he already was.
You'd think I'd have learned my lesson with my first boyfriend, but this went on for a couple of years as I dated guys on and off. Sometimes they were Christians, but most often, they were not. I just couldn't get it through my head that my beliefs had to be the core of what drew me to a person.
Finally getting it right
And then it happened...
From the heart of the Florida panhandle, came a man. My man. Do you know how I knew on our first date that we were destined to be each-other's? Take a guess.
WE TALKED POLITICS AND RELIGION ON OUR FIRST DATE!
But it didn't stop there. Oh no. We talked... wait for it...
Now, I'm not recommending you talk marriage with a blind date, okay? What I'm saying is that, if it's important to you and if it's desirable in a long-term partner, then take the plunge, honey. Talk.
Talk about what makes you tick, what causes your heart to race. Talk about what motivates your passions in life. Talk about what you love. Talk about what you couldn't live without. Talk about what make you... well, you.
It's 2020, baby. The world's probably coming to an end and you've got no time to waste on future exes. Get to the nitty-gritty, and find the soul of the person sitting across your bowl of Pho.
And most importantly, don't compromise who you are at the core in order to make a good impression.