Differences of individuals in a relationship aren't something unusual to hear or talk about, since most couples fall for each other because of those differences. She's a huge music fan, while he's into sports; she's a home buddy, while he's an adventurous spirit—classic cases of opposites attract. Differences make a couple balanced and connected, and it will be a bore if they are too similar to one another. But what happens when the thing that makes the two of you different from one another is not your personality, hobby, or career, but rather your beliefs? Your religious beliefs, to be exact.
We asked millennials who have contrasting beliefs with their S.O. if these differences should or should not matter in their relationship, and here are their responses:
"Honestly, I think it’s not that it doesn't matter. What's really important is compromising, which means even though you have different beliefs, it should not be the reason that you guys are arguing or breaking up. What is right and wrong for you may not be the case with your partner and likewise. Religion is based on an individual, it is personal and it might be a form of guidance for some people. But when it comes to couples, there are far more important things like trust, care, love, patience, and other things that build a strong foundation for the relationship." —Sheena, 22
"Spiritual belief doesn't fully represent a person's value. In a relationship, I think that a huge part of it is looking past your differences. If religion is one of those differences then, in order to fully appreciate a person, you need to learn to look past it." —Aqi, 19
"Well, for me, IT DOES MATTER. But it shouldn't be a hindrance in your relationship. If you really love someone, you should fight for it, especially if you know there's going to be a lot of people who's not going to support your relationship. For your relationship to last, you have to learn to be strong and use your differences as motivation." —Hannah, 19
"Religion is important in a relationship especially when it comes to marriage. One has to sacrifice by converting into his or her partner's religion. It would be easier if both of them worship the same God since the families from both sides won't have too much issue about it." —Marsha, 21
"Whether it does matter or not; as long as you have respect for one another, you can surpass any obstacle—even your different religious beliefs. Like in law, you understand what's right and wrong, not just because you don't want to go to jail, but because you respect the rules and the person who made them and its purpose. If your S.O. has an opinion that you don't agree with, so be it. All of us have a different experience, and as long as it's not harming anybody, I think that's okay." —Ella, 21
"It doesn't matter simply because religion doesn't define what real love is. Once you fall in love, you'll forget most of what you thought was important; you'll accept them for who they are and what they believe in. It's because a person who truly loves someone knows how to understand and how to show respect for their S.O. who has a completely different personality and beliefs from them." —Yasser, 20
"I don't really find religion to be a critically important aspect to consider when dealing with relationships with other people. For me, it comes down to philosophy. Hundreds of different people in relationships (whether familial, romantic, or casual) are in different religions but don't necessarily let it control their lives because their perspectives are not the same as their religion. But if, for example, I was a strict Mormon practicioner and my girlfriend was a strict Islamic person, then ,yeah, that could be a problem. But it always comes down to who is willing to listen versus who absolutely will not." —Pierre, 21
"I don't think that religion is important in a relationship, it doesn't matter whether one of you is a Catholic while the other is a Protestant. What's important is that both of you believe in Him and accept Him as your savior. But of course, there will always be some people who would not think the same way, and all we could do is respect their opinions." —Kris, 21
When it comes to differences, most of us choose what we think is right. We often equate compatibility with being similar, where finding your exact self in someone else means fitting together. In reality, learning to understand your significant other, working through your differences, and bending to grow together are what makes a relationship lasts.
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