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‘My Boyfriend Has No Faith’

A couple with different views of God should see each other through spiritual-not religious-eyes

By The Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway Updated: Mar 31, 2008. Provided by Yahoo! Dating.

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Question: I have fallen in love with a young man, and our individual faiths in God have recently become a problem in our relationship. I am a Christian (Baptist) who is trying to develop a stronger relationship with the Lord. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is experiencing a loss of faith. He was raised in a Pentecostal household, and says he has attended church, prayed, sought guidance from pastors and other Christians, but come up empty-handed. He feels as though God didn’t answer any of his prayers, and might not exist.

 

I have always been told that you should never date someone who is weak in faith and has trouble believing because you could become weak in faith yourself. But I really love him and he loves me. Should I end our relationship now before I get any more attached, or should I stick with him to see if he can strengthen his faith, if not turn away from it completely? I am not a perfect Christian, and I know that none exist. Am I being too hasty, or am I justified in my concerns about continuing our relationship?

Answer: I can understand your concerns and think it is very courageous and responsible of you to explore this issue sooner than later. Couples tend to sweep religious issues under the rug when in the throes of romance. Left unexplored, potential

“religious conflicts can eventually flare up into family dramas”

religious conflicts can eventually flare up into family dramas, especially if you’re thinking of some day getting married and having kids. It’s good to get a grip on it now!

What your heart is sure of

You mentioned more than once that you are “in love” with this man, and that he is “in love” with you. If this is what your heart is sure of, I don’t think walking away from the relationship is a viable option. I truly do not believe God would bring love to your door only to insist you sacrifice it to prove your faith. I think, rather, you are being presented with a different challenge, one that calls you to love without condition, and trust that you can also be true to yourself.

I invite you to consider all this from a more expansive perspective. Most of the world’s traditions tell us that Love, unto itself, is divine and sacred. It’s in your Bible, in John: “God is love and those who love know God.”

Okay, so your guy may not call the love he’s feeling “God.” Maybe he’s not big on pastors, prayers or church. He may never be the kind of man that you imagine will help make you be a better Christian. But if he has an open heart, and if he loves, honors and respects you, this is a gift from God. You have to learn to see him through your spiritual (not religious) eyes.

I’ve worked with so many couples of different faiths, and those with spiritual beliefs that are conflicting or out of balance. They start out anxious, attempting to merge not just two lives and two families, but two divergent cultures or systems of belief (or lack thereof). It’s not always easy, yet I find time and again that the soul knows no boundaries when it comes to true love. I have often seen two people follow the call of their hearts, and rise above spiritual differences, to blend their lives and find “a place for us.”

Allow him his own path

So give your guy some space. It sounds like he needs to feel hopeful again, that he needs to be able to doubt, question, and formulate his own beliefs. Who knows, maybe something will happen that inspires him to look toward God again. But you have to allow him his own path and, by the same token, focus on strengthening your own faith. This is not dependent on him.

If you are both happy and at peace with your own personal spiritual point of view, you will have a much healthier relationship. One thing is for sure, you cannot expect him to change. In the embrace of your love, he very well might — but you cannot depend on that.

Remember, every relationship has dragons to slay. This can be an opportunity to take on a challenge that will open you both in new ways, and bring your relationship to a powerful next step. If love is strong and the relationship is good in all other ways, resolve to create a bridge between the differences in your spirituality. Make a true leap of faith. Even if you find yourself conflicted and unsure, consider this experience yet another opportunity to strengthen your faith. Pray each day for guidance and wisdom, and let your heart lead you.

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