When it comes to finding a life partner, people are prone to making snap decisions based on emotions. However, that shouldn't be the case when your partner doesn't share the same beliefs as you. Dating is already challenging when two people have the same belief system, but the situation can be pretty problematic when their worldviews are at odds.
As a couple, you and your partner are meant to sync and share in each other's lifestyles, including their religious beliefs and ways of life. A committed relationship with someone from a different spiritual set comes with its peculiar struggle that you shouldn't overlook. This is the reality of a relationship between a Christian and an Atheist.
Atheists dating Christians are very common nowadays, and it's no surprise if you find yourself in such a relationship. However, there are a lot of misconceptions and stigmas around this sort of relationship. These misconceptions arise due to conflicting perspectives, which could cause the connection to fail in the long run.
To address this problem of contradictory perspectives, this article will look at some common issues and factors to consider when you're a Christian dating an Atheist or the other way round.
For a Christian and Atheists relationship to lead to a successful marriage, the people involved must have a mutual understanding. Although, situations may vary among couples, as some are more sensible and knowledgeable than others. However, before going further with this relationship, you need to consider your decision.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment to teamwork; it's a situation where spouses must learn to work together and find mutually acceptable solutions. However, it becomes difficult to approach issues from the same perspective since both persons function from opposing worldviews.
A Christian dating an Atheist might encounter trouble making decisions when problems arise. Among other things, Christians have different opinions about having children, tithing to a church, or dealing with terrible illness and death than Atheists do. The apostle Paul warns against being “unequally yoked with non-believers” for this very reason (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Atheists know little about God's plan and the purpose of marriage for Catholics and Christians. For Believers, Marriage requires sincerity and mutuality in every aspect of life. It's a lifetime journey that begins with friendship and ends with sex, and it's about being One and not Two.
Remember that you're dealing with far more than a simple disagreement over religion, and it's not just being willing to “tolerate” another person's viewpoints. Couples must learn to communicate, work together, and come up with mutually acceptable concessions in this arrangement. Almost daily, they must deal with a wide range of practical issues.
If your relationship has developed to the point where you're considering marriage, you should be ready and willing to address and respect your differences. Regardless of what side you belong to, you can make things work out if your heart and intentions are in the right place. Loving your partner means you would be willing to compromise and not prevent their choice of religious belief.
The goal is to find mutual or common grounds to build a solid partnership.
If an Atheist dates a Catholic or Christian, these challenges will only become more difficult to ignore, as the likelihood of conflict will only grow. Therefore, it's essential to understand what your partner believes in and how he sees certain things if you have a healthy relationship.
Generally, Atheists are less likely to have problems with a Christian partner because their religion doesn't condemn it. However, Atheists do not believe in God or a higher authority that supersedes physical existence. Their perception of sin, family, and lifestyle is based solely on their earthly experience.
While many think that Atheists find it easier to accept their Christian partner, that's not always the case. The difficulty surfaces when a conflicting point of view arises. For example, an Atheist man may want sex before marriage, but his Christian girlfriend considers his request sinful.
Although a dedicated Atheist has a firm conviction in his beliefs and needs no confirmation, they are more likely to compromise with their Christian partner because they have fewer religious obligations to uphold.
A truly devoted Christian would find it challenging to date an Atheist because of her strong belief in Jesus Christ. Christians are less likely to compromise their relationships with God for another person. While the Atheist focuses on pleasing himself and his partner, the Christian always considers if the connection is pleasing to her Lord and Savior.
Although, many Christians go into such a relationship with the hope of converting their companion into a devoted Christian. However, there's no guarantee that an atheist would gladly accept the Christian lifestyle. However, some believe this change is possible with some effort and divine intervention by the Holy Spirit.
As mentioned earlier, this kind of relationship comes with its problems. Couples in this situation must carefully address these difficulties if the partnership works out. Some common issues encountered by teams with different religious beliefs include:
Even if you convince your partner to follow your religious ways, you can't take her apart from her family. Marriage demands you build a relationship with your partners, family, and friends. And on some occasions, you might be required to partake in some of their religious practices.
For example, a Christian wife may want to celebrate Easter with her family. This celebration is usually a time that brings everyone together, including her husband, siblings, and their families. In such a scenario, issues may arise when the Atheist husband refuses to attend church service on Easter Sunday.
An Atheist woman may see nothing wrong with having sex before marriage. For her, sex is a normal part of her physical lifestyle, unrelated to propagation. It's meant to satisfy the physical pleasure and not solely to make children. However, this act is considered a sin and abomination in Christianity.
For Christians, sex is a healthy part of family life that is meant to be shared with one partner for procreation. Some Christians believe that sex is more than physical contact and has spiritual meaning.
Furthermore, the use of contraceptives is another Christian issue dealt with when dating an Atheist. While Christians are against using these pills in marriage, not all Atheists are fond of having children frequently. As a result, contraceptive pills come in handy for birth control.
Communicating in this relationship can be frustrating when mentioned concepts like God, heaven, sin, and hell. Atheists are more likely to perceive their partner's view of right or wrong as superstition. On the other hand, Christian would most likely find faults in every thoughtless remark by his Atheist companion.
Since Atheists do not believe in spirituality, God, or Catholic doctrines, how can a believer cope in a relationship with one?
Before marriage, it's essential to have straightforward conversations with your Atheist partner to find out whether you share any common ground; religion is a delicate issue that shouldn't be overlooked. If you both share nothing in common and are unwilling to compromise, there's no need to take the relationship to the next level.
It's essential that you talk about everything you can think of that could cause issues in the long run. In this situation, the earlier you find out how compatible you are with an Atheist, the better.
When trying to prove a point to your partner, the way you present the topic yourself matters. Your expression determines how your partner perceives your intentions and the meaning he reads in what you've said. The more aggressive you are when trying to prove a point, the less likely you'd build a comfortable relationship.
As a Catholic dating an Atheist, you should be able to speak what you think is right without negative pressure. You don't want to give your partner the impression that you're forcing your beliefs on him. If you feel like he's not willing to share your opinion, don't be persistent in proving you're “right.”
Understand that your partner is entitled to believe what he wants, and you can't be against his point of view without enough argument or solid proof.
As a Christian, you know that Christian dating an Atheist is unacceptable in your religion, but you love and have chosen your partner already. Considering your background, it's only standard that family and friends might be against your decision. In this case, you must be patient with everyone as they adjust to the new family member you're bringing.
Remember, you're the one who is getting married and not them. Therefore, they have no right to choose a life partner for you. The best a family or friend can do in this situation is to support and counsel you as you begin this relationship.
Besides, every sensible person should accept that anyone has the right to believe in whatever they want. However, if your Christian relatives and friends are unwilling to accept your decision and your partner, you'd be left to make a tough choice.
Considering the difference between the Atheist and Catholic in a relationship, here are some ways an Atheist can cope with dating a Christian.
Most Atheists think of the Bible as merely a storybook or an instrument of manipulation. However, that shouldn't be your mindset if you want a healthy marriage with a Catholic. The Bible is filled with life lessons and values that can help you build a better relationship with your Christian partner.
Learning from the Bible doesn't necessarily make you a Christian. You should consider its content for the sake of your relationship. Besides, you can also learn a thing or two crucial life lessons from those “stories.” Some good stuff an Atheist can learn from the Bible include:
True Christians are mainly kind-hearted and bear good intentions towards the people they love. Understand that your partner's concern is not to hurt you, but to protect you in how she feels is right. As a result, you should be careful about reacting to her religious behaviors in your relationship.
Although your partner may be limited by rules guiding a Christian relationship, it's possible that she would also make a positive and practical approach to dating online or offline.
An Atheist has fewer religious obligations to fulfill. Therefore, it should be easy to adjust to this relationship. Understand that many Christians go into relationships searching for a companion who they can confide in spiritually. Therefore, your partner may not regard you as trustworthy unless you accept her beliefs.
However, this doesn't mean you should forsake your beliefs and practices to please your partner. For the relationship to work, both parties must compromise on common ground and respect aspects of the partner's beliefs that are difficult to change.
Keep in mind that every circumstance is unique. For both Christians and Atheists, some things are regarded as right and wrong, which should be universal.
To form a family with someone capable of sharing both good and terrible times, you should not succumb to the temptations of religious freedom and passion. Your relationship will thrive when there is love, friendship, and open communication.
In the end, we'd encourage you and your partner to professional guidance from an objective third party before moving on with this relationship any further. Make an appointment with a marital and family therapist who has specialized training and is certified to work with families. Discuss how you envision your life together and how you intend to handle life's challenges.