Black & Single: Should spirituality be a deal-breaker in relationships?

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You meet the perfect person. You go out on a few dates. Instantly, they are elevated to “boo status” and you think that you’ve finally found “the one.” Things are going great until you do a little digging and some soul-searching.

After more extensive conversations about love and life, you realize that your new boo isn’t on the same page with you spiritually. More pointedly, you realize that the two of you are out of sync and don’t share the same commitment to faith. Is this a deal-breaker?

For some people, faith in God is something that is not a part of everyday life. For others, it’s an integral component of their upbringing, values and beliefs. And it’s the second group that should strongly consider the ramifications of choosing a love interest who doesn’t share the same commitment to faith.

Read on for tips about wisely choosing a mate in this situation.

The Social Aspect. Within your respective faith community, it’s likely that there are principles related to being “equally yoked.” These principles highlight the importance of couples sharing a mutual commitment in their spiritual beliefs.  Simply put, it’s ensuring that you and your mate believe the similar things about the same faith doctrine. Practically speaking, it’s checking what people say against what they do.

When choosing a mate, you have to ask yourself if your love interest shares the same mutual beliefs, values, and ideologies. And you have to question whether their lifestyle is reflective of the faith they say they embrace. Asking these questions will help you determine if your prospective love interest possesses characteristics that are truly compatible for a lasting relationship.

The Personal Aspect. “To thine own self be true” has always been a helpful gut check for me. Throughout the years when confronted with challenging decisions, it’s helped to bring clarity to otherwise confusing situations.  And it applies to choosing a mate as well.

At a certain point, you have to ask yourself what you’re willing to give up for the sake of a relationship? If your faith is of particular importance to you, why would you compromise it? When you first meet someone, in the giddy excitement of a new relationship, you might find yourself explaining away certain things or excusing behaviors. But, long-term, this never works. And delaying the inevitable could be time unnecessarily spent on a relationship that was never going to work.

When choosing a mate, the most important thing is to be clear about your “non-negotiables” or what things are unwilling to settle for. Now, I am not saying that you should have a mile-long list of do’s and don’ts.  But you should be very clear about what you want in a relationship and what won’t fly. So, if there are inconsistencies in sharing a mutual faith with your boo, then perhaps the relationship is not grounded on a foundation that will last.

The Spiritual Aspect. If you are committed in the principles of a faith tradition, but your mate isn’t, that could create tension in the relationship. It is promising if your mate is open to exploring the elements of your faith. However, don’t expect to change someone overnight. In fact, don’t expect to change someone at all. You can’t force someone to believe in God nor should you want to. If someone is not at a place where they are ready to embrace faith, it may be good to ditch the missionary dating and find someone who shares your values.

Desiree S. Coleman is a motivational speaker, freelance writer, wife and mother.  Find her on Twitter at @thelovejourney7 and check out her book “Why Dating Sucks & How Courtship Is Better” for an eye-opening take on dating and relationships (available on www.amazon.com).

Reprinted from the St. Louis American

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