The question was posed, Is religion really important in a marriage? The question piqued my interest because there were so many different directions in which I felt the conversation could go. Is religion important in a relationship and, if so, what is the effect if the two individuals in that relationship differ on their religious views?
I immediately think of the bible verse, 2 Corinthians 6:14:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
What does this mean within the context of our relationships? To answer that we first must understand what this verse is referencing? What is a yoke in the first place?
A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other and to the burden they pull. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. The weaker or shorter ox would walk more slowly than the taller, stronger one, causing the load to go around in circles. When oxen are unequally yoked, they cannot perform the task set before them. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another. — source, http://gotquestions.org
Let’s present a scenario. Perhaps Person A is a devout Christian and Person B is atheist. They are absolutely mad about one another and despite their extreme differences in religious views they decide to wed. Further down the line, as things have been going well with them, they make the choice to have children. Maybe in the past their different views on religion have not been an issue as they have accepted one another for who they are and have gone about their business accordingly. Now that children are introduced both feel that their preferences should be introduced in order to raise their family. There is now a conflict.
I believe that love is love. You can have a successful marriage as long as you put in the work but that does not mean that it will be a cake walk. It may be easier if the two of you are on the same page with your religious beliefs and if you choose to come together and grow within your relationship with mutual goals and moral codes.
The first step should always be to talk it out. If you don’t know who it is that you are getting into a relationship with then you are in for some surprises! It is more than getting to know someone’s likes and dislikes, their favorite foods and colors, or how they like their eggs prepared in the morning. Your CORE VALUES must be reflected. Yes, opposites attract however there is always some strong commonality between two people that draws them together.
The spiritual journey is one that is personal but the journey in a relationship involves communication, listening, balance and mutual respect. To answer a question like this you must look first into yourself and decide how important religion is first for you and then determine what that looks like in the context of a relationship.
A lot of people, as we grow, require different things. You and your partner may have begun your relationship together not really know who you were or how much you would incorporate God into your lives. We, of course, should find these things out first but it is likely that we have not. Person A may have a breakthrough that jettisons them on their spiritual journey while Person B remains headstrong in the secular. The only way to combat this or work through it is to talk. As we grow our needs and views change so the conversation should always be ongoing.
Sharing the load in a relationship isn’t always financial or physical. It is very much emotional and spiritual as well. How important are these things to you in your current or future relationships?