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February 11, 2014

When You Hold Different Beliefs

Young couple in love

Our religious or spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be, help to guide and shape our lives. The decisions that we make  are shaped from these convictions that we  hold. While we know that the success of a relationship does not rely on having everything in common with your partner, it is no doubt easier to make a relationship work when you both are living lives driven by the same principles or beliefs. While this may make the relationship easier, does this mean that we have to avoid someone we greatly care about because they may not believe exactly what we do? Not necessarily. If two people love each other or care enough about each other, there is usually a way to make it work. Know that there will be challenges that you will have to overcome and it will not always be a smooth ride. If you want it and are willing to work at it, then you can make it work. There are a few steps that you can take to begin to deal with these differences.

Discuss

The first thing you should do to address the situation is to simply talk about it. Express what your beliefs are and why they are important  to you in how you live your life. Because everyone has varying degrees of commitment to their  beliefs and the influence of them on their lives, simply put it out there for them. This way they do not have to play a guessing game and you don’t have to hide who you are. Then, allow them the space to tell you about their beliefs too. Whatever these differences may be, try to listen without placing judgment on them. You wouldn’t want to be judged, so try to be as understanding to them.

Be Honest

Next, be honest with both yourself and this potential partner now that you have both shared and discussed your different beliefs. If you feel that there is too much of a difference in your beliefs and that you cannot handle them, walk away now. Save this person the trouble of wasting their time with you and falling for you when you have no intentions of taking this relationship further. If you know that their beliefs are going to be a problem for you, there is no shame in walking away. You may be doing both of you a huge favor.  However, know that this person may judge your character depending on how important their own belief system is. If they have no problem with accepting your convictions and you do with theirs, they may not be as understanding as to why you need to walk away. You have to do what you know is best for you even if that means upsetting the other person.

Act Accordingly

If you choose to walk away from this, then do it and move on. If you decide that you are ok with their beliefs and they are willing to be considerate of yours as well, then work to make the relationship, even with these differences, succeed. This will not always be easy. Depending on how differently you two live your lives, you may experience some conflict. Your partner may not understand why you choose to go to church every week instead of sleeping in and spending time with them. Or you may not understand why they choose not to eat or drink something that you enjoy. Remember that you two come from different belief systems and try to respect these beliefs. If you have chosen to make this work, know that you are not allowed to pass judgment on them. After all, you wouldn’t want them, after agreeing to make an effort, to judge you. Be understanding and willing to learn from each other and the relationship will succeed on this level.





About the Author

Elizabeth Monsoor
Elizabeth Monsoor is currently working on her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. While Elizabeth pursues a career in dance, she has rediscovered her love for writing. When she is not in class or at rehearsals, Elizabeth enjoys actively commenting on episodes of reality television and tweeting her observations on relationships several times a day. She has an “eyes wide open” approach to dating, acting as an unofficial advisor and commentator on her friends’ relationships. Elizabeth hopes that her opinions on relationships and her love of sarcasm both entertain and inspire her readers.




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