When Religion Is THAT Important
Q: I'm falling in love with a guy who doesn't believe in God, and I know it's doomed. I'm Christian, and my parents would never let me marry someone who didn't believe and wasn't saved. The weird thing is, he is the sweetest, most caring person in the world! But my parents would not even take the time to get to know him. They would forbid me to see him if they knew. I still live at home and I'm in college. Even when I move out though, I know I couldn't marry someone against my parents' wishes. But this guy is truly the one for me. I'm not sure what is right anymore. - LaToya, 21
Dr. Susan: It's not at all weird to me that your guy is sweet and caring. What's odder to me is that you're so determined to obey your parents' wishes about something so personal as your choice of a mate. That said, there may be some very good reasons to let go of this relationship before it gets even more serious. If you believe so strongly in your faith, and your boyfriend doesn't believe at all, that is a major obstacle. How could you be open and free with him if, deep down, you "knew" he was going to hell?
As an atheist myself, I could never be happy with someone whose beliefs were so different from mine. Believing or not believing in a supernatural being who decides the fate of humans means your whole value system is different. As time goes by, you'd find yourselves disagreeing about so many areas of life, from how to spend your money, how to raise your kids, and how to relate to your parents.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.