You’re dating and your religious beliefs are different. How much difference does this make?
The answer is: Another person’s religious beliefs are important to you to degree they’re important to you.
This may sound like begging question, but it’s an important thing to ‘get’.
Assuming you’re looking for marriage, you need to make a “must have” and “can’t stand” list. If certain religious beliefs go into either group, pay attention to them, because you won’t be happy if they aren’t there (or are and shouldn’t be) and relationship won’t work in long run.
Begging question is what Zen is all about. The koan can mean you’re asking a question no one knows answer to, or that you don’t need an answer to, or you know answer as well as anyone, you just don’t know it by reason (which is limited).
In case of religious beliefs, emotionally intelligent thing to do is to figure out what you want (work with a coach for clarity; it’s worth it) and then experience person.
Word your religious “must haves” and “can’t stands” precisely. Do you mean adherence to a certain set of principals as espoused by a certain faith, such as being Methodist, or Buddhist? Do you need someone to agree with every word you say about it?
Or do you believe in certain spiritual principals which could be compatible with various faiths?
Does it matter to you more how person argues their faith verbally, or how they live it in their daily actions and behaviors? Some people live in a way that’s very compatible with certain faiths, though they may not officially belong to any religious organization.
Some religions require only faith; others require certain actions.
Apply your emotional intelligence competencies as you date.
1. ZEN: “A tree that is unbending is easily broken.” Lao Tzu EQ COMPETENCY: FLEXIBILITY
Use all your brains. You must feel how you feel around this person (see point number 2) and also think about what it is you’re after at deepest and broadest level so that you can have flexibility to deal with another imperfect, not entirely predictable human being.
2. ZEN: “Only supremely wise and abysmally ignorant do not change.” Confucius EQ COMPETENCY: Understanding of people.
You have to allow for fact that individual may change. Few people make extreme changes in their core being and basic operating principals, but many of us make changes and adjustments in behaviors and thoughts. Get to know person well enough so you have a sense of their core.
For example: If person you’re dating has murdered someone, I wouldn’t stick around. If they were once an addict, have been in recovery for 20 years, and made sufficient personality changes, give it a guarded go. If they once kicked a dog and still talk about it with remorse, full speed ahead. (For more on this “how much baggage to accept on midlife dating flight” read “Midlife Dating Manual for Women” ( http://tinyurl.com/6ny55 ).
3. ZEN: “If you are too excited by joy, later you will have to cry.” Tibetan saying. EQ COMPETENCY: Reality-testing.
Roughly translated this means that it’s best to go slow and find a person with a modulated response to you. Don’t get so excited you aren’t paying attention. Even soul-mates may disagree on how to load dishwasher. How can you expect exact alignment in articulation of a religious belief? Therefore, number 4.
4. ZEN: “We think in generalities but we live in detail.” Alfred North Whitehead EQ COMPETENCY: Impulse control
Take time to get to know person in little and daily ways. Someone can talk one way and act another. They can say they don’t believe in abusing animals (or anything else) and still do it. Only time will tell.
5. ZEN: “Think with whole body.” Taisen Deshimaru EQ COMPETENCY: Intuition
Oddly enough, thinking with whole body is what intuition is about. The quickest and surest way to know whether it’s a fit is to use your intuition (gut feeling, instincts). How do you know your gut feeling? From your gut! Your body sends you physiological messages.