By Amanda Singer
Religion is one of those topics that we often don’t talk about because of the concern over the difference in views or opinions. However, it’s one of the things that can become an issue during dating, marriage and even divorce. I’m Jewish and while I’m not super observant and grew up in a reform household, my religion and my faith are still important to me. It is part of my identity. I’ve dated people who were Jewish and those that are not, and my boyfriend currently is not. We’ve been together for a while. For those of you who’ve read some of my other blogs, while we’re not yet married, we own a home together and are committed to creating a life together.
Communicate Prior to Marriage
When we first started dating, I knew he wasn’t Jewish and for me, that wasn’t a deal breaker. However, we’ve discussed it often and come to some understandings on how we’ll do things both before and after we have kids. Those conversations haven’t always been easy and there were times we both had to decide if it would be an issue moving forward if we were not the same religion, but it works. I have many friends who knew that they only wanted to date and marry someone that was the same religion as them and that’s ok too. I certainly think that if it’s something that is very important to you and you don’t agree with your partner on those issues that it can cause issues down the road. The most important part about religion, or faith if that term resonates more with you, is to talk about. It should be part of the conversations early on, so it doesn’t become an issue that causes conflict and potentially even divorce.
Different Religions During Marriage
If you’re already married, then it’s just as important to check in about how you’re raising your children. It’s also possible that your views and feelings on religion may change as your relationship progresses. If it does, and you don’t talk about that with your partner, it can cause friction where there may not have been before. It’s important to be open and honest about things before it can cause an issue. The main point is to communicate with your spouse otherwise you’re not going to be able to work out ways to deal with your differences in a healthy way.
Dealing with Differences During Divorce & Premarital Mediation
Even during and after divorce, religion still comes up as an issue. Sometimes it is a larger issue because now you may feel like you can do what you want when you have the kids, even if your co-parent may not agree. During the parenting plan mediation session we talk about religion to see if there are any agreements (or disagreements) on how the children will be raised. You and your co-parent may not agree on exactly how you want the children to be raised around religion. It’s important again to discuss it and figure out so the kids are the ones feeling stuck in the middle. This may mean whether they go to religious school, what they can be introduced to as well as what your extended family may do and share with your children. Ultimately, both parents can come up with an agreement that respects the other parent’s beliefs without compromising their own. However, that’s not always easy. If you need help discussing religion either before you get married or during/after a divorce our mediators are here to assist you.
Need to talk about religion during your premarital agreement negotiations or how to handle your faith during divorce? Contact San Diego Family Mediation Center today at (858) 736-2411.