How Religion Affects Relationships

This is a deep subject. Religion is so personal and people get defensive when discussing it. I have a different point of since I was raised with a Muslim father and a non-Muslim mother.  On more days than not, I have been the “minority” in the room, not only by race but by religion. I often wonder do people of a majority religion (as with a majority race) consider their actions or judgments toward other religions or are their behaviors engrained with a bit ignorance from not having to be different. Do people unknowingly assume others are Christian if a different religion is not outwardly visible (name, attire, demeanor, language)?  

If religion can affect friendships and work relationships it SURELY can affect couples, marriages, and families. 

From my experience, religion can affect relationships with the following examples: 

  • When a person requires their mate to be of the same religion as them but their mate is not willing; or requires their mate to attend the same church as them but their mate is not willing 
  • When a person wants to raise their children under one faith but the spouse does not 
  • When a person changes their religion during the marriage 
  • When a person imposes their religion’s values and traditions on their mate or family 

As with many subjects in relationships, being honest in the “getting to know you stages” is critical. Sometimes people are afraid to be themselves for fear of rejection. However, this position of not presenting your true self, can lead to a misrepresentation and later cause the other mate to question who their mate really is. It can also lead to the implementation of the ultimate fear – rejection! 

Growing up, I often felt judged by people of other religions because they thought I was Muslim. The truth was, that I identified more with Islamic faith because it was what I was exposed to. As I grew, I had to mature and find myself.  So, while being in teenage and young adult relationships I found it hard to express my religious views. Therefore, I can confirm that religion affected the way I communicated in relationships as a young adult. I usually kept my opinion to myself, to prevent being judged. As an adult, I have met others who have a similar story.  We all agree that when a couple has different religious views, they must be mature, considerate and flexible with their partner’s beliefs.  

Shani Nealy