I often reflect on all the reasons I’m really lucky to have the parents that I have. These reasons include the values that my parents have communicated to me around dating. Specifically, I’ve thought of my parents recently as I grapple with messages I receive about interfaith dating.
My parents were very clear about what they expected of the people my brother and I chose to date: these people should be warm, loving, intelligent, and respectful… nothing in the requirements referred their being of the same religion. And although I mostly dated people of my own faith, my brother and I both did date people of other faiths, and without comment from our parents on that particular issue.
Even during periods when I identified very strongly with my faith, I felt open to dating anyone. For me, it was and is a question of with whom I could best connect and share of myself.
I also believe that others should make decisions about dating based on their own feelings and values. But I’ve noticed that not all of my peers feel the same. Some have various strong opinions about their own faith-based dating practices. Others, to my surprise and sadness, have expressed judgment of our friends’ interfaith dating practices. I want to ask how this plays out in your experience — as young adults, do we judge each other for inter-dating? Is there pressure to date only people of our own faith? Why? How does that feel for you, and how do you think it feels for others?