I am dating someone who was raised Catholic, but is genetically 10% Jewish (thanks 23andMe). He originally seemed very receptive to my Judaism and spirituality, but recently declared he may become more Catholic, right now he's agnostic. I'm afraid of how that would affect our future family if we had one. His family is very large and very Catholic and he wants us to live near them. While I can be open-minded, will it hurt my history, or damage the preciousness of my Judaism to be in mass on their high holidays? How can I keep Shabbat alive in a vacuum? How can you compare Christmas to Yom Kippur? It’s such a different way of being conscious to me. Can you offer any guidance based on your experience with interfaith couples? My soul feels squashed. ~DR
My Dearest DR,
Your situation represents the exact purpose of dating. Dating, in essence, is an “interview” for the position of “life partner.” Just as an employer questions the prospective employee in a job interview to see if an applicant will fit smoothly into the position and benefit the company, so too in dating are you “interviewing” this gentleman to see how he will fit into your life.
Do you have the same perspective on things? That doesn’t mean you have to think alike on EVERYTHING. It doesn’t mean that you have to like all the same things. But, when it comes to spirituality and children, it is essential that you and he have the same ideas, desires, perspective, and plans.
It is NOT just about being an interfaith couple; it’s about what each of you feel is important in these areas. What do you want to do in these areas? And how you are going to go about living your lives in relation to your spirituality and child rearing beliefs? Once you have identified your beliefs, I advise you not to think that you could live without those beliefs and conditions within the relationship. I have seen that type of compromise fail in the long term many, many times. You can only compromise your core beliefs so long before the “real” you comes out.
Therefore DR, you need to decide what you really want, what you truly believe. Once you have established that in your mind, it will be easier for you to discern if you are with the right person or not…and clarity is the most important thing, in this case.
Much Light and blessings,