My girlfriend is a Christian, I don’t want her to go to church

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My girlfriend and me have been together for 3 months now. We’ve been friends for years since freshman year of high school. I’ve known her for a long time and for the first time in my life, I really feel love. I only see myself with this person and no one else. My girlfriend’s family and her are Christian. Her family rent out a church and have service 3 times a week. Her dad is a pastor and they all play instruments in service of God. I myself grew up Catholic and did the whole church thing but as I got older I grew out of it and no longer believe in it. When I asked her to be my girlfriend I already knew about her religious background and that didn’t bother me and still doesn’t, but I expressed to her that it’s just not my thing. She understands but hopes for me to one day have that encounter with God, and for that to happen, it starts with going to church every now and then.

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I’ve attended her church with her many times to support her because I want to show her that I love her. I mean one day she even preached about her testimony of God and talked about how she prayed for me to be with her and God answered her prayers. It was the sweetest thing, this girl really loves me. But recently I told her I didn’t want to go to church this Sunday because it’s just not my thing and I only came to church with her to show her support but that I don’t believe in god. I did the church thing growing up and it wasn’t for me, I go now to church and still isn’t my thing. This hurt her, and told me that she wants me to come bc it’s part of her life and when she goes and sees her sisters sitting with their husbands, she wishes I was also sitting next to her. She doesn’t expect me to go everytime but she would like me to come once in a while when I can. I completely understand and told her I just didn’t see church as being part of my life. This got her really sad through text.I told her that I love her no matter what and that we can be together without believing the same thing.

She says she understands and respects my decision even though it pains her to hear me say all this stuff. I told her that I hope she still loves me the same way and doesn’t see me differently. I want to be sure that she’s okay with my decision and that I don’t want to stand in the way of her finding the right man because I may not be what she hopes for in a guy. She said “I love you and I don’t want to break up with you but I still need time to decide on what to do bc I don’t want to think about the present the now I wanna make a decision thinking about my future. I would appreciate if you give me a few days to think this through “. And I’m gonna give her the time she needs to think. Right now it just hurts because I’m on the verge on losing this girl. Of course I understand that in Christianity it’s more of a relationship to God, than a religion. So I’m sure she’s going to decide to live her life according to God and I can’t stand in her way.

So if she decides to break up I can’t blame her. What do y’all think. I’ve been starting to feel guilty and like shit because I’m debating on if I’m making the wrong decision in not giving god and religion more of a chance. I love this girl, she’s like no one else. But I understand that stuff like this is a break of make in a relationship. I’ve talked to her parents about this before because her dad is the pastor of the church and they both understand where I’m coming from. But they say it’s their hope and dream that one day I find Christ and have that relationship with him. So I told her that I feel pressure from her whole family for me to be Christian. Her parents showed me a verse in the Bible that said that it’s not recommended to date a non Christian because it wouldn’t work. But they gave me a chance with her because she prayed for us to be together so it was in God’s plan for me to be with her. No one is forcing me to be Christian or believe In god. But if her family and my girlfriend hope for me to find Christ one day, and I don’t want to because I don’t believe in it, is it not meant to be with her?

Answer by John M. Kaman: Navigating a relationship where religious beliefs diverge can be challenging but not insurmountable, provided both partners approach the situation with empathy, respect, and open communication. In your case, it’s evident that you deeply care for your girlfriend and respect her beliefs, even if they do not align with your own. This foundation of mutual respect is crucial.

It’s important to recognize and honor your own beliefs and boundaries just as you respect hers. Attending church services to support her demonstrates your love and willingness to be part of her life. However, it’s equally important to be true to yourself and your beliefs. Compromise is key in relationships, but it should not come at the cost of suppressing your own values and comfort.

Your girlfriend’s request for you to occasionally attend church with her, despite knowing your stance on religion, indicates her desire to share this significant part of her life with you. It’s understandable that she feels saddened by your decision not to participate, as for her, this is likely more about sharing experiences and less about converting you.

However, your feeling of guilt and the pressure you sense from her family to embrace Christianity are significant concerns. It’s essential to have a frank discussion about expectations. It’s okay to set boundaries around religious participation while still being supportive of her faith in other ways. Exploring ways to support her that feel authentic to you can be a part of this conversation.

Should she decide to end the relationship based on your religious differences, it would be a painful outcome, but it’s important to remember that both partners deserve to be in a relationship where they feel fully accepted and respected for who they are, including their beliefs. It’s neither person’s fault if fundamental differences in values and future visions make the relationship untenable.

It’s also worth considering counseling, either individually or as a couple, to navigate these feelings and decisions. A neutral third party can offer perspectives and coping strategies that might not be apparent when you’re in the thick of it.

Ultimately, the decision to stay together or part ways should be made based on whether both of you can see a future together where each person feels fulfilled and respected in their beliefs. It’s about finding a balance that works for both of you, without one having to sacrifice their identity or beliefs for the sake of the relationship.

In conclusion, while love is a powerful binder in a relationship, compatibility, shared values, and mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and boundaries are equally important. Whether you decide to give religion another chance is a deeply personal decision and should come from a place of genuine curiosity or desire for growth, not just to appease others. Whatever the outcome, it’s crucial that it be a decision that respects both your integrity and your partner’s faith.

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