Why I choose to date Christian men–inserting religion into relationships


by Victoria Valenzuela

It’s a general rule that two of the most sensitive topics to keep out of the conversation on a first date are religion and politics. Lucky for my dates, I’m not up to speed on the hot-button issues between Republicans and Democrats and the last thing I want to do is get into a right wing vs. left wing debate. The other subject, however, is one that recently has become something that I throw out pretty early in getting to know a guy, especially if I didn’t exactly meet him in church.

Having made the decision to become Christian two years ago, it’s become more apparent than ever how important it is for me to date a man who is also Christian. No, I’m not being too picky. No, I’m not being overly selective in determining who I date. It’s about finding someone that I am compatible with on as many levels as possible–religion included.

You don’t even have to be religious to be a part of this conversation. Whether you are devoted to a particular faith or not, sooner or later, the issue of religion is bound to come up.in a relationship. Either you find that you share your beliefs or you discover that there is a huge disconnect in exactly what each of you believes. Someone’s religion is a pretty good indicator of their attitudes towards many different things in life, including marriage, abortion, having children, divorce, the afterlife–you name it. Just like someone’s sexual history or culture, it’s important to find those things out early on when getting to know someone. They might bring you closer–or drive you apart.

You might not think your significant other’s religion is a big deal. They can do their thing and you can do yours, right? That might work for a while, but eventually it’s going to be a create a ridge between the two of you, especially if religion or spirituality is important to you–or them. Let’s say you go to church, the temple, a mosque or wherever you go to worship every week. Maybe you say your prayers before dinner or eat strictly kosher. These seemingly small, insignificant things can become much greater when you don’t share them with the person you are dating–or the person you are married to. Sharing someone’s religion and having that as a foundation for many different beliefs helps you to understand them better, simple as that. And if you are wanting to be in a relationship with someone, it would make sense that you would want to include yourself in the aspects of their life that truly matter.

It would be a much more interesting story if I was able to say that I’ve dated men of various faiths and am able to compare them all. But my experience has been limited to two categories–Christian and non-Christian–and I’ve seen night and day difference between the two. I’m guessing you can predict which way I lean towards. Now let me make this clear: I am not saying that Christian men are good and non-Christian men are bad. For the purpose of this argument am I saying that for me personally, I choose to date Christian men for very specific reasons over non-Christian men, based on the experiences that I’ve had.

First of all, I have been treated infinitely better by a Christian man than a non-Christian man. The Christian men in my life that I know, whether I am dating them or not, have a different way of looking at women and honestly respect them more. Now I’m not talking about the guys that say they are Christian when they think it counts–I’m talking about the Christian man who has a personal relationship with God and seeks to be a good, upstanding man. I have found that Christian men want to get to know me as a person, as a woman, before they want to know what’s underneath my clothes. While I am the first to admit that I am one of those girls that likes a bad boy, a man with morals and values is more attractive to me any day.

It has been harder for me to connect with a non-Christian man, for all the reasons I already talked about. I’ve felt like I’ve had to hide my beliefs and diminish my affiliation with my Christian fellowship group on campus. I’ve gotten remarks like, “Oh you’re going to your Christian thing?” as if it was something to be ashamed of. I would downplay it because I wouldn’t want to be looked at as the “Christian girl”. But it wasn’t until I got out of those types of relationships that I realized how incredibly wrong that was. Why should I be afraid to express how I feel and believe what I believe and worship the way I want because of the way that I would be judged? It’s backwards and wrong. A side lesson to all women of any faith or affiliation: Don’t allow a man to make you conceal or deny anything about yourself if it is who you are. You’ll regret it, trust me.

I have tried to be open minded about dating whomever might come into my life. But then I realized that even if I met an amazing man who wasn’t a Christian, I would eventually want him to become one. But it’s not my job to convert anyone. I don’t want to have to take on the responsibility of changing the core of someone’s belief system. If this man happens to come with me to church one day and finds that he really loves it and wants to know more, that’s on him. I’m not in the business of trying to change a man–it never works.

You can be Atheist, Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic, Agnostic, whatever–but religion does matter. Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but it matters to me.