Religion may be holy in the dating arena
It might matter to our parents, but does it matter to us? For students dating at Washington University, whether religion becomes an issue in the matters of love (or at least being in a relationship) is something that varies on a personal basis. For most students, the most important thing is communication and connection.
Some students don’t see religion as a big problem in dating, mostly because some students think that Wash. U. students tend not to be religious.
“I feel like a lot of people at this school, even if they do have a religious association, are probably not that religious so they don’t worry about it that much,” said sophomore Brennan Keiser, a Christian.
But just because students might not care doesn’t mean that parents and family members don’t.
“Often in Judaism and Hebrew school, a big problem they talk about is intermarriage and millions of Jews being lost in inter-religious marriage, so that’s a problem a lot of people see,” said junior Daniel Fishman, an executive in Jewish Student Union (JSU).
Though his parents want him to be happy, Fishman said when it comes to marriage, his parents would certainly prefer he settle with someone Jewish.
In the Jewish community, marrying within the religion is very important.
“I wasn’t very religious growing up, but my parents put a big emphasis on Jewish identity,” sophomore Genna Morton said.
Morton wants her children to be raised Jewish and would want her spouse, if he wasn’t Jewish, to convert before getting married.
“I don’t want to say that I would not date someone who wasn’t Jewish, but it would always be in the back of my mind,” Morton said. “Just because I have my views on who I want to marry, I don’t judge or look at anyone differently for the choices they make.”
Passing on religious identity to children is important to other religions too.
“I did go to church Sunday when I was at home, and for me it would be very hard to date someone who’s not Christian just because which religion do the kids go to?” Keiser said. “I feel like that’s a very hard issue to overcome.”
For Buddhists, the rules are less strict.
“You’re pretty much allowed to marry whoever,” said sophomore Lorraine Kim, a Buddhist. “There are no strict rules against it. It doesn’t affect me at all in terms of dating.”
Still, Kim identifies strongly with her religious identity.
“I don’t think I would want to go to church or temple, she said. “I’d want to continue going to Buddhist temple but if my husband wants to go that’s cool,” Kim said.
Kim said that she would let her kids attend other services if her husband wanted them to, but she would also raise them with the tenets of Buddhism in mind.
Another aspect of dating is someone’s values, which are, some people feel, more likely to be similar if they come from the same religious background.
“I personally date people that have similar values to me and Judaism plays a large part to my values,” Fishman said. “But not being Jewish doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t share the same values as me, and being Jewish doesn’t mean they do share the same values as me.” Fishman has dated non-Jews, and said that things like politics and personality play roles as well.
“It wouldn’t be a problem for me,” said sophomore Brad Valtman, a Christian. “I’d be more considering their values than what they specifically believe.”
In some very religious circles, one’s relationship with God is supposed to come before everything else, and if one person in a relationship is less religious than another, this could create a problem.
Sex too could be an issue, as how important someone’s religion is may have an impact on their feelings about premarital sex. If the relationship is healthy, however, some students don’t see this as a problem.
“In my experiences…the initial starting spot, or their interest in [religion] can work as long as there’s communication and mutual respect,” Fishman said.