Religion vs love
A MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP with God helps to cement the bond between couples, as it encourages them to live with high moral values.
At the same time, a union in which religion plays a dominant role could prove divisive if one of the partners is not comfortable with this element in their lives. This often happens in cases when one of them, usually the woman, attends church, while her partner does not. And when she insists he goes with her, it can cause a rift between them.
These were the two most significant viewpoints expressed by respondents to our question: Do you think that religion should play a key part in your relationship and, if so, why?
Unlike previous polls, there was no dominant opinion. This could suggest the complexity of the matter or, as one man put it, the ambiguity of the question. For him the appropriate question would have been: “Should a relationship with God play a key role between couples?”
Similarly significant, we had more men than women responding on this issue. It is the first time since this column began that this occurred.
Most of the men said that religion, or the need for men to have a greater relationship with God, was one of the most frustrating problems they had with women. The majority feeling was that women had to recognise they could not “change men overnight” and get them to attend church just because they did.
One man’s response summed up these sentiments. He said: “After my wife turned 50, she started going to church more; dressing conservatively and was not interested in sex as much. When I got vexed and started quarrelling, she would only say that I needed Jesus in my life . . . . She just expected me to stop being me and give up my friends to please her. She could only be mad.”
One woman who felt “religion should be central to every couple’s life” said that she and her husband had to part ways because she became fed up with his lifestyle. “All he liked to do was play dominoes, drink with his friends and watch sports. After 12 years of marriage I wanted more out of life and I got it in church; but he did not like church, so eventually we finished.”
Based on the views expressed, it is clear that this issue is one that affects many Barbadian couples, and has been the source of much confrontation and some break-ups. This being the case, couples need to communicate their feelings more on this issue and seek compromise when necessary.
The following are edited versions of selected responses:
– “Religion should play an integral part in a relationship because it is the one thing that will sustain you when all else fails. Even though my partner and I came from different cultural backgrounds, our core values are the same. These values were instilled in both of us as children in the Roman Catholic and Anglican faiths.
“Our parents shared the view that it is impossible to teach moral values without religious doctrine coming into play.
“There were times when we were tempted to give up on the relationship, but our deep religious commitment and our faith in God strengthened our resolve to stay together. We continue to gain solace and energy to find solutions in our relationship through our religious beliefs.”
– “Yes, it should. A couple should move forward together in unity. It is senseless for a man who believes in Jehovah God to marry a woman who believes a cow is her God, for example. How can he take her out and order a steak platter without her being grossly offended?”
– “I think that Christian men know how to please a woman. Any woman who wants a relationship should pursue a religious man instead of a beer-drinker, limer or people like that. My husband is a religious man and he knows what to do to please me. I don’t have to wonder about him and we have a really good relationship.”
– “You can have a good relationship between two people even from different religions. I have a relationship going on 11 years – I am Anglican and he is Nazarene. The most important thing is the relationship.”
– “I don’t think that religion plays a key part. Religion binds you and ties you down. You need a relationship with God, that is what is most important.”
– “It should not play a part. The world has too much religion already.
“I’m not a Christian, my wife is, and we’ve been living together 50 years successfully. I have kids and they are not religious. In all things you have to have ethics and morals; but going to a church every Sunday, what does that have to do with love or living together?”