Pagan Love: Dating a Non-Pagan
As a pagan married to a devout Christian, I get asked quite often, "How do you do it?!" The answer is, quite simply! Dating a non-pagan is not nearly the hassle you'd think, as long as you both have other areas of common ground and maintain some set standards for your interactions with one another regarding faith.
Without further ado, here are my top rules for dating a non-pagan (and having a fantastic relationship!).
Rule # 1: Talk Religion
It may seem counter-intuitive, but I've found that the best way to have a great interfaith relationship is to embrace your differing faiths, not sweep them under the rug. Learn what the other person believes and listen without attempting to judge or argue against it. You might find that you have a lot more in common than you think.
Rule # 2: Focus on the Similarities
Whether you're a Wiccan and he's a Catholic or she's a Buddhist and you're an atheistic Luciferian, you have a lot more in common than you think. Nearly all belief systems are based on understanding the nature of the universe and using those principles to build a better life for yourself. Start there and you'll quickly learn that you have more in common than not. Remember that the expression of faith is only part of any belief system.
Would you ever date a non-pagan?
Rule # 3: Celebrate the Differences
Life is nothing without variety, and the experiences that challenge us the most are the ones that help us grow the most. You wouldn't marry someone who looked, talked, and acted exactly like you, so why not see the benefit in the fact that you hold different beliefs? Instead of focusing on the parts of those beliefs that differ, try focusing on the expressions of those beliefs that compliment one another. A rowdy Asatruar can learn a thing or two from her calm and easygoing Taoist boyfriend, and vice versa.
Rule # 4: Have the Kid Conversation Early
Don't wait until you have kids to decide how they will be raised. Even the most easygoing believer can get riled up when they realize their partner doesn't want to raise their children in the faith they grew up in. If any issue can break an interfaith couple up, this is the one. If you have irreconcilable differences when it comes to teaching your future children about the nature of the universe, it's better to know as soon as possible.
Rule # 5: Stop Being a Missionary, Start Being a Partner
This one isn't only for the Christians, guys. Pagans are often just as guilty of trying to convert their non-pagan mates, albeit typically in less aggressive and dogmatic ways. You would be hurt and annoyed if he attempted to convert you or "shared the gospel" at every date, so don't expect him to share your beliefs about reincarnation and energy healing. I know it can be difficult to feel like your significant other will never understand the spiritual experiences you've had, and to want them to obtain the same enlightenment. However, if you're going to date a non-pagan you are going to have to get over it. I hate to be so blunt, but it's the only way to make a pagan/non-pagan relationship work.
More importantly, that line of thinking is significantly shortchanging the Universe. Who are we to say that a Christian or Mormon or even an atheist can't obtain the same spiritual enlightenment and truth we obtain from Mother Earth? The Universe is not so weak that it can speak through only one vessel. Remember that "But I want you to experience what I've experienced!" is the same excuse used by Abrahamic religions to wipe out and silence pagan traditions around the world. The cycle must be broken at some point, and interfaith relationships are a wonderful chance to recycle that negative legacy into something positive and beautiful.
Rule # 6: Be Honest
This applies to so many aspects of an interfaith relationship, chiefly when it comes to your beliefs. Maybe you just got asked out by that cute guy whom you know to be a Baptist, and you don't know how to break it to him over the first date appetizer that you're a witch. You can't quite figure out if he knows you're a pagan or if he thinks the pentacle around your neck is the "Star of David". Either way, while there's no need to blurt it out before the food arrives, you should still refrain from hiding it. Dating a non-pagan is a bit trickier of an issue when you factor in the fact that pagans are still the victims of gross stereotypes, cruel harassment, and even violence in many parts of the world. If you don't feel safe divulging that information, don't. But let it be a sign to you that you shouldn't be with someone who makes you feel at all threatened anyway.
Rule # 7: Relax!
As long as your personal beliefs are not diametrically opposed, they shouldn't keep you from having a relationship as healthy and satisfying as any other. Mutual respect is the only solid foundation on which to build a relationship, and interfaith couples have the advantage that they have to respect each other to begin a relationship in the first place.