by Rev. Dr. Robert R. LaRochelle
I recently wrote a book entitled A HOME UNITED ( Energion, 2015) in which I contend that, among the many important topics for conversation and communication for couples, the topic of religion is one that should not be ignored. I also make the observation that it often is because many people deem it to be so divisive and controversial that it could create discomfort within the relationship. Sadly, when one looks at how religion has all too often been understood and used, one can certainly see how people would not want it to be an impediment in a relationship that has the potential to be lasting.
While I understand the hesitancy involved in creating obstacles and ruining what is and could be a very good thing, I would also contend that there are MANY good reasons, even necessary reasons, to put the topic of religion on the table. It belongs among the many important topics couples discuss as their love unfolds and they explore the possibility of sharing life together.
For your consideration, I list some of the reasons:
- Understanding another’s religious values is a way of getting to know the inner life of a person well. As couples reveal themselves to each other, that revelation includes the values they share and what really makes them tick.
- In a relationship, each person, while being committed to their partner, remains an individual. Religious conviction is a very important part of many individuals’ lives. To bury that important part of oneself in the name of avoiding discomfort carries with it the potential for a greater discomfort down the road.
- If a relationship eventually leads to children, decisions need to be made regarding raising those children religiously. In order to avoid the situation where this becomes a divisive matter for the couple, it helps to put it on the list of important issues to explore as the relationship grows deeper and a child is not imminent.
I would also add that, in some family situations, members of the couple’s extended family might have such strong opinions on the subject that their attempt to exert influence may be discomforting to the couple. A couple is strengthened in this situation if ongoing, in-depth communication on this issue is part of their relationship.
My book, A Home United, is written as a resource for couples and those who work with them. For couples, I offer questions and pose scenarios for them to explore. These are intended to help them come to an understanding of religious values in the other and to assist them in making good, conscientious decisions. For those who work in premarital counseling, including those in church premarital programs, this book offers material to help these leaders and counselors move couples in the direction of having important and necessary discussions.
These comments and the book apply to ALL couples seeking to share a life together, including those in same sex relationships!
For more about author Robert R. LaRochelle, click on his picture. Click on a book cover to get more information about that book.