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I'm a Christian Falling in Love With a Non-Believer


Published November 4, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated November 4, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.

Dear Athena,

I'm a really religious Christian, and I always thought I would be with another Christian when I fell in love. But now I am falling in love with someone who doesn't believe in God at all. I don't know what to do. I mean, I love her. I know I do. She might even be the love of my life! She doesn't care that I am a Christian. But how can I deal with these differences in our beliefs? Will I start to fall out of love because of it? What will my parents do when they find out? What if they disown me? I'm freaked out and ecstatic at the same time.


In Love With Someone I Shouldn't Be

Dear In Love,

Who says you shouldn't be in love with her? We don't choose who we love. What we choose is a relationship. No point in trying to understand it. Love is complicated and surprising and mysterious — and that's what makes it so special.

Let's look at your options. You can let go of your ideas of whom you should love and just love her. Or you can walk away now and hope that your broken heart mends quickly.

To stay and love her would be brave and bold and an adventure. You would be exposing yourself to new ideas and breaking out of your comfort zone. And those are good things.

Who says you have to be with someone who shares your every belief, like and dislike? That person is nearly impossible to find. And guess what? Being with someone who mirrors you in all of those ways might turn out to be boring.

If you try to make this work, you will only grow from the experience. Maybe your differences will eventually get in the way of a "happily ever after." Or maybe not. Maybe loving her will be the best thing to ever happen to you. You'll never know unless you try.

If your parents disapprove of the relationship, that's certainly unfortunate. I'd like to believe that your family would rather see you happy than not. Maybe they'll understand. If they don't, you'll have to decide what you're willing to fight for. Remember, just because she isn't Christian doesn't make you any less Christian. Likewise, loving her doesn't mean you will lose your faith.

One of the most important aspects of a relationship is mutual respect. Success here will depend on honoring your differences, setting boundaries and simply being together without trying to change one another. Your love may be more untraditional than you imagined. But if you can tick all of those boxes, it sounds like it's worth holding onto.