Community Blog: Figuring Out Faith On A First Date

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crucifix

First dates can be difficult.  You're worried about the way you look, what to say and whether or not your date is enjoying your conversation. You're also trying to decide if you like the other person enough to go out with them again. Then, somewhere between the salad and main course, you realize that you have several things in common. You play tennis, enjoy watching classic movies, and agree that climbing rock formations in Sedona is the idea of a perfect vacation. This is fate, you think to yourself as you lean in closer, excited that the person sitting across from you could be your soul mate.

As a Christian, you're also concerned about your date's relationship with God and how this factors into their life. Knowing the degree of a person's faith may help determine if the partnership will survive a second date or, ultimately, if it has long-term potential.

Studies show that the best topics for cooling the mood before the heat has had a chance to kick in include money, politics, and religion. Opinions are strong and arguments could arise because you don't have the advantage of knowing the person well enough to understand his or her perspective. Additionally, first dates don't generally afford one the luxury of time to work through these topics. Religion will inevitably be a part of the discussion if you're heading down the aisle, but is a first date the appropriate place to discuss it???

If you absolutely must know whether your suitor is a church-going crusader or a holiday-only holy one, here are five strategies that may help raise the topic without sounding as if you're giving them an interview:

Holidays: Is Easter or Christmas soon approaching? If so, this is the perfect segue to finding out about your date's faith. Ask him or her about their traditions and ways in which they celebrate. Almost all Christians honor God during this time, even if they don’t practice the rest of the year.  Maybe you'll discover that your date hides under the covers while everyone's at Mass. If you're looking for a partner with faith, this could be a deal-breaker. 

Childhood: A person's upbringing will reveal a lot about his or her values if you listen carefully. Find out if religion was part of their life by asking where they grew up and what it was like. It may be a natural transition to a discussion about Sunday catechism class, bible school or any of the sacraments. Don’t pry into it; just let it happen naturally.

Family and Friends: Parents and siblings are a great conversation starter. Since discussions are usually light on a first date, the focus often centers on the topic of family members who just got engaged, married or had children. Begin by talking about your own family. Since this type of chatter is usually benign, it lends itself to an exchange that can reveal a lot about your partner's own background and beliefs.??

Weekend Activities: Discuss your interests and hobbies together. At the very least, it opens the door to asking what he or she does on Sunday mornings (or in some cases, Saturday night). This strategy may not readily reveal if they are a religious naysayer but if your date is committed to their faith, it should come up during the discussion. 

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