So as soon as I joined TA, the first "Big Discussion" that I saw was the video of Steve Harvey and his comments on people dating Atheists. I've been dating a wonderful girl for a year and 8 months. She is one of those Christians who doesn't go to church or read the bible and doesn't necessarily claim the title of "Christian" but does claim that she has a relationship with God. Now, I respect everyone's right to believe what they want, of course, because I can't stand when believers are so sure that I am wrong and on a one-way road to hell. When I first met my girlfriend, one of the first people I spoke with was a friend of mine who identifies as Agnostic (I am an Atheist). I told him how amazing she was and how quickly we hit it off and how the only potential speed bump that I saw was me telling her that I was an Atheist. The subject of God had come up on the day we met (which turned into our first date) but never specifically what I believed (she probably assumed I believed in God). God came up when she told me that he mother was diagnosed with breast cancer almost a year prior and that the only thing that got her through was her relationship with God. My silence at that point along with a nod and probably a facial expression that said, "Ah, hell" may have been a red flag to her.
About a week later, she asked me on the phone if it bothered ME that SHE believes in God. I was dumbfounded as usually that isn't a concern of believers (at least not from my experiences) and also because I hadn't told her that I was an Atheist. I told her that it didn't bother me and after a short hesitation I asked, "Does it bother you that I don't?" Her response, somewhat surprisingly, was no. That was about the end of that conversation.
We had a very in-depth conversation about God about 2 months later which was when I also dropped the bomb that I didn't want to get married. Ever. I'm not completely against marriage, just not a believer in the necessity and legality of it all and would be happy to spend my life with one person if we really wanted to. That was the one that really got her upset. She was quiet the rest of the afternoon and finally opened back up and started speaking in complete sentences again about 5 hours later.
We are still together and the God subject doesn't really come up. When I get the chance, I make small comments here and there just to remind her of what I believe because what I believe in more than anything is that she is going to end up leaving me, or worse, forcing me to do something that I don't want to do because that is the only way to avoid the former which will only make me resent her. I really don't want either to happen. I have the feeling that she doesn't believe that I don't want marriage because she has made comments to each of our parents that begin with "When we get married" or something similar.
Like I said, I could see myself spending the rest of my life with one person and I can see that person being her because I would hate to not have her in my life. I just feel like I'm waiting for an ultimatum to give her everything or nothing. On the bright side, her parents may be on my side with the marriage thing once they find out that I haven't accepted their lord and savior into my heart...but then they probably won't support any relationship with me.

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Comment by Kairan Nierde on July 5, 2011 at 5:11pm
It sounds like your religious differences aren't an issue as much as your ideas about long term relationships.  How do you both feel about civil unions or commitment ceremonies?  Compromise may be your best option.
Comment by Kairan Nierde on July 5, 2011 at 5:14pm

*I mean compromise may be the best option for both of you.  Btw, the way you describe her, she sounds like a very special woman.

Comment by Stephen Abernathy on July 7, 2011 at 8:18am
I think you're right and I have thought about a civil union and commitment ceremonies.  I actually know someone who just got a civil union with his girlfriend because he feels the same way I do. We still have time to figure it out but I do think you hit the nail on the head. Also, thank you for your kind words about her. :)


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