Dear Pastor
June 17, 2005
Religious rifts causing rows in relationship

Dear Pastor Jackson,

I look forward to reading your column every week. I have what I see as a huge problem. I don’t eat pork, not for religious reasons, but because of choice. I personally believe that I could bless and eat anything I choose too.

My girlfriend believes however, that pigs are condemned animals, so pork isn’t good to eat. She makes reference to when Jesus sent the demons into the herd of swine and they ran over a cliff. There are many other things that we disagree on and they cause a lot of arguments.{{more}}

I am now wondering if we could be together and live happily if we believe so differently.

I am ready to settle down, get married and have a family, but how could I; with so many differences in the relationship?

Please advise.

Young Man

Greetings Young Man,

The average person reading your letter may be tempted to ask “are they really going through problems because of pork?” I even know some men and women who may quickly be willing to exchange the problems they are facing for yours. But that is because they do not understand the POWER OF BELIEF.

Amos 3:3 in the Bible asks a very important question: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

By no means am I suggesting that a couple will agree on everything, but there must be a common body belief to facilitate harmony in a relationship. In marital counseling I will usually probe belief systems on matters of the discipline of children, financial management, and holiday schedule (where do we spend Christmas etc.) and, on the top of that list are religious beliefs.

I am not about to answer your “pork question” in this article because I don’t think that is the issue. Your question of compatibility is the crucial issue facing you. You and your girlfriend need to sit with a counselor and unpack your various differences on a wide scope of matters and then honestly decide if you can agree to disagree or if your belief system makes it virtually impossible to coexist in a relationship.

Please do not study the many persons who only see fornication and abuse as the only reasons for reconsidering relationships because they are misguided.

You will be surprised how many homes are in turmoil over belief linked problems. This is especially so in inter-religious or unequally yoked (Christian with a non-Christian) homes. Often the parties involved are forced to make gut wrenching compromises for the sake of peace. Many such persons say to me quite often, “I wish I had reconsidered.”

So examine your relationship and make a wise decision. I pray that all works well for you my brother.

Pastor Jackson