Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise Divorce: Does Religion Matter in a Relationship?


When you’re dating to find “the one”, you may realize that religion is more important than you had suspected during your years of casual dating, flings and hookups. Practicing a religion can affect the way you choose to raise your children, impact spiritual holidays and even family customs.

This past week, Katie Holmes filed for divorce, ending her infamous 5-year marriage to Tom Cruise. It’s been reported that his extreme Scientology beliefs will no longer be a part of her life, as she was raised Roman Catholic and intends to raise their daughter, Suri, with her religious beliefs and traditions. A source told "Under terms of the settlement, Suri isn't permitted to be exposed to anything Scientology related and this includes going to any Scientology churches, parties, etc. Katie made sure that this was ironclad in the agreement."

Would you breakup over religious differences? You might meet and fall in love with someone who has been brought up on a different religion. Would you choose to convert for the one you love? Could you deny your own beliefs to satisfy your loved one or their family?

Many twenty-something’s, especially those in a city like New York, aren’t actively practicing the religion they grew up on, like their parents and grandparents had done decades before. These “new” New Yorkers may associate themselves with the religion their parents taught and guided them with, but many of those post-grad city dwellers aren’t making the effort to continue their practice away from their suburban homes. With religion not on their everyday radar, many single city men and women don’t care or even ask about their potential significant other’s religion when on a first date.

But, what happens when Mr. Right Now has become Mr. Right and the talk of marriage and children is introduced? If your lover, whose religion didn’t matter to you during the early dating stages, is vocal about raising their children without Christmas or fasting on high holy days, would you respect their wishes or demand that it’s your way or the highway? Or do you think you could just happily combine your beliefs when starting your family, such as celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah? Many seem to find compromise is the best way to keep both partner – and their extended families – happy.

Of course, there are single twenty and thirty-something’s who are active in their religious practice and studies in New York City – just like everywhere else in the world. For those devoted folks, religion will most likely be a deal breaker before the first kiss. But, what about the rest of us? We may believe in God or heaven or at least the notion that there is a spiritual world – but we haven’t considered religion’s place in our growing relationships.

Would you end a relationship before it even started based on religious beliefs? Or could you end a serious relationship over religion and the upbringing of your children, like Katie and Tom?


  1. I have ended relationships, or halted them from starting based on differences in religion and desire for children. I respect the hell out of people who can be together with drastically different beliefs however I know I don't have it in me.

  2. While I want my future children to have a Christian eduation/expereince, my atheist boyfriend and I have already had discussions regarding the best way to do that without creating conflict. You have to be flexible and tollerant. It's hard, but it's not impossible. As far as children go, they're going to make their own decisions anyway after a while, just as we all do.


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