How to Merge Liberal and Traditional Catholic Values in Your New Relationship – It is Possible!
Let’s say you meet someone amazing online. You reach out in a message and you really hit it off. Your first date is perfect, the most fun you’ve had in a long time. You and this person really mesh. Even better, you’re both Catholic. There’s just one problem . . . you can’t agree. Your ideas about faith and values fall on very different ends of the spectrum. Maybe she’s more liberal than you’d like, or he’s the definition of a traditional Catholic. Should you walk away now, or maybe, just maybe, can you make this work?
When online dating, many people fear that a single characteristic could tip the scales and leave them lonely. We’re here to testify that that’s not the case. Remember the old adage, opposites attract? It’s possible, and in fact quite common, to maintain a healthy relationship with someone who thinks differently from you.
Staying in touch with someone of differing values requires communication and compromise, but it can be a great way to gain perspective and practice empathy. These just happen to be the keys to loving and lasting relationships.
It’s no secret that our culture is defined by a polarization of values. When you’re one way, you’re all in. But the reality of religion and politics is more complicated than simply flipping a switch.
Take Pope Francis for example. As leader of the Church, he’s tasked with protecting and upholding traditional Catholic values, but his humanitarian efforts are undeniably liberal from a political point of view.
So how does that play into personal values and relationships? Many people believe that you should hold your personal values above all else. While we agree with standing up for your beliefs, we don’t recommend demanding a partner who agrees with you 100%. Being with someone who has different ideas can help you grow as a person and realize a deeper faith.
So how do you make it work?
We’ll break it down for you here and discuss:
- Merging liberal and traditional values within a relationship
- Establishing boundaries
- Communicating with your partner about sensitive subjects
- Praying and studying together
- Mutual respect in a relationship
- Red flags related to personal beliefs
- How to find Catholic singles online
- How online dating works
Is it possible to date a person on the opposite side of the Catholic spectrum?
Before we tackle this question, it’s important to point out that the Catholic faith is not a political body. God’s kingdom encompasses all of creation and transcends our earthly political agendas. That means traditional Catholics do not have to be politically conservative. And liberal Catholics don’t have to be, well, wrong.
For generations, our Church has been considered the pinnacle of conservatism, but not all good Catholics vote Republican. In fact, Jesus leaned a bit left himself. Don’t believe me? Let’s pin this down with some real examples from scripture.
Jesus collected bread and fish and distributed it to a crowd. He also administered universal healthcare. Quite liberal, no? At the same time, he often found a balance between traditional and liberal mindsets by schooling the Pharisees on multiple occasions.
When it comes down to it, Catholicism is a universal church full of a wide variety of people. It is possible to encounter, appreciate, and even fall in love with someone within the Church who sees things a bit differently.
How to merge liberal and traditional Catholic values in your new relationship
So how do you make things work when your traditional Catholic values don’t quite line up with your partner’s liberal catholic ideology? We’ll show you!
Establish Your Boundaries Early On In The Relationship
Boundaries are an important factor in every human relationship, and one which is often overlooked. So whether you consider yourself more liberal or you’re a traditional Catholic, start by deciding which issues are of utmost importance to you, and which ones you’re willing to entertain with an open mind.
For example, most Catholics should agree that abortion is tragic and wrong. Stick to your guns on that. But be open to hearing about other issues like how wealth should be distributed within the Church.
The root of this step is to communicate. Tell your partner when you’re willing to hear them out, and when you’re not going to budge.
Avoid heated discussions and arguments about religion
Everyone wants passion in their relationship. But even among lovers, politics creates a passion that divides rather than brings together. If you want to discuss things that you disagree on, do it at a time when you’re both feeling relaxed and open.
Express your thoughts and make sure to listen and appreciate your partner’s point of view. When topics about being a more liberal or traditional Catholic pop up in conversation, don’t shut down, don’t walk out. If things get heated, agree to disagree and enjoy your time together.
Remember, unkind words cannot be undone. Truth be told, heated arguments hardly ever change a person’s point of view anyway. Speak with kindness and you’ll find common ground in time.
Find some middle ground between beliefs
Let’s talk about grey space. Our culture thrives on the black and white, but life is vibrant and varied. Chances are, the more you talk with someone about your beliefs, the more you’ll realize that your feelings fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, rather than on one of the far ends.
Here’s an example. In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis calls out our global financial system, “Today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
Perhaps you don’t agree with Papa Francesco on this one, but maybe you can side with him on this statement from the same paper, “The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.”
Search for that common ground between more left-leaning and traditional Catholic points of view.
Pray and make a few sacrifices
After you’ve discussed and compromised, it may be necessary to just agree to disagree. Recognize all the good that your partner brings to the world and to your relationship and let your differences slide.
Most importantly, don’t demean or belittle the person-hood of your partner. Keep Matthew 7 in mind: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”
Pray frequently, together and alone, so God can be always present in your relationship. Keep an open mind and heart, and you’ll notice God’s pull, whether it’s toward your partner or away.
Study the traditional Catholic faith well
The best way to root your personal values in faith is to learn more about the Church. The more you know, the more you can grasp and appreciate the depth of love contained within the Catholic faith.
Try participating in bible studies with your partner, or attend RCIA together. It’s never too late to brush up on your knowledge, or even to learn from scratch.
Be respectful and demand respect
This point is one of utmost importance, whether you’re more of a traditional Catholic or a lean a little to the liberal side. We’re going to lay it all out, plain and simple:
- Treat your partner with love and kindness.
- Speak calmly and respectfully.
- Listen and try to see things from their point of view.
- Compromise and find common ground.
- If you don’t feel it’s wise to budge on a certain issue, agree to disagree.
Ask your partner to follow these guidelines, and be ready to walk away if they are continually demeaning, argumentative, or judgmental.
When can these differences be a deal breaker?
Of course, we all want a relationship with mutual understanding and support. That means you have to draw the line somewhere.
The first step in this process is to know your faith deeply, so you can stand by it with confidence. When a certain belief crosses a line, let your partner know.
Don’t shut down!
Explain your reasoning, and discuss it together. If they’re not willing to keep an open mind, consider moving on.
Before you get too far into a relationship, consider your priorities and make a mental list of the hot-button issues that are, without a doubt, deal-breakers. Think about how important each issue is to you, and how important it is to have a partner who understands and supports you on it, even if they don’t fully agree.
If your partner can’t get behind you on your A-list values, make a respectful exit from the relationship.
How to find Catholic singles to date
How do you go about finding other Catholics to date? You’re in luck because we’ve got that down. Head on over to the CatholicSingles main page to set up your profile. Answer a few questions about yourself and we’ll connect you with other Catholic singles like you. We’ll even help you strike up a conversation so you can get one step closer to that first date.
Let’s be real, you can meet other singles by engaging in Catholic social groups or talking to other parishioners after mass, but online dating is the quickest and easiest way to find a compatible Catholic match.
How does online dating usually work?
Online dating is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Create your profile. Enter your personal information and then answer a few questions related to your personality and preferences.
- Search for a compatible match. Take into account likes and interests, not just appearance.
- Connect. Reach out via messages, or participate in icebreaker activities. When you find a good match, set up a first date.
Why should you become a member of Catholic Singles?
The simple answer is because it works. We know hundreds of happy couples who can attest to that!
Real talk: we’ve been doing this since 1997, shortly after the birth of online dating. We’re experts at creating happy and healthy Catholic relationships, whether you’re a traditional Catholic or find yourself identifying with more liberal ideas. Whether you’re looking for marriage or companionship, we know there’s someone out there for you, and we can help you find them.
We offer an exclusive personality test and specially designed ice breaker activities to help you connect with your special someone. Most importantly, we’re genuinely Catholic. We understand what’s important to you, and we’re ready to help you meet your relationship goals.
Ready to merge your values with someone new? Come right in, we have someone we want you to meet.
Laura Craver is a work-at-home writer and a round-the-clock mom. She shares her chaotic life with Dr. High School Sweetheart and their three bright, beautiful and sleep-impaired children. Laura is passionate about kindness, shopping local, living simply, and homemade espresso.