Adam tried his best to meet my needs, but he couldn’t fulfill all of my expectations — there was no way he could understand the full scope of pressures exerted by a culture he wasn’t raised in.
It wasn’t that our values were so different that we couldn’t talk about them deeply and agree on some guiding principles; it was the constant ache I felt for the familiar.
Dating someone from a different faith can be incredibly rewarding or a disaster of biblical proportions. After dedicating six years to Evangelical Christianity, at 24, I decided to venture into the "real world." I landed on the densely populated isle of O’ahu, Hawaii, where I met a striking doctor-in-training with bone-dry humor, a motorcycle, and a Fu Manchu mustache (it was Movember).
These markers had nothing to do with the Bible (and FWIW, I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t have been on Instagram), but in the culture of my faith group, they were gold.The truth of the matter was that I had been raised to want certain things and I knew that staying with Adam meant that I may never have them. Relationships are already hard — was it masochistic to willingly upgrade to the extra-difficult interfaith version?The only thing they could agree on was that we should care for the poor — to do this, though, was another minefield of ideological differences and presuppositions about who was to blame for that poverty. He would scoop me up on his black motorcycle and whisk me to the best restaurants on the island, where we’d discuss our mutual love for travel and the family legacies we both shouldered.All the while, fireworks literally exploded above us.But in the end, it felt phony, and even morally wrong, to him.
I had tried, too; I tried to keep my religion the way it had been passed on to me and hold onto a person who was headed in a different direction.
Our opposing faiths meant that Adam and I had different expectations for marriage, child-rearing, and what we wanted to celebrate in life.
Each time we felt these differences, the weight of disillusionment became heavier.
I didn’t want to believe it at the time, but I knew he was right. And yet, there was something that couldn’t keep us apart.
A week after he had shed one of his rare tears kissing me that final goodbye, he stood outside the crappy Italian restaurant I was working at and asked if we could "try." And so began the most difficult journey of my life to date.
On our one-year anniversary, my sister called to congratulate us and casually remind us that, on her one-year anniversary, she had gotten engaged.