So you are an Omnist? Fantastic! Now you have to tell your charming new partner, but you're not sure how.
Religion can be a controversial subject, especially in the current world climate, or if your partner comes from a religious family. But it's particularly important to talk about at the beginning of a budding romance.
Relationships are based on understanding, and the discussion or religious beliefs is an important one to have right off.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Go into the conversation with your mind open. The discussion should allow for free communication between both of you and it should be as judgment-free as possible.
Approach it as an opportunity to learn -- this will not be a one conversation deal. It will take several conversations to tackle such a complex subject, but all relationships are based on this continuous growth and communication. Allow time for you both to metabolize your conversations.
A little independent research doesn't hurt in giving you the basics of their beliefs. There are millions of sources online regarding whatever religion your partner practices, but just research the basics. It can be overwhelming and daunting.
Speak Your Truth
Be honest. This is not the time to conform to appease your boyfriend/girlfriend. They shouldn't either. Layout your beliefs and have an informative discussion about religious beliefs. Like Omnism, all other religions have varying beliefs and understandings within them depending on the people.
First, take the time to define your beliefs. Omnism, as a general rule, is the belief that every religion is true. Some Omnists accept religions in their entirety, while others believe that every religion has an amount of truth to it, but no religion wholly true.
Define what Omnism is to you.
If they need some more help, try an analogy. Imagine every religion in the world is a different flavor of the cake. People sometimes find their favorite flavor and stick with it and believe it is the best flavor.
Sometimes you like the same flavor of cake that has been passed down by your family, while others find their favorite flavor after sampling many different types of cake before finding one that fits them.
Omnists take a slice of every cake to make a new, unique cake, believing that every cake is good in their own way.
Make sure you avoid conversations on who is right and who is wrong. Just because you are an Omnist, it doesn't mean they can't continue their Christian, Jewish, or Buddist faith.
Let your lover know that your Omnistic belief doesn't automatically make you believe that their religious beliefs are wrong. This can be particularly important if your partner is religious himself or from a religious family.
Listen to Their Concerns
They might have questions, so answer them if you can. This is the time to be open and honest about your concerns or curiosity. If you don't take this opportunity now, it will get harder the longer you go.
During your conversations, it is wise to discuss the expectations you have for each other. This includes tackling the uncomfortable stuff. Expectations on church attendance, roles in the house, and sex are some things that can come up. Talk about being thrust out of your comfort area! As nerve-wracking as this can be, it has to be done.
Do they expect you to attend church or temple services with him?
Do they believe sex is only for procreation?
Can you work outside of the home, or do they want you to stay home?
These subjects can be scary but don't shy away from them.
Find Common ground
Not every belief will be shared by both of you. It is nearly impossible to agree with everything. I am talking about the base or "core" beliefs here. People sometimes refer to these as deal-breakers.
Take the opportunity to find common moral and spiritual values. Exploring these values allows you both to flesh out what is important from what is not.
Focus on the Similarities
Talk more about what you have in common than what's different. If they're family-oriented, is that something you share as an Omnist? If so, explore how they are similar and what that means for you. Don't be discouraged. Press forward.
Similar to finding common ground, how can your beliefs work together? Holidays are a good way to discuss it. Whether your families have different religious beliefs or simply other holiday traditions, find a way to work together.
For example, if his family is Jewish and yours is more Christian, a way to tackle Christmas is to spend Hannukah with his family in the middle of December, and then Christmas can be spent with your family.
It doesn't have to be either-or.
What Can You Try Together?
If you both pray or meditate, could you both do it together? If one goes to services regularly, could the other attend once and a while, even just as support?
In my youth, I had a great aunt who was a staunch Catholic. I was not, but I volunteered to sit with her during Mass when she visited. She had a companion for the services to whom she could discuss or explain some things, and I got the opportunity to understand her better.
Many things can be accomplished if you both can compromise and work together. A friend of mine who is Omnistic found that she loved exploring her spouse's Christian religion.
In turn, her spouse found she also enjoyed attending religious services or activities to explore my friend's desire to investigate other religious beliefs. The spouse kept her Christian beliefs, but she supported my friend in her exploration of truth.
It's Time to Talk About It
However you have the conversation, do it. You'll be stepping outside of your comfort zone, but so will he.
The more often you talk about your beliefs, the easier it is. Explaining your views will ultimately draw you closer together as you continue on your journey together.