15 Feb Dating as an Indian Christian – Rita’s Story
Dating as an Indian Christian – Rita’s Story | Reading time: 3 mins
Rita tells us what it’s like to date as an Indian Christian. Rita was brought up as a Hindu, but later decided that Christianity was the right faith for her. Here’s Rita’s story.
Thank you SBS for letting me write this piece!
I came to faith in September 2012 after an encounter and calling from God. As a then Hindu, I had been semi-devout and learned about faith, but I never really felt connected to a particular deity. It was a long list of do’s and don’ts to which I was never really given any answers for, except it was the done thing from previous generations.
I think a lot of people feel that way, and would happily just keep playing along because it’s easier. But I needed more. I was always up and down because I lost my mum at the age of 16 and had to take responsibility with my brother, for our 5-year-old sister. I craved this ‘missing’ love and was in a few relationships. Looking back, they were clearly wrong for me and lacked in both love and respect, but I still went with it because I wanted that ‘something’ and ‘someone’.
It’s not until I met God, that I realised what the missing piece had been. Now I have more faith in the good things in life, and I feel less need to control life or situations around me.
But the process of transformation from being a Hindu to Christianity wasn’t easy. Like with any big decision it took time to adjust, but I’ve never felt so free.
I love my culture. I love being Indian and sharing that with my Christian family, as well as sharing my faith with my non-Christian friends and family. I celebrate Diwali from a cultural point of view, like people do Christmas. But I can’t actively take part in other religious activities, though I am happy to attend and support my friends and family. I don’t take prashad, as it’s like someone taking Holy Communion.
I think that’s where it’s become difficult with dating. I have to be more conscious of who I date. It’d be easier to date or marry someone agnostic or atheist than to date or marry someone of another faith – for me anyway.
Being really honest, I have battled with this, and I’ve had to make a definitive choice.
Growing up I was taught that marrying within faith makes life easier, especially when it comes to raising children. I remember being offended by a comment made by one of my Hindu friends. She said, “I don’t want my children to be confused as to which God they should pray to”. But I was brought up a Hindu and made my own choice of coming to Christianity, so the same could happen for my children.
However, now I understand what she meant. It’s not about tolerance or patience, because I have both. And it’s not just about love. That’s where people go wrong in general. Love is the basis of all things, but a relationship is made up of many other components.
For me personally, being a Christian is not an ‘add-on’. It’s my way of life, and the backbone to how I live my life.
I understand the importance of being with the ‘right’ person, and not just anyone.
I understand now that dating isn’t about how many dates you can get, but the quality of who you date and how you are treated by the person you are dating.
There is no messing about. If you want to date someone, you go on a few dates and then make a decision, as to whether you want to continue seriously. It saves time and also makes us think consciously about who we date, and not just play along because we feel we need someone in our life at that time.
I have been single for 9 years and to be honest, I’m okay with that. It’s better to be single than to be with someone in the hope you might marry them.
I have met some amazing guys from different faiths and cultures (including Christians), who I either had chemistry or depth with but didn’t have the entirety of what I need. There is no such thing as a perfect man or woman, but there are conscious decisions and choices. You may not get everything, but you need to weigh up what’s important to you. For me, faith is definitely one. Depth is another and chemistry.
Do I need to marry an Indian-Christian? No.
However, I would prefer someone who is Christian, as well as someone who is open to different cultures because I love both my culture and faith.
My faith has shown me the real meaning of love – Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. I respect and love people from all walks of life. That’s what love is. But when it comes to that lifelong commitment with that one person, love is not the only thing I need to think about.
In some cases, I think if people were genuinely open and honest with themselves, they wouldn’t have made the choices they have.
A tip for both men and women – if you don’t want someone to treat your mother, father, brother, sister or best friend with disrespect, then do the same for the opposite sex. Don’t play games, be straight. Yes we have choices (too many sometimes) but don’t settle, and don’t use someone as a boat to your next destination.
Thanks for sharing, Rita. Very interesting take on things! What do you guys think? Share your thoughts and comment below!