Different approaches to religion are likely to drive couple apart

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DEAR ABBY - For the first time in my life, I am in love. We met about a month ago. I know he's the man I have waited my entire life to meet. I am 33, so I know what I feel isn't just lust. We have one huge hurdle, though: religion. He's actively religious, while I am not, and he doesn't believe our relationship can survive this difference.

On every other level, we are wonderful. We want the same things in life and share similar values. Our difference isn't that I don't believe in God. I do. But that isn't enough for him.

I told him I would go to church with him, and raise our children (his and mine) in a Christian home, but when they are old enough we should allow them to make their own decisions. He says that would be "just going through the motions," and I'd eventually resent him for it.

Must I let him walk away? Or should I fight for what could be (next to my kids) the best thing that's ever happened to me?

Heartbroken in Texas

DEAR HEARTBROKEN - In what way do you plan to "fight"? Do you plan to convert to his religion and devote the kind of time to it that he does? Think carefully about what that would mean.

While his fervent religiosity is laudable, what this man doesn't realize is that regardless of the example he wants to set for his children, eventually they are going to make up their own minds and live their lives the way they wish.

This "one difference" is a deal-breaker. He is looking for a spiritual clone. You're not it, so let him go.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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