If you’ve ever gone to church, at some point in your life you’ve heard the term equally yoked. Some people use the term relating to whether two people are both believers in the same religion. Others use the term not only relating to religion and religious beliefs but having the same/similar education, socioeconomic status, and family backgrounds.

As I’ve gotten older, I come to the realization that being equally yoked is not only important, is essential to having a successful relationship. While you can sacrifice some things, you shouldn’t sacrifice your religious beliefs. I remember when I found out my first boyfriend in college wasn’t a Christian, I couldn’t believe it. Partly, I blamed myself because I never asked him, I had just assumed that we were on the same level when it came to religion. During the course of our relationship, I’d notice he would say certain things and we’d bump heads. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not really a debater but I’m stubborn and will stick to my beliefs. Although my college boyfriend was a great guy (we still talk once in a while) I knew it would never work out between us because of our religious differences.

Now when I meet a guy, I know what questions to ask. I can deal with a guy coming from a different background (i.e. single-parent household or one who grew up less fortunate than I did) but other than that we need to be on the same level when it comes to education (college-degree), career level (white-collar), and religion (Christian). It’s not that I discriminate against people who didn’t go to college or those who work blue-collar jobs, but my preference is to date someone who possesses certain commonalities.

Recently, I went out on a date and the guy was telling me how women in the DC Area often have a “what can you do for me” mentality. I had to agree with him, but many of the men here are the same way. When I meet a guy and his second question is “what do you do”, I’m immediately turned off. It’s one thing when you’re networking, but when you’re casually trying to talk to someone, that’s a bit pretentious. There are more subtle ways to ask people about their career.

He also asked me if I would date someone who didn’t go to college and my immediate response was no. Then he asked me why and I told him I’ve never really encountered anyone who didn’t go to college. He admitted that he agreed and also never dated anyone either who hadn’t gone to college. Not to sound bourgie but I think people know when they are out of your league. Also, when you go to certain events and meetings that are geared at young professionals, it’s highly unlikely to come across someone who doesn’t have a degree or two.

With that said I fully believe you have to be equally yoked with your partner if you see yourself having a future with them. It’s just easier to relate to someone who has similar goals and comes from a similar background. Dating is already hard enough, why add to the stress by engaging in a relationship with someone who doesn’t fit into the mold?