Most relationships and marriages are interfaith, it is very common for couples to be two different religions. Making a relationship and marriage last is something you have to work on daily. If you and your significant other practice two different religions this can cause strain if not addressed and handled open and honestly. I am Southern Baptist and my husband was raised Catholic, we have many different views and opinions on things because of our religion. It is possible to have a successful relationship if you are willing to be understanding, patient and learn to love the differences about your religion and one another. Here are five tips that you can practice in your marriage or relationship to handle common problems that may arise from your religious differences.
Family Acceptance – The first problem you will probably encounter when you start dating someone who is another faith than your self is with your families. The differences in your beliefs may not be that big of a deal to you since you love the other person, but your families may see it differently. Many families will not even accept their family member dating or marrying someone who is not the same religion as them. My advice is to sit down and have a frank conversation with your families. Reassure them that your partner respects your family and your religion. Also make sure they understand that you both will support one another in their different faith.
Marriage Ceremony – This will most likely be a bone of contention for many interfaith couples who are getting married. My tip is when planning your wedding ceremony be sure to plan everything together. You want one another to feel they are having an equal say in what your ceremony will include. Surely you both will have certain religious aspects you want to be in the ceremony, you will just have to decide what will and will not be included together.
Weekly Services – Depending on your religion and how you practice it you may have to deal with this common problem weekly. Many interfaith couples have to decide if they will attend religious services together or alone. Whether you decide to or not is a very personal decision. My best advice is whichever you pick be sure you are each comfortable with the decision. Be sure your spouse or significant other knows that you respect their faith and their right to practice it, always show this to them on a daily basis.
Holidays – In an interfaith relationship I think it is very important to work out a holiday schedule where you both spend time together as you celebrate your religions holidays. A tip is to be flexible on your plans for holidays, you will have to allow each others family adequate time at the holidays also. It is hard enough for couples of the same religion to split their holiday time between families, even harder for interfaith couples. Even the strongest relationships can have quibbles around the holidays there is always a lot going on just remember to relax, be patient and enjoy the time together no matter where or how you choose to celebrate.
Children – This is surely the largest and most common of the problems, that comes up everyday all over the world for people in an interfaith relationship. First you may have issues even deciding if you are going to have children and even how many to have. Next will be the inevitable question of what faith if any to raise your children. This is something that has to be addressed in depth with interfaith couples. You may have difficulties coming to these decisions on your own. My advice is to seek professional help if you feel you need it. A counselor, friends, family and your religious leaders will be able to help you address these problems and any questions or concerns. Of course in the end the decision will come down to just between you two alone, but outside guidance can be invaluable.
At the end of the day my best advice for interfaith couples everywhere is to be understanding. You will all have different problems arise throughout your relationship. Just take each one individually and work it out together, your love for one another will help guide you through any interfaith differences that arise.