Interfaith relationships can be extremely hard and they can place a great deal of stress on any couple. However, a lot of the stress in an interfaith relationship greatly depends on the couple and whether they actually can work together and are able to compromise successfully with each other.
Whether the interfaith relationships works has a lot to do with differences of the couple’s cultural and religious backgrounds, the level of support they have from their families and friends and if they can learn to support and respect each others beliefs.
New relationships can be difficult in themselves, however in order to be successful interfaith relationships require the couple to do so much more than in a relationship were both are of the same faith.
There are several factors that an interfaith relationship couple needs to focus on in order to head off potential problems:
1. Trying to convert your partner to your faith should be avoided at all cost. Both parties need to realize that the choice of converting to another faith is a personal choice and must be completely the individuals without any coercing from the other party or without any coercing from the other parties family.
2. Always be sensitive and respectful of the other parties beliefs and culture. Even if you feel that your partner isn’t practicing any spiritual belief or their religious beliefs, you must respect their personal faith. Personal beliefs are a very personal subject and the many people consider their culture and faith as an essential part of their identity and therefore a very touchy subject to discuss.
3. Both parties need to be completely honest with each other and themselves about how important their views are about their faith, as well as to what degree they want their culture and beliefs to play in their relationship.
4. Another important issue that should be discussed early on in an interfaith relationship is having children. Even if the relationship is not ready for children, it should be discussed early on in an interfaith relationship because both parties need to agree on how they want their beliefs to play a part in their children’s lives if they have children at some point.
5. Learning to handle negative remarks made by friends and family is important in any interfaith relationship. As well as compromising on how important functions and holidays will be handled, especially when families are involved.
6. Both parties should provide the other partner with valuable information about their culture and faith. Sharing their beliefs and culture with each other can help both parties understand more about what is considered disrespectful and offensive to each others religion and family.
In many interfaith relationships connecting with support groups such as online interfaith groups can offer valuable tips and information on the challenges of being an interfaith couple.
Interfaith counseling is also useful and helps both parties learn to compromise and listen to each other better. Understanding the similarities and differences in the faiths can actually end up helping an interfaith relationship communicate better.
Recently the interfaith couple of Chelsea Clinton daughter of former First Family Bill and Hilary Clinton who is Methodist and Marc Mezvinsky who is Jewish were married and has sparked the debate on whether interfaith marriages can successfully work.
In my experience all relationships require work in order to be successful, but interfaith relationships can work just as well if not better, if both parties keep the lines of communication open and are able to compromise.
References for this article include:www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/05/you-me-and-god-how-to-mak_n_117057.html