Interfaith Marriages-Can They Work?
Can a marriage between two individuals from different faiths survive? I certainly hope so because I'm involved in one right now! The truth is I've never given it much thought. I've known my wonderful husband for 4 years. We have been married for just over 1 year. For our sake I hope mixed religion relationships can last over the long haul. I suspect more than just matching beliefs contribute to a lasting relationship.
I'm an atheist and my husband is catholic, so how do we find a happy medium? I think the most basic answer is we are both open minded. I have friends from many different faiths, and so does he. We are both open to the possibility that we don't know it all and there are still things to learn in the world. I think it helps that I was raised christian, so I'm familiar with a lot of the holiday traditions. If anything I am much more gun ho about christmas than he is. Actually I am kind of a christmas fanatic. I admit to going overboard with the decorations and festivities.
If one partner is very rigid in their beliefs, there is little room to accept the love from someone of another faith. If one partner enters into a relationship believing they will change the other's mind they might be in for a huge disappointment. I think that extends far beyond religion. Setting out to change your partner's beliefs or feelings about anything is an uphill battle that could cause a lot of resentment and arguments.
I sincerely believe the ability to compromise is at the heart of any strong relationship. You have to be willing to sacrifice a bit to make your partner feel at home, and they should be able to reciprocate. If you each have different holiday traditions it might be time to intermingle them, or make your own entirely from scratch.
Do you believe practicing the same religion is vital to a marriage?
There Are No Guarantees
Imagine you entered into a relationship with someone that held similar religious beliefs as you, but ten years down the road they had a change of heart. How would that affect your commitment and love?
The truth is when you start a new life with you partner there are no guarantees. People change and evolve, and that isn't a bad thing. Maybe you both start out on similar spiritual paths, but over time those paths veer off in different directions Some might find this grounds for divorce, but I have to disagree. Just like each of us grows and evolve as time progresses, so should our relationships.
From personal experience my parents were both christian, but rarely attended church in the beginning. When my mom lost her mother she started attending religious services more. She asked my father to go along and he declined, so it caused some disagreements. I'm glad they were able to work out the problems this caused.
What about the children?
I have a son from my first marriage. I choose to be open with him about our beliefs. He knows I don't believe in god, but his step father does. He goes to church with is grandmother a few time a month and seems to enjoy it. As long as he is having a good time I am fine with him attending religious services. I certainly attended my fair share growing up. As strange as it sounds I don't regret them at all. I made a lot of friends. I participated in a type of "christian girl-scouts" that was a blast. I traveled to church camp once a year and got to do all sorts of fun activities in a positive atmosphere.
I guess that's the secret. You have to be able to separate the good from the bad. I have had a lot of positive religious experiences and I am happy to pass them along to my son. Of course I'm sure to add in a healthy dose of skepticism. Whatever he chooses to believe in is fine with me. I'll love him to bits no matter what.