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Interfaith Marriages-Can They Work?

Updated on June 1, 2012

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.

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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.


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    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks for the beautifully worded comment Beata Stasak.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

      I believe in ability of love to cross religious, cultural and social barriers....there is many faith intersections in love as well as in art and they seem to thrive under a caring hand and respectful eye:)

    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks for the comment Heather Says. I agree that the extra compromising is totally worth it.

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 5 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      Great article. My marriage is also interfaith. I am catholic and my husband is Jewish. We have been together almost ten years and married for almost a year. We are also very open minded and from the beginning of our initial attraction we were very clear about staying as we were, not changing each other or changing for each other, etc. We celebrate all the holidays and had an interfaith wedding ceremony as well. All relationships need compromise and we probably compromise more than others, but every minute is worth it.

    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks for reading and commenting anupma!

    • anupma profile image

      Dr Anupma Srivastava 5 years ago from India

      Good hub, and of course marriage is not to find similarities between two, but it is to understand difference and work out on them.

      I agree with u.

    • ASchwartz profile image

      ASchwartz 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Thanks for the comment ripplemaker. I've noticed the conflict this causes on the forum, but have decided to steer clear of it!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Yes it is all about the openness and respect. Rigid views about religion is the one that causes conflict in relationships including the forums LOL

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! This way to the adventure of the Hubnuggets team and where you can view your nomination and vote!