The primary qualities that once attracted you to them eventually become the main reason for the difficulties. While interfaith relationships can be tricky for some couples, it can be tough to accept the fact your partner does not follow the same religious values as you.
Do you think interfaith marriages work?
If faith has been a foremost part of your life, you will require clear communication and effort to make your interfaith relationship work.
Many relationships with different religions work because one of the partners is not religious or does not care about it. Katya Ramdya, a London-based Hindu writer, articulates their secular nature as the foundation of their successful marriage with a Muslim husband.
Successful interfaith marriages require considerable communication with your spouse concerning the religious effects on the relationship. You need to work together to tackle the challenges of an interfaith relationship.
What are the challenges of an interfaith relationship?
The increasing number of relationships with different religions confirms that interreligious relationships can be successful. With proper guidance and professional support, interfaith couples can enjoy healthy relationships. However, the absence of proper counseling and support can be challenging for the couple.
Some of the most common challenges faced by interfaith couples are:
Feeling guilt and separation
According toJudith Wallerstein, the emotional separation of a young couple from their family serves as the foundation of a successful interfaith marriage.
However, the lack of support from both families will fill up the relationship with conflict, misunderstanding, constant friction, and negative consequences. This hostility can trigger feelings of guilt for the young couple, along with an even more difficult emotional separation.
However, achieving this intimacy in an interfaith relationship can be extremely challenging and daunting. When couples from different religious beliefs come together, there are fewer common grounds and a higher possibility of insensitive, confused, and misapprehended feelings.
Most interfaith couples go through the challenging phase when they feel as if they have compromised their true religious identity. They do not fit in anymore. This could result in never-ending differences among couples of different faiths.
We have compiled these 15 ways to make your interfaith relationship work:
1. Face the issues
Most interfaith couples ignore the fact of coming from different backgrounds. The need is to open up and embrace the underlying difference in the relationship.
It’s not about picking one between love and religion; however, selecting a common ground because these differences are going to stay, even in the future. Couples often make wrong assumptions about the religious beliefs and preferences of their partner. It is always best to embrace the issue, come forward and speak about it.
It’s always wonderful to discuss religious background with your partner. Having a common decision for a wedding offers the opportunity to develop a better understanding of successful interfaith marriage.
You need to stop thinking about converting your partner’s religion. Respect your love and religion. You should be appreciative of their background and personality. Don’t criticize your partner’s faith and religious practices.
Remember, their beliefs are an important part of their life, and you shouldn’t be the one deciding for their life. Giving them space and freedom will make your interreligious relationship stronger.
Accept them for who they are without keeping higher hope to convert them.
Religious differences in interreligious relationships can be damaging sometimes. They prevent people from enjoying the true essence of love in the relationship. Pay attention to your partner and take time to appreciate their presence in your life.
Establishing a religious relationship by learning the beliefs of your partner shows your dedication and respect for them. You can ask them questions to enhance your understanding of their faith.
Moreover, you can read books and consult other educational resources to develop a profound understanding of their religious background. Besides, you can always ask for their recommendations to grow better comprehension of their religious beliefs.
In the TEDx video below, Jessica Jackley & Reza Aslan, an interfaith couple, discuss their approach to respecting different faiths. Check it out:
7. Discuss your future together
Speak about your expectations from this interreligious relationship.
It is always wonderful to communicate questions like, “What does our future look like?” “What is your strategy to make your interfaith marriage work?” “How are we going to celebrate different religious festivals?”
One of the most important interfaith relationship advice is to be flexible with your partner. While prioritizing your marriage, you both should be ready for mutual compromise in the relationship.
Participate in the religious activities of your partner. Help them know you care about everything related to their happiness. You can cheerfully celebrate religious holidays together at home.
9. Grow your faith
Communicate about the religious interests of your partner and help them witness religious growth with you.
You can motivate them to make special settings for religious practices. It should be a mutual practice to study and say religious prayers together. For instance, say your prayers before having a meal can do wonders for your love and religion.
10. Have a plan for your differences
It’s not easy to live with different faiths under one roof and not having differences or arguments.
Come up with a plan to deal with the continuous incompatibilities and differences in the interreligious relationship. These differences are not going to resolve themselves. You need to fix them with a reliable solution.
For interfaith couples, participating in marital counseling is the perfect way of developing communication and learning various strategies to deal with the conflicted situation.
Remember, marital counseling is not just for couples dealing with problems. It can play a significant part in the development of relationships with different religions while avoiding potential future issues. Counseling can help couples in interreligious relationships to enjoy a durable, healthy, and respectful relationship.
Ask what are your religious beliefs and how do you want to practice them?
Speak about your beliefs and ideas about traveling or building a family together.
12. Decide religious traditions for your children
Speaking and coming up with religious traditions for your future children are the trickiest questions. It can quickly turn from a “happy relationship” to a “relationship and religion.” Interreligious marriages become highly complicated after figuring out this sensitive issue.
It should be a mutually respectful and kind conversation. It’s better to speak sooner and have a common perspective than to discuss it later in life.
While some pick one tradition for their children, other interfaith couples decide to follow traditions from both of their religions. Whatever you decide in the relationship, don’t forget to be kind to each other.
Consider giving a little space to your partner and compromise when necessary. You can make your interfaith relationship work with a planned effort. A successful interfaith marriage requires mutual compromise and effort.
14. Have religious conversations with children
It is central to have an open religious conversation with your children. You both should be able to explain your religious beliefs to your children. A positive conversation without degrading the other person’s religion is always the right approach.
Regardless of the different faiths in the relationship, your kids should be respectful and affirmative to both religions.
Do interfaith marriages work? What is the key ingredient to establishing marital harmony?
It is much easier to establish marital harmony with the involvement of both families. You can explain your religious beliefs to your in-laws and ask your partner to do the same. Moreover, consider inviting and include them in the celebration of your religious holidays.
These are 15 different ways to make your interfaith relationship work. Couples with different religious backgrounds can follow the above-mentioned guidelines and successfully bridge the gap in an interfaith marriage by constructing a strong base on understanding and mutual respect.
You should love your partner without worrying or questioning about their religious background.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.