There are often different approaches to an issue before and after marriage. Having different beliefs as a couple is one of them. Building unity when you are in an interfaith relationship can seem challenging, but it’s possible.
Before marriage, the issues to consider can include:
- Can you pray together?
- Will you worship together?
- What values will underlie the decisions you make as a couple and family?
- Are you expecting your potential spouse/spouse to change to following your beliefs? How likely is this to happen?
- How will children be reared?
It is vital to carefully discuss and consider these questions. If it is not possible to have a spiritual life together, and if there will be constant disagreements about how to spiritually rear your children,marriage may look like a lonely and difficult prospect. Alternatively, if you have the commitment to respect each other’s faiths and share both with the children, you may be able to establish a strong marriage.
After marriage, the focus is on being united and harmonious as much as possible. If you have committed to pray or worship together, then it is wise to follow through with this promise. Religions in their essence are designed to bring people together in love, so looking for the points of agreement between you will help.
At times, a couple can begin in harmony, but when children are born, or another circumstance arises, they become upset with each other’s beliefs. Sometimes extended family members can struggle with the differences in your faiths and interfere. When there are challenges, keep these principles in mind:
- Increase love and focus on making your home friendly and happy to benefit both of you and help to increase positive feelings towards each other.
- Moderate your level of involvement in your faith activities so they are not a constant source of distance and irritation
- Do not insist that the other give up their beliefs; each of you has the freedom to find your own personal and sacred path to faith in God
- Be kind, patient, tactful, respectful, and prayerful
- Seek guidance from spiritual sources and people with spiritual perspectives trained to provide assistance
- Do not consider divorce as an alternative based on religious differences
There are few situations too difficult to be bettered. If you do not see alternatives, then please reach out to others for help. Ask your family and friends to assist you in praying and in building harmony. Persevere as best as you can, keeping a strong commitment to creating unity.