How to Marry a Person of a Different Religion

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:12
Marriage in and of itself is a huge commitment that requires a lot of thought and planning. Marriage to someone who is of a different religion may require even more thought and planning. Most marriages are based on a core shared set of...
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Marriage in and of itself is a huge commitment that requires a lot of thought and planning. Marriage to someone who is of a different religion may require even more thought and planning. Most marriages are based on a core shared set of values and beliefs, and many of those beliefs have a basis in religion. Marrying someone who is a member of a different religion than you could mean they have a different set of values and beliefs. There are many things you should consider before committing yourself to an interfaith marriage.

Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Assessing the Interfaith Relationship

  1. Step 1 Review your religion and the religion of your immediately family members.
    Do you follow a specific religious faith? Do your parents? Is religion a vital part of your family? If your parents are of different faiths, or if you and your parents aren’t overly religious, marrying someone who doesn’t follow the basic faith you do may not be a big problem.[1]
    • While converting to your spouse’s religion might never happen, if you aren’t overly religious yourself, the difference in beliefs may not be noticeable in the marriage.
    • Having said that, if you are not a religious person in general, marrying someone who is deeply religious and follows a large number of religious traditions may change your life significantly.
    • If your religious orientation is quite similar to the one your partner follows (e.g. both religions are Christian), combining the two faiths into one household may not result in many problems.
  2. Step 2 Assess how independent you are from your family.
    Do you have a really close family? Do your parents want you to pursue a specific education, career, and eventual marriage? You should assess how easy or difficult it will be to marry someone of a different religion knowing how close you are to your family. You can claim you’ll become more independent and that you’ll “not care what they think,” but it’s a lot easier said than done.[2]
    • If your family has never been very religious, it may not matter if you’re independent or not, as they may not care about religion anyway.
    • If you realize you are not very independent, and your family doesn’t approve of other religions, you can most likely expect a very negative reaction from them regarding your fiancé. And due to your relationship with your family, it may be a reaction you’ll be unable to ignore. Prepare yourself for possible negative reactions and outcomes before you talk to your family so there are no surprises.
    • If you’re not sure how your family will react, you might want to feel them out before you tell them about your fiancé. In order to do this, you may need to subtly bring up similar topics in conversation to see how they react and what opinions they have. Use this feedback to determine the best possible way to break the news to your family.
  3. Step 3 Determine if you can live with the possible negative social reactions.
    Unfortunately couples of differing cultures, races, or religions may receive stronger reactions from society than couples who share the same culture, race or religion. Not everyone is strong enough to stand up to this potential criticism, especially if it happens on a continuous basis.[3]
    • Ask yourself if you can work you way through this negative social reaction.
    • Discuss with your partner how you would handle situations like this, specifically those that happen in public. Do you both share the same view on how the situation should be handled?
  4. Step 4 Look into specific arrangements that may need to be made within your religion.
    Depending on which two religions are coming together in marriage, there may be certain limitations in one or both of those religions. For example, if one partner is Catholic and the other partner is not Christian, the marriage may be considered valid in the eyes of the Catholic church, but it might not be considered a sacrament.[4]
    • Once you determine what these limitations are, you need to evaluate if they bother you and if you can live with the consequences of those limitations.
  5. Step 5 Confirm you’re attracted to your partner.
    Attraction is the first step in the three-step process that helps us find a suitable long-term partner. If you are attracted to someone it essentially means that moving to the second step is not only likely, but reasonable. If you are truly not attracted to this person, you need to re-evaluate whether it is even worth continuing the relationship, regardless of religion.[5]
  6. Step 6 Compare values and beliefs with your partner.
    The second step in the process is getting to know each other’s values and beliefs, and determining if a difference in values and beliefs poses a problem. Are the differences associated with religious beliefs and values too vast to be combined? Can you foresee values and beliefs that may cause significant problems in the future? Take the time to think this through on your own and discuss it with your partner.[6]
    • Comparing values and beliefs can be done both explicitly and implicitly.
    • Implicitly you can pay attention to the things your partner says and does on a regular basis. For example, how your partner reacts to news events or how they act in certain situations.
    • Explicitly you can ask to have a serious conversation with your partner to discuss the specifics of your values and beliefs. You can start by talking about how your individual religions view certain things and then progress to personal values and beliefs that might not be related to your religion.
  7. Step 7 Analyze future relationship roles.
    The third step in the process is to evaluate how various roles and responsibilities will be distributed within the relationship. If roles and responsibilities are divided based on values and beliefs, you need to determine if those divisions make sense to both of you and are something you can agree on.[7]
    • This step normally happens subconsciously, couples don’t normally sit down and discuss this stuff in an analytical manner.
    • If you’re coming from a different religion than your partner, you might want to consider having an actual, serious conversation about these details. The outcome of that discussion could make or break your relationship.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Planning Your Future as an Interfaith Couple

  1. Step 1 Discuss if one partner will be willing to convert to the other partner’s religion.
    If one partner is willing to convert to the other partner’s religion, many problems may be easily solved as there won’t be two sets of traditions and beliefs to be followed. Review whether this conversion is happening because the one partner wants it to happen, or because there’s too much pressure on them from outside parties (e.g. religious leaders, family members, etc.).[8]
    • It is very important that you and your partner do not convert because of too much pressure from the other person. Converting from one religion to another is an extraordinarily big step and should not be taken lightly.
  2. Step 2 Decide where the marriage ceremony will be conducted.
    Does the religion of one partner require that the marriage ceremony takes place in a specific location? Or does the fact that it’s an interfaith marriage limit the locations where the ceremony can be performed? Is the ceremony itself going to be a religious event? Are both religions to be celebrated at the marriage ceremony, or do you need to conduct two marriage ceremonies?[9]
    • If you want to hold your marriage ceremony in a specific location, or include a specific item, determine if you need to obtain permission from religious leaders to do this.
    • If the marriage ceremony is to include one or more religious event, will there be any restrictions on the religious leader who can lead that event? For example, some religions forbid their religious leaders from performing a marriage ceremony for an interfaith couple.
  3. Step 3 Determine which religion will be followed on a regular basis.
    Do you plan to follow both religions regularly, or is the religion of one partner more important to them than religion is to the other partner? Regardless of which religions are to be followed, are they going to be followed by both partners, or just the one who is a part of the religion? To make your long-term relationship truly last, these are the types of things you need to figure out in advance.[10]
  4. Step 4 Think about how you will raise any children you have.
    Will your children follow one of the religions or both? Will you allow them to eventually choose a religion they prefer when they’re old enough, or will you have them participate in religion events from the time they’re born? For example, if one partner is Catholic, will your children be baptized as babies, or will you let your children decide which religion they prefer when they grow up?[11]
    • Maintaining an interfaith relationship when there are only two people involved is difficult but is a lot easier than maintaining an interfaith relationship that involves children.
    • Some religions require that the partner who follows that religion do everything in their power to promise to raise children as part of their faith.
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Making an Interfaith Marriage Work

  1. Step 1 Develop a “we” partnership.
    Rather than viewing yourself as two people from different religions, adjust your view to be of a loving couple with similar goals and values. Focus on your friendship, working together to make things work and committing yourself to each other. Find or create common ground on which you can both stand, rather than keeping to your own “side.”[12]
  2. Step 2 View differences as something other than religious.
    The main reason why you may have a different point of view than your partner is because of a religious belief, but that doesn’t have to be the only way to look at the difference. Instead, reframe your point of view to that of an educational and celebratory perspective. Look at the difference as an opportunity to learn more about the different ways you and your partner believe in something.[13]
    • Respect the religious differences you have with your partner. Allow your partner to follow their religious beliefs without criticism so you can do the same.
  3. Step 3 Find commonalities between your religions.
    Each of your religions will likely have some things in common — figure out what those things are and celebrate them together. While this may be easier to do with some religions than with others, it’s a worthwhile exercise. If nothing else, both of you will have the opportunity to learn a lot more about the other’s religion.[14]
  4. Step 4 Communicate your emotions effectively.
    Communication is always an important part of any relationship. Commit to being open and honest about your emotions throughout your relationship. Chances are some of these emotions are going to be caused due to a difference in religious beliefs. It’s important that you and your partner are aware when these differences cause emotional distress and to discuss how you will reduce this distress effectively.[15]
    • This step may require some adjustments and compromises, not to your beliefs, but to your actions and reactions.
  5. Step 5 Develop new rituals and traditions.
    As a couple, there is no reason why you cannot create a new set of rituals and develop new traditions to follow. These new rituals and traditions can be a combination of your two religions, or they can be something completely new. Work with your families to develop these new rituals and traditions so they can be celebrated together.[16]
    • For example, if you’d like to host a big family get-together each year, but you don’t want to do it on a religious holiday, pick a big non-religious holiday like the 4th of July or Labour Day.
    • Another example might be to create a new family holiday based on an important date to your family, maybe your wedding anniversary or a child’s birthday.
    • A new tradition doesn’t have to be based on a specific date, you could also start a tradition that’s related to a specific activity or place. Maybe you and your partner go to a specific holiday venue each year, or maybe you and your partner always go to a specific restaurant to celebrate non-religious events.
  6. Step 6 Build the relationships you have with family and friends.
    Regardless of how your family and friends feel about your interfaith marriage, you need to set boundaries. If your friends and family respect you, they’ll understand that certain things may be different now due to your combined beliefs.[17]
    • This is your opportunity to present a united front. You stand together as a couple, not as two individuals. Friends and family need to understand and support this.
    • Sometimes it’s helpful to de-escalate a tense situation with humour. Being able to smile and laugh can reduce tension and allow people to lower their guard.
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