Did you know that about 25 percent of households are of mixed faith? How do those in a mixed-faith marriage make it work? What about when kids are factored in — how do you go about raising them? We're hearing from readers in mixed-faith marriages on what it's like and how they make it work, plus we're providing some practical advice to those who married into a different religion.
We're having three different weddings…
My wife and I are embracing each other's religions by having three different weddings! For the first, we were married civilly in Las Vegas at the County Clerk's office. The second wedding will be in honor of her religion — which is Buddhism. She is primarily planning this wedding with my help on the side. The third, and final, wedding will be in honor of my religion — Catholicism. I am planning this wedding with a little bit of help from her. As far as raising kids, we plan on bringing them up respecting both religions, but of course, we'll cross that bridge when it comes. — Tom
Our biggest struggle was extended family…
Jon, a Catholic, and Michal, a Jew, are experts on what it's like to marry into a different religion. Authors of the book Mixed-Up Love: Relationships, Family, and Religious Identity in the 21st Century, they said their biggest struggle was extended family. Jon's family is very conservative and they had a hard time welcoming Michal into the family. Once they got to know Michal, though, the concerns seemed to fade away. Together they have one daughter, whom they've decided to raise Jewish. Jon still finds a way to maintain his religion outside the home, but inside the home they've agreed to practice Judaism. They both agree that communication is what's most important when marrying into a different religion. — Jon and Michal
Guidelines for resolving religious differences
Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., (aka Dr. Romance) psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex, and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, offers the following guidelines:
- Agree to resolve the issue. Do what it takes to work together on this rather than fight about it. If you need to go to counseling to resolve the issue, do so without hesitation.
- Do research. Understand each other's beliefs and religious backgrounds. Talk to supportive people and work on understanding your partner, not necessarily agreeing with them.
- Give yourself time. Don't feel pressured to rush into a decision. Take all the time you need to come up with a solution to whatever problems arise.
- Don't try to persuade your children. Keep your focus on what would be best for the children. Instead of persuading them, give them options and help them understand both sides.
- Experiment. Try devoting every other week to each religion or reading books together on each religion. Again, you're both trying to work together as a team and understand each other, versus fighting with each other.
- Avoid right/wrong discussion. Arguing about who is right and who is wrong will not solve anything and will most likely cause a greater rift between the two of you. Instead, focus on solving the problem and understanding each other.
Did you marry into a different religion? What advice do you have on making it work? Share in the comments below!
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