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Interfaith Marriage Stumbling Blocks

To Avoid These Interfaith Marriage Issues, Talk About Them!

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Every marriage will have some stumbling blocks, but interfaith marriages have a few extra challenges. These issues need to be talked about and dealt with prior to your interfaith marriage.

Expectations:

The novelty of loving someone different can be very romantic and exciting. The attraction of forbidden love can distract you from dealing with the issues that your interfaith marriage needs to face.

You may discover yourselves expecting too much of your interfaith relationship because you have the expectation that your love for one another can overcome all obstacles including feeling exiled or ostracized by your own families.

Children/Baptism:

You and your parents may have definite opinions on baptizing your children. For example, the Islamic religion requires that children of a mixed marriage must be raised as Muslims.

The Catholic church strongly suggests that the Catholic parent should do everything possible to insure that a child is baptized and raised as a Catholic.

Make sure that this issue is decided prior to the birth of your children.

Religious Identity Questions:

Before your kids start to ask questions about faith and religion, make sure that you've provided your children with positive religious experiences in both of your faiths.

Listen to your children share their concerns, stereotypes, doubts, possible prejudices, and questions. As adults, your children will choose their own religious identity and path.

It is best for you both to be role models of your own faiths and to help your kids discover their own faith journey and not to insist or demand their participation in either of your faiths or beliefs or non-beliefs.

Death:

The death of close family members will usually require your attendance at large family gatherings and religious ceremonies. Be prepared to deal not only with the grief and stress of the loss of a loved one, but also with adverse reactions of family and friends to your interfaith relationship. To be more prepared for the stress of a death in one of your families, dialogue on the topic of death and dying.

Holidays:

Holiday times are opportunities for you as a couple to define how your family will handle both the differences and similarities in your religions.

Be proud of your cultural and faith traditions, and create ways to celebrate them.

Know Yourself:

If you want to have a strong interfaith marriage, you each need to be strong in your own faith. If you feel confusion about your faith life, deal with your own issues before trying to impart religious values to your children.

Know Your Differences:

Discuss your religious differences regarding topics such as diet, birth control, parenting preferences, grief, where to worship, finances, sex, extended family relationships, gender roles, communication styles, church regulations, and traditions.

Loyalty to Past:

Share with each other what is truly important to you as individuals in your faith life. Discuss how you can support one another's religious needs.

Bottom Line:

The denominational or religious differences in an interfaith marriage won't necessarily cause an interfaith relationship to fail. What often causes interfaith marriages to fall apart is the inability of a couple to handle their faith differences.

Interfaith married couples sharing and living their religious lives individually without trying to change one another have stable marriages.

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