If you as an interfaith couple are making any of these mistakes, you are setting yourselves up for festering bitterness, nagging tensions, and continuing arguments about your religious differences in your interfaith marriage.
Don't Make These Mistakes in Your Interfaith Marriage
- Ignoring your religious differences.
- Believing that your different religious affiliations are unimportant in the long term.
- Thinking that a sense of humor is all that you need to survive the religious differences in your interfaith marriage.
- Discounting that there are some decisions that can not be compromised such as circumcision, baptism, bris, tithing, and more.
- Believing that differences in faith will always be an irreconcilable problem in your interfaith marriage.
- Failing to recognize the importance of understanding, respecting, accepting, and dealing with your religious differences in your interfaith marriage.
- Unless there has been parental abuse, making the decision to cut ties with extended family.
- Assuming that you understand all of one another's faith issues.
- Believing that your love for each other will conquer all your interfaith marriage problems.
- Thinking that converting to your spouse's faith will make things easier.
- Dismissing your family's concerns about your interfaith marriage.
- Insisting that your interfaith marriage won't face any hurdles.
- Not discussing prior to your interfaith marriage the issue of your children's religious upbringing.
- Refusing to discover the common characteristics your religions may have.
- Not being open to examining how your backgrounds, religions, and cultures have shaped your attitudes and beliefs.
- Failure to plan ahead for the holidays and other special life-cycle events.
- Forcing your beliefs upon your partner.
- Turning the holidays into a competition between your faiths.
- Not understanding your own faith.
- Continuing to push hot buttons about faith differences.
- Letting family and friends get in the middle of your interfaith marriage relationship.
- Having a lack of respect for each other's heritage.
- Failing to timely inform your families and friends of your holiday decisions.
- Forcing your children to feel as if they must choose between their father's or mother's religion.
- Privatizing your religious belief and not claiming or talking about your faith with your spouse.
- Giving in so much that you lose your own traditions and ultimately, your own self-respect.
Luchina Fisher: "She [Susanna Macomb] also said one of the biggest mistakes interfaith couples make is not presenting a united front to their families. It's important that they make decisions as a couple and then present them -- together -- to their families. "It's easy to blame the newcomer in the family," Macomb said. "It's up to you to protect your spouse from your parents. Make no mistake, on your wedding day, you're choosing your partner. Your marriage must now come first."
Source: Luchina Fisher. "Chelsea Clinton's Interfaith Marriage Challenge: Kids, Holidays, Soul-Searching." ABCNews.go.com. 8/02/2010.