A person’s faith is a very vital part of their life. In fact, it's such a sensitive aspect that wars have been waged based on people’s religious differences.
No doubt, being in a relationship with a person requires a certain degree of similarities and agreement between the two parties. So, not seeing eye to eye on issues as important as personal beliefs can cause a lot of friction between interfaith couples.
On the other hand, falling in love with someone with different beliefs could make you more tolerant and accepting of one another’s beliefs. Do you have a partner who doesn’t share your faith? Are you trying to determine if it’s right to go on with the relationship, and if yes, how to cope?
As a woman who believes that love knows no bounds, I agree with the idea that enough patience, understanding, and consideration could make an interfaith relationship work. Before saying yes to your partner, stick around and I’ll take you through 9 factors to consider before entering into an interfaith relationship.
Table of Contents
Dating and courting are not the same thing. Some people date with the aim of getting married in the long run while some would just like to have fun. Courting is when two individuals relate with the aim of getting married, while dating usually is more casual.
Most religious people believe that relationships should not exist without marriage in mind. Less religious people, on the other hand, date in order to meet and understand different people from various cultures. If your aim is to be courted, and you know you may just end up with this person in the long run, then a lot of discussions need to be had before making things official.
Some religions share similar values; this makes it easier for members of those different beliefs to relate. This obviously does not ensure smooth sailing in the relationship but it will help you avoid some uncomfortable situations later on.
Questions like, “How valuable is family to you?” or “What’s your take on sex before marriage?” should be asked. The idea is to understand where you stand and aim not to compromise those things.
You’ve got to be honest with yourself about who you are and who he is. Does he act and sound like someone who would respect your faith no matter how foreign it is to him? Will you also be able to respect his faith and perhaps his religious practices? Keep in mind that since you are both together, he may ask you to join him for some of his religious ceremonies from time to time.
If you know that you can’t possibly tolerate his faith perhaps, because it's a bit too different from yours, then you should consider walking away from this. The same applies if he can’t stand your core beliefs and practices.
In every marriage, including same faith marriages, honest couples will tell you that there’s always going to be that moment when you both need to ‘agree to disagree’. Take the holiday seasons, for example; that period means a lot of different things for different religions.
A handful of couples, especially interfaith couples, have admitted that this period is one of the hardest. It's not easy watching something you’ve been raised to do one way, be performed in a different way, it would need you agreeing to disagree. For more details on compromise, you can read this.
When you’re involved with someone, there’s a large probability that you’re going to meet or spend time with his family occasionally, especially if he's serious about you. The truth is, a person’s family always has a degree of influence on a person.
The relationship would be smoother for you if his close family members are also respectful of your beliefs. Consider that if you both end up together, you’re most likely going to see or hear from his family a lot more. So, if for some reason they’re intolerant and closed-minded about your faith, then it would be better to avoid the situation completely.
If you’re someone who prefers to date for the long term then this applies more to you. You’ve got to consider what you’d be able to teach your children about faith. There have been couples who agreed to be neutral about how to educate their kids in this aspect, but after they got married, they realized there were so many things they never considered.
In most cultures, it is customary for the woman to adopt her husband’s beliefs after marriage and for them to raise their kids according to the husband’s beliefs. However, to a lot of people, this sounds appalling. If you’re in the second category, you may want to reconsider going into a long-term relationship with this person.
Before venturing into this risky path, you could ask yourselves what practices and beliefs you both hold dear, individually and where this interlap. If you both have those commonalities, then you can build the rest of your relationship on them.
You can decide what type of wedding ceremony you’d be having based on these similarities, where you’d each be worshipping on religious days, and what holidays you’d both be celebrating together.
If you can both find these common values, then you can agree that no one else, not even your family members or children can interfere when it comes to these. If this is possible, then you just may be able to stand a chance.
Some people have been raised in religious homes but have decided to remain neutral or void of faith in supreme beings. You’d want to find out how serious you both are about your faith or religion as a whole. If your love partner isn’t so serious about religion and doesn’t really see it as a major part of life, then dating him may not be a major problem for you.
Similar religious beliefs could make things a lot more easy for an interfaith couple. Find out what his morals are and see if they align with yours, you may be able to find common ground.
Moral values are very similar to religious values and can arguably be substituted for them, so if you discover that you both have some common ground on morals, then you may have a good chance at this.
Yes, interfaith relationships can work, as long as the couples have mutual respect for their individual beliefs. You’d probably need to work on your communication way more than a same-faith couple since a lot of things could be taken out of context.
Different religions in a relationship can work as long as both parties involved are able to acknowledge their religious disparities and be able to freely and openly talk about them. It also helps to find aspects of your beliefs that are similar or the same and build on that.
It helps to be open and honest about the differences in the respective religions and to be clear about your core values. Before you begin anything serious with someone from another religion, it would be wise to go see a relationship coach or a therapist that specialises in this aspect.
Yes, a relationship can survive religious differences as long as both parties are willing to make it work. If you both are ready to find common ground and build on that, it would make things way more easy for you.
Religion is a major factor that can affect the success of a marriage, but some couples have found a way to make it work. In most interfaith marriages each party is allowed to continue in their individual religious practices and beliefs. A major concern for an interfaith marriage is what faith the children would be raised in.
I hope you found this write-up helpful. Just remember, any relationship, including interfaith marriages, can work as long as both parties are willing to put in the work. Please let me know what you think about this in the comment section below and be sure to share it with friends.