Marriage is a long term union whereby two people, sometimes of the same gender, other times of different genders whom make a mutual decision to be together. Inter-faith marriage occurs between people from different religious traditions; in which sometimes the spouses are from different religious backgrounds, nationalities, races, ethnic groups, or economic levels. The more significant differences in religious backgrounds are the greatest challenges that couples need to overcome before and during marriage. At times the efforts to resolve the differences can bring the ouple closer and at other times drive them even further apart.
Worldwide marriage brings together not only a couple but also relatives, neighbors, and others in a network that strongly influences the marriage. The article by Schlessinger discusses the effects of interfaith marriage on the family, discussing mainly how it affects the children of interfaith marriages and why divorce rates are high within interfaith unions. The source of many inter-faith marriage conflicts is found in the teachings of exclusiveness by the spouses’ own faith groups many members ccept the teachings of their church.
The potential of conflict between two spouses is obvious, if each feels that theirs is the only “God- approved” faith tradition. ” (Schlesinger), they have little room for compromise. When it comes to children being born into interfaith marriages, there seems to be more of a concern in regards to what religion the child shall be brought up in. Everyone loves the child from grandparents to relatives and this should mean that any decision that regards the child’s religion should not be dealt with too much difficulty.
Unfortunately, too often religion is a hot topic that leads to family conflicts. The reason is that religion is a very basic part of each parent’s identity and it’s hard to give up one’s identity. ” (Schlessinger). Egos get involved and if families are not careful, this can turn into a win or lose situation which in my experience means everybody loses, especially the children. “Religious upbringing is important for children even if the child will reject organized religion or change affiliation when he or she becomes an adult. ” (Schlessinger).
Religion does two things: it helps us deal with the meaning of life and it helps teach us the laws of moral human behavior. In turn, it gives children a sense of belonging to a group wider than the nuclear or extended family. We need to ask ourselves if there a correlation between religious intermarriages and divorce rate and if so does religious intermarriage increase the divorce rate? Most crude statistics indicate that it does, they are seldom refined, and other factors that lead to divorce such as education, could be a major problem in a relationship.
It is probable that eligious differences are frequently used as a scapegoat in marital difficulties in reality caused by other factors” (Schlessinger). There are various things a couple can do to save their marriage. Although marriages fail because of various reasons couples can always fix their marriage through couple’s therapy, counselors, and not to mention friends and family. These resources can only benefit couples it both are willing to make their relationship work. One of the most important things interfaith couples can do to minimize conflict and increase unity is to focus on what they have in ommon.
Put aside your differences and decide to love each other even though you disagree about religion, Build a sacred sense of commitment in your marriage. Good communication skills are essential to success in every marriage, and they become all the more critical in an interfaith marriage. Most of all there is a need to respect your spouses’ religious differences. Finding a religious middle ground can strengthen your relationship. Learning about your spouse’s faith and religion can help you find the values you hold in common.
As you find shared values, you will gain greater nderstanding of one another. When interfaith couples have children, they add a new and powerful potential area of conflict over religious differences. Couples need to decide what religion they want their child to belong to. ” (Schlessinger). This decision is one of the most important decisions an interfaith couple can make, dealing with differences in holidays can cause conflict in what should be a time of unity and togetherness. Complications can be avoided if couples work hard at their relationship as no relationship can work without wanting to make it work.
Interfaith marriages can be successful and happy if both spouses are willing to work hard at committing to one another, showing respect for one another, and focusing on shared values. When children come along, it’s important to place the best interests of the child first as decisions are made about how to religiously raise the child and how to celebrate holidays. As interfaith couples carefully consider these issues with sensitivity toward one another, they can avoid most of the conflict around religious differences and will be able to build a loving and unified relationship and family life.