When I first started dating my partner, I thought having the same values was going to be enough. Sure, we come from different religions, but we both value honesty, family, and loyalty. Shouldn’t shared values be enough for interfaith couples?
Well, in the beginning, sure, shared values may seem to be enough. Having shared values strengthens the connection between interfaith couples, but it gets put to the test when different religions are involved.
For example, you two may value family and want to get married, but what kind of ceremony will you have? Which religion will you raise your children under? How will you teach them about God?
Now things are getting a bit more complicated, right? And that’s only the beginning! But I’m not trying to freak you out – I overcame many challenges with my partner.
One mistake interfaith couples make
I’ve made this mistake myself in the beginning of my relationship with my partner – I gave up important parts of myself for the relationship.
In the beginning, I was very open to making huge changes in my life without understanding how those changes would affect me. See, even a self writer can make mistakes!
I wasn’t honest with myself in the beginning of my relationship; I didn’t self-reflect. And I paid a huge price. I stopped celebrating certain events or watering down specific holidays that were important to me.
But that’s not the way to do it. Instead, you need to be honest with yourself and stay true to who you are – because no relationship is worth sacrificing your identity.
Interfaith Couples Questions to Ask Before Getting Serious
Who doesn’t love answering questions about their relationship? I hope you smelt the sarcasm. I know you probably don’t want to know the answer to some of these questions, but you deserve to live a life that’s yours.
So, for interfaith couples, it’s time you answered the questions I’m about to ask you.
What are some beliefs in your religion that you like/don’t like?
With your partner, you’re confronted with different beliefs and opinions – this isn’t a bad thing. If anything, this should push you to reflect on yourself and how you view religion.
What do you believe? What is your relationship with religion? How has it formed you?
What are some practices in your religion that you like/don’t like?
Religious beliefs and practices are two different things. So, for this question, I’m asking you what religious practices you like or don’t like – which can include holidays, church attendance, etc.)
For example, my partner Nate is Jewish. He isn’t religious but likes to celebrate Jewish holidays. I’m Christian and am also not religious. But I like singing Christmas carols and celebrating Easter. These are the different practices that are important to both of us.
What are the “must-haves” for both of you and how can you build them into your relationship together?
Now you know what’s important to you – and that’s a great step forward. By knowing what’s sacred for you, you can have an honest discussion with your partner.
Having sacred practices and beliefs are your “must-haves” – these are the things that are important to you and you’d like to have in your life.
Sit down with your partner and talk about it. Talk about what you like and don’t like from your religion, what you want to include in your life and how you can both celebrate each other’s beliefs and practices.
How and what will you teach your children about religion?
Most people don’t talk about how they’ll raise their children before marriage. And that is a big no-no. You’re opening the floor for conflict.
Before taking that huge step forward, have that conversation. How will you approach religion with your children? How will you teach them about God? Or will you choose not to raise your children in any specific religion?
Interfaith couples have their own sets of challenges, but if you talk about them, you can avoid a lot of issues in the future.
This is coming from someone who’s in an interfaith relationship and a self help writer. Don’t be scared to be honest about your religious beliefs and practices – be open and honest. It’s the best way.