Handling religious differences in your marriage

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Today, it is common to see the union of 2 people from different religious background. Read about difference in religion in marriage.

“Different religious beliefs make for bad company.” This is a quote I read from a Hillel Mailing List. The 'religion in marriage'  issue can last a lifetime. Families have broken up due to incompatibility in religious beliefs.

Often, religion has been credited as a yardstick for the success of a marriage. However, this is not always applicable to every situation.

Today, it is common to see the union of 2 people from different religious background.  In fact, these marriages have been quite successful and fruitful.

Religion in marriage: The reality and how to handle it

My relationship with my husband is an example.  I married a man from a religious group different from mine. He is not just simply a believer but a former seminarian who studied for 9 years to become a priest.

Since, I belong to the protestant group, having a relationship with him can be difficult and oftentimes, we would end up arguing about our religious differences. There had been struggles but  we have talked about our situation and agreed on some guidelines so our relationship can thrive despite the differences in our religious beliefs.

And, this is what I want to share with you.

First, acknowledge that your partner has a different set of religious beliefs.

This is the beginning of understanding your partner. Once you accept this reality, there is no point of arguing as to which belief is superior. Respect your partner's religious point of view. In as much as your point of view needs to be respected, you have to consider your partner's ideas and his/her religious views.

You need to respond to his/her needs based on his/her religious beliefs but of course, not at the expense of your own religious practices.

Second, don't attempt to convince your partner to follow your religious convictions.

In building an authentic marital relationship, you need not convince your partner to follow your  religious beliefs. In fact, it does not guarantee that when you have the same faith, your marital relationship is assured to stand for a lifetime. You need to live with your faith and allow him/her to live with his/her religious practices.

Third, your marital commitment is based on love and not on your religious convictions.

Though your marital commitment is often taken to be part of your religious values but such marital commitment is not dependent on one religion for it to thrive. Love is universally binding to all people of good will and is not based on a single set of religious practices.

Fourth, understand your partner based on his/her belief and not based on your prejudice of his/her religion.

Prejudices are often the source of misunderstandings in a relationship. Since, you have accepted that your partner has a different set of beliefs, you have to get rid of your prejudices and be open with the religious pracitices of your partner. Authentic understanding of your spouse entails that you need to put your feet on his/ her shoes.

remarriage2 2 Handling religious differences in your marriage

Fifth, the value of tolerance and patience takes on a significant role in building a marital relationship despite the couple's differences in religion.

It is difficult to live with such differences with your partner but if you are able to adjust to some sort of diversity that exists between you and your spouse, your married life can be very meaningful.

Who knows, sooner or later it could be you or your spouse who will realize the best in your different religious beliefs and you can be united in one. But until such a day, you need to be tolerant and patient with your differences.

These guidelines can be difficult to follow but it is more fulfilling to do these things for a greater cause. It takes a lot of compromise and commitment in order to nurture a marriage but it’s all worthwhile.

After all, if you are committed to value your marital relationship, you can do everything to make it thrive for a lifetime and beyond.

Also read: Raelene Tan's words of wisdom on parenting, marriage and more