In days gone by, faith was a major player in marriage. Families went as a whole unit to worship in whatever manner they believed in. Single men and women were able to meet start a traditional courtship that led to a marriage between two people of the same faith who agreed that their families would do the same things they did. Go to church, introduce their single children to other singles and repeat the cycle for generations. But as religious practices have changed so has faith in marriages.
Now more than 25% of American marriages are between couples who consider themselves to be inter-faith couples. In other words, more and more couples are marrying someone who does not share the same faith as them.
My husband and I are part of the inter-faith statistic. My church teaches the traditional thought that people should marry a partner with the same faith and beliefs as they hold. In fact, when I asked one pastor what advice he would give to inter-faith couples about getting married he outright said “don’t do it!” I have to laugh at that because I know from experience that it can work, it just might be a bit more challenging. I am stronger in my faith than my husband so I asked how he feels about the differences.
“I deal with it with a very relaxed way. I have a very Agnostic view, buy you are pretty darn strong in your faith. I don’t find it to be a problem at all. I believe it’s due to both of us being open and accepting the other’s beliefs. As for before we were married, I’ve always had a firm belief that I will be taken care of, so long as I continue to take care of those that are deserving or in need. Karma, so to speak, but I’ve never believed too strong in a single religion.”
While he might not identify as Christian like I do, he is still spiritual and I think that goes a lot way towards closing the gap between our beliefs. If you and your spouse are of different faiths, it’s very important that you openly and respectfully discuss what your expectations are when it comes to practicing your faith. My husband knew from the first week we met that religion was important to me. He knew I was active my church and not just a Christmas and Easter Christian. I knew where he stood as well and have never pressured him to join me when I attend church. I always like having him there when he’s in town and I appreciate him helping me find a church to attend when I’m able to visit him, but I don’t expect him to just wake up one day and believe the same thing as I do any more than he expects me to just give up my beliefs.