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Today’s guest writer is Jocelyn Harries. Jocelyn works full time as a professional writer and researcher over in the UK. Thank you for the guest post!
I have a special interest in this article she wrote. We celebrate several religious beliefs in my family and I look forward to teaching my children to respect the beliefs of others. I also have friends who have dual faith marriages and I am impressed at how beautifully they have respected both religions.
Forging a Successful Dual Faith Marriage
The issues surrounding dual or interfaith marriages and families can be tough. On choosing to marry someone of a different faith you could be seen as doing a disservice to your own family and therefore, your own deity but realistically, if love conquers all then finding the perfect partner for your future and your family plans is surely what comes first. That being said, a successful dual faith marriage and family life takes a significant degree of extra effort and involves compromise which should be a staple in any relationship.
Your Interfaith Relationship
Love is a powerful force and if you find somebody of a different religion who is certainly your soul mate, then it is understandable you may make compromise. Before even planning your big day, there are so many considerations to think about. Whether you’re marrying someone from a different branch of your particular faith, such as a Baptist choosing a Catholic spouse or your religions are polar opposites, there will be hardship ahead. It’s important not to underestimate these hardships. Marriage is a historically patriarchal and highly religious institution steeped in and based on religion, obviously in modern society it had grown beyond that and individuals are generally free to marry in any which way they choose. However, if you’re from a strongly religious background, there is the decision of whether you can get your family on board or whether you can survive without their blessing. This is a wholly personal decision.
Your Interfaith Wedding
Depending on your faith you may have pictured a very specific and exact plan in mind for your wedding. Your dream of a Shabbat before your wedding may not fit comfortably with your future husband’s expectations and equally you may not agree with your wife’s dream of a Jaimala, exchange of garlands as expecting in her faith. The word to keep in mind is compromise, if you truly plan to spend the rest of your lives together then there is a manageable and middle ground solution where some of each tradition can be combined into an all-encompassing ceremony that celebrates you as a couple. Yes, this means that as well as ordering cakes, flowers, outfits and organising the wedding insurance, you have further commitments to consider, you should not take a single one for granted if it’s your chance a future happiness. The planning and capital involved in a wedding denotes the need for security and protection so providing your new family with a blessing which suits both faiths is just as important as arranging the level of cover you deem essential.
Your Interfaith Family
If you decide to have children, this can be fractious decision. Living in an interfaith household can be difficult for children to grasp, especially if you are practising your religions once married. However, research shows, as does discussion on the popular and well informed On Being Both blog, that interfaith children are born into their environment and so this is their norm. You and your families’ identity doesn’t need to be completely tied to your faith and whilst it is important, your children can explore and experience the practices of both faiths that make up your family, furthering their cultural understanding of the world in general. What’s more, there are many educational materials which you can use to further show your children how they can celebrate any and every faith they wish such as The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox which focuses on creating familial tradition and rituals for your family which are apart from your religious lives. Of course, both your religions are important to you and you can both spend time teaching your children in depth about what you believe, giving them the chance to grow into their own beliefs and feelings as they develop.
You and Your Family
The decision to create a dual faith family is not something you’ll have taken lightly and like all relationships and families worldwide, you will suffer your down times but as a whole, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t embrace your interfaith lifestyle and show your family exactly how wonderful the world is. With education, understanding and empathy, there is no reason why your family can’t succeed and be just as happy and prosperous as any other.