November 2012

Marriage Insurance #5: Share Your Faith

by mike on November 29, 2012

Do you believe that marrying someone who shares the same faith with you is important?  Does marrying someone within your faith improve your chances of a successful marriage or is that just something your Grandma lectures about?  I recently came across a very interesting article about interfaith marriage.

In the marriage insurance series, I take a look at things about marriage that statistically give you a better chance of success.  That doesn’t mean it prevents divorce, it just is looking at statistics.  As religion and marriage is a very touchy subject, I just want you to remember that there are always exceptions to rules (and definitely to statistics!) and I am in no way judging anyone.  It is just my way of informing you, the reader, about what makes a marriage less likely to end in divorce, statistically speaking.

The article points out that a couple in an interfaith marriage are three times more likely to divorce than those couples who share the same faith.  That is no small amount.  I am sure there are many reasons why, but it does kind of make sense.  There are some issues that really are difficult to negotiate.  The biggest is obviously when kids enter the picture.  What faith will the children be raised in?   What church will you all go to or will you go separately?  These are all things that have to be considered and definitely discussed if you plan on entering an interfaith marriage!

The difference in beliefs can really show itself practically in a marriage as well.  I will use my Catholic faith as an example.  During Lent, I choose not to eat meat on Fridays.  If Mandy was not Catholic, she might think that is absolutely ridiculous and could literally cause tension when choosing meals.  An even bigger one is the use of contraception.  The Catholic may not intend on ever using contraception. The non-Catholic may only want two to three kids and  wants to do anything reasonably possible to prevent any more than that.  That is a deeply emotional and spiritual discussion that will have to happen.

I want to be clear: every marriage has things they have to work through and figure out.  No two people are the same, so there will always be differing views.  A divorce rate of three times more is something that gets your attention though.  If you are entering an interfaith marriage, make sure all of this is discussed ahead of time.  People make it work all the time, so it certainly can be done.

I would love to hear from those of you in an interfaith marriage.  Tell us in the comments how you make it work.  What is hard about it? What has been easier than you expected?  What advice do you have for those entering an interfaith marriage?

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