Interfaith Marriage and all that jazz…
Have you ever told your parents about someone that was tugging at your heart? How many people have had a conversation that goes like this;
You: Mom, I met this person and I think they might be the one.
Mom: That’s great honey! I want you to be happy. Now what church do they go to?
I was always wondered why this was always the first question my mother asked and I get it now, but the implications are deeper than I originally thought.
I think the chief reason why my Mom and other parents ask this question is for two reasons:
1) To gauge the person’s character since church attendance is often used as a character check
2) To see if the person practices the same faith as their child
And I think that parents should be respected for having their child’s best interests at heart. But I wonder how smooth the conversation would go if you responded to your parent’s (let’s assume they are Christian) question of where your love interest went to church by saying, “Well, actually, they go to a mosque.” How do you think your parents would respond? I know it is easy to think of your parents as the most respectful and open-minded people in the world but let’s keep it really real, shall we?
I think many parents would be taken aback and follow up by asking, “So are they Muslim?” And then I could imagine a series of questions dancing around the feasibility of two people dating that share different faiths.
Now is this wrong? I wouldn’t say so but I think something can be said for what I call “spiritual superiority.” What I mean by this phrase is the notion that spiritually centered parents often have a strong preference for three things: 1) seeing their children practice the same faith they raised them with, throughout adulthood, 2) watching their children grow up to marry someone who practices the same faith as them, and 3) witness their grandchildren be raised with the same faith as them.
Now on face value, I would say nothing is wrong with this paradigm and maybe in another post, we can talk about people who ended up practicing a new faith different from their parents. But for our purposes, we are going to look at interfaith relationships/marriage.
And rather than go into two pages worth of a post, I would rather provide the context and see where you want to take this post in the comments section. So the following are some of the questions that I would like you to chew on.
1) Would you ever date someone from a different faith? Why or why not?
2) Do you have different faith restrictions for someone you would date casually or someone you would seriously consider marrying? Why or why not?
3) Does your faith have specific restrictions on what faith your future husband/wife must practice? (And if you do know, it would be helpful if you can bolster your answer with textual support as opposed to what you were always told.)
4) Is it important that your future kids practice the same faith as you? Would you be open to them practicing a different faith from yours?
5) How would your parents react to your being in a serious relationship with someone of a different faith? And how much would their reaction influence your decision to continue your relationship?
6) Is it important that your kids be raised in household where both parents practice the same faith? If not, what is the upside of having interfaith households on a child’s spiritual development?
This should prove to be a very lively discussion,