Based on the 2011 National Household Survey (Canada), 4.6% of all common-law and marital couples were diverse unions (including interfaith and interracial couples). Although the hope is that interfaith couples share common interests in many areas, a difference in religious beliefs can cause a problem down the line.
|Image: Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life|
But as per Relationship advice expert April Masini, “these differences-whether they are between two people of different faiths or an atheist and believer-don’t need to be a relationship pitfall”. Masini offers some ideas to safeguard a contrast in spiritual beliefs to ensure that it doesn’t get in the way of a healthy relationship.It Starts With Respect
“The most important asset in an interfaith relationship is respect. You can agree to disagree-but you can’t disrespect and have things work. Acknowledge your religious differences and have open conversations throughout your relationship, but always respect each other’s’ religions”. Says Masini.
Same is true if one among the couple is religious and the other is not. If one can’t show respect to someone’s belief that will certainly cause trouble for the relationship, deeply spiritual people attach a part of their personality to their religion.
Participate In Each Other’s Religion
In building a strong union, one needs to actively partake in another’s lives, specifically when traditions are involved. If you choose not to participate in those important practices, it won’t just push away your partner it could also divide you and your children if they practice those customs.
Masini also added that “you can attend religious services as a respectful observer-even if you’re not a believer. This is a big part of getting to know each other and to build on the relationship by supporting and participating in differences”.
Furthermore, if one member of the couple is not religious, it is imperative to join in activities or non-religious traditions vital to them. You can’t assume your atheist partner to respect your religion if you can’t respect or acknowledge their decision not to practice a religion; it will be a breeding ground for resentment.
If you wish your partner to go to church or shrine to celebrate a long weekend, join them in their own ways around the holiday (if they celebrate one).Prioritize The Things That Re Important To Your Partner
You don’t always need to do Friday night dinner or Sunday mass, but opting out by hiding behind other duties, like work or a social engagement will only prove to your partner that you don’t care about their needs.
As what Masini suggested, “clear your calendar for this type of thing to show you’re both in it together”.
However, it would help if you also gave your partner time to adapt to the religion and its desires. Acceptance works both ways.
Based on the advice column Masini wrote on her site, “it takes time for some people to adjust. Don’t expect people to have the same ability to adjust that you do, to embrace new things-and vice versa, be prepared for them to want to celebrate the cultural differences quicker than the religious differences”.
Discuss All Of This Ahead Of Time
The understanding and respect won’t mean much if you find a partner who has taken an unyielding idea against religion. A religious mismatch can be a deal-breaker for some people. It is a topic that needs to be talked about early on.
If it will work it will work, if not then it will not. We don’t need to force the universe to make things happen just because we want it to happen. Accept the incompatibility and wilfully decide if you will stay despite all the differences or to move on. At the end of the road, it will be your choice and yours alone.
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