On Interfaith Relationships

Religion?

He is of the Islamic faith. She is a Roman Catholic. The nagging question is: What happens if they fall in love?

Religious differences among couples have always been a constant problem in the course of a relationship. At the beginning, when both parties are still enjoying the romantic episodes of the love affair, issues on religious differences are not of so much importance. But when the relationship goes into a deeper or higher level, that is when the immensity of the problem sinks in.

Making an interfaith relationship work isn’t easy. Both parties have to consider each other’s faith and beliefs. Actually, it’s some kind of thinking more about other people’s opinion other than the couple themselves. The problem usually lies on the approval of the people around them.

First, they worry about their families, if both sides will be open-minded about the relationship and would readily accept someone outside of their faith. Second, they have to consider the religious congregations they both belong to, because either one of them may not be welcome with the religious community that they are a part of. Though some churches welcome someone from a different faith, still, more are not open and conformable to interfaith relationships.

I wouldn’t go through to so much of these issues concerning religious differences as we are all quite aware of what they are. It generally revolves in the religious practices and beliefs, what kind of foods to eat and religious dogmas. We all know any topic regarding religion would take us forever to discuss, and most times, we never arrive to a compromise. Another thing is, space would not be enough if I’d go through each detail so it is best to leave it at that.

I have heard a lot of stories from friends who went through such an ordeal. Some of them didn’t make it, while the other couples that I know were able to go through and are happily living with each other despite their different religious beliefs.

I personally think that the keys to a successful interfaith relationship are understanding, communication and acceptance. If I’m going to wrap it up in just one word, I’d choose the word respect as the main key for an interfaith relationship to work. It is very important to understand each other’s faith and beliefs and learn to respect it.

How can each one of the couple do this?

One does not need to be a convert to learn about other faith. Information is no longer scarce with the advent of the internet. Anything one wants to know about a certain topic is just a search engine away. One could make an effort to learn the principles of the other’s faith and be able to discuss it with him/her without saying or doing something to offend or make the other person uncomfortable. To let your partner know that you understand and appreciate his beliefs may make wonders.

Communication is also a significant factor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and likewise, be not afraid to state your position so long as you know that it is reasonable and would not in any way offend, annoy or anger your partner. Communication has always been a perfect medium for any environment, be it at work, family circles and just about everywhere. It really does miracles in making any relationship successful. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to bridge the gap if you choose to just keep mum about your situation.

I have read in an article that many interfaith relationships work because one or both of the partners don’t care all that much about religion. The only way for interfaith couples to make it work is if both or one person in the couple are somewhat indifferent to their faiths and just accept and respect the religious beliefs of one another. What remains is acceptance and adjustment.

The situation may be hard. But as the old adage says, “Love conquers all.”

If you both love each other, you will get through with all the difficulties and stumbling blocks that you may encounter in the relationship. You will work hand in hand to make things work out by following and practicing the keys to a successful interfaith relationship. Yes, you need to know the big difference between Islam and Catholicism, Judaism and Buddhism and others, and you just have to believe with utmost conviction that everything will work out fine and it will do.

The carrying-out of the keys mentioned beforehand, which are communication, understanding and acceptance, along with the couple’s immense love for each other, I believe, will help any partners with religious differences to conquer everything together no matter how difficult are the circumstances as long as they know each other is worth fighting for.

To borrow a quote from an unknown writer, “When in doubt, follow your heart. For the mistake of the heart will never be as foolish as the mistake of the mind.” Do not let mind rule over your heart. Follow your heart’s desire and firmly believe that everything will be alright. And it will surely be…

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10 Comments

  1. I am one of the many who could relate. The moment i saw this article, i just had to click on it and read.. and i feel relieved that I’m not the only one in this kind of situation (well obviously). I am pinay, a catholic. Not a devout one but i have my faith and i believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit..My now husband is Fijian-Indian, DEVOUT Hindu. And i mean really devout. At the first part of your blog, its true that you tend to miss out the religious impact on the start of a relationship. We started great, as friends, colleagues at work, had the same ideas, read each other’s minds. We’re together now for 3 years. But the earlier parts of the relationship when it comes to the religious side had been hard for me. Adjustment, language barrier, food restrictions, his congregation, not to mention his culture. I was overwhelmed. When we realized we were going serious in the relationship, we had to compromise. I stressed that i am not going to convert into his religion. That i will respect his and he respects mine. I go to their prayers, he goes to my church. Easier said that done. As a catholic, we have our church activities. But for hindus, since they have lots of gods, they have lots of prayers, even for straight 7 nights, or 3 prayers in 1 day, they have to fast, not eat meat and all that.. i tried during the 1st years to blend in and do what they do..but when i had my son and i have to work i said i cannot juggle. My husband’s priority is the religion, as do all of them. when for my, its family.. so its really a struggle. but we believe we have 1 God. just called differently in every religion. constant change, compromises really. i’m glad we’re making it despite the differences..

    • Hi kay. Thank you for taking time to read my blog. I’m glad that we are on the same page regarding my article. It is true, when you enter into an interfaith relationship, expect a lot of compromise. And with these compromise, respect is the main key to make the relationship work. It’s up to both parties to set things straight first and foremost. And of course, proper communication should not be disregarded. Lahat naman pwede pag usapan at mas makakabuti yun sa isang relasyon. Here’s hoping na maging mas maayos pa ang inyong pagsasama at maging mabiyaya sa kabila ng pagkakaiba niyo ng paniniwala.

  2. This happend to me, I am a Catholic, active in our church activities (choirs and and others) while X was INC. In their religion they are not allowed to have relationships with people outside their belief. He crossed that limitations because he loved me. Our families were both forcing us to covert. We both love each other but we held on to our beliefs more. We separated, both got hurt but we were able to recover. We are good friends still now. Our God blessed us for showing our love for him, by guiding us to locate the ones fated for us, ones who shared our same beliefs and traditions.

    I agree on this quote: “When in doubt, follow your heart. For the mistake of the heart will never be as foolish as the mistake of the mind.” We followed our heart, we followed our God.

    • Hi, Dina. I feel happy for you because you found the right person to spend your life with. Ikinagagalak ko din na naka-relate ka sa aking sinulat at umaayon sa aking huling tinuran. Ang aking artikulo ay opinyon ko lamang at hindi ko sinulat para pwersahin ang mga mambabasa na paniwalaan din ang aking paniniwala. Kung may aayon na kagaya mo, malaking pasasalamat ang aking isusukli. Ngunit kung may mga hindi magkagusto at kokontra sa aking pananaw, salamat pa rin dahil binasa nila ito. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Muli, maraming salamat for taking time to read and God speed! 🙂

  3. Hi, Mimi. Thank you for your comment but I think it is way out of what I have discussed in my blog. My article is not about religion or whatsoever. If you have read it, you must have known that it is just about how to handle and make an interfaith relationship work, and not about trying to prove the truthfulness or falseness of any religion, especially Islamic faith. You must understand that the mentioning of the term Islam, and other religions I stated here were only for the purpose of giving an example of cross religions. And please reconsider your term – low IQ Muslims. I am Catholic but I have Muslim friends and I do not find them low IQ. In fact, I find them very intelligent. Maging maingat po tayo sa pagbibitiw ng salita. My blog was not written to spark debates among believers and non-believers. I had to say this because your harsh sounding comment was written on my blog. You might want to re-read the article just to be sure that I did not discuss anything about religious faiths and beliefs. Just saying and thank you.

    • Most Muslims are bad people…they are terrorists, corrupt and low IQ otherwise the world will not suffer…they are racist, judgemental and stupid…I am speaking based on what I experienced from them….they believe hell exist and heaven is the place for all Muslims should go…so low IQ….no relationships will work as long as Islam religion exist…this is the religion invented by Muhammad…revealing quran to him by angel Satan in disguise….Arab Muslims are sick in the head…they love to blame Americans and the Jews for their suffering believing that their sickening Islamic faith was the truth…I am human and any religion can be my identity…there’s no such thing as interfaith relationships…only interhuman differences and low IQuiness of some that their truth is the only truth…why believe that love can save your relationship no it is not…why bother yourself to have or to get into an interfaith relationship if you know that your different…how can you respect someone if their views are different from yours…that’s very inhuman to be like that…don’t love the Muslims because they don’t deserve to be love and to bve respected..ok….Im not scared of any debates among Islam believers…I have shutdown a lot of website about Muslims hatred towards Christians…

      • So if I may suggest, find another venue for your rants. Why not write your own blog for your Muslim hating advocacy? I don’t know what you have gone through in the hands of the Muslim people, but whatever that is, it may be so grave that you seem to hate them through and through. Hindi ko rin sila pinapanigan or pinagtatanggol. But please do not generalize. Hindi pare-pareho ang mga tao. And if you do not agree with what I have written, it doesn’t matter to me. I do not expect to please everybody as I know that that would not be possible. Try to ask yourself the question you raised, “How can you respect someone if their views are different from yours?” I do not find any inhumanity there. In fact, I find it more humane to love anyone no matter what our differences may be, not just loving na involved ang dalawang tao, but loving all our brothers and sisters and make peace for a better world. 🙂

  4. it happens to me twice, i decided to quit since i can’t believe this would be a reason for asking a break up!! as he said hindi pwede ihalo ang oil saka water!!(correct me if i am wrong) basta something like that yong sinabi niya with my fist relationship with a “CHRISTIAN”. i am christian, a catholic.. pero siya he is already “BORN AGAIN” christian. i cant understand whats the difference of it since we believe in one God. grrr….duh!! i hated it!! christian nga siya pero his kind of living is not the way i am expected. May christian ba na agree sa premarital sex? Buti pa yong muslim bf ko , i adored him so much. Though our relationship end up early since he died very young…and to reminisce our past during the time we have our numerous dates i never experienced being kissed at the point i thought he was a gay…so i compared them both Buti pa yong muslim than christian pag nagmamahal hindi ka talaga gagalawin even a kiss unless married na kau, thats againts in their teaching daw… yan ang sinabi sakin ng mga relatives nya during his wake. i am not telling that all christian is like this… it is just based on my experience..:)

    • Hi, Maricel. Salamat sa iyong oras sa pagbasa ng aking sinulat, at nagagalak ako sa kaalamang naka-relate ka. I hope mahanap mo na uli ang tunay na magmamahal sa iyo, kagaya ng pagmamahal sa iyo ng namayapa mong nobyo. 🙂

      • Islam is false…no matter what the low IQ Muslims wants to prove to the world Islam is false….Muhammad was a fake prophet….

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