Meeting and falling in love with a person from different faith
Love is said to be mysterious because one minute you may not even be thinking of love but within a few days, you could be madly in love with someone you just met. After only a few dates, your heart will tell whether you have met the person of your dreams or not. Should both of you feel that you were meant to be? Or your next course of action will be to get married? That is based upon your sentiments.
However, if you happen to belong to different religion, it is bound to introduce some uncomfortable issues in your relationship. Deciding to go ahead with your wedding planning, you should expect a bit of resistance from your parents especially if they hold strong religious beliefs. While being from different religious faiths should not be a barrier to your wedding ceremony, and your desire to live together, you need to enter the relationship with open eyes.
If you look around in your society, you will come across the odd couple that defied social norms and married outside their religion. The favorite part is that increase in the number of couples marrying across the religious divide.
Wedding planning for interfaith couples
Having made the wonderful decision to get married, there are a few things that can be done so as to ensure the success of your relationship. They include:
- Enjoy a long engagement together– No matter how much you are in love, you are from different social and religious backgrounds hence you need time to understand completely each other. The long courtship will give you a chance to meet your prospective in-laws and create a relationship and understanding their religion and culture. Once the parents get to know your partner more, they will be in a better position to accept them.
- Attend counseling together – While you may assume that since you are in love everything will continue being the same, you need to see an experienced counselor to advise you on the reality. The pre-wedding counseling will highlight your differences and let you openly discuss how you intend to handle them.
- Exercise a lot of patience with the parents – While being young allows you to accept each other without question, the same cannot be said to your parents. You will have to put in a lot of work convincing them that you are making the right decision. During the courtship, it is important to visit each other’s homes to begin the integration process. If it happens that the parents become offensive, do not become defensive and instead always explain your position in a calm and convincing manner.
- Take time to understand both faiths – Keeping in mind that the wedding ceremony will have representation from both religious faiths; you need to take the time to understand the other faith. Even if it means attending some religious lessons or reading faith-based books, you have to sacrifice yourself thus making your partner feel appreciated. An understanding of your partner’s faith will endear you to their family members since they will see that you appreciate their religion.
- Have a unique wedding – During the wedding planning process, it is important to involve both parties in all decisions. If you choose to hold a ceremony that leans on one side, it may cause resentment. The best impact of the action is to organize a personalized ceremony that incorporates wedding traditions from both parties. The ceremony should borrow the best practices from each side, and this should make it a one-of-a-kind ceremony. The guest list should be prepared with special care. It is important to allocate the same number of guests from each side unless there is one party that has only a few relatives with the rest being in another country.
- Get the right officials – The person presiding over the wedding ceremony may have to compromise. The rising number of interracial and interfaith weddings means that there are some wedding officials that are open to conducting interfaith ceremonies. During wedding planning, you may choose to have a co-officiated wedding that features both religious beliefs in equal measure.
How to deal with religion
There are various options that pertain to the matter of religion. Having agreed to marry, you may want to explore some options geared towards increasing harmony in your lives. The possible decision to make is to get one of the partners to convert to the religion of the other. While it sounds simple, it may cause problems to people with deep faith. However, the person converting should not feel like they were coerced to join another religion lest it breeds resentment. Besides, both partners should leave their respective faiths and join a compromise religion. Here each party would feel that they have played their part by giving up something to gain something else more valuable.
If both partners want to maintain their faiths, they can choose to practice multi-faith. Here, the partners participate in each other’s faith. One week they will attend one partner’s place of worship and the other week attend the other partner’s house of worship.
Some couples may choose to adopt an ecumenical approach. The ecumenical approach involves the two partners studying both religions and adopting some traditions from each faith. The family then matches these beliefs and traditions to create their ecumenical faith that they can identify with.
If they do not opt for any of the above approaches, they can continue practicing their faiths separately. The secondary problem is that the children will be forced to take sides, something that can trigger a family conflict.
However, the couple planning the wedding may not even have strong religious feelings or leanings. If that is the case, they can maintain the status quo since religion will not play a huge part in their daily lives.
As it has been stated, it is clear that any interfaith couple planning a wedding ceremony has got their hands full, but they can overcome the odds by getting married and making the relationship work.