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Interreligious marriages/partnerships - what's your experience?

(10 Posts)
PacificDogwood Thu 11-Aug-11 08:45:26

Inspired by another thread, I have been wondering over night how many MNers out there are in a relationship with somebody not of their own religion/belief system? And what problems (or indeed rewards!) has this brought in their lives?

I do NOT want this to kick off, hence posting in here, and troublemakers, please do wander off to AIBU grin!

So, any Muslim/Jewish, Chistian/Hindu, Buddhist/Jehova's Witness, Earthling/Martian or any other-combination-you-can-hink-of partnerships out there who'd kindly indulge a nosey curious soul by sharing their stories?

I don't have any direct experience of this (both DH and I are of vaguely protestant backgrounds, but have not practiced any religion as adults and I find myself of a more and more atheist conviction), but my brother married a non-practicing Catholic woman and to my disappointed surprise this caused all sorts of upsets within her and our families sad.

Please let this be an interesting and not pissed-off thread.

PacificDogwood Thu 11-Aug-11 12:41:18

No takers?

avacat Mon 15-Aug-11 16:24:38

Pacific, you might find some responses here: The forum is not about inter-religious marriages per se, but there may be some participants in the threads there who has interreligious marriages.

manyhands Sat 20-Aug-11 17:38:26

Well, I
I'm a Christian married to a very commited atheist. Being married to someone with a different belief does have its challenges but if you have mutual respect within the relationship, you can adopt a live and let live approach.

AlpinePony Wed 24-Aug-11 08:12:36

Jewish - my partner is a fundamentalist Richard-Dawkins. sad

It makes me want to stove his head in with a pan sometimes - it's not nice being told "only crazy people believe in God".

MichaelaS Thu 25-Aug-11 13:56:26

my best friend was with a guy for about 8 years, she was a committed christian and he was a comitted atheist. She really struggled with it, because at some level he thought she was a bit crazy for believing and doing what she did.

I think the tensions often come out when children are involved - because of differing expectations but also because the in-laws suddenly become more involved in your lives.

Also money can be an issue if your faith encourages or requires a certain level of financial giving. Really hard to explain to an atheist partner why you want to give 10% of your income to the church if you're family finances are already tight.

they split up and now she's married to a lovely guy who shares her faith - and life is a lot easier for her.

BeeMyBaby Thu 25-Aug-11 13:59:09

I'm RC Christian and DH is Muslim, its fine but as both religions insist that children must be brought up in the parents religion I wasn't able to have a RC blessing etc so I suppose I'm not technically married in the Catholic Church although we did have an Islamic blessing. Although this might shock some, DH wouldn't have married me if I hadn't agreed to let him bring any children we have up as Muslim, so unfortunately I think in these cases one partner has to cave slightly, they can't both follow their religion truly. On the other side of it, the RC church has dogma stating that Muslims can have salvation, where as Islam doesn't have the same teachings for Christians, and DH is always trying to gently convert me as he doesn't want me to go to hell. I do however follow some Islamic rules such as modest dress wear, no alcohol, no pork and encouraging him to practice his own religion, and in a way many things are similar so its not really a problem.

alexpolismum Fri 26-Aug-11 15:10:50

I think it can work as long as you don't let outside influences (relatives, for example) affect your relationship and as long as you agree from the outset on what to do with any potential children of the relationship.

I do not think I could have agreed to BeeMyBaby's arrangement myself, agreeing to my children being brought up as Muslim would have been a step too far for me. My dh is Orthodox Christian and I am atheist. I have agreed to allow baptisms for our children, as I see it as nothing more than a little ceremony, but I have refused to allow any indoctrination. We are both free to present our views to the children and let them decide for themselves as they grow older. It works because dh is not a strong follower and only really goes to church himself on occasions like baptisms, weddings and sometimes at Easter. We have also had to ask both our parents not to talk about religion to the children.

I would see pressure on me to convert as a sign of disrespect (I am perfectly capable of coming to my own conclusions), and in any case the pressure would make me resentful.

I know another Muslim/ Christian couple where the Muslim partner has agreed to let the dc be baptised Christian, also with no indoctrination. His family have now disowned him. Not an easy situation.

BeeMyBaby Fri 26-Aug-11 17:55:33

But alex perhaps your case is then similar to mine, as you have allowed your DH to carry his religion on to his children, I know atheism is not a religion, but many people on MN would refuse to do that if they had atheists beliefs. I certainly agree with you about family! My mother said she wouldn't have let us get married if she'd known (or at least not given her blessing) and took a long time for her to stop trying to convince me to baptise DD - in the end I simply said that a religion was better than no religion, and perhaps she should concentrate on her own son (now an atheist) and her other granddaughter (same age as DD, but no religion).

alexpolismum Fri 26-Aug-11 19:43:09

I am not allowing my dh to pass on his religion - I have merely allowed a (to my mind) meaningless ceremony to go ahead. That's it, that's as far as it goes.

Not much we can do about family, I'm afraid. My mother is deeply religious, and I am a disappointment to her. I have told her she should be pleased she had brought me up to think for myself, but it hasn't gone down very well! I expect she would react the same as your mum if my children were to be brought up as Muslim.

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