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Interfaith Marriages - the supreme portrait of human unity


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Interfaith WeddingEvery young man or woman has a mental picture of the kind of spouse he or she would want to have in the future. And interestingly, these images are very secular in nature. Almost everybody I spoke to used words like handsome, pretty, kind, understanding, fair, dark etc. But no one used words like Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Buddhist. From this it is clear that as human beings when we are looking out for a spouse religion or faith of the person concerned does not seem so important.

Yet, in the practical world this sometimes becomes a huge issue. Let’s take the case of Shivani. She fell in love with Attaullah when she was barely eighteen years old. Her parents were absolutely against the whole idea. So, Shivani  (who did not want to disappoint her parents) decided to wait till her parents agreed.

During this waiting period she gave in to every whim and fancy of her parents including meeting families of prospective grooms. But, things took a more serious turn when her mother almost finalized her marriage presuming that she liked the boy as she had not returned or negatively commented on the photograph that was given to her.

That evening Shivani packed her bags and left home with Attaullah. She did not have the courage to defy her parents. So, this was the next best alternative.  Now seven years later, Shivani says, “I didn’t want to hurt them. That’s why I waited so long. But, when things went out of hand I did not have an alternative. We tried to make amends but my parents refused to have anything to do with us. But two years ago when my first chills was born and we sent my parents sweets. They have forgiven and forgotten. In fact, my mother is so proud of Attah that she has become a champion for inter-faith marriages.’

Kathleen who is married to Kumaran says, “I was overwhelmed by the love and affection that Kumar’s family showered on me right from the day Kumar introduced me to them. The way they treated me made me realize all over again that, love is not to look at one another but to look together in same direction. I still continue to go church and, it is up to my son to choose whether he wants to embrace Hinduism or Christianity.”

Though love reigns supreme and if the spouses care enough about each other nothing, not even a difference in their respective faiths can jeopardize their marital bliss. Yet, it is a proven fact that inter faith marriages are prone to more stress. So, here are some tips that might help you to cope with the stress that you might encounter in an interfaith marriage.

  • When planning the wedding make sure that elements from both the faiths are incorporated. Some couples go the extent of having two weddings!
  • If you feel converting to your spouse’s faith is going to enhance the relationship and, you want to do so voluntarily, then go ahead and do so. But, if someone is pressurized to convert, it is bound to lead to problems in the future.
  • Make an effort to know and understand each other’s faith. Try and merge traditions.
  • Before you have children make sure you have a detailed discussion on what faith the children are going to belong to. Are they going to allowed to choose when they reach adulthood?
  • Last but not the least, it is good to remember that irrespective of the faith we belong to we are human beings and it is love and only love that binds us together.

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