Interfaith marriages or mixed marriages are a great example of love and harmony. It adds a layer of diversity, and can grow into a beautiful bond over time. Despite the social and cultural differences, a couple committed to an interfaith marriage can learn to grow in such a relationship with love, communication and understanding. Psychologist Kanika Shah of Nimai Healthcare tells you how.
Navigating interfaith marriages
Apart from one’s personal beliefs and familiar background, social and cultural contexts are also important to consider. Marriage does not exist in a vacuum but is impacted by the systems and societal structures we live in. Some interpersonal communication related factors that could help a couple navigate such relationships include:
- Acknowledging and accepting the differences
Instead of ignoring or shying away from acknowledging the differences that exists, one needs to be more accepting and understanding of them.
- Be respectful of your partner’s views
It helps to be respectful of the views held by your partner, while continuing to hold on to different views of your own.
- Don’t expect your partner to change their views or beliefs for you
Ensure that either of you does not enter the relationship expecting the other partner’s views or beliefs to change at some point. While it might be a challenging conversation to have; clarifying views pertaining to faith early on can help avoid future conflict.
- Have open and direct conversations
Open and direct conversations with each other can help establish boundaries and expectations in this area, especially those post marriage. This can help better address potential situations pertaining to extended families, upbringing of children and social gatherings.
- Do what feels right for you, and as a couple
Equitableness in the relationship is helpful in preventing negative feelings in the long run. It is important that the couple does what feels apt for them as individuals, as well as for their partnership.
One can seek professional help if necessary to help explore and navigate these aspects of the relationship.