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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Texas Faith: Are Interfaith Marriages Good for Couples?

Texas Faith: Are Interfaith Marriages Good for Couples?

Interfaith couples must be admired by one and all. When couples are having difficulty in getting along, they are setting a new standard: respecting the otherness of someone else and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each other. They may have grown up in different religious traditions, but yet, religion is not a barrier. The poet philosopher of the East, Dr. Allama Iqbal, says, Religion does not teach one to have ill-will.
 


Texas Faith :Are Interfaith Marriages Good for Couples?
Dallas Morning News | Published on June 18, 2013

 
Naomi Schaefer Riley has a new book out with the title Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage is Transforming America. You can read about that book at this link and then this link.
Interestingly, Riley, a former Wall Street Journal editor who has written extensively about religion and culture, notes that 45 percent of all U.S. marriages in the last decade were between people of different faiths. Naturally, we may look at that as a sign of greater acceptance and tolerance, which a broadsociety needs to remain dynamic and growing.
But Riley also reports that marrying across religious lines may be very difficult for the couples involved. Their deeply-held differences may eventually become a problem, especially when it comes to raising children.
There are a number of ways we could go with this question, including why dating couples may spend more time worrying about political differences than religious distinctions. Feel free to chime in on that aspect, if you like. But the main point I would like you to consider is this:
Interfaith marriages may help the broader society, but are they good for the couples?

MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, and Speaker on interfaith matters, diversity and pluralism

Marriage is between two individuals who are willing to commit to each other’s well-being. They dedicate their lives to each other till death does them apart. The couple marries as a fulfillment of their desire for each other, and there is rarely a consideration to help the broader society.
However, interfaith, inter-racial and inter-ethnic marriages have paved the way for others in the larger societies who were once denied the right to pursue their happiness. Stories abound, where the lovers were prevented, harassed or killed by the parents, society or the clergy. We must appreciate their sacrifice, even though that was not their intention.
I must add a couplet from Urdu and Hindi Language, written by the Master Indian poet Mirza Ghalib:
Ishq par zor naheeN, hai ye woh aatish ‘GHalib’
ki lagaaye na lage aur bujhaaye na bane
Love is such a flame Ghalib (pen name),
you cannot lit or extinguish it, it just happens.
Like all couples, the interfaith couple also endures similar strains in their relationship, (8.4 and 7.9 marital satisfaction on Riley Scale) but it may take the avatar of faith if they are at each other’s throat. It is always easy to blame the religion for our failings. However, interfaith and other inter-relationships tend to be stronger.
Political differences provide humor to some couples. My father and mother voted differently but never had a fight over it except the occasional cold wars. I am a Republican and my wife is a Democrat, and we make attempts to convince each other, but back off as quickly as we initiate it, when she quotes me the Quran, “That you cannot compel your spouse to believe what she does not want to believe.”
Interfaith couples must be admired by one and all. When couples are having difficulty in getting along, they are setting a new standard: respecting the otherness of someone else and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each other. They may have grown up in different religious traditions, but yet, religion is not a barrier. The poet philosopher of the East, Dr. Allama Iqbal, says, Religion does not teach one to have ill-will.
I am a marriage officiant and have performed a range of interfaith marriages as a part of my pluralism work.
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To see all the other responses, at Dallas Morning News at:http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/06/texas-faith-are-interfaith-marriages-good-for-couples.html/

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Added: Interfaith marriages marriages performed include; Jewish-Christian; Hindu-Christian; Muslim-Jain; Hindu-Muslim, Atheist Hindu and  Jewish-Muslim and other combination for more details, please visit:http://www.interfaithmarriages.blogspot.com/
.....Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes his work through many links.

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