Thursday, June 01, 2006

More on marriage

Earlier in the semester I told a friend that I wouldn't marry someone who wasn't of my same religious faith.

He was shocked.

He called me close minded.

I asked him if he had any kind of traits that he was looking for in someone that he was going to spend his life with. He rattled off a list of things like, athletic, smart, preferably from the mid-west, ect.

The subject of our conversation moved on, but since then I've been thinking about it.

Do you think it is more closed minded to not consider marrying someone because they have a different religious belief, or because they didn't like to rock climb?

Is it really so bad to say, "out of the millions of people who I could potentially spend my life with can't I pick to be with someone who shares the same answer to the fundamental questions of existence, like 'why am I here?' 'what purpose does my life have?' "what happens after death?'"

I just don't think that's a close minded choice.

But if you do, tell me. I want to know. I promise not to be offended in any way. I just want to hear other perspectives out there.


Al said...

I don't think that's being closed-minded, although it may depend on just how close you want your faiths to be. I was a Southern Baptist who became a Methodist by marriage, but that's probably not the kind of conflict you have in mind. I had an uncle who married a faithful Catholic although he wasn't much of anything, religiously speaking. They raised their children in the Catholic Church, which may be what it ultimately boils down to. It is highly important to decide what sort of person you are willing to be matched with, and then decide what issues are critical. Call me closed-minded, but I would not have married a smoker, a compulsive gambler, or a compulsive shopper.

Anonymous said...

What happens if you marry someone who believes as you do, and then later their beliefs change? Would you still honor your committment?

JenLo said...

There's a simple answer to your question--do you REALLY believe what you believe. If you do, then don't you want to pass those beliefs on to your children? If you do, then having a partner of a different faith decreases your chance of your children following their beliefs by like 90%. Research has proven over and over that if a father does not embrace the faith of the mother, the children have almost no chance of following the faith of either parent.

If your religion is a fundamental basis for your daily life, you are NOT going to want to go it alone.

And if you would perhaps marry a partner who changes their beliefs, that is not a ticket to break your vow--The marriage commitment doesn't say "as long as everything stays exactly the way that it is right now, including all feelings, opinions, etc." It says, I'm choosing you for life. Period.

shafnitz said...

First, if he says that you're close minded and then lists of things he requires in the person he marries, he is a hypocrite.
Second, I don't see why wanting to marry someone of the same religion is a problem. Look at the divorce statistics. The odds are against everyone, so why not do whatever you can to minimize the differences in the first place. It's going to be hard enough as it is, do whatever you can to make it easier from the start.

k said...

I don't think it is a close minded choice. Some religions lend themselves better to interfaith marriages, while some are incorporated much more into daily life and would be hard to "mix."

Anonymous said...

I think you are right. You want to marry someone who is more like you than different and religion is a VERY important thing to consider. Many marriages break up or never have the spark because they don't share a common set of beliefs.

Face it, your religious beliefs define your choices ( views on abortion, pre-marital sex, drinking, how to raise kids, standards of right and wrong, etc. ). Adn your choices are what make your character.

Couples who marry outside of their religious beliefs compromise on what they want and never share the commonality of the intimacy of worship.

Every time I dated outside my religion I was disappointed in the relationship ( not the other person ). We never could seem to find a common ground.

I'd like to know what your friend based his compatibility on with the people he dated. He seems a little closed minded.


Anonymous said...

Oh ya, anonymous, sometimes it happens. That's a risk of life in or out of religion. And people WILL change. Count on it. That's why considering who you marry is so important.


Anonymous said...

Marriage is all about selection beforehand, and commitment afterward. As hard as it may be to stick by someone who changes in the extreme, you married them, not their set of beliefs.

jordan said...

The guy sounds lame. When he isn't looking put a whoopie cushion on his seat or better, slap a "kick me please" post-it on his back. That will teach him to mess with you.

Courtney said...

I don't think it's closed minded at all!!

From what I can tell, if a person is deeply religious then their religion makes up a HUGE PART of who they are. For instance, my Mormon friend Margie, would not be the same girl I know and love without her faith. It is part of who she is. So I think it would be difficult for her to even fall in love with someone who wasn't of the same faith. Now my pseudo-Catholic friend, Lucia, is only sorta religious... and she's dating a non religious guy and we all know that they will eventually get married. And while she wants to raise her kids Catholic, she doesn't seem to mind that her boyfriend wasn't raised Catholic.

I think it all depends on how religious each individual person is.

Now assuming that you ARE a religious person... then, by all means, it makes perfect sense to marry someone of the same faith. I find that religious people look to their religion to find their morals, their valuesis, their basic beliefs, their answers to life's tough questions. So It makes sense for a married couple to be looking to same place for these things... otherwise there could be some serious differences of opinion that even the best marriage won't be able to ride out. Furthermore, I think it's important that children see their parents as one solidified unit. If the parents are of different religions, then that sorta breaks down. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but I do think it would make life MUCH more difficult to have two deeply religious parents of totally different faiths. I think the kids would be confused.

Having grown up without religion, but having always believed in God, and having always been fascinated by religion in general... I always planned on converting to my husband's religion (if he had strong beliefs) and raising our kids in his faith... because I really do think it's important.

JenLo said...

Katie, you inspired me. My 17th anniv is today, and I ranted about your post, thinking of the guy who thought it was closed-minded to marry outside of your faith. I ranted more about commitment, but interfaith marriages, in my opinion, make it difficult to keep their marriage commitment.

Anonymous said...

I think his response is close-minded. When a person's values include marrying within their religion only, failure to respect that is close-minded at best.

You're entitled to choose any criteria you like for the person you marry. While I don't believe in making religion a primary criteria for my future spouse (woah... typing that is weird), if marrying someone of your religion is your ideal, go for it. It's certainly a narrower set of people, but it's not close-minded.

Anonymous said...

I'm Catholic and the man I love is Jewish. We dated for a while and decided to stop there. Let's not start something we can't finish - we thought. I want to raise my kids Catholic. But I'm willing to share both faiths (since his is the basis of mine) He wants a Jewish family and a Jewish mother is required for that!

That was/is really hard because I never loved anyone like that and I truly believe there's no one better for me. Some friends have chastised me saying if you are compatible in every other way that it's just plain silly to let religion stand in your way.
(these are people who have little religious influence or background in their lives) Also, these same people would not date or marry someone if they never wanted to have a dog. I think their reason is sillier.
I'm making a sacrifice for my savior... they're making a sacrifice for a DOG!!! whatevs.