mixed, mixed-faith, interchurch, interfaith, intrafaith, bicultural, or interreligious marriages.
Quotes about inter-faith marriages and families:
"A [born-again conservative Christian] believer marrying or intending to marry an unbeliever is clearly going
against the expressed commandment of God." J.J. Lim
"...unity within diversity adds a richness and beauty to
marriage and to life." Rev. Tom Chulak,
"More and more interfaith couples are opting to forge their own
paths in the spiritual realm by combining aspects of both religions
rather than relying on the strict guidelines promoted by either
organized religion. And while many religious leaders turn their backs on
such decisions, who are they to put limits on God?" Jill Critchley,
a Christian engaged to a Jew.
"I have two religions, but Mommie and Daddy have one [each]. Mommie
has Jesus and daddy has JewIsh." Claire, aged about 4, from the
movie "Mixed Blessings."
The arrival of a baby forces parents to confront their religious
legacies, to reconsider decisions made long ago and to revisit the spiritual
dilemmas of their own youth." Gabrielle Glaser.
An interfaith marriage is a union in which the two spouses follow
different religious traditions. This can take many forms. For example, the partners may be:
A member of a specific religion and a follower of an non-theistic ethical system (e.g. Judaism and Humanism).
From two religions that are totally different - as in one Western and one Eastern faith (e.g. Christianity and Taoism).
From two religions that have some points of similarity - as in two Abrahamic religions. These are religions
"of the Book" which share Abraham as a Patriarch. (e.g. Christianity and Islam).
From different major divisions within the same religion (e.g. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism).
From different wings within the same religion (e.g. one Evangelical and one liberal or mainline Christian)
From different traditions within the same wing of the same religion (e.g. two conservative denominations:
Assemblies of God and Southern Baptist.)
According to the National Association of InterChurch and
"It is a fact that approximately half of all
Roman Catholics, for example, marry someone who is not a Roman Catholic. This
means that, if not within our immediate family among our close friends, we will
all know couples in this situation."
All marriages and other lifetime partnerships are mixed relationships!
Most involve persons of two genders: one man and one woman.
Sometimes the two spouses are
of different religions, nationalities, races, ethnic groups, economic levels, etc.
more significant differences in background that a couple has, the greater are the challenges
that need to be resolved before and during marriage. Sometimes their efforts to reach a consensus can draw the couple
closer together. With other couples, their differences will drive them apart and
contribute to separation and divorce.
Problems that arise in intrafaith marriages are not necessarily less severe
than among interfaith marriages.
A liberal Christian and a conservative
Christian couple will generally find that they differ on almost all religious
A liberal Jew and liberal Christian will see eye-to-eye on many
Since religious beliefs and practices tend to be influenced
both by theology and culture, there can easily be significant conflicts even
between two spouses who come from the same wing of the same religion -- e.g.
two different fundamentalist or other evangelical Christian faith groups.
Marriages between persons of different religions are called: interfaith,
mixed-faith, or interreligious marriages. We will use the term "interfaith"
in this series of essays.
Marriages between persons who follow different traditions within the same religion: interchurch,
twochurch, interchristian, cross-community, interdenominational, intrafaith or
ecumenical marriage. We will use the term "intrafaith."
We will use the term "marriage" inclusively throughout this series of essays to
refer to all permanent, committed, cohabiting relationships, whether they involve a man and woman, two women, two men, or other, and whether they are the result
of religious marriages, civil marriages, union ceremonies, or committed "common law"
or "living together" relationships.