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Marriage & religious diversity


Interfaith marriages

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In previous generations, the church, synagogue, mosque, temple, etc. were main meeting places for single people. Families were adamant about keeping with traditions that had been set upon them. Thus, there were Christian singles dating, attempts to encourage Jewish believers to date only other Jews, restrictions on Muslim women to only marry a Muslim man, etc. As a result, most marriages were between individuals who were not only of the same religion, but also of the same denomination, sect, or tradition within the same religion.

With the large scale abandonment by older teens and young adults of organized religion, and the rise of dating sites and social media on the Internet, more single people are meeting others from different denomination and even from different religions. And so, an increasing percentage of marriages are inter-faith (a.k.a. mixed, mixed-faith, interchurch, interfaith, intrafaith, bicultural, or interreligious) marriages.

"In these relationships, each partner brings a different set of cultural experiences that may include gender expectations, ideas about appropriate relations with family members, child rearing, financial matters, and general lifestyle. Sometimes differences may be unrecognized or seen as minimal, yet some can become salient, forming the basis for conflict, enriching diversity, or both."

"... despite hurtful incidents from persons outside the couple partnerships, many interfaith unions are a source of satisfaction for the partners, and are able to bridge divisions and reduce inequalities between persons of diverse backgrounds. ..." 1

Often overlooked is the effect that interfaith marriages can have on both faith groups involved. They serve as an example to religious organizations of how persons of diverse faiths can cooperate, dialogue, work together, and build a consensus.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet Introduction: quotes, overview, definitions

bullet What the Bible says about interfaith marriages

bullet Policies of different religions and faith groups

bullet Facts about interfaith marriages


Divorce rates among mixed marriages: Overview, marriage stability, some data

bullet How couples handle their religious differences

bullet Specific problems arising in interfaith marriages


Books, a movie, and webmaster's comments about interfaith marriage

bullet Links to Internet web sites

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Reference used:

  1. Adapted from an review of a book by Jill M. Bystydzienski titled "Intercultural Couples: Crossing Boundaries, Negotiating Difference."

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Site navigation:

Home page > Religious info. > Basic info.  > Marriage > here

Home page > Spirituality > here

Copyright 1999 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 1999-MAR-16
Last update: 2011-DEC-08
Author: B.A. Robinson
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