Ten Points of Interfaith Dating
More and more young adults are making friends and engaging in interfaith relationships leading to marriage, sometimes without realizing the complexities associated with their decision. No one is perfect, but one could improve chances of a happy and long lasting marriage by making an informed decision, even when that decision is to engage in an interfaith marriage. Here are some pointers:
10) Face Value: It is very important to look for how he or she dresses, talks, interacts with others and compatible with you. Here, it is also important to learn to differentiate between an inexperienced dater who may be genuinely interested in you from a “professional” dater who knows how to impress you. Some professional daters have an evangelical objective for engaging you in a friendship.
9) Upbringing: It is important to know a lot more about the person than the “face value.” A person is what he or she has learned during their life time, especially during childhood. Pay special attention to childhood activities, especially religion related, and think how it will impact your life.
8 ) Divorces in family? According to a Rutgers University research, divorce risk triples if one marries someone who comes from a broken home.
7) Web search: In this day and age, it would be a good idea to check your new friend’s hidden information from web searches (www.web.public-records-now.com or Google) and find out what type of family and background this person comes from.
6) Novelty: Remember, novelty by its nature is short lived. Think if you find the religious practices of the other interesting to you as a novelty, or do you find some spiritual meaning in it?
5) Consult others: Before you are too deep into a relationship, consult your best friend and older siblings or cousins. Pay attention to any negative comments or advise you do not like about your friend. Before it is too late to reverse your decision, also involve parents at an appropriate time.
4) Back to roots: One tends to go back to his or her roots as ages. Ponder how your life mate will remain compatible and tolerant to your religious faith, culture, life style and food habits, as you grow older and raise your children.
3) Two communities compatible? Remember, a marriage is not only a marriage of two individuals, but to some extent, a marriage of two extended families and communities. If two parents-in laws cannot stand each other for two hours in one room, or two communities are at odds, it will bring a lot of aggravation later in life as you age.
2) Do not take religious vows you cannot keep: Promise only what you mean. For example, do not take Shahadah oath for Nikaah (Islamic marriage) or accept Baptism ritual before Christian wedding to please your spouse’ parents but understand the meaning and be prepared to follow it. Do not lie. A married life based on misleading promises or vows will have serious consequences later in life.
1) Religion of Children: This is the most important point to consider for any interfaith relationship. Discuss the expectations of which one of the two religions the children will follow, especially any talk of Baptism, Shahadah/Sunat or Bris. Even if you have a secular outlook without any religious preference, you must be alarmed by an expectation that your children would follow the spouse’s religion, not yours. You must start wondering if the person has a fundamentalist streak.