TEXAS FAITH 103: Are Interfaith Marriages Good for Couples?

Dallas Morning News,

Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

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 broad society 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?

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

Generally no. Couples who have different life goals will find conflicts. However, there are two circumstances where one would expect less conflict:

First, for many people religion is like a label. Their life, their habits, and their goals may not really differ from others. So no real conflict there.

Second, for the few who are spiritually mature, they may be able to appreciate their partner’s devotion to the same Lord who is known by different names. So for such people there may no conflicts.

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.