How to Make an Interfaith Marriage Work

Recent statistics indicate that 50 percent of Americans are in an interfaith marriage. A couple from different faith traditions and with different religious beliefs can face challenges in the religious arena and in family roles, child rearing practices, holiday celebrations and even food. Interfaith marriages are, statistically, 3 times more likely to fail than same-religion marriages. Interfaith couples creating a home together may increase their happiness and chances of long-term success by working together before and after marriage to find compromises that will work for them.


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    Acknowledge and discuss your differences. Talk with each other about what faith means to each of you.
    • What expectations do you each have about daily family life, religious observances, childrearing and holiday celebrations?
    • Is it important to one or both of you that your children be raised in your own faith or do you plan to present both faiths to your children?
    • How will each of your extended families view an interfaith marriage and how will it affect relationships with in-laws?
    • How involved is each of you in the practice of your own faith? A large disparity in the extent of religious observance has been shown to be as great a predictor of difficulty as the difference in faiths.
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    Go to premarital interfaith counseling to help you figure out your future together.
    • Premarital counseling can give you a safe, dedicated willingness to work together at building a family framework with shared expectations. According to counselors, engaged couples often suppress their differences and expectations, because they are in love and want to avoid conflict and because they are immersed in the details of planning the wedding.
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    Be respectful of each other's differences.
    • If you have chosen someone of a different faith, that faith and background has helped to make him or her the person with whom you fell in love with. While you may disagree about some religious beliefs, you probably share many values and dreams.
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    Learn about each other's faiths and traditions.
    • No matter how you move forward together, understanding more about your partner's faith background, traditions and experience will teach you more about your partner.
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    Consider each of your traditions' views of intermarriage.
    • Talk with other interfaith couples about their experiences.
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    • Seek out other couples among your friends and family, in your religious community or even in online forums to see how they have negotiated some of the issues you face.
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    Revisit the issues and continue to negotiate throughout your marriage.
    • Many issues can be worked through in advance. However, you will continue to grow and change as individuals and as a family. Not every situation can be anticipated and you will need to revisit many of the issues throughout the course of your marriage.


  • The divorce rate is twice as high for mixed couples, so you need to be 100% sure that your choice of spouse shares your dreams.

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Categories: Married Life