We figured what we did share — similar values, similar worldviews, and a similarly strong faith in God — was enough.
We crossed our fingers and hoped we would be able to work out how to do life together as it came at us: Religious views on interracial dating years, three kids, and one beautiful marriage later, that strategy seems to be working.
We are not alone. Interfaith relationships — as well as the pairing of a secular and a religious partner — are on the rise. We often get questions from people who assume there must be major problems — ones unique to interfaith couples. And, perhaps most importantly, how do we raise our kids?
No doubt there are some unique challenges to interfaith relationships. But some problems are Religious views on interracial dating when two people — of any background — come together. On the other hand, there are some advantages in interfaith relationships. There are studies that show that interfaith couples are better at communicating with one another than same-faith couples.
In particular, they are better at communicating effectively and coming Religious views on interracial dating an agreement about important issues. Perhaps this is because interfaith couples recognise from the start that they will have to negotiate their religious differences, and so they quickly learn how to carry this skill into other aspects of the relationship.
But doctrine should not be confused with faith, or even with religious affiliation. Many believers disagree with the official views of their respective religious leadership. Even those who share the same religious affiliation do not necessarily share the same opinions on important issues. So the assumption that two people must share the same religion to really understand each other is flawed. In our case, it has been the Despite our different religions, we share a common understanding of God, and what belief means in our day-to-day lives.
We are very lucky in that both of our families love and accept us. We know this is rare. We speak with couples all the time about their struggles, and the pushback they get from family and friends. In the end, those who make it work choose each other over all else.
What about the kids? Our philosophy on this comes from something the Buddha said. To this point, we want to give our three young sons depth. We aim to give them the tools any believer needs to practice their faith, so we pray together, sing songs, meditate, read and reflect on sacred texts.
We do this together at home and in churches and other places of worship, near and far. But depth is not the only goal we have for our children. We want to help them become religiously literate citizens, giving them breadth as well.
So, we read the Bible and the Ramayana. We sing gospels and chant mantras. We talk about the Religious views on interracial dating and tell folk religion origin stories.
We build sukkahs and release our clay Ganeshas into the ocean. We decorate our Christmas tree and light our menorah. We talk about peace, justice, compassion, generosity and God — referencing religions far beyond our own, across time, distance, and culture. Despite all this, some people still ask us, exasperated: It makes sense that so many of us dream, initially at least, that we will find true love with a person who shares the same religious label, because we think it means they have walked the same religious path that we have.
We naturally look for someone who has made the same leaps of faith, who has gone through the same internal transformation, who nods along knowingly as we describe our indescribable connection to something invisible. We imagine someone who gets us, who shares the same truth or "Religious views on interracial dating" or gods that we do, or, perhaps, who has uttered the same denials as us, or who remains as steadfastly unsure about the meaning of it all as we ourselves are.
The assumption here is that sharing the same religion is a shortcut to deeper unity. But praying the same words in the same order, or reading the same sacred book and through again, or singing the same songs are not necessarily a gateway to a meaningful connection.
Each journey of faith is unique and personal. No two believers are alike. And, as anyone in any relationship will tell you, no two people are alike.
Everyone has their own views, opinions and convictions, regardless of their chosen religion or lack of one. Some relationships are interfaith, but all relationships are inter-belief. What is that necessary and sufficient factor? We have found that it is far more important to share the same values than the same religion. It is true that some values are associated more closely with certain religion affiliations.
But values do not just take root inside a person as a result of their religion, of how they have chosen to describe or name or worship God. We choose our values because of myriad factors: Our values shape us, as our journeys through life — and our journeys through faith — play out.
In faith, as in love, we leap. We whisper holy words, words that hold power, maybe magic.
We pilgrimage across whatever distances necessary. We experience the ineffable.