Continuing on from Interfaith marriage and the community on our series of interfaith marriage blog posts. This post discusses a common concern when it comes to interfaith weddings and marriages. What is your identity within an interfaith relationship?
Interfaith marriage highlights different thinking about what identity is, and what aspects of it are emphasised in different faiths and communities. Think about all the components that affect who you are – community, family, self, integrity? Do you like to work out your journey through life for yourself or do you enjoy being a member of your faith group and family? Are you generally comfortable ‘living outside the box’ and not being typical? Or do you like to know that you fit in and that you are absolutely at the heart of what’s going on in your community?
If approval of community matters a lot to you, it’s likely to affect a range of choices you make – from where you feel most comfortable living, to how you see your marriage and your partner. Do you like your partner’s identity to back up your own? How do you react in circumstances where your marriage and the compromises you have to make for your partner are seen as shameful? Might you keep quiet about it, or would you be happy presenting your difference positively?
Some people are like explorers, drawn to the unfamiliar and curious to experience different cultures. If this describes you, the choice of an interfaith marriage may feel natural. Sometimes a restless person can gain a real sense of ‘coming home at last’ by immersing themselves in the new world of their partner’s culture.
If you approach religious difference like a spiritual explorer, swapping conformity in one culture for conformity in another may not be a viable long-term option for you. This is something you might want to consider as you plan your future, especially if your partner’s approach to change and exploration is different.
People in interfaith relationships are not necessarily rebels, leaders, bridge-builders or explorers, but you may sometimes find yourself playing some of these roles some of the time
What are your views on interfaith marriage and identity? Does this resonate with you if you’re in a similar situation?0