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Paul Friedman
When two individuals get married they are combining families along with all of the traditions, joys, sorrows and prejudices that are part of their family's heritages. Interfaith marriages definitely contribute to the complexity of combining families.

On the other hand when two come together in Holy matrimony they become the foundation of future generations. This is a beginning of future generations and the decisions of the newlyweds are what matters.

Interfaith Marriages don't Matter to God

Marriage is an invention of God's. Although God's laws are "defined" through religion His love is the universal component in all religions and the most important reality. While one religion may suggest the worship of God while on your knees and another religion has you standing up while you pray, both religions are praying to the same God. It is the guidance of God's rules for happiness that helped both individuals become good people as interpreted through their family first and religion second... right?

The families of both bride and groom sacrificed tremendously in order to protect and properly care for their respective children so when they suddenly announce their intention of marrying outside of their faith it is taken as a rejection of their values and a lack of appreciation for what they did; it is understandable. But it is not a rejection of the parents, at worst it is an assertion of a new beginning.

The Spiritual Aspect of God and His Love Underlines all Religions and all Marriages

Marriage is a Spiritual Union

The couple who marries vow to each other with God as their witness, and it is God who sanctifies the marriage. The couple doesn't have to worry about who performs the marriage ceremony; it will still be a Holy matrimony. But they do have to decide how they will raise their children.

Future Parents must Make Decisions for their own Family

A universal reality is that once a couple joins together in matrimony and leaves the house of their parents they begin a new family and new lineage. Sometimes parents don't understand what that means at first. Because of their love and attachment they insist upon continuing to impose their own values on the new family that they consider to be an offshoot of their own, and it is. But it is independent, taking root in its new soil, and the new couple must choose for themselves the destiny of their family.

It is wise and loving for parents to be supportive of whatever decision the couple makes and not try to influence them.

It is very important for the future parents to decide how their children will be raised. After all, marriage in the faith of the children is creating consistency and security for them. Putting off the presumed "shock" is not helpful. Your parents deserve the consideration of your honesty. If they reject you because of your decision you must understand that you knew when you started dating outside your faith that yours may become an interfaith marriage. You chose to put your future in your own hands even if it meant partial or total rejection from your parents and now is not the time to judge them. Let them have time for the reality to sink in. Let them come to a resolution in their own mind and in their own way; no selling or cajoling.

Your Family will be Defined by the Values you Adhere To

Now is the time to practice the art of discussions. In my book Lessons For A Happy Marriage I help couples learn the art of marital discussions. You may wish to review the principles and techniques found there. But in the meantime remember some very important points

1) Be nice - control your behavior no matter how you feel

2) Be understanding - no one has a handle on ultimate truth except God

3) Be loving - care deeply for all you interact with

Paul Friedman

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