Can two people of difference religions (and cultures) be happily married?

Well…does anyone know if it actually happening and working out? And by "people," I don’t mean religious extremists, but level headed, moderately religious people.

In short, I really, really dig this girl and the feeling is mutual, but we both have reservations about our own beliefs getting in the way down the line. Hell, when I learned of her semi-strong religious convictions, it took a pretty heavy toll on my conscience.

btw, I’m Christian/American and she’s Asian/Muslim.

It depends on the people in the marriage, but it can work out just fine. Usually it depends on if one person is overly religious or if their religion is very strict on these sorts of issues, but in general, it can work out just like a normal marriage.
The thing that hit me like a ton of bricks was today when she said that she has to make the trek to Mecca at some point in her life. After the trip, she HAS to wear a scarf. She doesn’t have to cover her face, but has to wear a scarf at least around her hair…kind of freaked me out.

Makes me wonder why God would want to cover such a pretty face. Doesn’t make much sense to me, even though Christians and Muslims have the same God.
my dads catholic my mom is baptist i believe they celebrated 28 or 29 years recently (maybe even more than 30)
The divorce rates are slightly higher for those in marriages of different religious affiliations and for different ethnic backgrounds. So the numbers are stacked against you. You have to have acceptance and confidence about one anothers uniqueness and be free of insecurities and judgments. It makes it easier if you are both "americanized" because that’s a huge part of where you came from.
Yes as long as one of them isn’t Muslim.

Oh whoops I just read the first post.

Now let me explain. I believe that any two people from any two religions could get married and be just fine as long as they came to an agreement and laid out the rules for how they were going to do things before they got married and before they had kids. No problems potentially.

That being said, I would be afraid of the girl’s family if I married a Muslim. Is this based partly on stereotypes? Yes. But also what I saw in college. And also about the story I saw on the news where a Muslim chick married a non-Muslim and her family burned the girl and her husband to death. Psycho.

I dated an Indian (Gujurati) girl (Hindu) for 3.5 years and almost all the issues in our relationship came from her family. She and I got along perfectly together because neither of us were really religious and we had the same views on everything.

The only way religion could get in the way is if it’s a religious with crazy laws (like "any kids HAVE to be raised in x religion") or if both people have very strong, opposing views (like a witch and a Christian).

But if her family is crazy fundamentalist Muslims, then it probably won’t work. And if you guys got a divorce, they probably wouldn’t welcome their daughter back into their family.

If she has strong religious beliefs that you disagree with, then the answer is no, it won’t work, because down the line she will choose her belief system over you/yours.
If she’s going to follow her beliefs when they hurt the relationship, no.

If she’s willing to look at it rationally, and realize that the relationship is more important than following strict religious beliefs and make compromises, then yes.

Personally, I would not be willing to marry someone who wore the scarf, etc, but that’s an issue that some people wouldn’t care about. I would worry more about the other strict beliefs than I would the head scarf.

The thing that hit me like a ton of bricks was today when she said that she has to make the trek to Mecca at some point in her life. After the trip, she HAS to wear a scarf. She doesn’t have to cover her face, but has to wear a scarf at least around her hair…kind of freaked me out.

Makes me wonder why God would want to cover such a pretty face. Doesn’t make much sense to me, even though Christians and Muslims have the same God.

I’ve never understood the significance of a covered or uncovered head. We seem to attach all sorts of meaning to this and the meaning changes depending on our culture/upbringing and waht not. To me it’s all just silliness.

Oh and of course 2 people from different religions can have happy marriages. It’s perhaps more difficult than other marriages but it’s totally possible.

IMO communication before getting married is the key. Will the kids be raised catholic or muslim or other? Will the family attend mass or the service provided by muslim(don’t know the name), etc.

There are so many things that should be discussed before marriage. These things seem simple but they can cause HUGE problems down the line.
my dad is christian and my stepmom is mormon. they have been married 16 years, go to different churches every sunday. it works for them

then again, they dont have any kids together. my dad raised my brother and i in his church and my stepbrothers went to church with my stepmom, so im sure there would have been more things to figure out if they were trying to pick a religion for the kids

i think its possible, but its going to take more work, compromise, understanding and communication than a couple who has the same background and religious beliefs
I know 3 couples where one is catholic and the other is jewish. 2 couples have kids and they all seem to work it out just fine
Each party must have superb communication skills and the emotional depth to understand and respect the other side. If the idea of her wearing a headscarf freaks you out, you need to get to the bottom of why it evokes that reaction in you and understand fully what the significance of wearing one means to her. That’s just one of the many "issues" you will face.

I’d say a large percentage of these types of relationships don’t work out because a. the necessary level of communication isn’t there and b. familial pressure to do certain things or act a certain way makes it difficult. That’s in addition to having different sets of core values. In short, you really have to believe in the merits of each other and the relationship.
It can work. You should probably figure out what you’re going to do if you decide to have kids and how to raise them. That can be a major conflict.
Thanks a lot for the responses, guys. There’s a few issues tearing me both ways with this girl. However, when we’re together and I’m looking at her face, I don’t think about any of them. They all just seem to kind of…disappear I guess.

We’re both pretty level-headed, but like most people have stated, some things would have to be laid out up front. I’m actually in the middle east right now and we both work at the same place, so in about 7 months (or sooner!) I’m going to have to make some major decisions about this girl. I’ve never really been in love, so I know what it is NOT, but I think this might be the first time. She’s not perfect in every way, but I’m still finding that I want to spend almost every second with her.

I think I’m slowly starting to convince her that some things in her religion are optional, but I need to convince her slowly and with facts. Like Cthalupa said, if she’s going to follow her religious principles when they hurt the relationship, then things might not work out. Otherwise, I can respect her religion and her mine without too much conflict. It hasn’t bothered me to this point and we’ve been together for 8 or so months, so…

Anyway, cheers.
It can work out and Ive seen it happen where they dont have a problem. Usually if you can get through dating with each other it shouldn’t be a problem after the marriage if it hasn’t arrised after dating seriously. When it becomes a problem from what Ive seen is when they start having kids.
im pretty sure her family won’t approve.
In muslim culture, woman arn’t supposed to marry a man outside the faith, however, a man can marry outside his faith as long as the woman’s moral convictions follow his.
This is what was told to me by a Muslim spiritual leader when i was in Africa
You sure can, I am a product of such a marriage.
Mom Catholic, Father Jewish. In the beginning there was conflict between the families but I never see a couple who loves each other more then my parents.

im pretty sure her family won’t approve.
In muslim culture, woman arn’t supposed to marry a man outside the faith, however, a man can marry outside his faith as long as the woman’s moral convictions follow his.
This is what was told to me by a Muslim spiritual leader when i was in Africa

I believe this is correct.

Can two people of two different religions and cultures be happily married? Yes.

Can you two? Depends on how much you two (and your families) are willing to compromise.

How old is she? At a younger age, a lot of Muslim girls say that BS about going to Mecca for pilgrimage. Look, if she was that devoutly Muslim, she would not be in a pre-marital relationship, that too with a non-Muslim. These two things go against the tenets of the religion if you follow it hardcore. The fact that she’s dating you tells me that she might not practice it very much.

So, when she brought up pilgrimage, this is her way of pushing your boundaries and figuring out how much you would give in. This is also her way of assuaging her guilt if her parents are strict. For example, she’s talking about pilgrimage now. In the future, when you get more serious, she might talk about raising the kids as Muslim, or maybe you converting to Islam. I am not saying she will definitely do this, but I am giving you examples on how women try to test a man’s boundary in similar relationships.

What part of Asia is she from? South? Tell me the age/country of origin/if her parents are in the US, and I could point you towards similar couples.
What makes you say "semi-strong"? What’s with the "semi"?

I dated a Muslim girl once, she was crazy and had to have me convert or else (her family blah blah). She even offered me her virginity before marriage, but she was pretty much adamant that I converted.
I just read the post about you being in the Middle East.

Sounds like she may not be as devout as I would have assumed (i.e. she’s Muslim just because of her environment–even if she doesn’t care for it). But the problem is the environment…and more importantly her family. They’re probably going to be much less accepting of you than a Muslim family in the states for example.
I’ve known a few Christian and Muslim hook ups… but about half the time someone has converted.

I believe this is correct.

Can two people of two different religions and cultures be happily married? Yes.

Can you two? Depends on how much you two (and your families) are willing to compromise.

How old is she? At a younger age, a lot of Muslim girls say that BS about going to Mecca for pilgrimage. Look, if she was that devoutly Muslim, she would not be in a pre-marital relationship, that too with a non-Muslim. These two things go against the tenets of the religion if you follow it hardcore. The fact that she’s dating you tells me that she might not practice it very much.

So, when she brought up pilgrimage, this is her way of pushing your boundaries and figuring out how much you would give in. This is also her way of assuaging her guilt if her parents are strict. For example, she’s talking about pilgrimage now. In the future, when you get more serious, she might talk about raising the kids as Muslim, or maybe you converting to Islam. I am not saying she will definitely do this, but I am giving you examples on how women try to test a man’s boundary in similar relationships.

What part of Asia is she from? South? Tell me the age/country of origin/if her parents are in the US, and I could point you towards similar couples.

Yes, I agree. Her: 24/Indonesian/Qatar. It’s a special case. We’re both ex-pats working in Qatar. I’m 25 and from the US and will be here for a minimum of 7 or 8 more months. We’ve been dating for roughly 8 months. She still lives with her family in an Indonesian/Filipino/Arabic community sponsored by big oil companies.

Her parents seem to be quite strict, but her brother is dating a white girl from Canada. They were pretty pissed when they found out about that, but that was years ago and the adversity has since subsided. Yeah, she might try to convert me, but it probably won’t happen…mainly because I don’t want to be praying 5 times/day .

I could see myself with this girl long term, but the only thing that is holding me back is the fact that she states she’ll eventually have to cover her hair with a scarf…that really freaks me out. She seems like a liberal muslim to me except in times like this, which makes me quite sad to think about. I can deal with the cross-cultural boundaries, as my (white) sister just married one of my best friends (Mexican). The religious barricade is the biggest boundary I have to overcome.

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