Finding Spiritual Harmony in your Interfaith RelationshipBy: Tuvya Zaretsky
Perhaps your partner just gets you in ways that no one else does. You’ve shared your deepest secrets and feelings, you have a cache of inside jokes, and you’ve supported one another through some tough times. But there’s one nagging thing on which you and your partner can’t seem to agree: faith.
Sociologists and psychologists report that interfaith couples experience more threats to their marital stability than same-faith couples. According to a study entitled “Religious Influence on Marriage Stability,” the divorce rate among Jewish-Gentile couples is approximately double that of marriages wherein both partners are Jewish. The study further reported, “Couples with no religious affiliation also have fairly high rates of dissolution.”
We wanted to examine the irreconcilable issues. So we asked 52 Jewish-Gentile couples to tell us about the unique challenges they faced, and we listened. Whether they were dating, married, or cohabitating, many couples were searching for a blended expression of both of their cultural upbringings that didn’t succumb to the ideological restrictions that would have them choose one faith at the expense of the other. What’s more, most couples expressed a desire for an even greater level of spirituality that included both partners.
The overarching issue these couples faced was a difficulty in finding mutually-satisfying spiritual harmony. Finding that common ground can be incredibly challenging. When discussing your faith or cultural traditions with your partner, you may feel unheard, misunderstood, disrespected, or pressured to “change.” But if left unresolved, these cross-cultural challenges can compound into confusion, frustration, or even, as the dismal statistics above illustrate, dissatisfaction or divorce.
But you are not a statistic. You can be intentional about resisting and addressing cross-cultural misunderstanding and unresolved conflict. It’s possible to create a safe space, wherein both parties feel secure enough to speak their minds, where mutual trust begets mutual respect, and where you’re both able to be vulnerable, honest, and courageous enough to allow new perspectives to expand your viewpoints. After all, relational growth and healing can only happen when we are free to learn, discover, and adapt.
We want to help you create that safe space and start the journey towards spiritual harmony. Your free coach will act as an objective listener and facilitator, helping you and your partner navigate these challenges, engage in a mutually affirming way, and build a set of lifelong tools for successful communication in your relationship.