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Interfaith marriages.


Bsix

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I came across an interesting story in the Washington Post.

Interfaith Marriages are rising fast, but they're failing fast too

The thrust of the story is that interfaith marriages are on the increase. 15% in 1988 and 25% in 2006.

Less than 25% of today's 18- to 23-year-olds think that it is important t marry someone of the same faith.

Yet, interfaith marriages are 300% more likely to fail. The article also cited several other statistics that break down failure rates in interfaith mariages. There was even research cited that suggests that differences in religious activity and theological conservatism results in higher divorce rates.

The article also reports on relative levels of interfaith marriages for different faiths.

  • 27 percent of Jews
  • 23 percent of Catholics
  • 39 percent of Buddhists
  • 18 percent of Baptists
  • 21 percent of Muslims
  • 12 percent of Mormons

One of the interfaith marriages covered in the story featured in the story is about the struggles of a Mormon/Evangelical marriage.

Bridget Jack Meyers, an evangelical Christian who lives outside Chicago, married her husband, Paul, a Mormon, only after a lot of counseling and a lot of research. Meyers, a student at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, jokes that there aren't a lot of books on evangelical-Mormon marriages. So she looked at ones on Christian-Jewish relationships. "A lot of the advice was to pick a religion and raise [the kids] in one. But neither one of us wanted to give up ours," she said. So the couple agreed to raise their children in both faiths, letting them choose their own path at some point.

Shortly before their first anniversary, her husband walked out. Meyers, who writes about her interfaith family at ClobberBlog.com, explained in one posting: "He claimed that I had been a perfect wife and he had no complaints about me, but he was having second thoughts about a lifetime of interfaith marriage. He had decided that he wanted to get married in the temple and have his children be sealed to him, and he wanted to raise his children in the church, so he thought it would be best if we went our separate ways before any children entered into the union."

The two reconciled and, according to Meyers, religion wasn't the only issue. Still, it's clear to her that these questions are lurking. "We didn't account for all the ways that the different religions will affect our children," she told me. Mormons typically baptize children around age 8. But Meyers believes that is too young. Since her daughter is only 3, she says, "I'm not getting worked up over it yet." But she worries that if they wait too long, her child will be ostracized in the Mormon church.

As for the long term, she tries not to "religiously manipulate" her daughter. But Meyers knows she will be disappointed if her daughter chooses her husband's church.

One of the criticism of the LDS Church is that we encourage marriage within the faith and upon temple marriages. This is considered by some to be close-minded, and exclusionary. We emphasize that shared religious commitment is an important part of marriage.

It seems to me that there is some sound practical, sociological, and theological reasons to support such counsel. The story points out the deep, almost instinctual pull religion has on people and that pull has profound effects on marriages.

Regards,

Six

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I also agree with the OP.

It's interesting to me that it was important for Isaac and Jacob to marry w/in the faith, but not for Naomi's sons. For if the Israelites Mahlon or Chilion had not married a Moabitess, we would not have the wonderful Book of Ruth.

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One of the criticism of the LDS Church is that we encourage marriage within the faith and upon temple marriages.

There's nothing wrong with these LDS desires. The problem in my particular case is that individuals who are looking outside their particular faith need to accept their potential spouse for who they really are. I accepted my LDS wife for being the best person as a Mormon Christian. In the same sense I went from a clueless Catholic to rather active one and I'm the best person as a Catholic Christian.

Not quite what she was hoping for... :P

I don't believe young people give enough consideration to what happens when one doesn't convert. Their faith may not be necessarily the strongest when they're young. What happens if they develop a real testimony of their faith but their spouse doesn't share it?

My 2 cents

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I don't believe young people give enough consideration to what happens when one doesn't convert. Their faith may not be necessarily the strongest when they're young. What happens if they develop a real testimony of their faith but their spouse doesn't share it?

I agree. I'd be really cautious when choosing who to marry to ensure I can marry someone who has a very strong testimony. At church, in youth lessons, we often do exercises such as listing qualities you'd look for in your partner, and it has come to my attention that "strong testimony" is usually mentioned much later than things such as attractiveness, intelligence, and wealth.

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As one who is married to a good lady that converted from a charismatic evangelical church, nearly 8 yrs on, it has not been easy. Amongst several other problems we had, it was difficult for her to totally let go of the practices in her old church. Thankfully, but only after things got REALLY bad and after much prayer and fasting for direction, we had to agree that in the best interest of our 3 little kids, we had to be focused on going in the same direction. Her flirtations with pentecostalism had to stop. It just got in the way of Temple worship, taking the kids there with us, my calling on the HC in my Stake, FHE etc. It even got in the way of her health and general welfare of the family. I just couldn't see how I could go one way on the Sabbath, she goes another - expect 3 kids all under 7 to decide who they want to go to church with. I would strongly, discourage any single LDS member to think carefully before marrying outside the Church. This does not guarantee a bliss filled marriage, but if religion and spirituality is important to you, it would make things much more difficult if you married outside the faith. I think there are plenty pretty, smart blah blah blah men and women in the church to pick from. In my view as a convert of 20yrs from a pentecostal church, I see that the LDS faith has its own unique culture, emphasis and even traditions let alone doctrine. Thankfully, she is now coming round to seeing the richness that the restored gospel adds to her family that can't be had elsewhere and the need for her to stay focused on what she knows to be true. Any marriage has enough challenges to have to contend with, why potentially create another that can be avoided?

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The last time I saw stats (and it's been awhile) children in interfaith marriages didn't choose religion at all let alone pick one. If your parents don't think it is important enough to back one religion then obviously neither one really matters.

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Interfaith marriages and interracial marriages are both on the rise. The latter is surviving better if I recall correctly.

Mormons have a failure rate for interfaith marriages comparable to Jewish interfaith marriages -- that is, we are at the top of the failure rate.

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The last time I saw stats (and it's been awhile) children in interfaith marriages didn't choose religion at all let alone pick one. If your parents don't think it is important enough to back one religion then obviously neither one really matters.

I don't know about that. I seriously would be surprised if my 2 Catholic kids, who will have been recently confirmed, choose someone outside their faith. They seem to realize that if they want to be serious with their faith, they don't want to go through what I'm going through where both parents take their faith seriously.

I guess it depends how seriously the parents practice their faith.

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I sympathize with Blueadept. Interfaith marriages can be difficult since they speak to the basic principles and morality held by the individual and sometimes shared between faiths (but not completely). It is the omission of doctrinal issues from one faith to another that effects marriages so deeply (in some cases irrevocably).

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I sympathize with Blueadept. Interfaith marriages can be difficult since they speak to the basic principles and morality held by the individual and sometimes shared between faiths (but not completely). It is the omission of doctrinal issues from one faith to another that effects marriages so deeply (in some cases irrevocably).

I'm not sure if nofear's comment about LDS having a higher interfaith failure rate is legit or not but does seem to be accurate in my case.

If the faithful LDS member wants their non-LDS spouse to be active in their faith, conversion is a must (or at least appears to be)...unfortunately. I can practice my Catholic faith fully without her converting.

Again, it depends upon how seriously each party takes their faith. IMO, among LDS, it tends to be a deal breaker.

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Interfaith marriages and interracial marriages are both on the rise. The latter is surviving better if I recall correctly.

Mormons have a failure rate for interfaith marriages comparable to Jewish interfaith marriages -- that is, we are at the top of the failure rate.

Before I got married, my wife and I went through an engagement encounter (marriage prep) weekend. Half of the couples were mixed-faith so it's a common phenomenon. IMO, within the LDS culture, it's frowned upon a lot more if an individual marries outside the faith. I remember when my wife told her LDS friends about it and quite a few opinions asked her if she was positive about it since I wasn't a member.

For me, I don't remember anyone asking me if I was nuts for marrying outside the faith. The priest just wanted to be sure we went through the marriage prep classes.

My 2 cents

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I won't argue with those stats. Religion can be a deal breaker. In another thread was talk about not married by 25 a menace to society. IMO I think many get married too early, and not with clear thought and direction. Basically for lust end even though many will deny such. Young couples though not all seem to lack the understanding of commitment and vows. For that matter I shouldn't say all young couples either. I know a few older adults who lack thereof.

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I'm single and don't plan on marrying outside of the Church, but my older boys keep encouraging me to "flirt to convert." Problem is, I won't date outside the Church either. Two divorces are bad enough.

Hey that's what my wife did! The little trickster.blink.gif

Yeah I agree tell your boys don't flirt to convert. They must join not for the spouse, but for themselves, or else the testimony more than likely fails.

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I also agree with the OP.

It's interesting to me that it was important for Isaac and Jacob to marry w/in the faith, but not for Naomi's sons. For if the Israelites Mahlon or Chilion had not married a Moabitess, we would not have the wonderful Book of Ruth.

If those sons had not died, we also would not have that wonderful book. :P

Glenn

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I personally cannot imagine marrying outside the church (and hope that I never have to make that choice). While one poster has noted that marrying within the faith is no guarantee of anything (and I agree with that), it does remove one potentially big stumbling block to marital relations.

Glenn

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Thanks for the statistics. I would say they're favorable for LDS with the statistic of interfaith marriages being the rare unfavorable statistic.

I'm simply on the bitter end of this... :P

Actually the origin of the phrase is bitter'nd is a nautical term that is the end of a cable or anchor rope (chain), once you get to the end, you have no more rope to use. Just as a point of order. ;)

As a future "in-law", I would encourage my sons and daughters to live the gospel, but also remind them of their responsibility to their husbands or wife. I do not like nor accept divorce except in the worst scenarios.

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Even people who marry within the faith will find they are in an interfaith marriage to some degree or another. Same faith marriages are not a guarantee of anything.

But the odds of success are much greater.

The last time I saw stats (and it's been awhile) children in interfaith marriages didn't choose religion at all let alone pick one. If your parents don't think it is important enough to back one religion then obviously neither one really matters.

Yes. Everything we do teaches our kids something. If you want an LDS home with LDS children, you need an LDS spouse.

I'm not sure if nofear's comment about LDS having a higher interfaith failure rate is legit or not but does seem to be accurate in my case.

If the faithful LDS member wants their non-LDS spouse to be active in their faith, conversion is a must (or at least appears to be)...unfortunately. I can practice my Catholic faith fully without her converting.

Again, it depends upon how seriously each party takes their faith. IMO, among LDS, it tends to be a deal breaker.

Being active in the LDS Church is a 24-7 lifestyle. We are not an hour-or-two, Sunday-only religion. Kind of tough for a non-LDS to live with.

If those sons had not died, we also would not have that wonderful book. :P

Glenn

Probably so. Or it would have had an entirely different ending?

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Being active in the LDS Church is a 24-7 lifestyle. We are not an hour-or-two, Sunday-only religion.

Just to clarify...I lived a 24-7 Catholic lifestyle and supported my wife's LDS faith. I believe she was tired of being married with that and wanted someone to go to the Temple with.

Kind of tough for a non-LDS to live with.
I didn't see any issues. IMO, I'm more of the zealot than her. Good values and principles for both sides, but..... :P

My wife's 1st husband wasn't too religious so she wanted someone who was and she found it. For some reason, she's still not content... ;)

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If your wife were married before, she may be a permanent "hunter/gatherer" in the marital sense. Alwasy seeking something better rather than improving the situation where she is. This would entail her viewing the issue as being outsider herself, not something within she would need to review. In effect it would mean she was nullifying or rejecting the marriage not because of an interfaith issue, but because she has chosen to and desires an excuse of convenience to carry out her desire.

It brings into question the motivating process and whether the statistics accurately reflect an inter faith marriage conflict versus a conflict that uses inter faith marriage as an excuse.

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