All couples come to the marriage with different backgrounds. Even if you married the girl next door, her up-bringing might not have been the same as yours. These differences will need to be worked through. Strictly speaking, any foreseeable religious or cultural issues should be discussed and worked out before you get married. However if this wasn’t done and you are now a way into your married life and find problems are arising because of these differences then now is the time to sort through them. Don’t leave it any longer. Here are some tips to help you deal with religious and cultural issues:
- When working out the issues and how you will deal with them, be flexible and be prepared to compromise. Remember your partner will want their issues dealt with fairly and have equality when it comes to how they practice their religion or input into how the cultural differences are impacting on your marriage.
- Write down everything that is causing a problem in your marriage relating to these issues. Do this together as a couple. The list may include things such as: how to bring up the children with two different religious philosophies in the house; choosing the right school for the children to attend; how to celebrate religious or cultural holidays; method of dress; or how to deal with family members regarding your choices as a couple in regards to religious and cultural concerns.
- Go to your local religious leaders or community leaders and discuss your issues. Make sure both partners have a chance each meeting. Discuss your problems and see what solutions they can provide. Mixed marriages aren’t rare so they will have faced these issues before and may come up with some unique answers that you have may not thought of.
- Once you have decided how you will deal with all the issues relating to cultural and religious differences it is time to tell your family. For example if you are going to celebrate Christmas along with Hanukkah then you must let both sets of parents know. If the children are to be brought up more in one religion than the other it is only fair that other family members understand this and respect your wishes.
- When you have your issues worked through and settled to both partners satisfaction, keep to your decision. Especially if a number of decisions relate to your children, be consistent.
Remember to be fair to your partner and respect their differences, just as you would want them to respect yours.