Keeping the faith

*keeping the Faith!
Sometimes I hesitate about being up front and honest about my own interfaith experiences because… … well, “it ain’t all a bowl of cherries!” As my father is fond of saying. There are so many negative people on the internet, in bookstores, in our own
neighborhoods/churches/communities/families who will wax elloquently for hours about the challenges and horrifying experiences of those crazy enough to attempt such a union. they will cite all types of research and even manipulate sacred texts to prove their point. By the time they are through, you are praying for an entire monospiritual eutopian society. I don’t want to add evidence to their argument. Some of the reason that “we” (and I can safely include others in my description, — at least it makes me feel better to do so because I am not singling out myself) aren’t more honest is because “we, those of us in interfaith relationships,” would have to admit that living the commitment to compromise is much more difficult than proclaiming it. At the least, we would have to admit that our “fantasy version of an interfaith marriage” doesn’t even resemble that of a real one. Yes, it comes down to pride, honesty and whatever else you want to call it. Besides, who wants to hear the “I told you so” — (whether spoken or unspoken). but, if I don’t recount these experiences, how will anyone else validate their own experience and/or learn from mine? Since we are all human, it is quite possible that others have experienced such struggles and disappointments. Furthermore, if I don’t discuss such struggles, (at least elude to them enough so that the blog readers [whomever those scant few are] will know that they exist) won’t I be misleading those readers to think that an
“interfaith” relationship (at least ours) is something that it is not. The point is that my story will cease to be authentic. So, here I go. And, know that I have thought about this post for days before sending. this is not an impulsive emotional post.
Interfaith is not just about sharing/celebrating festivals and finding similarities between the faiths. It goes far beyond
celebrating christmas and Eid or combining the cross and the crescent. sometimes, we can’t ignore the differing politics, people or traditions. Sometimes we see the paranoia of extremism in our own partner — and dare I say, even in the mirror. Sometimes the differences are staring you right in the face and will not be concealed. they must be dealt with. Sometimes we tell ourselves that “change” (changing a viewpoint or broadening a mind) is evidence of spiritual evolution — then we spend our waking moments analyzing that change and wondering if we have wandered too far from the right path. sometimes, it is just “challenging” and (just as in any other marriage) one partner can feel like they are compromising more than the other. One or both partners can feel love’s deception slowly peeling back to reveal the stubbornness and haughtiness of righteous indignation that we so despised our now-distant friends and family for. The close-minded behaviors that we tried so dilligently to run from and that we swore to make every effort to protect our children from is manifesting itself in full vibrant colors in our partner, and if we are honest, in our own selves. this post is the tip of the iceburg.
Here is where/when I have to be pretty honest about our faiths, our struggles and what it means — at least for us (because each family has their own picture of what “interfaith family” should look like). I do wish that DH would analyze himself and write responses — or blogs


3 Responses to “Keeping the faith”

  1. Neo Says:

    Wow, quite a deep blog today. Can definitely tell you spent time putting much thought into this before posting it. I’m curious for you to clarify a little more though, and share some specifics, if you feel comfortable doing so.

  2. White Bhabi Says:

    Very well said! My hubby jokes he’s going to get a blog so he can write about how much trouble it is to be married to a white girl lol. It’s not easy and you can’t just demand that marriage be any one ideal way. It’s a constant compromise and adjustment. Most don’t realize that but are very quick to make judgments on us. We are called narrow minded but in reality we are much more open minded and willing to accept differences than the accusers who call us that are. They just can’t understand that. So when I get those types on my blog (where I do divulge quite a bit of my struggles) I just don’t waste my energy arguing with them. I know they can’t understand unless they’ve been in my shoes and it’s no my intended goal to appease all the naysayers anyway. They can think what they want, they don’t live my reality. But, it’s not easy to read some of their comments, especially the ones I know are meant as an attack or revenge for things I have said they don’t agree with. So you’re right to be a little reserved with your postings. I wouldn’t recommend opening up unless you are truly ready to deal with some unruly comments.

  3. Roshni Says:

    Very well said Jan; as always! Faith is always difficult; if its any consolation, my husband and I share the same faith; and we still have problems! I’d say we both express and understand our religion differently; and of course, there are cultural differences which do add to the differences in our expression; and that makes for lots of challenges! I think its not always helpful for so much emphasis to be placed on sharing of faith; I’m not saying that interfaith and learning together isn’t beneficial; it so obviously is! However I think that all faiths are guilty of not focusing more on the uniqueness of an individual spiritual journey; and because so many faiths proselytise, they can’t perceive of the need to be a bit quieter when they only are conditioned to shout louder! I’m interested in your challenges; and I know we’ll have many when we start to have children, but I agree with the others who commented; if you wait for others to approve, they never will! You both need to find your own way; and you both seem expert at doing that; so keep doing what you do best; and of course, share with us when you feel you can!

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