While we have seen an amazing increase in cross-cultural pairings, interfaith marriages and a huge movement toward fellowship of people of all faiths, we all have very deep-rooted beliefs about religion and about merging families from different faiths and cultures. It is important to shine a light on what we truly believe and how ready we are to step out of the box of upbringing to marry the person we love.
Please answer the following questions honestly and at the end I will share your "readiness scoring."
1. Prior to falling in love with the one I will marry, this is the kind of love life I had:
A. Turned away suitors of different faith, culture or race.
B. I was intrigued by people who were different but thought I should not go out of my way to mix it up.
C. I've always been attracted to people who are different from me.
D. I spend time with people I truly liked and did not choose based on faith, culture or skin color.
2. This is how I would you describe my relationship to religion
A. I actively practice my faith and attend worship services.
B. I celebrate only on Holidays but feel I should do more.
C. I am more culturally religious than devoutly religious.
D. I am not religious or have my own personal practice.
3. I was brought up a certain way and many of those beliefs remain with me today. Deep down I believe:
A. That God will punish me if I go against the teachings of my faith.
B. I should marry someone of my own background
C. That dogma is not as meaningful as the spirit of religion.
D. That people of all faiths and backgrounds can and should get a long.
4. My family is devout and believes I should marry someone of my own background. I feel:
A. Heartbroken that they won't support my marriage
B. Angry at them for being closed-minded when they should be more understanding.
C. Wishing that we will not have their blessing and hoping they come around.
D. I must follow my heart despite their beliefs
5. I don't consider myself prejudice but when I am totally honest I admit that somewhere inside I am worried about raising children who:
A. May not look like me or like they are from the same family.
B. Have a different religion and belief system.
C. Celebrate a culture that is foreign to me.
4. Become confused about their heritage because of their mixed parentage.
6. I am concerned my beloved's family may have problems with my faith, race, culture, or family differences. My biggest worry is that they will:
A. Emotionally manipulate my mate into following their ways.
B. Be rude or disrespectful to me and my family
C. Not come to our wedding.
D. Never give me a chance to bond with them.
7. His mother is heartbroken you are not to be married in her house of worship. Your reaction is:
A. Maybe we better not get married
B. That's her problem
C. Maybe I should convert
D. Let's find a way to honor her beliefs in our ceremony.
8. When I think of making a public declaration of our love, some of these thoughts come to mind:
A. People will stare because we look different.
B. Our families will never get along due to different faiths or cultures.
C. Loving someone from a different background will be a challenge sometimes.
D. I am so blessed to be loved and have someone to love me.
9. Even though you are a tolerant person, how would you react to having in laws who speak a different language, look different from your family or have cultural customs that seem very odd?
A. I would find it embarrassing and weird.
B. I would worry that my family and friends would think it is odd and that I should not be involved with this family.
C. I would spend time finding our more about how they live and what they believe and celebrate.
D. I would love them, no matter how different, because they are part of my mate's life.
10. If your interfaith or mixed-culture child came to you some day and said he or she wants to follow your spouse's religious beliefs and not yours, you would:
1A. Cry your eyes out or get angry and feel you have lost a battle.
B. Try to talk your child out of this decision.
C. Be glad that he or she at least has some faith in something.
D. Find out more about what he or she loves about the religion and look for ways to celebrate it together.
11. If I have any concerns about our relationships, they are:
A. Our children will be confused or rejected.
B. We will have a hard time figuring out how to blend our backgrounds on a day to day basis.
C. We will have to communicate with super extra care in order to make sure we stay on the same page and it feels a little scary.
D. That we may over think our relationship instead of just being present with each other.
12. If you heard there was a way to celebrate both faiths and cultures and have the best of both worlds you would.
A. Ignore it.
B. Doubt it.
C. Investigate it.
D. Celebrate it.
If you got four or more in any of the following categories please see the message for you in the category.
If you're an A:
If you got four or more A's you need to review your mindset about religion and religious beliefs, as well as some of the beliefs of your upbringing, and check in to see if you can truly open your heart to someone of a different faith or background and love them without worrying that you are betraying your faith or your parents.
If you're a B
If you got Four or more B's you still have a lot of "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" attached to your idea about mixed-pairings, and there is still a great deal of hesitancy. We all are products of our cultures and belief systems, so give yourself some time to sort out the issues and consider counseling with someone who specialized in interfaith issues. It can help you both work on hesitancies to embracing your love.
If You're a C
Full speed ahead with wedding planning. You are almost there, just working out some last ditch hesitations about your love. Open the lines of communications with your beloved and make sure you lead on each other and talk things through at every turn.
If You're a D
You are definitely ready to marry your mixed-match mate! Open your heart and have a great wedding!
Excerpted from Your Interfaith Wedding: A Guide to Blending Faiths, Cultures, and Personal Values into One Beautiful Wedding Ceremony by Laurie Sue Brockway, Praeger. All rights reserved.