The months before getting married can be one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. From cake tastings to choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen, there is no shortage of tasks to check off of your to-do lists. In addition to the fun part, there are also some parts that need your full attention. Marriage essentially is the process of taking two separate lives and welding them together into one. Schedules will be altered; responsibilities will be divided, and futures are forever intertwined. But naturally, serious conversations regarding lifestyles need to take place before any steps are taken down the aisle to ensure a smooth transition.
In addition to talking about shared responsibilities and future goals, it’s especially important to discuss how big (or small!) of a part of your individual or shared faith will be in your marriage. Between which holidays to celebrate to what faith your children will follow, there are many questions to address before entering an interfaith marriage. Here are 4 big questions to address in the months leading up to your wedding.
What are some beliefs I hold (or do not hold) sacred?
Whether you’re already well-established in your religion or have recently converted to a new faith, be sure you take the time to really learn about the past, present and future of your religion. Understand what is negotiable and what is not negotiable when it comes to living fully in your faith without stepping on your partner’s toes. Encourage them to do the same so you can avoid uncomfortable moments in the future.
How will we raise our children?
It’s important to decide on how religion will be handled before the birth of a child. Some couples may opt for the child to follow the same religion as the mother or let the child decide what to believe in when they are a little bit older. Establishing a parenting plan early on in the case of a separation is a great way to ensure that the child has consistency in all areas of their lives, especially when it comes to religion.
What holidays will we/won’t we celebrate?
In every religion, the holidays are a special time to make memories with loved ones. Before the wedding, establish what holidays will be recognized, where they will be celebrated, and with what side of the family. If you can’t divide the holidays evenly between families and religions, try to compromise. For example, celebrate both holidays during their set times or in one large celebration, such as Christmas and Hanukkah.
What is sacred to us as a couple?
If this hasn’t already been nailed down before the engagement, then there is still time before the wedding. Consider the things you already know to be important to you as a person and how well those mesh with your partner’s. Things like annual family traditions, such as going to midnight mass, is something to consider when figuring out what is sacred to you both as a couple.
The merging of two lives through marriage is an exciting time. It can be easy to get caught up on the decorative details and put the things that matter most on the backburner. Prepare yourself and your partner for the years ahead by establishing common ground when it comes to your faith. Decide what’s important to you as an individual, what’s important to you as a couple and most importantly, what’s important to you and your future family.