What to Do When Spouses Don’t Share Religious Beliefs


Authored by Jaipi Sixbear in Marriage 
Published on 09-26-2009

Spouses don’t always have the same exact religious beliefs. Different religions among spouses can be a positive thing. Embracing both belief systems can help spouses better understand each other. Spouses may actually learn from differing beliefs. Dealing with issues involving different religious beliefs is easier when spouses plan in advance.


Discuss religious differences with an open mind. Work out how each individual situation will be handled. What will we do on holidays? How will we worship? How will we raise the kids? Which religion will they be brought up under? All these situations can be worked out in advance. Spouses who take this step avoid future arguments.


Spouses who don’t share religious beliefs are often conflicted on how to worship. Why not alternate places of worship? Attend one church this week. Attend the other church next week. This approach brings spouses closer together. It won’t hurt to experience different religions directly. Spouses may even enjoy attending services at a third church to gain perspective.


Embracing other religions is a wonderful learning experience. Spouses may grow spiritually whole by learning more about different religions. Studying another faith is not a crime against your own religion. Talking about the roles religion played in childhood may bring better understanding of each other. Keep lines of communication open.


Spouses may find themselves drawn to the religion of their partner. It might be beneficial to convert to the other faith. Converting to the religion of a spouse shouldn’t be forced. Religion is a belief system not a requirement. Don’t expect your spouse to convert. Faith should be a personal choice, not a battle for power. Practice tolerance in the home.


Holidays can be difficult for spouses with different religious beliefs. Blending customs is a great way to celebrate without conflict. Why not celebrate all the holiday customs of both religions? There is no reason there cannot be a menorah and a manger scene on the same family mantle. Spouses should have respect for the traditions of both religions.


Kids may become confused about religion when parents disagree. Conflicts over religious beliefs have no place around kids. Have discussions and make decisions privately before presenting them to children. Sometimes it’s best to celebrate both religions. Showing respect for each other is essential for learning. Let children make their own choices as they get older.


Dealing with families from different religious backgrounds can be a sticky situation. Aging parents tend to be stronger about their wishes for children and grandchildren. Be firm about decisions made between spouses. Let family know what you have decided. Stand by your word. Presenting a united front to both sides of the family will gain their respect.

Spouses with different religious beliefs could have a richer marriage. Formulate a definitive plan for worship and religious celebrations. Don’t force religious beliefs on an unwilling spouse. Practice religious tolerance in the home. Present a united front to children and parents to gain respect. Embrace religious differences and learn from them. Make the experience a positive one.


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