As my third marriage anniversary date looms in the not so distant future, there are many times that I reflect upon my marriage, the strategically calculated steps taken prior to walking down the aisle and deciding whether the decisions I have made will sustain the life being built with my spouse. The principle decision that we chose as a couple, but is something I find myself reexamining more has been our decision to worship separately. As two people whose parents have been married 58 and 48 years respectively and worshiping under the same denomination, my husband and I appear to be breaking the rules of tradition that says the family that prays together says together. Or are we? Is adherence to two different religious denominations, existing under the same roof even possible?
Religious Diversity / Pluralism
The definition of religious diversity/pluralism seemingly is the most appropriate for the situation wherein there exists an attitude or policy regarding the diversity of religious belief systems co-existing in an almost synonymous manner. Marriages between people of different faiths have occurred throughout history and in most recent years this trend seems to be on the rise. According to recent article in the New York Times, prior to 1960s there were approximately 20 percent of married couples in interfaith marriages; while moving the hands of time forward to the present day, the number of interfaith couples married is 45 percent. . Adding complexity to having a household with two religious denominations, my husband is a Baptist minister, with a master’s degree in Religious Studies, while I follow the practices of the African Methodist Episcopal church. Marrying later in life has contributed to the amicable situation in our household in reference to our religious choices. Supporting that statement, the New York Times article referenced earlier included a survey of interfaith couples and it outlined interesting statistics in reference to the couples and their ages. The survey resulted in the following:
• 48 percent of people who married before age 25 were in interfaith unions
• 58 percent of people who wed between ages 26 and 35
• 67 percent of people who married between ages 36 and 45.
A marriage built from compromise and understanding is a contributing factor to what makes ours a success. My husband understood that my church membership is important to my spiritual growth and internal balance and was not a topic up for negotiation. I willingly traded having a wedding in DC for Cleveland, as he was giving up his life in Ohio to move here. Being married in anywhere besides an AME church was not negotiable. Interestingly, I selected a church in Cleveland based upon its statue as the oldest African-American church in Cleveland and this established AME church was the same church my husband’s parents had been married in 58 years earlier.
Influence of Religion on Marriage
America is a nation that was built on the premise of...