It's estimated that 22 percent of U.S. couples are in interfaith relationships, with each partner following separate religious or spiritual beliefs. In the best circumstances, a mixed-religion couple can co-exist perfectly, even gaining insights from their partner's perspective. But to get to this place often takes some work Â… and a commitment to being together.

“If each partner allows the other to have their own beliefs, knowing that it does not need to affect the ultimate outcome of the relationship, it is possible to find harmony,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates.

This requires knowing how to move through each stage of your relationship successfully. In the beginning, for instance, the biggest opposition may come from outside -- family members, friends or others who disapprove of your 'controversial' relationship.

Overcoming this negativity is simply a matter of releasing your desire to have approval from others.

'Let go of wanting others to approve of your situation,' Dwoskin says. 'Remember, it is up to you how you behave and who you choose to relate to. If you wait for approval or permission from others this can put your life on hold unnecessarily.'

When Children Enter the Mix


The next hurdle involves kids. You may be perfectly fine with your partner having his or her own beliefs, but what about your children? The key to raising children with someone from another religion is to come to a consensus first.

“Many couples these days are marrying outside of their faith or origin, which can of course bring up much conflict especially when it involves how to raise your children,” Dwoskin says. “The best thing to do is resolve these issues before the relationship becomes serious or you decide to have children.”

Some things to consider:
  • Will the children follow one religion or both of them?
  • Will the children be allowed to choose which religion they prefer?
  • How will you explain your differing beliefs?
  • Is it important to you that your children follow your same religion, and not your partner’s?


'Start with open and honest discussions to see if there is a happy meeting ground that you can agree on,' Dwoskin says. 'If there is conflict, before abandoning the relationshipdo your best to discuss and release through the issues so that there can be mutuality about how to honor each others' faith.'

Keep in mind that the more you resist your partner's beliefs, including trying to control them or change them, the harder it will be to reach a compromise. So as you focus on releasing the conflicts that arise, be sure one of them you let go of is resistance to your partner's faith, or resistance to having your children adopt that set of beliefs.

Sustaining the Relationship

As time goes by, remember that YOU are not your religion. Religion is just something you have, it is not YOU. When you accept this thought, it becomes clear how you can easily coexist and love someone with different beliefs.

“Simply grant your partner the right to be the way they are and let go of wanting to control what they believe,” Dwoskin says. “And make sure to avoid marrying someone in order to change his or her beliefs. This tends to always backfire and cause both partners to suffer unnecessarily.”

If you go into the relationship with an open mind, however, fully accepting your partner (that includes their beliefs) the union between you should only grow stronger.