Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American media figure, religious studies scholar, producer, and author of the best-selling book ZEALOT: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. In this op-ed for the Guardian, he writes about his own marriage as a Muslim man married to a Christian woman, reporting that their union is no longer unique and that interfaith marriages are on the rise. As he pens, “We figured what we did share – similar values, similar worldviews, and a similarly strong faith in God – was enough… Eight years, three kids, and one beautiful marriage later, that strategy seems to be working.”
Here are some more excerpts from his piece:
— No doubt there are some unique challenges to interfaith relationships. But some problems are unavoidable when two people – of any background – come together. On the other hand, there are some advantages in interfaith relationships. There are studies that show that interfaith couples are better at communicating with one another than same-faith couples. In particular, they are better at communicating effectively and coming to an agreement about important issues.
— But does interfaith marriage mean a weakening of each person’s respective faith? In our case, it has been the opposite. We are strengthened, inspired, and stimulated by each other’s practices and commitments. Despite our different religions, we share a common understanding of God, and what belief means in our day-to-day lives.
— What about the kids? … We want to give our three young sons depth. We aim to give them the tools any believer needs to practice their faith, so we pray together, sing songs, meditate, read and reflect on sacred texts. We do this together at home and in churches and other places of worship, near and far. But depth is not the only goal we have for our children. We want to help them become religiously literate citizens, giving them breadth as well.
— Our best advice: when [love] happens, don’t think too hard, just choose each other.