Marrying Someone from a Different Religion


I am a Hindu girl and love a Christian boy. We have been in a relationship for 3 years. But now he is worried about inter-religious marriage. Any guidance on this?

—Avni, Georgia


Dear Avni,

Increasingly throughout the world and especially in America, inter-religious marriages are becoming common. It all depends on the maturity of the two of you: can you each respect one another’s religious traditions and activities, even when inconvenient for the other one? If, for example, Christmas were to conflict with Diwali (which I know does not), could you each make an accommodation with the other so that attendance and participation in your religious holiday or activity could take place?

The families of each of you will also be potentially affected and their feelings ought at least to be considered. But even when there is initial opposition from parents or siblings, generally speaking, when the two of you can behave toward one another’s religious commitments with respect and accommodation, the families will also be respectful after they get used to it!

There is truly no reason this cannot work: the only reason for concern is your own maturity. You should each study or be open to learning about one another’s faith and to do so calmly and respectfully. Do this not for the intention of conversion but in order to better understand one another.

Express to one another those activities that are important to you (and not just to the religion itself). Certain religious activities are more social or more personally inspiring and are not necessarily the deeper or even more public traditions that are associated with the faith. We are all a mixture of body, mind, and soul. A Christmas tree, for example, has nothing to do with the birth of Christ yet for many Christians, Christmas without a Christmas tree is unthinkable. Same with foods associated with, for example, Diwali, or the gift-giving. Small details, in other words, can be important to a person even if just barely, in fact, religious! Okay?

May the one God of all, who lives within the body temple of all, guide and bless you both!

Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA