What do you think of interfaith marriage?

Last week, my dear friend PL confided to me in our Yahoo Messenger chat of a problem she’s having with her boyfriend V.

An ordinary couple-fight? No. Apparently, it turns out that the problem they’re having is much bigger than a mere fight.

Here’s the transcript of our chat (it was originally written in Indonesian, hence this is the modified English translation).

PL: so sad…. Been sobbin all nite, bro…..
Toshi: wassup?
PL: I’m havin problem w/ V
Toshi: what kind of prob? Mind tellin me?
PL: we couldn’t continue our relationship
PL: there’s a BIG difference between us.. but neither of us is willing to end this
Toshi: why? What difference are u talking abt?
Toshi: isn’t the difference is what makes love beautiful? Or am I missing a point here?
PL: the difference is our religions
PL: it’s impossible to hav 2 faiths under one roof
Toshi: err… I thought he’s also a Christian?
PL: he’s Catholic
PL: I can’t convert into Catholicism and he can’t convert into Protestantism either


Our chat transcript went so far that it would turn into an arduous task for me if I were to translate it entirely here. To cut the long story short, let me just summarize the main points.

She is 23, and he is 24. She’s employed with a nice job, and so does he. And both of them are Chinese Indonesians. With 8-years of steady relationship, everyone thinks that it would be nice if they continue into the wedding altar soon.

I’ve met V once and honestly, I do think that they make a good couple together. Not that they’re lovely or whatever, but since PL is funny and so does he, then Voila: they’re a perfect match! ^^

Unfortunately, their parents (both V’s and PL’s) know nothing of their relationship. All this time during their 8-years of relationship, they’ve always thought that both V and PL are intimate friends (which is called TTM, Teman Tapi Mesra, in Indonesian).

The parents from both sides were unhappy to hear their respective children’s intention to marry with someone from differing religion.

As a result, their relationship is now in a limbo. Their “case” is now “impending”, awaiting a further verdict that might come out from each side: Breakup or A green light.

My advice to her?

No advice of mine would be of much help actually, because the decision is not theirs to make, but their parents’. I could only give her words of support and consolation, so that she would be able to weather this storm, with a promise that I’d pray for the best of both of them.

Nonetheless, I have further thoughts on this issue.

Honestly, I still couldn’t figure out why are some parents so conservative these days that they refuse to let their children marry with the beloved from another faith.

Hello, Parents out there! This isn’t the 20th century, where arranged marriages were still commonplace! You can’t honestly expect your kids to marry with the person of your choice!!

“You must marry with a guy of the same race” or “Marry with the girl of the same faith” is soooo outdated. Perhaps you people should go back to the 20th century then.

And I hope that my emboldened paragraph above echoes on the Grand Canyon.

It is perhaps worth noted that arranged marriages are more deeply rooted in Asian cultures (especially the Chinese and Arabic) than the Western. In the Western civilization, arranged marriages most of the time occurred between the royals who match their sons and daughters, as not to mix their bloodline with the peasants.

The Asian society also makes lives more difficult for girls’ who want to marry with a guy of another race/religion, since most of the time they would have to cede to the male chauvinistic tendencies of Asian customs.

However, this is the 21st century now! For those people who haven’t woken up to the current issues, let me tell you: This is the century of Google and Facebook and CNN, and Iraq has been attacked twice by the Bush family. Or perhaps they haven’t heard of a guy named Bush? Oh please, open Wikipedia then.

Please excuse my angst above, I was just being empathic. Not that I’m voicing my own egocentric concerns though.

My own parents are quite liberal in this aspect that they don’t mind what religion/race/nationality of the person I’m dating with, as long as the person is a she!

Hence I have no limits on what kind of girls I’m dating, be they Korean, Buddhist, Jews, Spanish, etc. But oddly enough, the girls I’ve been playing around with are mostly (the statistics has shown a staggering 90%) Catholics, who all belong to the same faith as I do. I guess that’s a coincidence arranged by God, eh?

Let me open an interactive discussion here:

What are your views on the issue of "Interfaith marriage"? Should V and PL proceed with their relationship? If yes, how should they proceed? If no, why not? And what do you think if your own son/daughter gets married with someone of a different race/religion? Please answer by riposting below.

philryan  – (6 April 2008 at 09:16)  

I think faith should not become a barrier. I'm having a similar interfaith relationship and i will convert when i got married cos i don't want problems, headache etc. No big deal.

Btw ur comment policy does not allow name/url comments.

Marisa Duma  – (6 April 2008 at 22:54)  

They should proceed. Then again, Protestant and Catholic aren't too fundamentally different from each other.

My uncle (Protestant) has a Catholic wife, and they're doing great as a couple also as parents. There are also churches in Jakarta that will serve these Protestant-Catholic couples. They should consult to these churches first, then to their parents. Win-win solution!, well hopefully.

Send my best regards to your friends.

Journal by The Lightbeamers, MD.

PS: Yep, it would be better to use the Name/URL identity for the comment form.

厚山 利彦 (Toshihiko Atsuyama)  – (6 April 2008 at 23:24)  

requests granted. :)

a lot of parents are still conservatively giving a fuss over this matter, which is why I wrote abt this yesterday..

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