Dennis Karpowitz, member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and emeritus professor of psychology at Kansas University:
Prior to marriage, couples should carefully discuss the impact it will have on their relationship, the rearing of their children, and their friendships and activities when they do not share the same religion. This may be a critical factor in whether to continue the relationship or part.
Both individuals should also seek answers regarding the continuation of the relationship through meditation and prayer. This is a time for clear thinking and not a time to be swept away by emotion.
For couples who are already married, they have made sacred promises to love, honor and cherish each other. Agency, the right to choose, is a God-given gift to every individual. Faith is a matter of personal conscience and should be highly respected. In Matthew 22:37-39 we read, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Who would be a closer neighbor than our spouse?
Emphasize the beliefs you have in common and support each other in those righteous endeavors. Several years ago, I attended a conference on the family with representatives from Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Bahá’í, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist faiths. I was greatly impressed with the commonality of views expressed regarding the importance of family and care in the raising of children. Children should be exposed to the teachings of both religions. As the children mature, they will choose for themselves their own faith perspective.
“Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities.” — The Family, A Proclamation to the World.
— Send email to Dennis Karpowitz at email@example.com.
Rick Burwick, lead pastor, 360 Church, 3200 Clinton Parkway:
The definition of “religion” in its essential idea is “a life in God” (from A.H. Strong’s “Systematic Theology”). In its strictness, there is but one religion “aware of eternity” planted by God in their hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11b). People who are actually religious choose a life of blessing (Deuteronomy 11:26), which God promises to those who have a personal relationship with God by believing in His son, Jesus Christ.
False religions are the caricatures of humanity who choose to live under the curse of death by refusing God’s gift of life and blessing (Romans 6:23).
When couples come together from different religious mindsets, yet both without personal decisions to choose a life and blessing through Jesus Christ, my advice to them would be to accept Jesus’ invitation to live life to the fullest through accepting the Gospel that ensures a full life now and in the hereafter. God is not so concerned about their past as He is about their present journey and future destiny.
If couples asking for advice come divided, one having religion choosing Jesus and the other not choosing Christ, I would want them to understand their individual outcomes. I would advise them to consider their future by focusing on their present choices by unpacking universal and biblical truth that where there is no unity or oneness in faith, there is no power or success in marriage, career or eternity.
Luke 11:17-18 states that every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. The best of plans ultimately destroy themselves if not unified psychologically and spiritually with Jesus Christ and His plan for you.
— Send email to Rick Burwick at firstname.lastname@example.org.