I have often been asked how one can help solve the problems of religion in an inter-religion marriage. My answer has always been that the question of religion is often side-tracked in a marriage. Marriage is not about religion. There are bigger problems to marriage than religion. I am talking about marriage of two people who are really in love with a very practical outlook towards life.
Marriage is about dealing with a situation where your father severs relationship with you because you have married into an outside religion. How does one deal with this at 23 years of age? You’re missing your family constantly and making your spouse part of your misery. It’s about him making every effort possible to make your father reconcile. In other words win him over. Marriage is about love and sacrifice.
Marriage is when at 23 your spouse develops some tubular glands and your colleague suggests it could be tuberculosis. It was in those times – 30 years ago. You were afraid to ask questions. There was no internet available to tell you there could be other possibilities which are not as harsh. Your world seems to come to an end; you have left everything for this man and what if God forbid something happens to him?
Marriage is when your workalcoholic spouse takes off from work to be with you when you have had second miscarriage. Your world seems shattered – you think that you possibly could never ever have children. You love your spouse very much and don’t want him to be deprived. Between sobs, you tell him that he could marry someone else. It’s about when he reassures you that he would rather adopt a child than think of marrying someone else.
It's about when your two months old baby is dehydrated and the doctor is leaving town. You decide to bring him home. It is pretty scary when you look back.
Marriage is when your spouse is in and out of jobs and is not able to establish himself. He wants to start a business and decides to mortgage a fully paid house – the stakes are we could be on the road. This by the way was 25 years ago in Bombay. We had become a joke for all who came to know about this. That was the biggest gamble of life no one would dare play then. Mortgage is a fairly recent introduction to India.
It’s about your spouse standing on line all night to get admission forms for your kids to get into elementary school and then borrowing money to pay for the mandatory donation. It’s about you worrying for their future because your nephew could not get into Art School - not because he didn’t have the talent but because he could not pay the capitation fee. It’s when in middle age you decide to migrate to an alien country burning all your bridges back home and starting a struggle all over again. Scary.
I can go on and on but I can promise that after 30 years of marriage religion has not surfaced ever as my bigger problem. In fact sometimes deciding what to cook has been bigger!
At this point I often talk about at what age I would retire and not whether I would be buried or cremated!
See Also: Inter-Religion Marriage
The Inside Story of Our Marriage