Is communication important in a marriage? Find out what we need to do to improve communication.

Not long ago, this poignant message was posted on the Internet:

Maybe someone can help me here? I consider myself a very spiritual person. I pray everyday and the Lord is very present in my life. I have been married for 8 1/2 years to a great man with whom I'm deeply in love with. We have overcome many obstacles during this time. But there is one present now that I really didn't think would concern me when I married my husband. We are different religions. Not only that but different races. When you’re in love and young, these things really don't matter. But now years down the line, they are coming into play. I honestly don't believe my husband has the Lord in his life, and this bothers me very much. --Ally

How would you respond to Ally? Does she challenge her husband to accept a common path? Should he “convert”? Notwithstanding his being a loving father and husband, must she resolve her dissonance in marriage by choosing between him and God, or observe her faith in silence? These are very trying issues faced by interfaith couples all the time.

Perhaps Ally and her husband would not be going through this challenge now if they had communicated more effectively at the beginning of their relationship.

Two individuals madly in love, do not always consider the possibility that when they come back to earth there might be issues to deal with over the horizon. Communication is essential. Couples must be crystal-clear when it comes to core issues that will impact them in the immediate future – especially children and religious beliefs. Each needs to articulate openly how he or she feels about such issues. If one detects that a partner’s ideas do not resonate with him/her, it should be seen as a red flag warning of trouble to come. The prophet Amos exclaimed rhetorically, “Can two people walk together without being in agreement?” (3:3)

How can such communication be improved? A useful exercise, suggested by a number of marriage counselors and therapists, involves a couple sitting down together and going over these issues. They may do this alone, with a trusted friend, pastor or rabbi, or maybe a parent. Recording the results of such discussions can be very useful in creating a tangible testament to each one’s position on a number of vital issues affecting their future social, spiritual and religious lives.

Such issues should be addressed early in your relationship, preferably prior to marriage. Doing so demonstrates a high level of maturity, commitment, and openness. Of course, your attitude in this approach should not be to find fault, but truth and understanding -- and that requires effort. John Dryden, a 17th Century British classical poet, echoed this truth:

Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;

He who would search for pearls, must dive below.”

It would be wonderful if, after such effective and positive communication you found yourselves without any disagreement. Even in the best of marriages that seldom happens. You might be asking yourselves, now that we have some strife and anxiety, where do we go from here? If you are like most couples, these are some of the questions or issues you might be grappling with right now:

  • Where may we talk to other couples like ourselves?
  • Why is everyone raising the interfaith issue?
  • Which holidays will we celebrate?
  • How shall we raise our children?
  • Will we ever feel accepted by each other’s families?

Unless the solutions to these issues and quandaries are within your own purview to resolve, seeking the right professional counselors is the best course of action. Most likely, allowing such big issues to fester will only impact negatively on the domestic harmony you seek to maintain in your home. We are confident that the Two-Roads staff has the resources and experience to guide you in the right direction. If you wish to communicate with someone at the center right now, we have provided you with this HumanClick service for your convenience. All communications and conversations are kept in strict confidence.