Two Religions, One Wedding Ceremony

SCENARIO

We received this as a question from a young bride-to-be. She and her fiancé are from two different religious backgrounds. Neither of their families want a blended religious ceremony, yet this young couple is paying for their own wedding and cannot afford two ceremonies. They would like to make this a happy occasion for both their families and wonder how they can do it.

What would you do in this situation? We’d love to hear your comments.

CONSIDER THIS

JILL:
Perhaps the parents are worried that a blended ceremony will disrespect the meaning and traditions of their faiths. Possibly by outlining for them how the two religions would be represented, this could change their minds. In today’s world interfaith ceremonies are done in a very respectful and tasteful manner. Do some research and speak to planner who specializes in these types of marriages. With the details on paper the bride, groom and both sets of parents should come together to discuss this style of ceremony.

If that doesn’t work look at having a civil, non-denominational or spiritual marriage. No one can afford two ceremonies and one of those choices may be the only way to keep both families happy. Write your own vows. Keep everything simple but meaningful. Taking religion out of a service no longer means that the event has to be cold or impersonal. Another option is a destination wedding and not necessarily to another country. It could be held in another state or province or a pretty little town that is only a few hours away. Afterwards the reception could be a blend of both family’s traditions and backgrounds.

It is important to remember that the very essence of a marriage is the joining of two people who love one another. If however the couple is feeling somewhat incomplete they can meet with religious person who has guided them each through the years and ask for their blessing on the union.

VICKI:
My first thought is what does the couple wish to do? I certainly understand that family pressure can be a huge issue and that we all wish to please the ones we love. However there comes a time where, no matter how challenging, everyone needs to put their family’s values behind them and live by their own value system.

If the couple wish to make the situation work all around then…in order to make this economical the only suggestion I have is to have the ceremony take place in a hall, etc. and literally have one religious ceremony after the other; without an official pronouncing this couple married until after the second ceremony.

Real Love and Reality

SCENARIO

Do you feel loved by your partner? It’s a common issue for many couples. In the beginning of a relationship it was exciting and passionate, with time reality hits and love becomes secondary to daily demands. Does it have to be this way?

CONSIDER THIS

JILL:
While the excitement and passion may settle down with time, the loving of one another shouldn’t become secondary. If you have to put each other on your schedule – every month should include at least one date night and maybe a lunch date too.

One of the most exciting things in a new relationship is the spontaneity so try to revive that. An unexpected phone call in the day, a note slipped into their pocket. It is however the physical aspect; the touching that provides the warmth and glow for a couple. A hug, kiss or squeeze of a hand take a few seconds but the affect is long lasting for the recipient.

Don’t try to revive what has been but start today to sustain a loving relationship that will have you growing old together.

VICKI:
It most definitely doesn’t have to be that way. Love is a choice, which each and every day you and your partner can choose to do and say the things that make your partner feel loved. This is like re-committing to each other daily.

It’s not always an easy choice to make. It only works on one condition – that both of you have to know what makes you, individually, feel loved and be willing to discuss it with your partner.

There is a great book that discusses it called “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It discusses the five main languages of love: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. In reading this you will learn your main love language and help identifying your partner’s. It’s not only a quick read it’s also really enjoyable.

Being True To Yourself – The Ultimate Life Change

QUESTION

My husband of 11 years is in counseling and recently revealed that he has been doing what everyone (mother, father, me, etc.) had wanted him to and it was time for him to start being himself. I said this is great but I’m left feeling betrayed (numb is more like it), like I don’t know who I married – I’m a work in progress but I’ve always been true to myself. What do I do now, things hadn’t been going that well between us for a number of reasons but I feel like he’s just finished us off.

ANSWER

VICKI:
Stop and take a deep breath. I understand that you feel betrayed and that is because you perceive your husband as having lied to you through your marriage. This is not the case. I doubt his intentions were to deceive; he was doing what he thought, at the time, to be the right thing. I believe he was acting in a way he felt was morally and ethically right; working at being the best husband and son that he could be.

It’s not uncommon for people to follow the belief system and teachings they were raised with and then in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s discover that it isn’t working for them and they’re not happy. Believe it or not he’s in the majority of the population. As a psychotherapist I hear it all the time.

You need to consider that the reasons things haven’t been going well between your husband and yourself may have been due to his unhappiness with his life. It’s difficult to be supportive to the one you love when you have no clue as to how to be supportive to yourself. It’s also not uncommon for someone in this situation to become paralyzed and not function productively, therefore letting things slide. The good news is that the changes he makes may make all the difference in your relationship.

You are an articulate and intelligent woman and you need to realize that your husband’s past actions were born out of love not malice. The person that you married is still the same in his heart and soul; he is only looking to find the congruency with his actions. He is presently being very honest with you and most importantly himself.

If you have completely given up due to his past lack of support then there may be nothing left for you to salvage on your end. That is for you to acknowledge and claim responsibility for if it is true. Yet you must understand that if that is the case then this time it is your negativity of the situation that is finishing you off and not his.

To make this decision stop listening to the story you are telling yourself in your head and listen to your heart; the truth lies there.

JILL:
When we are in a relationship, somewhere along the way we tend to forget that we are not our roles/titles but are in fact an individual that is living, sharing & loving with another individual. I must therefore echo Vicki’s words, it was not your ‘husbands’ intention to deceive, he probably sincerely believed that he was being himself. But he is human, so time and life’s experiences have come together in such a way that he now realizes that he is not the person that he wants to be.

Let him take his journey and I would encourage you to give a lot of thought to your own, not as a wife but also as a woman. What do you want at this point in your life and where do you want to be as the years progress?

As you both discover the persons that you are now, you will be able to see if those two individuals can re-connect in your marriage or if you need to go in different directions.