I consider myself Buddhist and try my best to follow Buddhist teachings, however there is one thing I often struggle with. I'm involved in an inter-faith relationship. My boyfriend is Christian and we've been together for over a year. I've heard a ton about why we can't be together from the Christian point of view, but I don't have a concrete idea about what the Buddhist stand point on inter-faith relationships is. My understanding is that as long as two people love each other and are happy together, that's all that matters… but I'm not absolutely positive and I'm afraid that I might be wrong. I'd really appreciate it if you could clarify Buddhism's position on inter-faith relationships? Thanks.
Thank you for asking me.
My wife's elder sister is a devout Buddhist. Her husband is a Catholic. They married quite late in life. They already had the mental and spiritual maturity before they decided to commit themselves. When my brother-in-law proposed marriage, my sister-in-law was adamant that it could not work because she would not change her faith and also did not expect him to change either. This future brother-in-law to be, was insistent that if her faith were so strong perhaps he might be influenced to change his. In this scenario, neither party was insistent that the other party must change his/her faith. Neither party was interested to "convert" the other. There was no argument about each other's belief. It is through this MUTUAL RESPECT AND UNDERSTANDING that they are still living happily together, without changing one's religion.
My wife has two sisters. One of them is a Catholic. Three of them are very close to one another and always show genuine love and concern for the well being of one another. Each respect the other's belief. There is NEVER any criticism of one another's religion. All three of them live a wholesome and dignified life. This is the true understanding of practicing one's religion.
Buddhists do not have problems living with others who have different beliefs, because they do not demand that others must change their beliefs. But it is always a BIG PROBLEM with people of other faiths who demand that others MUST CHANGE their beliefs.
In the final analysis do both of you have the spiritual maturity to respect each other's belief for the greater good of an everlasting happy married life? You have to think VERY CAREFULLY. Use your head and not your heart to make this very important decision of a lifetime.