It’s About Love

It’s About Love

I’m diving into the world of interfaith relationships.

In December 2008, I dipped my toes into the cold ocean of East-meets-West dating (via eHarmony, no less). Through a sweet spring 2009 courtship, I waded in to my calves, hoping that my proposals of baptisms (embarrassing) and orthodoxy would warm the water. In the summer of 2009, I was officially in love–my heart so aflutter that baptism was a non-issue, essence replaced dogma, and I forgot how cold (or warm) the water was. Come November 2009, I found myself knee-deep in the (much warmer) water, ready to tread waist-level into promises and plans of marriage. In July 2010, I affirmed those promises before our faith community, Christian families, and a handful of Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu (and God knows what else) friends. In December 2010, the water was at my shoulders as I became a religious minority for the first time in my life–feeling like I might go under. Now it’s spring 2011–my hair is wet, gravity is pulling and it’s time to dive in. Tempest or not, here I (we) come.

Thanks for enduring my interfaith relationships as water metaphor. You’re patient and kind.

The non-metaphor reality: I’m chomping at the bit to explore more about interfaith marriages, as the recent Herald-Sun profile stoked the flames. What’s more, a friend yesterday told me she had overhead a recent Today Show segment on interfaith marriage. When I Googled in this morning, an invitation to share interfaith marriage stories popped up. I nearly fainted. Americans are interested in this? Apparently. I love it.

But what’s this really about? What are Fred and I trying to accomplish by sharing our interfaith love story with the local paper and applying for a one-in-three-trillion chance at the Today Show grabbing our story?

It’s about love, folks. Love. God’s love.

I’m convinced that our meeting and falling in love was Divine. Our individual and collective journeys were and are driven by our love for God and love for one another. As people of faith, Fred and I are called to embody God’s love and practice it–along with flexibility and acceptance.

The response from the recent Durham article was also indicative of this sacred love. Dawn Vaughan’s words brought friends and strangers together to share their own stories and address why it’s sometimes difficult to embody God’s love in relationships–and yet why it’s so crucial. Openly discussing how we (and others in interfaith friendships/relationships/marriages) journey through the challenges–and respond with love–is powerful.

While Fred and I aren’t the more common American Jewish-Christian combination like many we’ve met and those who have most recently been profiled (e.g., Naomi Riley’s Washington Post article, among others), I think our East-meets-West story has equal value for its love lessons learned.

Lighter note: no one (Except God–cosmic joke, anyone?) would have matched a Southern Baptist bred minister and former Hindu monk together for the perfect romance. That sounds like a disaster. It could have been. But, instead … it’s a love story.

Portrait of Radha Krishna from the Krishna Ballaram Temple in Vrindavan, India. In Hinduism, Radha and Krisha are the embodiment of the highest love.

So, what to do with this Baptist-Hindu anomaly? I’m diving in–ready to write and share in hopes that others will feel welcomed and inspired to do the same. Share the love!

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