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Commentary: Marriage and Religious Differences

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How do couples from different backgrounds, cultures and religions achieve wedded bliss? Can it really work? Take Tariq Saleem Ziyad and Krsnanandini Devi Dasi. They're from Cleveland. He's Muslim and she's Hare Krsna. Looks like a recipe for disaster from afar. But up close they're cooking with gas everyday for a smorgasbord of love. Their motto, "We believe in one God, honor and respect our friendship everyday." Believe it or not love is blind to many things. Relationships with significant differences require more time and attention to be successful.

Here's how it can work. Strive to become one everyday. Do the math. Forget addition because one plus one always equals two. Multiplication has to occur for the couple to become one. Each spouse multiplying the efforts of the other allows them to become one. The husband multiplies the efforts of the wife and she reciprocates. Then they are on their way to becoming one.

Next, differences should be seen not as obstacles, but as opportunities to grow closer. Studies show that what separates couples that divorce from those that don't are not their problems. It's their ability to manage the conflict that occurs in every marriage. Next there has to be universal principles often found in religious practices (belief in God, charity, moral conduct and more) that the couple consents to that will guide their family and child rearing. Agree on a list and follow them.

Finally, shared activities will cement the bond. We attend your place of worship this week--next week, we'll attend mine. We celebrate your traditions and we celebrate mine. This teaches children honor, respect, and tolerance. It teaches them that conflict can be resolved peacefully with love and respect as guiding forces. It teaches them the value of wedded bliss.

What do you think? Can religion get in the way of love? Be sure to leave your comments...

Nisa Muhammad is the founder of Wedded Bliss Inc., an organization dedicated to bringing couples in the Black community resources and support to nurture healthy, long-lasting relationships.

Find out how some other Black couples plan to handle the differences between them.

Read what Nisa Muhammad has to say about how we can keep our relationships strong and healthy.

For more expert insight on how to make your marriage work, click here.
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